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Ready-to-wear birth of the cyborg architect

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The idea of the wearable computer probably goes back to the strip cartoon Dick Tracy, the eponymous hero of which wore a two-way radio on his wrist and was the resentful envy of all his teenage fans who had to make do with two tin cans and a long piece of string.

Now you can strap miniature TVs/cameras/radios/nuclear-powered cork extractors on your wrist. Not to mention inserting small computers in various body cavities to do things such as maintaining your heart rate and warning about blood cholesterol levels.

Meanwhile, work is quite advanced on a wrist phone which has the mike in the strap. You tap your thumb and second last finger to issue a limited range of commands - and stick your left finger in your ear to hear your caller.Sounds ridiculous? Check it out at www. lab. nttdocomo. co. jp/english/ kenkyu/medhia1. html. MIT is doing some work on wearables (www. media. mit. edu/wearables/); there is a big conference later this year in Seattle; a Google 'wearable computers' search produces 65,000 items. Apart from making the lives of disabled people a bit better, there are serious implications for office and home design.

If you can redesign your home or workspace on an interactive 3D CAD application and simply even walk around with tiny lasers projecting the stereoscopic image straight into your irises, the disc slotted in somewhere between two lower ribs and the fold-up computer in your smalls, well, who needs real architecture?

And wearables are already here in Albion. I recently introduced a mate to the Targus full-size, fold-up keyboard for the handheld, palmtop, whatever.

And he has fallen for it.Not surprisingly.

You are sitting on the train coming back from a building site. You pull out the Targus from one pocket, clip on a PDA from the other and start typing up a report. You zap the text straight back to your computer at the office. Magic in your pocket.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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