Mediated Reality: University of Toronto RWM Project

Dr. Mann describes his WearComp (“Wearable Computer”) invention as a tool for “Mediated Reality”. WearComp originated in the context of photographic tools as true extensions of the mind and body and evolved into a philosophical basis for self-determination, characteristic of the Linux operating system that runs on WearComp.
The End of Theft of Visual Attention

Linux has eliminated the need for pirated copies of poorly written commercial operating systems. Freely distributable software has resulted in improved operating system software and changed the nature of intellectual property.

Similarly, there is the issue of Humanistic Property. Humanistic Property was formerly free for others to steal, but now a technological means to prevent theft of Humanistic Property is proposed. This means that in the future, individuals will decide what advertisements they would like to see or not see.

For example, I am currently not interested in seeing advertisements for cars, cleaning products or condoms. However, I am currently in the market for certain components that I need to build the next embodiment of WearComp, so I would very much welcome the opportunity to see any advertisements by vendors of these products. I do not believe we will see the end of advertising, just the end of unwanted advertising—the end of theft of our visual attention.


Thanks to Kodak and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for assistance with the Personal Imaging and Humanistic Intelligence projects.

Steve Mann inventor of WearComp (wearable computer) and WearCam (eyetap camera and reality mediator), is currently a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Mann has been working on his WearComp invention for more than 20 years, dating back to his high school days in the 1970s. He brought his inventions and ideas to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991, founding what was to later become the MIT Wearable Computing Project, and received his Ph.D. degree from MIT in 1997 in this new field he established. Anyone interested in joining or helping out with the “community of cyborgs” project or the RWM project may wish to contact the author by e-mail at