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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