Xybernaut fashions wearable PC

Xybernaut Corp. earlier this month announced plans for the production of its next Mobile Assistant, a wearable computer that looks like the ultimate in computer geek fashion. Sony Digital Products Inc. later this year will start manufacturing Xybernaut's Mobile Assistant IV, which is composed of a

Xybernaut Corp. earlier this month announced plans for the production of its next Mobile Assistant, a wearable computer that looks like the ultimate in computer geek fashion.

Sony Digital Products Inc. later this year will start manufacturing Xybernaut's Mobile Assistant IV, which is composed of a cigar box-size PC that is worn around the waist and a miniature monitor that hangs in front of one eye. Rather than using a traditional keyboard, users can select commands or input data through a pointer on the base unit that acts as a mouse or by using voice recognition technology and speaking into a microphone.

The PC will be equipped with a 233 MHz Intel Corp. Pentium with MMX processor, a hard drive with more than 2G of memory and a video graphics array display. The Mobile Assistant IV also will be able to dock with a desktop and will include wireless communication capabilities, said Edward G. Newman, chairman and chief executive officer of Xybernaut, Fairfax, Va.

The devices might look like a "geeky thing," said Kevin L. Jackson, chief technology officer at Sentel Corp., an Alexandria, Va.-based systems integrator, but it is only a matter of time before people begin to see their benefits and consider them socially acceptable, he said. Sentel has developed applications using wearable computers.

"Body-wearable computers allow you to work naturally because you interface with the computer naturally, the same way you interface with everything else in the world," Jackson said.

The most advanced Xybernaut wearable computer available now is the 133P, priced at $6,500. The monitor is sold separately for about $3,000. The PC features a 133 MHz Pentium processor, 64M of memory, a 2.1G hard drive, up to two PC Card buses, a built-in pointer that acts as a mouse and a 115 kilobits/sec infrared transceiver. It runs all Microsoft Corp. Windows software, or it can operate as a Windows NT server.

The PC part of the Xybernaut 133P measures about 8.5 inches long, 4.75 inches wide and about 2.2 inches deep. All the equipment together, including a keypad that fits on the wrist, weighs about 5 pounds.

Xybernaut has sold several wearable computers to federal agencies, which have deployed them in military projects and at a border crossing in Arizona, where Customs Service agents use them to help detect stolen cars, drugs and criminal activity.

Customs has tested three Xybernaut 133Ps at the United States/Mexico border crossing in Douglas, Ariz., to find out how the Xybernaut product might fit into the service's wireless needs, said William Holcombe, a project engineer in Customs' research and development branch.

The system is being tested as a possible replacement for radios, which guards use to relay car serial numbers, license numbers and other information to the base station for a check against a database, according to Jackson, whose company provided systems integration services on the project.

The response of border guards "has been a little mixed," Holcombe said, but Customs plans to continue studying the use of wearable computers and will decide where the equipment would be most efficiently deployed.

Some guards have had trouble seeing the small display, and there have been problems caused by background noise that affects the voice input, Holcombe said, but the hands-free operation is helpful in situations that require a search or use of a weapon.

"It's got a lot of potential that will give us the capability of checking more cars more efficiently," Holcombe said.

"Where the Xybernaut could come in handy is if it really got crowded, you could put [border guards] out in the lines of traffic waiting at the border," he added.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.