Gauri Nanda sees a wearable computer as a…handbag — one that’s built out of four-inch squares and triangles of fabric, with tiny computer chips embedded in it. Assembled together with Velcro that conducts electricity, these pieces form a bag that looks, feels, and weighs like your typical leather purse.

That’s where the similarities end: This bag can wirelessly keep tabs on your belongings and remind you, just as you’re about to leave the house, to take your wallet. It can review the weather report and suggest that you grab an umbrella — or your sunshades. This purse can even upload your favorite songs onto your scarf.

Sure, a computing purse and scarf set may seem like the stuff of science fiction. But these devices, part of next generation of wearable computers, could become commonplace within a few years. Unit shipments of such wearable computers — purses, watches, shirts — should rise from 261,000 last year to 1.39 million in 2008, according to the tech research firm IDC.

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