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Dick Tracy's New Linux Box? 161

Posted by timothy
from the could-potentially-are-key-words dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Zypad is a new arm-wearable computer right out of Futurama. It can run Windows CE or Linux and has a 400 MHz CPU, 64MB Flash memory, 3.5 inch screen. The Zypad leaves the user's hands free — it has no keyboard, just a touchscreen and navigation keys. Voice recognition is 'being developed.' It turns on only when you look at it, so it saves power. It has GPS and Bluetooth/WLAN/GSM connectivity. Price: 1000 Euro." Too bad it's not yet available for sale — that screen looks more useful than the one on IBM's Linux watch from 2000.
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Dick Tracy's New Linux Box?

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  • voice recognition (Score:5, Informative)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:28AM (#15627672) Homepage
    For those of you in search of voice recognition ware that has already "been developed" you should check out Dragon NaturallySpeaking [nuance.com]. I got it for my boss who's paralyzed from the neck down and it works beautifully, making his life easier. Training only took 15 minutes and the accuracy is impressive. It comes with a headset mic but I recommend splurging on the Plantronics CS50-USB [amazon.com] wireless headset.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Bet that makes a nice change from a boss who is typically paralyzed from the neck up.

      Yes, it is bad taste.

    • Re:voice recognition (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AndroidCat (229562)
      It'd be nice if Nuance didn't have a lock on the market by aquiring the bits of all the speech companies that crashed and burned.
    • Re:voice recognition (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrSkwid (118965)
      Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Standard

      System requirements :
      256Mb RAM (512Mb preferred)
      500Mb Free DIsk space

      1Gb > 64Mb

    • Recently, I found myself in the slightly bizarre situation of assisting a gentleman of Caribbean heritage in configuring and using Dragon Naturally Speaking. His accent started in the Caribbean, wandered through London, and took a left in Birmingham. *I* couldn't understand half of what he said, but Dragon understood him perfectly, even with him BELLOWING! EACH! WORD! Of course, he couldn't READ, so I had to dictate the on screen prompts to him, but still, I was impressed.

      (Turns out he wanted this to dictat
    • by the_womble (580291)
      my boss who's paralyzed from the neck down


      Plenty of people have to work for a boss who is paralyzed from the neck up

  • I want the laser upgrade when I get mine...
  • by dema (103780) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:31AM (#15627691) Homepage
    The Zypad is a new arm-wearable computer right out of Futurama.

    So it's pointless, except on rare occasions when it can used for completely random tasks to fill plot holes?
  • mispronounced (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:33AM (#15627708) Homepage
    Voice recognition is 'being developed.'



    Somebody mispronounced 'doesn't work yet'.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:44AM (#15627791)
      No, they said that, the voice recognition just thought they said "being developed."
    • Voice recognition does work, does exist, and is in use. Our department uses Dragon Naturaly Speaking as well as a few others for some of our staff that have limited mobility. Is there still a long ways to go? Yes no doubt, but it is out there. I haven't personally played with it for about 5 years (moved to a different job), and even back then I was pretty impressed.
      • DNS works fine in an office environment, if you have decent microphone and the user takes the time to train the software and get used to its quirks. That's a long way from being usable where there's background noise with a basic pinhole microphone.
      • Yes, DNS works. Allow me to fill in the implied context of my comment:

        Voice recognition is 'being developed (for this wrist-top computer platform).'

        Somebody mispronounced 'doesn't work yet (for this wrist-top computer platform).'

        Even DNS Mobile Edition won't fit in 64MB of flash. DNS is not relevant to the subject of this article.
  • For Euro 1000, this thing should have some sort of antipersonnel weapon built in. When the price comes down, this might be practical as a daily computer -- I know that with wireless Internet on one at a $500 price point I'd spend a lot more time out of the office.
    • For Euro 1000, this thing should have some sort of antipersonnel weapon built in. When the price comes down, this might be practical as a daily computer -- I know that with wireless Internet on one at a $500 price point I'd spend a lot more time out of the office.

      I doubt it. From the description, anything you can do on this new toy, you can do (probably easier) on a PDA-Phone. No one REALLY works on PDA-phones either. You work on a LAPTOP where you can type at a reasonable speed.

      Granted, my Treo can
      • I'm assuming this thing is (or will be) slightly larger and more powerful than a smart phone at its eventual price point. As far as using it, about half my day consists of waiting for people to call in issues, so forward office phone to cell phone, and take a walk, relying on this thing for e-mail and remote access when an issue arises. If it's one of the rare issues I can't deal with in a minute or two, walk back to the office. Although since most days I'd do that I'd be hanging out in a coffeeshop brow
    • These things always seem to fail, or not live up to their promise. Why? Because as the technology comes down in price to the point where it is affordable, then the technology is too dated to really impress anymore. By the time this thing (assuming it gets built) gets down to $500 the state of the art will have marched past it just enough that no one will want it. Same thing with PDA's and PDA/phones etc. They never quite do what we need/want because by the time that tech gets into those devices, our bigger
  • by Shoten (260439) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:35AM (#15627725)
    "Too bad it's not yet available for sale..."

    Too bad it's not yet in existence. When I see a radically new gadget from some company I've never heard of whose press release touts multiple moves forward in different realms of technology, and all they have to show is a computer-generated graphic of the thing...well, I've never seen any such device ever show up to market. Not ever, in my memory.
    • No, I think this computer-generated graphic is shaded differently than the last one...

      - RG>
    • ...can I connect my Optimus keyboard to it?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Too bad it's not yet in existence. When I see a radically new gadget from some company I've never heard of whose press release touts multiple moves forward in different realms of technology, and all they have to show is a computer-generated graphic of the thing...well, I've never seen any such device ever show up to market. Not ever, in my memory.
      Oh, believe me. It exists. We have a couple of them in the lab here, and they work great. They have some problems with audio, but that appears to be a proble
    • While you have an excellent point, this thing is little more than a PocketPC with an ugly case. (could they have made it look any more stupid?) The specs are identical (with the exception of some added peripherals) to my iPAQ H2210.
      • I was sort of hoping it would look exactly like Leela's wrist thingy, instead of thise euro-designed gonna-look-dated-in-three-years thing. A big bulky wristcomputer might actually be worthwhile, especially if it's ruggedized enough to handle being on someone's arm (look at the kind of abuse watches get). The one in the picture looks awfully fragile to me.

        Plus, you'd build strong arms lugging it around all day.
    • by Tribbin (565963) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:07PM (#15628387) Homepage
      They have a full working version.

      The problem is they set a bit wrong and it only works when you don't look at it.
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:37AM (#15627740)
    does it have an ARM processor? In that case, do you need a StrongARM to be able to use it?
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

      by IdahoEv (195056)
      do you need a StrongARM to be able to use it?

      Yes, regardless of processor. The press release says it weighs 390 grams, which is 0.86 pounds.

      Go to your local sporting good store and get a 1-pound ankle weight. Try wearing in on your wrist all of the time. (Even let .14 grams of the sand out if you like).

      You'll find out it's a lot heavier than you thought, especially for vaporware.
  • by saboola (655522) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:37AM (#15627741)
    If you were all sick and tired of having women hit on you before, I have this new device to show you!
    • I Have been hearing about wearable computers for years. The closest I have seen that got any sort of popularity was the calculator wrist watch, and still it is not that popular.

      Most people already wear the latest technology called pockets which seem to be able to carry many of the smaller devices, Calculators, PDA, MP3 Players, Wallets, CellPhones, keys, etc... Plus these pockets are able obscure the devices when they are not in use.
      We assume that if technology can get small enough it will become useful as
  • Headlines (Score:4, Insightful)

    by penguinstorm (575341) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:37AM (#15627742) Homepage
    If it's right out of Futurama, why does the headline mention Dick Tracy?
  • by Mayhem178 (920970) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:38AM (#15627748)
    Now all we need are wrist communicators, an evil witch thing on the moon, and a big floating head in a jar.
  • It looks cool. And it sounds like it could be cool too. But will it ever be more than a nifty gadget? We've all seen the pictures of wearable computers from different cons and shows. They've been around for a while in different forms. Why is this one different? Does anyone think it will ever become mainstream until the price drops tremendously?
  • by OlivierB (709839) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:40AM (#15627762)

    Publishing a price means that I can bid the asking price and get the product. If it is not available, then the price is "announced to be" and is currently non-existant.

    Slashdot editors could learn a thing or two by spending a week in writing/journalist summer-camp. Day in and day out they write non-sensical blurbs, never mind they don't check-out the underlying articles, at least post a cohesive summary.
    • Slashdot editors could learn a thing or two by spending a week in writing/journalist summer-camp. Day in and day out they write non-sensical blurbs, never mind they don't check-out the underlying articles, at least post a cohesive summary.

      As soon as they finish their two weeks at summer fat camp, we will set that up. Thanks for the advice.

      -Slashdot
    • Okay, I can certainly see digging at the editors for not being the most professional editors in the world, but this is a bit silly.

      Anyone who has ever seen /. before knows that the blurbs are user submitted, and in many articles and the FAQ itself Taco has stated that the only editing they do is either in dire need or malformed html.

      As such it is pretty obvious, especially with the new quoted view with the CSS that the price information was written up by the submitter, and the mention that it isn't actu

    • Yeah, and then we'll get to hear stories that start out, "This one time at journalist camp..."

      No thanks!
  • by whobutdrew (889171)
    How does it "only turn on when you look at it?" How would it know? That part just doesn't make sense to me
    • Yeah, that caught my eye too. Who needs voice recognition when it can so obviously read you rinterest level/emotions. Maybe it reads lips as well?
    • Probably a minature gyroscope or similar device. When it is rotated or moved beyond a certain angle the screen flicks on*.

      The motion sensor in the new Apple Macbook's is probably a good starting point; I wonder if it is possible to hack those to only turn the screen on when the Macbook is 'on the level'.

      * I admit, I could be talking rubbish here...
      • I'm not sure how the MacBook's motion sensors work, but there have been totally solid-state accelerometers around for quite some time. The underlying technology is usually called "SMM" for Silicon Micro Machine (that may be a trademark of somebody's) or "MEMS" for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. If you position three of them on orthogonal axes, you can make a fairly decent gyroscope without any moving parts.

        I've played with them on model helicopters (they help to stabilize it by keeping the tail pointed i
    • If you're not looking at it how do you know if it's on or off? think about it!
    • It uses technlogy developed from "tree falling in the forest" research.
  • Well.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by GmAz (916505) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:41AM (#15627770) Journal
    I would love to have one, but wouldn't dare wear it outside anywhere. Every person I know already knows I am a huge nerd, but still. By wearing that, it gives all other nerds the right to kick my @$$ too.
  • This is going to make viewing pr0n interesting......
  • It turns on only when you look at it, so it saves power.

    I didn't see any reference to how it switches on in TFA or the PR PDF. I was wondering how it detected that you were looking at it. (Is it like the old Pulsar LED watch that you had to shake your wrist to see the time?)
  • Dell? (Score:1, Funny)

    by fusto99 (939313)
    I just hope Dell didn't have any part in making it. Ow! My arm's on fire!
    • If Dell ever did make these, that would give a whole new meaning to the term "Product Branding".
      • Heh. If Dell were making it, there'd be 'consumer branding' involved.

        Gotta make sure those gateway rustlers don't steal their cattle.
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:46AM (#15627802) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but in 2006, anything with only 64MB of flash storage space will not, contrary to the website's hype, revolutionize the way we use computers. Unless you're talking about a rising desire for austere minimalism.
    • That struck me as odd, too. I wonder why they didn't decide to use removable flash media cards like my camera uses, which hold way more than 64MB. Oh, maybe it's because you can't stick a flash card into a drawing of an idea.
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:48AM (#15627812)
    'It turns on only when you look at it'
    I wish it was that easy to turn my wife on.

    Seriously though, I'm curious about the technology that makes this possible (no I didn't download the PDF yet). It would be pretty slick to incorporate this into other devices.

    It's a cool idea, but personally if I were to drop a thousand euros on one of these I don't think I'd be wearing it on my wrist. I'm kind of a klutz sometimes and am pretty hard on watch crystals so I don't think it would take me too long to crack the display.
    • It turns on only when you look at it

      That description makes it seem much cooler than it actually is. It turns on when your wrist tilts to bring it into view, even if you aren't looking at it.

      The WWPC offers several wearable-specific innovations, according to the company, including a patented orientation sensor that can be configured to induce standby when the user's arm drops. Additionally, the device's tilt sensor can be used to detect motionless operator states, while a built-in GPS receiver and "d

    • Seriously though, I'm curious about the technology that makes this possible (no I didn't download the PDF yet). It would be pretty slick to incorporate this into other devices.

      It's actually pretty easy, and shipping in actual real products. Lot of watches have an option
      to make the light turn on when the watch is on a specific angle. It's like a tilt sensor.
    • I wish it was that easy to turn my wife on.

      maybe you were kidding, maybe not. Try calf massages (gentle), foot massages, incense, quiet remote places. Look up stuff online. Ask her what she wants in a private comfortable setting.

      Cheers
  • With a little duck tape my IPAQ could go on my wrist as well. Talk about reinventing the wheel. If this thing was Shatter resistant and waterproof with a 2megapixel camera it would be a good tool for divers, but as a "breakthrough" device this thing is going to be stuck filling a couple small specialty markets. On the other hand Usable Voice recognition software for the PDA market..... that has promise!!!
    • No kidding! I'm just wondering why somebody doesn't just build a [full-size, not watch-size] PDA that straps to a wrist. It could easily be done for $200 instead of $1000!
  • by El_Smack (267329) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:52AM (#15627844)

    "It turns on only when you look at it,..."

    Looks like they have a Quantum Physics guy hiding out in R&D.
  • Kind of makes you feel bad for her, not only did she think she was an orphan and the last of her species for circa 30 years, she's stuck using a piece of thousand year old technology... Well, at least she get's Tetris on it.
  • These armbands aren't right out of Futurama, they're right out of Ark II [70slivekidvid.com]

  • This looks just like something I've seen before [slashdot.org]...
  • "the device could conceivably serve as an everyday tool as common as the mobile phone or the palmtop."

    It could but it ain't going to happen. No one but the most extreme, purist form of nerd is going to be seen dead wearing one of these things. Might have applications in military or warehousing, but those kind of people would probably as happy to have something that sits in a holster until required.

  • seriously, you would get a VGA touchscreen, 620mhz cpu, a library of several thousand apps, you could hack it to run linux if you wanted, and would only cost you about $200-400.
  • If I saw someone wearing that, I would think they were a total goofball--beyond just geeky, into the realm of "do you realize how freaking silly that looks". Perhaps in 5 years, wearable computing won't be so odd... but right now it would look goofy.

    One opening I do see for this, however, is in industry. Just as the Xybernaut [xybernaut.com] (a commercialization of Steve Mann's work in wearable computers, IIRC) is selling to workers who need easy access to computer data without the heft and inconvenience of a separate m

  • The one rule I figured out . . . you could make the ultimate prosthetic, aid, wheelchair, etc. - but if it's ugly, nobody will use it. That's why such a large percentage of amputees usually wear a non-functional prosthetic that looks (kinda) like their missing limb; some don't even bother with the functional "claw" type attachment at all, because they'd rather look normal than have the lost functionality back.

    This thing is pretty ugly looking - even Toranga Leela would sneer at it! I predict a dismal sal

  • *puts on the computer, covers one eye, and shouts "Look at me! I'm Leela!"
  • Left-handed model? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by T1girl (213375) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @11:39AM (#15628212) Homepage
    I'm wondering if it comes in right-handed, left-handed and ambidextrous models. Being a petite-sized person with small wrists and rather short arms, I would find this clunky device rather cumbersome. It would feel like having a can of soda strapped to your arm. A larger person with beefy arms might find it too tight, although the armband does appear to be adjustable (it reminds me of a blood-ressuren cuff.) Also, the person in the picture is wearing a short-sleeved shirt. In cold weather, would you wear it over your shirt and sweater, or would you have to roll up your sleeves. I don't even like wearing an ID badge.
  • If it turns on whenever we look at it, how can we be sure it ever actually turns off?
  • How long before the first emacs zealot creates the 3-button keybindings for this device?
  • It would be nice if it had a bar code scanner built in. Then they could target it to warehouses and such.
  • then how come it's not called a Wristlojackimator?
  • seems upside down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kencurry (471519) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:05PM (#15628369)
    On either wrist, you would want the keypad on the inside (medial side). If you put this on either wrist, the text (as displayed in the photo) would be upside down.

    Did marketing do their homework on the photo for press release?

  • It looks like the wrist version of those luggable computers around in the early 80's.

    I think I'll wait until wearable computers have sufficient power/memory/battery-life to be truly useful, and look like a slim writswatch.

  • ...glue a PDA to a piece of velcro and wrap it around your wrist. Cost 300 bucks or 1/6th what this device costs and just as "beautiful."
  • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:35PM (#15628568) Journal
    What? People WORE those things? On their WRISTS? But they're massive! WHAT? HOW many gigahertz? Only four hundred? WHAT!? Megahertz? No way! No way, you're joking right? How could that even run voice recognition? WHAT? ...
  • "Eurotech" "Technology for a better world" "Zypad"

    Why should we believe people who'd name a company after "Euro" and "tech"? "Euro" is so 90s, and "tech" is more a 60s through 80s thing. And the idea that "Zy" (or anything beginning with "Z" or "X") is sexy? Right out of the 50s (although currently enjoying a revival in pharmeceuticals). And that company slogan - belongs back in the 40s somewhere.

    From these clues, a good guess would be "fraud whose real aim in attracting foolish investors." Folks who really
  • http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/ 14/2056233&threshold=-1 [slashdot.org] how many more times will we see this before it's never released to the public?
  • The device I want is the simplest possible: a PDA with a non crashing OS, any text editor (yes, even vi), possibility to use an external real size keyboard and the possibility to write text files to an SD card.

    Writing a "non crashing OS" I exclude Palm OS, by the way.

    Does anyone know if that configuration exists?

  • There's a joke somewhere in there involving slashdotters and success with women, but I just can't seem to put my finger on it.

    Let's face it. Most people will get this for keeping smut at arm's length at all times. The real challenge for most users will be maintaining eye contact with the screen when their arm is involved in a particularly repetitive lateral motion.
  • The Zypad leaves the user's hands free -- it has no keyboard, just a touchscreen and navigation keys.
    So, if the hands are free, with what do users touch the screen and press the keys?
    Oh. My. God. Get This thing OFF my ARM!
  • The purple ponytail is sold seperately.
  • 1. Fix their damn website so it does not become unuseable without Javascript activated and shows at least the datasheet of this thing if not some real pictures and screenshots of the device in use.

    2. s/GSM/UMTS/ or at least GPRS, More memory and one or two CF slots

    3. Implement a IR device so it can be the ultimate remote

    4. Drop the price to a reasonable level of under 500,-

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