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The keyword for 1999 is "wearable" -New Year's Message-

The keyword for 1999 is "wearable." Until a few years ago, the "desktop" used to be the computer's central force. Around last year, computers quickly moved on to the mobile stage due to the miniaturization and dramatic development of wireless data telecommunication. Since then, computers have become more familiar to human beings in a sense that is similar to wearing clothes or underwear. "Wearable" is the actualization of this idea.

In the Wearable Year of 1999, I would definitely like to see children wearing actual wearable pieces (experimental pieces). In a recent study of teenage girls, we found that PHS (Personal Handyphone System) and cellular phones, which can be seen as models of "mobile" and wearable" devices, are more popular and used more effectively than we had imagined. What is especially notable is that, for teenage girls, communication (chatting) itself is the purpose. On the other hand, adults use PHS and cellular phones to get work done more efficiently. They prefer short telecommunication time and less frequency of communication.

In the case with wearables, too, adults and children are sure to use them differently. For adults, who are considered to be the Print or TV generation, it is hard to understand the behavior of the Net Generation for whom communication itself is the purpose of life. After all, in order to examine the future, there is no other way than to have children actually wear the wearable pieces and then observe their behavior.

Putting on wearables is nothing but the "physicalization" of information technology including computers and telecommunication networks. Ideally, one should order a custom-made wearable, name and personalize it, and through it, go back and forth between real and cyber worlds. In other words, wearables act as hybrid agents.

Children with these wearables will be able to come into contact with telecommunication technology naturally. There is no obvious need to force them to learn how to use computers and networks. Also, the "nerd" phenomenon, where one shuts oneself up in the network or cyber world, is not likely to happen either. A brand new handling of computers, with the real world as the basis and the simultaneous usage of the network will become frequent. With the interaction of both worlds led by hybrid agents, children will be stimulated in their interests and intellectual activities, leading to ne-footwork syndrome (footwork stimulated by the network).

During previous Multi Media Family Camps (MMC), we provided children with the newest information machines and looked at their potential. The theme for 1998 was "mobile" which was new for the time, but in 1999, we would like to move on the wearable stage. A prototype of the wearable wear is being made with the cooperation of Bunka Fashion Academy. In MMC 99, I am looking forward to plans that call for games or sports using wearables.

I hope that 1999 will be a year of change, in which children of the Net Generation add unique and original ideas for wearables and make rapid progress themselves.

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