Leaving this primitive and somewhat frustrating gear behind, I took a leap forward to experience what it will be like when PCs and people are indistinguishable. The $1,499 Xybernaut Poma, the first wearable computer for consumers, consists of three components: a silver head band with a tiny monitor that flips down over one eye; a PDA-size computer; and a thumb-controlled optical mouse. To hide the system -- as if that were possible -- I fed the mouse cable down a sleeve and the monitor cable down the back of my jacket. Wired for action, I felt like James Bond. An illusion my wife shattered when she said, "You're not going outside like that, are you?"
Undaunted, I found the Poma's Windows CE 3.0 software and color monitor allowed me to read documents and play solitaire while wandering around streets and stores. Unfortunately, without a wireless modem, I couldn't surf the Net. The whole episode was disorienting. If I concentrated on what I was looking at in the monitor for too long, I got dizzy and even bumped into store displays.