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" I sometimes suspect that we're seeing something in the Internet as significant as the birth of cities. It's really something new, it's a new kind of civilization."
- William Gibson

Wearables  
  Slang for 'wearable computer.'  

In this near future Earth, everyone wears their computer. The display is routed through smart contact lenses.

As he followed her down the hall, Juan rebooted his wearable. The walls became prettier, covered with silk hangings. He saw he had visitor privileges in the Gus' house system, but he couldn't find any other communications paths out of the building. All his equipment was working fine, including the little extras like 360 peripheral vision and good hearing...
From Fast Times At Fairmont High, by Vernor Vinge.
Published by Not known in 2001
Additional resources -

Vinge expands on this idea in his 2006 novel Rainbows End:

Wearable computers, what a concept. IBM PC meets Epiphany-based high-fashion. In fact, Robert might have mistaken his new wardrobe for ordinary clothes. True, the shirts and pants were not a style he favored. There were embroidered pattersn both inside and out. But the embroidery was more noticeable to the touch than the eye; Juan Orozco had to show him special views to reveal the net of microprocessors and lasers...

Robert was practicing with his beginner's outfit, tryying to repeat the coding tricks Juan had shown him. For the most part, even the simplest gestures didn't work when he first tried them. But he would flail and flail - and when the command did work, the success gave him a pitiful spike of joy and he worked even harder. Like a boy with a new computer game. Or a trained rat.

The first instance of a wearable computer was probably the hidden analog computer used to cheat for roulette created by mathematician Edward O. Thorp and Claude Shannon, well-known information theorist. The device was about the size of a deck of cards; it was an analog computing device that used tiny switches concealed in the wearer's shoes to time the speed of the roulette wheel. (It was successfully tested in 1961; hardware issues prevented "breaking the bank," however.)

Most of the early work involved wearing some sort of bulky unit that served as the computer and battery pack, or trying to distribute blocky objects around the body. The recently developed technology to print circuits on flexible media (like cloth) will revolutionize wearable computing. See Printing RFID Tags With Magic Ink for an example.

Take a look at Tinmith Augmented Reality to see some current state of the art.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Fast Times At Fairmont High
  More Ideas and Technology by Vernor Vinge
  Tech news articles related to Fast Times At Fairmont High
  Tech news articles related to works by Vernor Vinge

Wearables-related news articles:
  - Everything Is Toy RFID-Enabled Fun

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