next up previous
Next: Brief history of the

"wearhow.html" How to build a version of `WearComp6'.

Steve Mann++ (many others have contributed; please see acknowledgements section)

Contact info:
Prof. Steve Mann
University of Toronto
Department of Electrical Engineering, Room S.F. 2001,
10 King's College Road; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; M5S 3G4
Tel. 416.946-3387 Fax. 416.971-2326

To cite this paper, please include both citations below:
Circuit Cellar INK, Issue 95, feature article, June 1998, 8 pages: cover + pages 18 to 24

Link to other WearComp-related papers on this www page

Definition of Wearable Computing (What is Wearable Computing?)

A cheap display for WearComp might cost as little as $20; see review of HMDs for various surplus or cheap wearable TV sets.

Rob's page on how to connect directly to TV sets, and other useful info for which there is a mirror site. Portions of this info (e.g. specifics of the TV connection) is also mirrored here on the WearCam site

Connections for connecting DB25 to DB9 serial connectors, and suggestion for MOD-TAP serial connectors (e.g. to use RJ45 connectors with WearComp to save space)

Twiddler wiring howto

Other useful linux-related links, including Powerd (a tool to gracefully shutdown on low battery, to avoid fsck, etc..). For example, if you're building a small low-power wearcomp, you can go a long way without X-windows, by using gpm, virtual consoles, and SVGAlib.

This document is also available all in one single html document for easier downloading over a slow modem (e.g. just click here and go for a coffee, and then you've cached it all for view or printing).
You can also obtain a PostScript version of this document..
John Clark (N3IFG) has converted the PostScript to pdf, and this can be obtained from or from here
In this paper, I provide instructions on how to build a hobbyist's wearable computer system that is modular, easy to re-configure and maintain, etc..

This guide will serve as a ``howto'' for researchers and hobbyists interested in building a version of the WearComp apparatus. Most notably, the version that is described is WearComp6, which can be easily built by most electronic hobbyists, from off-the-shelf components.

THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY; USE AT OWN RISK. NEITHER I NOR MY PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE EMPLOYERS ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGE TO EQUIPMENT, INJURY, OR DEATH THAT MAY ARISE FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY. Furthermore, I suggest that anyone practicing this art be well versed in possible hazards of faulty wiring, possible hazards of long-term exposure to radio frequency energy, possible eye damage from displays in close proximity to the eye, possible brain damage from long-term usage of the apparatus, possible hazards from reduced attention span, flashback effects, etc., that may persist after discontinuing the use of the apparatus, and any other possible hazards that may be related to this technology.

This set of instructions is based on an earlier ``howto'' guide I wrote in 1995, which was, to the best of my knowledge, the first set of instructions on how to build a wearable computer ever published. These instructions were originally diseminated through a wearables WWW site I had established at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (on a DECstation 5000/200 I had in my office, since there were no other httpd servers in the Media Lab at that time the wearables site was established).

Part 2 of this paper, which outlines the details of WearComp7 (the covert WearComp apparatus), will also be made available on this site in the near future.

next up previous
Next: Brief history of the

Steve Mann
Wed Dec 24 05:46:06 EST 1997