What to wear?

Wearing a computer on your head may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you're rummaging through your wardrobe, bleary eyed and desperate. (And it's definitely not a good substitute for more conventional attire.)

But it may not be as impractical as it sounds. As you walk down the street with your head in cyberspace, so to speak, you could e-mail friends, surf the Internet, even finish that late report. Life on the move gains a new dimension.

Where the ubiquitous cellphone left off, the wearable computer may not be far from picking up (even if looking like a cyborg is not the fashion statement you're after).

The teen crowd is unfazed, however. A group of students at Dearborn High School in Detroit showed their version of a wearable computer at a recent computer convention in New York. Called Ralph - after a character from "The Simpsons" - it's a combination of darkened visor that displays Web sites and a miniature keyboard and mouse that fit in one hand.

To be really immersed, however, step into virtual reality. There, you no longer need to walk down the street or physically attend meetings (although you still have to write that report, darn).

Writer Alexandra Ravinet jumps down the virtual rabbit hole (see page 19) at Brown University, where a new virtual simulator enables scientists to wander through their stats, hear their information, watch numbers stream past them, and literally envelop themselves in their research.

It could spawn the ultimate work attire: wearable data.

*Susan Llewelyn Leach is the assistant Ideas editor. Comments? Send e-mail to: Ideas@csps.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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