FIRST WEARABLE COMPUTER for the masses, the Poma packs a lot of power into a small package. The six-inch-high computer (center) contains a 128-megahertz RISC processor, 32 megabytes of random-access memory and an equal amount of read-only memory. The head-mounted screen (top) weighs less than three ounces. The optical mouse (lower left) allows you to move the cursor with your thumb. Image: BETH PHILLIPS
It isn't easy to stand out in a place like New York City, where outrageously dressed people are as common as pigeons. Even if you wear a nose ring and dye your hair purple, most of the locals won't give you a second glance. But I recently devised a plan to rise above my anonymous status and become the most sensational person in Manhattan, attracting stares of wonder and bewilderment every time I walked down the street. The secret to my new celebrity would be a device called the Poma, a computer that looks like a futuristic fashion accessory.
Unlike the now pedestrian PDA (for personal digital assistant)--the Palm, the Visor and so on--the Poma is a portable device meant to be worn, not held. A shiny silver band clamped to the forehead suspends an inch-wide computer screen in front of one of the user's eyes, like a high-tech monocle. A black wire connects the screen to the computer itself, an 11-ounce, six-inch-high unit that can be carried in a coat pocket or clipped to a belt.
This article was originally published with the title Machine Chic.