Wearable display and pocket computing

Again with headache, after a few hours of working in train, it comes apparent that even with hi-def, retina displays, the non-ergonomic posture and other troubles of working with laptops in cramped surroundings of mobile work are not going away.

Silicon Micro Display ST1080
Silicon Micro Display ST1080

There are probably several solutions to this particular challenge, but here is one idea: how about rather than insisting on staring at a laptop, having something like the recent Intel “PC on a stick”, plus a battery pack/power brick, coupled with a best-of-line wearable display? As those things are getting lighter and the projected displays sharper, and some of them also go for semi-transparent, see-through technology, there appears to be a true alternative future for wearable computing that consists of multiple devices plugged together, in a modular fashion. One problem with thin-and-light laptops is, for example, that their pursuit for paper-thin form factor compromises the keyboard. With a PC stick in your pocket and a see-through-display on your eyes, you also could have a really good, wireless keyboard and mouse connected as the input devices, and keep looking naturally ahead of you, with a large and sharp virtual display hanging in the air, at the optimal position and distance to save your eyes and neck from extra strain.

The current generation is probably not yet ready for the job, but here are some pointers for those who are interested to see where we are right now:

– Silicon Micro Display ST1080: Full HD, 2D/3D wearable, see-through display for virtual 100 inch screen (at 10 feet/3 meter apparent distance): http://www.siliconmicrodisplay.com/st1080-features.html
– Intel Compute Stick, quad-core Atom chip, built-in wireless connectivity, on-board storage, and a micro SD card slot for additional storage, with Windows 8.1 or Linux pre-installed: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/compute-stick/intel-compute-stick.html

Intel Compute Stick
Intel Compute Stick

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.