Photo Credit: Ryan Enn Hughes
A digital pioneer is a true trailblazer within technology and culture. They embrace the unknown and stand at the forefront of innovation. Their work explores previously unimagined uses for emerging technologies. A digital pioneer takes a creative approach to solving complex problems and through that impacts culture and industry. A digital pioneer is the first to develop, use or apply technology in a way that has not conceived of before.
The 2015 Digifest Digital Pioneer Award recognizes Dr. Steve Mann, a researcher and inventor who has made significant contributions to digital culture in Canada, specifically wearable computing. This award acknowledges Mann’s accomplishments as well as his journey to achieve such success. Often coined “the Father of Wearable Technology”, Mann has been experimenting with ways of integrating technology and the body for nearly forty years. Toronto has been pinpointed as the birthplace of wearable technology, with Steve Mann as one of the pioneers of this industry.
Steve Mann has demonstrated leadership in the research, creation and dissemination of digital media projects. His work has increased the sophistication of digital culture in Canada. In the 1980s, his EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, a computer that attaches to the human body and allows you to look up information while walking around, predates Google Glass by more than thirty years. Embracing the digital sphere, Mann’s work articulates new possibilities for how digital technology can enrich the human experience. In 2009, Time Magazine names his fully integrated eye camera system among the top 50 inventions of the year after it was successfully implanted on a visually impaired subject.
The Digifest Digital Pioneer Award ceremony takes place on Friday, May 8 at 4:30 pm at Corus Quay during Digifest in Toronto. The ceremony is open to all Digifest festival attendees.
Steve Mann will also be delivering the Digifest Opening Keynote Presentation on Thursday, May 7 at Corus Quay. Steve will share his wisdom and expertise with the intention of giving his audience a greater appreciation for the impact that technology has on our lives.
Past recipients of Digifest’s Digital Pioneer Award include Artist, Vera Frenkel (2014), President of the Society for Arts and Technology, Luc Courchesne (2012), and Artist/ CEO and Co-Founder of GestureTek, Vincent John Vincent (2011).