A GNU/Linux Wristwatch Videophone

This fully fuctioning prototype, designed and built by Steve Mann in 1998, was demonstrated in 1999, and later used to deliver a videoconference at ISSCC 2000.
Going Further

Figure 4. Block Diagram of Video Production Facility

Due to direct contact between the wristwatch and the body, the pulse (heart rate) as well as skin conductivity (sweatiness index) of the wearer may be determined, and this information may be appended to or recorded with the video signals. This may facilitate, for example, a future search through all video in which the wearer's heart rate exceeds a certain threshold. It has been found that when a department store manager is dishonest with respect to refund policies, or a clerk refuses to tell a customer his name, the customer's heart rate increases dramatically, and the customer often sweats profusely. Thus, this extra information can later help locate moments of tension in a previously recorded argument at the refund counter.

Programs Developed for the Wristwatch Videophone

Linaccess: GNUX for Low Vision

The small size of the display required the development of an X Window System configuration that was easy to read on a small screen. This gave rise to the Linaccess project, where GNUX was made accessible on low-vision systems. This project has two distinct but closely related goals. First, to make GNUX accessible to the visually challenged, or those suffering from low vision, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma or the like. (Note that this project differs from the blinux project in the sense that the goal of Linaccess is to use visual output, but to make it more accessible to those with low vision.) Second, to make GNUX usable on small screens, such as the wristwatch system. In many ways, we're all suffering from low vision when we're trying to read a 0.7-inch diagonal screen.


Dr. Steve Mann (mann@eecg.toronto.edu) is regarded by many as the inventor of the wearable computer (computing being distinct from special-purpose devices such as wristwatches and eyeglasses), and of the EyeTap video camera and reality mediator. He also built the world's first covert fully functional WearComp with display and camera concealed in ordinary eyeglasses in 1995, for the creation of his award-winning documentary “ShootingBack”. He is also the inventor of the wristwatch videophone, the chirplet transform, a new mathematical framework for signal processing, and of comparametric image processing. He is currently a member at University of Toronto, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.



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Anonymous's picture

Wow yet 10 years later no one heard of this. Seams like the tech went no where.

Just Like Johny Quest!!

Anonymous's picture

First of all, AWESOME!!! This is certainly one of the Sci-Fi promises we've all been waiting for (still awaiting flying cars, humanoid robot slaves, and direct brain interface).

I do hope that when this hits the market it's a bit less hideous to look upon though.