Wearable computing facilitates a new form of human-computer interaction comprising a small body-worn computer (e.g. user-programmable device) that is always on and always ready and accessible. In this regard, the new computational framework differs from that of hand held devices, laptop computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The ‘always ready’ capability leads to a new form of synergy between human and computer, characterized by long-term adaptation through constancy of user-interface.
A wearable computer is a computer that is subsumed into the personal space of the user, controlled by the user, and has both operational and interactional constancy, i.e. is always on and always accessible. Most notably, it is a device that is always with the user, and into which the user can always enter commands and execute a set of such entered commands, and in which the user can do so while walking around or doing other activities. The most salient aspect of computers, in general, (whether wearable or not) is their reconfigurability and their generality, e.g. that their function can be made to vary widely, depending on the instructions provided for program execution. With the wearable computer (WearComp), this is no exception, e.g. the wearable computer is more than just a wristwatch or regular eyeglasses: it has the full functionality of a computer system but in addition to being a fully featured computer, it is also inextricably intertwined with the wearer. This is what sets the wearable computer apart from other wearable devices such as wristwatches, regular eyeglasses, wearable radios, etc.. Unlike these other wearable devices that are not programmable (reconfigurable), the wearable computer is as reconfigurable as the familiar desktop or mainframe computer. Wearable computing will now be formally defined in terms of its three basic modes of operation and its six fundamental attributes.