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"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan

Wrist Search Display  
  A wearable device that uses its own search beam to view scenes close by.  

She lifted her left wrist and showed him, strapped thereto, what looked like an enameled wrist watch with a large bezel; only the dial of this was blank, and radiating from the sides were five gnarled stems.

"Do you have these on Earth?" she asked. He admitted they did not. "Look," she said, turning her body at an angle and adjusting the stems.

AS ALLISON looked, close by her side, the dial took on an opalescent glow, and dimly there appeared on it threads and shadows which under her adjustments cleared into a picture, animated—the heads and figures of half a dozen women.

"Television," he said. "You’re re­ceiving this from a broadcasting studio."

"No," she corrected; "a search-beam, portable. I can focus it at a distance on whatever I choose. It passes through almost anything."

... The ethnologist sat on the edge of the cot and held up his wrist. What a marvel of ingenuity the lit­tle device was! Tentatively he turned the stem she had first touched. The dial glowed, then meaningless shadows appeared on it. The slightest movement of his body changed these shadows for new ones. He turned other stems and got what seemed to be a wall. Delicately he manipulated in the attempt to probe beyond.

From A Matter of Size, by Harry Bates.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1934
Additional resources -

Compare to the wristband viewer from Changeling (1980) by Roger Zelazny and the wireless wrist intercom from The Shape of Things To Come (1936) by H.G. Wells.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Matter of Size
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Bates
  Tech news articles related to A Matter of Size
  Tech news articles related to works by Harry Bates

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