What 1992 Thought Wearable Computers in 2003 Would Look Like

YouTube / Nanoforge1
YouTube / Nanoforge1 / YouTube / Nanoforge1

In 1992, the show Beyond 2000 visited an NEC design lab in Tokyo to take a look at what wearable computers might look like in a decade or so. NEC's designers had cooked up what appear to be design prototypes of various wearable computers—they don't actually do anything, but they're useful for exploring what the device might do, and how it would feel to use it.

This video is notable partly because of the '90s-tastic fashion choices, but also because NEC's technical vision in 1992 was spot-on. While most people today would never wear something as bulky as what's shown, the functions of each piece of over-the-shoulder CD-ROM-laden equipment are available to us today. We just use smartphones, small laptops, tablets, and even to some extent actual wearable computers (mostly smartwatches or Google Glass at this point) to do this stuff. There's even a head-mounted VR system late in the segment that looks a lot like an Oculus Rift.

So journey back in time 23 years, and be glad you're not watching this YouTube video on a tiny screen strapped to your stomach:

If you enjoy Reddit threads about retro videos, here's one arguing about whether this was prescient or silly. I'm going with...mostly prescient, and a little silly.