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Hardware Hacking Technology

Wearable Computer With Lightweight HUD 150

zeazzz writes to mention that the folks over at UMPC have a very cool little writeup and pictorial of a user's latest wearable PC. With the surge in smart phone adoption it seems that enthusiasm for wearable computers has dropped off a bit, which is too bad. I certainly look forward to my augmented reality HUD instead of depending on my iPhone for everything. "Essentially he took the MyVu headset, removed one of the eye pieces, and mounted the other to his glasses to that he could see his surroundings and the UX's screen at the same time. The MyVu is attached to the UX through the A/V output port on the UX's port replicator dongle. With some additional addons he provided his UX with extra battery life via an external battery, and several input methods to communicate with the UX while the rest of the kit resides within the backpack."
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Wearable Computer With Lightweight HUD

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  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:49PM (#28843443)

    With the surge in smart phone adoption it seems that enthusiasm for wearable computers has dropped off a bit, which is too bad.

    OK, the bluetooth headset seems to be winning out over the HUD as the main UI device. Other than that, how is a smartphone not a wearable computer?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:53PM (#28843511) Journal
    Smartphones are not really wearable computers for two reasons. First, they don't really count because, in general, you have to hold them during use, rather than actually wearing them. Second, they are not "wearable computers" in the sense that people with pacemakers or cochlear implants aren't "cyborgs": That is, they actually are; but they aren't what people imagine when they say so, so we don't really consider them to be.
  • by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:56PM (#28843549)

    At least for what I have in mind for a personal project. I haven't been able to find a decent optical see-through HMD that is affordable for regular people.

    Liteye [] makes a system for the military, but this seems like a rather limited system.

    I wouldn't mind seeing an OLED system in this form factor []. They're quite sturdy, allowing you to mount decent loads onto it, the bridge and resting pads are quite big making them rather comfortable even with a big load on them. The stems are wide allowing big mounting points for stuff like camera(s) and wires. Connect it to something like an nVidia Tegra [] and you'd have an optical see through display, head mounted cameras and a small computer that can handle augmented reality with apparent ease.

    But I suspect I'd be better off hoping to see Megan Fox splayed across my bed.

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:07PM (#28843709)

    When my bicycle HUD displays rear-views and navigational data I'll be all set.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:22PM (#28843881)

    OK, the bluetooth headset seems to be winning out over the HUD as the main UI device. Other than that, how is a smartphone not a wearable computer?

    Wearable computers are supposed to make you look like a clumsy ass when using them. Smart phones typically don't unless you use a bluetooth headset.

    Honestly, I think the conceit is a holdover of older technology where you ended up looking borgified with all the hardware you had strapped to your body. You used to have to wear heavy-duty batteries strapped to your waist, a funky keyboard strapped to your arm, doofy goggles, and the computer itself was on your back. Heady stuff for people who were used to computers having to be plugged into walls but this was even before laptops became practical, when luggables were still the latest and hottest shit.

    The iPhone is pretty much representing the ideal of the Tricorder or the PADD from Star Trek. Pretty screen, touch interface, wireless everything, sound and video, cool stuff! The only way it could get any better is if you didn't even need to hold anything in your hands (or pay out the ass for the data plan). That'd be an ear piece that tucks away invisibly in your ear like a hearing aid, bone induction microphone imbedded inside the earpiece, and a display that either sits on contact lenses in your eyes or would be built into your glasses and either projects information onto the glass or shoots it onto your retina with low-powered lasers. Where would the computer be? Maybe still clipped to your hip like an iphone feeding data via wireless, or maybe it'll be small enough to be built into the hearing aid or contact lenses.

    What's the ultimate UI goal? Terminator vision. Integrated lowlight vision, thermal vision, object tagging like a fighter plane's HUD, etc. The early concepts were mocked up for military maintenance crews, you could watch a video showing you what you're supposed to do as you do it.

  • by mustafap ( 452510 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:28PM (#28843965) Homepage

    >You just made a pacemakers sound cool. Too bad I have a good heart. Maybe I could get a pacemaker put in in Mexico so I could be a Cyborg?

    If you work in IT, don't worry, just be patient. You'll be needing one in 10 - 20 years time.

  • by thedonger ( 1317951 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:31PM (#28844005)
    Yes, what you said, and, for the love of Christ, a way to "talk" without having a one-sided conversation with the freaking air. I hate that. Fifteen years ago you would have been sent to the loony bin for talking to voices in your head. Now, we assume one half of a bluetooth-enabled conversation. Seriously, how many completely, balls-out fucking crazy people are walking the streets who we assume are on the phone?
  • Re:No demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paeanblack ( 191171 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:39PM (#28844117)

    Instead of furiously wanking while trying to stand out from the crowd by wearing highly visible equipment, these guys should be finding a niche where mobile computing makes sense.

    -Anybody working in a factory or a warehouse, where nobody cares how you look.
    -Field service techs that need access to a ton of reference data.
    -Anybody that climbs up a telephone pole or down a manhole.
    -Anybody who needs use of both hands and access to information simultaneously to better do their jobs.

    It's not exactly a "niche" market. Designing a wearable eyescreen that doesn't suck will be worth a ton of money.

  • Stupidity is a mindset, not something that can be measured with an IQ test ;)
  • Re:Resolution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:22PM (#28844667)

    Realize that you're dealing with a display that is inches from your eye instead of half a foot to a foot. 640x480 on less than 3" is heaps more resolution than what you get with a current 22" 4000something by 3000something monitor.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser