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IBM Japan And Olympus Optical Team Up On Wearable PC Project

Monday, November 29, 1999

By Applelinks Contributing Editor Charles W. Moore

AsiaBizTech reports that IBM Japan Ltd. has announced that it has developed a trial version of the wearable personal computer together with camera giant Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.

The wearable PC incorporates an IBM-developed small PC unit and a single-eyed head-mounted “PC Eye-Trek” display device developed by Olympus.

The wearable unit offers most of the features you find in a standard notebook PC, including the dubious blessing of the Windows 98/95 OS, a 233MHz Pentium MMX CPU,, 64MB of RAM, a 340MB IBM’s micro drive hard disk, an 800 x 600 dpi color display, a lithium-ion battery, and a USB interface with available port replicator.

According to AsiaBizTech, IBM claims that the product is now practical for use and almost ready for commercial distribution.

The wearable PC unit measures 87mm by 141mm by 36.3mm, and weighs 382g., with an operating time of 2 to 3 hours between battery charges. The monitor screen is a tiny 0.47-in., but viewing it through a prism, the effect for users is that of viewing a 10-in. screen two inches away.

The display uses a digital interface called GVIF for fast video signal transmission. The optionsl port replicater for peripheral connections is hot-swappable and features a serial port, a parallel port and a TYPE III PC card slot.

While commercial availability and the price for the wearable have not yet been determined, AsiaBizTech says that the companies are willing to supply beta trial products to enterprise customers for field testing.

In a related story, AsiaBizTech says that X.Ethic Inc., a control software development firm, has also entered into a joint research on wearable computers with IBM U.S.A., aimed at developing a way to fully integrate the use of wearable computers in corporate information systems while keeping users unaware of them.

Charles W. Moore


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