"It never hurts to start with Steve Mann and Thad Starner, once pioneering computer wearers at MIT's Media Lab, now leading their own efforts in Toronto and Atlanta, respectively."

Mann's work emphasizes ways the technological is political. Nobody disputes that we are in the age of techno-surveillance, where every urbanite is recorded daily by hundreds of public and private surveillance cameras. Mann believes in "sousveillance." Where "surveillance" means "observation from above," Mann advocates cyborg observation from below. When he walks into stores where people tell him he can't keep his head-mounted video camera on, he points to the store's surveillance cameras. As a countermove to the constant private and state-sponsored snooping on citizens, Mann urges computer-wearing cyborgs to send a stream of recorded sound and images to their weblogs - "glogging," he calls it, a practice that predated blogging, albeit limited to a far smaller community.


Sometimes, it doesn't matter whether you have a clear view if you aren't looking in the right place. While Mann, Starner and other bleeding edgers show us what can, in principle, be done with wearable devices, the gadgets we carry are gaining computation and networking power. The Treo 600, wireless iPaqs, and other gizmos we call telephones or PDAs are definitely moving in the direction of a networked multimedia supercomputer in your pocket, even if you can't block out billboard ads by looking at the world through an Eyetap."