The CharmIT Wearable Computing Kit (2000-2001)

While working at Charmed Technology, I was extensively involved in the development of demonstration applications, business proposals, and initial sales of the CharmIT wearable computing kit.  This kit was based on Prof.Thad Starner’sLizzy” wearable which he developed as a MIT Media Lab graduate student.

Starting in late 1999, Greg Priest-Dorman revised the “Lizzy” kit with upgraded components and a new case.  These revisions made the design attractive to wearable computing hobbyists and researchers.  The kit became known as the “CharmIT”.  Georgia Tech researcher Dan Ashbrook built many of the first CharmIT’s sold in December-March 2001.

Our effort to develop and market the CharmIT kit was documented and published in Harvard Business SchoolCase 502-012: Moon, Youngme E. “Charmed Technology.”

The CharmIT kit is part of the museum exhibit On You: A Story of Wearable Computing.  In 2015, it was featured as a special exhibit at the Computer History Museum and has traveled globally.  The exhibit is cataloged in the e-book Meeting the Challenge: The Path Towards a Wearable Computer.  (free iBooks download)


CharmIT Kit: Top view showing available ports on the very first CharmIT unit completed in February 2000

Jarrell Pair using CharmIT wearable computer at Internet World Tel Aviv, 2000 Using a Sony Glasstron head mounted display, Jarrell Pair prepares the first CharmIT unit for a demonstration at Internet World Israel (Tel Aviv, March 2000)

Complete System: CharmIT unit satchel with Twiddler one-handed keyboard and Sony Glasstron head mounted display