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Wearables and Carryables for Everyday Communication: Past, Present, Future (2019)

Curator: Danielle Stambler | University of Minnesota | April 2019

Archivist Team: Kamal Baker, Emma Begalka, Katharine Crockett, Sarah Elmes, Ky Lan Nguyen, Eric Olson, Kayla Prue, Raghd Qamhiyeh, Abraham Robles-Quito, Somanea Touch, Regan Wood, Jinghui Zhou

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Senior Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

The purpose of this collection is to catalogue carryable and wearable digital technologies that are a part of everyday communication, messaging and conversation. Carryables and wearables that facilitate digital communication have been part of the world of emerging technologies for decades, and they continue to evolve and become more affordable and accessible. This collection looks at some devices from the past, where the technology is currently, and some ideas about the future. Digital communication technologies promise to impact many areas of everyday life, including healthcare, workplaces, and personal relationships.

As technology evolves, it is becoming smaller, more portable, and more efficient. Many of our collected objects feature products that improve efficiency of communication which is necessary as daily life is becoming increasingly fast-paced. The collection includes objects related to personal messaging (hands-on and hands-free), video calling, interpreting sign language, managing hospital communications, seeing through echolocation, making payments, monitoring personal health, taking control of messaging notifications, and a fictional vision of future holographic messaging.

As part of the WRIT 3562W Technical and Professional Writing course led by instructor Danielle Stambler at the University of Minnesota, 12 undergraduate students have located emerging technologies across multiple industries with the attempt to actively understand past, present, or future forms of technology, practice archiving through a curator role, and gain experience in collaborating together with an outside organization. As archivists, these students gathered multiple artifacts in response to emerging technology in communication devices.

About the Collection:
This team-based collection explores the wearable and carryable items that have been used for everyday personal and technical communication in the past, present, and future. Contributors are students enrolled in the course WRIT 3562W Technical and Professional Writing (Spring 2019) facilitated by instructor Danielle Stambler at the University of Minnesota.
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