Body-worn wearable computers, or wearables for short, are small, portable electronic devices that are to be worn on the body of the user or integrated into their clothing. The idea behind them is to give the users easy access to information and computing power. These devices are also often aware of their user and the environment they are in. This allows them to offer contextual information and react to the user's surroundings, location, their body position, bodily functions, or even mental state.
We define body-worn wearables as devices that are mounted on human body and exhibit cognition enhancing abilities. (Please note that for the purposes of this knowledge base, Head-mounted Devices are considered to be a stand-alone category.) Our dichotomy is based on how the IEC 62209-2:2010 standard distinguishes the devices based on their position on the human body.
Body-worn devices are wearable computers that are similar to smartphones but which are closer to the human body, require little to no hand interaction, and are as ubiquitous and portable as possible, some even integrated into clothing. Body-worn wearables can connect to the Internet and relevant sensors, as well as to other such wearable devices to retrieve and share data. In most cases, these devices are battery-powered, although experiments with other forms of gathering energy (body movement, body heat, solar power) exist. These devices usually have the appearance of fashion accessories such as necklaces, wristbands, earrings and similar.
Wearable devices are used to enhance the abilities of its users in the sense of easier information retrieval from the Internet and their environment, and about the user's activities and body. These devices are also used as an aid for users with disabilities or cognitive impairment.