The Smart Vest: Towards a Next Generation Wearable Computing Platform

Steven J. Schwartz and Alex Pentland

July, 1999

Researchers engaged in the field of wearable computer study have been restricted by the packaging that houses computing, storage and communications resources. A new design for a platform is described that is integrated into and compatible with everyday clothing. Soft, comfortable and flexible, the Smart Vest is a lining composed of a lightweight mesh that serves as a  medium for integrating electronic modules with flexible interconnections. The lining is a self-contained wearable computer supporting a wide variety of configurations. Advantage is taken of the low cost and small size of specialized silicon to provide a great deal of control over power comsumption while adapting to the most efficient available bandwith. The Smart Vest is intended to provide sustainable or “Green” operation by matching the use of appropriate silicon to the task of the wearer. It is worn on top of a shirt or undergarment and beneath a vest or jacket. The Smart Vest provides an improvement in comfort, configuration and concealment for the wearable computer user.