In the 1600’s, the Qing Dynasty witnessed what was essentially the release of the world’s first wearable computer, a fully functional abacus on a ring. It could be used to perform mathematical calculations while being worn on the finger. One can hardly help but wonder if the inventor of that “ring computer” could possibly have imagined the level of technology that we see today. Just how far have we come with wearable computing technology? What issues do these unique devices raise for us as a culture?Google, the search engine giant, has thrown its substantial weight into the wearable computing ring with the soon-to-be-released Google Glass. A head-mounted computer in the form of a pair of empty eyeglass frames, this device is able to deliver nearly all of the capabilities of a smartphone with either a voice prompt or by using a small track-pad on the right temple. The “Glass” is a small transparent display in the upper right hand corner of the wearer’s field of vision.
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