A Prototype Wearable Computer from 1993 #WearableWednesday

In 1993 Lisa Kron designed a wearable computer that was as much art as it was technology. Kron’s “Cyberdeck” holds its own as a wild moment int he history of wearable technology.

Krohn studied art and architectural history at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) before completing an MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in 1988. With the Cyberdesk, she tapped into a cultural moment in which artists, techies, writers, and others were celebrating the convergence of humans and machines and eagerly anticipating our cyborg future.

The Cyberdesk, made of resin, plastic, metal, and glass, was meant to be worn like a necklace. The four circles along the breastbone are a four-key keyboard with a large trackball at the top center; the user would use the keyboard and trackball to make selections from menus of options. A small microphone lies against the throat, and an earpiece hooks into the left ear. Krohn imagined the yellow tube in front of the right eye as a retinal scan display that would project a laser beam directly onto the back of the eye, creating a screen centered in the user’s field of vision. In the back, there is a port suggestive of some type of neural link. The Cyberdesk was intended to run on energy harvested from the body’s movement and the sun.

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