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Seven-Ounce Linux 'Wrist PC' 250

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sweet-now-can-I-get-it-implanted dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A European research and development firm has announced a seven-ounce, wrist-worn wearable computer with a 2.2 x 2.8-inch color touchscreen. Eurotech's WWPC (wrist-worn PC) runs Linux or Windows, offers a wealth of standard PC interfaces (WLAN, Bluetooth, IrDA, USB, SD-card, etc), and has patented technology that puts the device to sleep when the user drops their arm. It can detect motionless user states, and serve as a location-transmitting beacon, thanks to a built-in GPS receiver and 'dead reckoning' technology. The company also claims six hours of battery life under 'fully operational' conditions."
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Seven-Ounce Linux 'Wrist PC'

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  • Cool Beans (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:15PM (#14919700) Homepage Journal

    It targets emergency rescue, security, healthcare, maintenance, logistics, and "many other" applications.

    Many other==geeking which may be further qualified as: Listening to you MP3s, watching videos, playing games, wandering around various cons talking to it and having it respond "by your command", "I can't do that, Dave", "danger, Will Robinson", or actually trying to impress the heck out of that jerk executive with his Ferrari laptop that he's not such hot stuff anymore. Alas, ...

    Availability

    Eurotech describes the WWPC as a "user-centric, ubiquitous computing" concept, suggesting that the device is not yet available in product form. The company did not respond to availability enquires by publication time.

    • Re:Cool Beans (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PFI_Optix (936301)
      The application I'd like to see it in is IT. With wifi, that thing could replace the tech's laptop and greatly reduce their load.
      • I move, on average, by hand, over 3000 gallons of liquid each day. I'm sure the tech will be just fine carrying around his laptop :-P
        • by Fred_A (10934) <fred@freIIIdshome.org minus threevowels> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:53PM (#14920031) Homepage
          Moving it from the bar to your mouth doesn't count !
          • You ever tried moving 3000+ gallons of dairy products, every single day? And that's just part of my job. Not all Slashdotters work behind a computer all day, just to let you know.
            • What dairy you work at?
              • I work in a warehouse, Dairy comes in, we move it around preparing for it to be shipping to the grocery orders. It's up in Canada.
                • *grocery stores I meant to say.
                • Imagine it connected to a barcode reader on your fingertip. Scan, tap, scan, tap, scan, tap... "Load em up boys!"

                  Paperwork? Who needs paperwork - just press send.
                  • Why bother? Its much easier to use something like a Vocollect unit with a small barcode scanner. What's with all the tapping? Besides, your average Distribution Center is remarkably automated (in the computing, rather than the robotic (for the most part) sense) these days. If it wasn't, my company [blueskylogistics.com] wouldn't even exist.
                  • Not quite that easy. I'll use an unrealistic example. If you have 20 skids of 2%, 10 skids of 1% in the warehouse, and I get an order in from the local grocery store that they want half a skid of each, then the skids need to be re-arranged, no? Or do you honestly think grocery stores order a single pallet of each kind of milk? Trust me, they don't have the storage for that. Nevermind the fact that no store orders the same amount of milk and the same kinds each day, so the skids have to be prepared as the or
                    • I'm using it to pay to put myself through school. Unlike a lot of my friends, I don't have rich parents that can pay for it for me. Thanks for the nice insult though, greatly appreciated.
    • So what if it is available in "product form" yet? It's not like a company [infiniumlabs.com] would talk about something and never release it.
      • by robbkidd (154298)
        The "product form" is much too heavy for the mobility needs of the modern user. The "vapor form" is substantially lighter.
    • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:30PM (#14920350)
      "Many other" applications also include: not getting laid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:15PM (#14919702)

    A European research and development firm has announced a seven-ounce, wrist-worn wearable computer concept with the possibility of a 2.2 x 2.8-inch color touchscreen. Eurotech's WWPC (wrist-worn PC) would run Linux or Windows, offer a wealth of standard PC interfaces (WLAN, Bluetooth, IrDA, USB, SD-card, etc), and has patented technology that could put the device to sleep when the user drops their arm. It would be able to detect motionless user states, and serve as a location-transmitting beacon, thanks to a built-in GPS receiver and 'dead reckoning' technology. The company also claims six hours of battery life under 'fully operational' conditions."

    there we go, fixed that summary for you

    FTA:
    Eurotech describes the WWPC as a "user-centric, ubiquitous computing" concept, suggesting that the device is not yet available in product form. The company did not respond to availability enquires by publication time.


    so stick this on the Duke Nukem wish list

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by croddy (659025) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:16PM (#14919708)
    Hmmm... This thing i wear on my wrist says they're not poisonous!
  • Defnite ban from using in flights, & @workplaces.
  • Neat! (Score:2, Insightful)

    I think this could go far... but I suppose that is my opinion.

    I actually had a thought of a miniature wrist-type PC with bluetooth. Transmit between your watch and a "full" system and be able to share documents, etc. That'd be neat. :-)

    • Re:Neat! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:40PM (#14919932) Homepage
      I want a watch with Bluetooth which syncs my appointments and automatically sets alarms. I always have my watch, I don't always have my PDA.
      • Re:Neat! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iamdrscience (541136)

        I want a watch with Bluetooth which syncs my appointments and automatically sets alarms.

        That seems like a pain in the ass. If the alarm goes off for the time your appointment is set to, what good is it? You're already late unless you already got there on time. If your watch sounds an alarm before your appointment to allow you travel time, then you've got another problem because not all appointments require the same amount of travel time (i.e. meeting a friend across town vs. going to a meeting just one floo

        • Include GPS on the device. Have named locations linked to GPS coordinates. Increase the amount of time before the appointment that the alarm goes off with the distance from the appointment's location. Problem solved!

          The biggest difficulty in the first two parts is fitting a GPS device into a watch that's also a PC. The third part is tricky and will probably need to be able to vary somewhat to handle individual difference in travel speed and preferences.
      • I think you might be looking the Microsoft SPOT watchs.... It lets you remotely sync calendar, get rss feeds and a lot more. Never used it personally, but have a couple of friends that do love it. But since you are on slashdot, a MS solution might not cut it.... but i think that is the only one
    • Re:Neat! (Score:3, Interesting)

      My dream for a long time has been a dumb-terminal bluetooth watch - Normally it acts as a watch, but when your bluetooth enabled mp3 player/laptop/phone connect, it acts as a dumb display/controller for them.

      I can but dream.
  • From the article:
    "It...has flexible left- or right-handed straps"

    That, or add-in another $500 for image stabilisation. Pencils down.

  • by Orrin Bloquy (898571) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:18PM (#14919732) Journal
    "Through reuse of the popular Faraday Flashlight mechanism, as long as you keep surfing porn, the battery remains charged."
  • by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:19PM (#14919735)
    Who would ever wear such a thing? It looks ridiculous. Completely style-free. The girls would laugh at you.

    Oh wait...
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:19PM (#14919738)
    ...it can detect motionless user states...

    But can it detect fap-fap-fap-fap-fap motion?

    Perhaps it will usher in a new era of pr0n?

    Steve
  • by farker haiku (883529) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:20PM (#14919753) Journal


    According to its website, Eurotech's corporate strategy is to "define and penetrate new and emerging markets."

    I didn't realize that my neighbor's WEP encrypted access point qualified as an emerging market, but hey.

  • by rainman_bc (735332) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:22PM (#14919764)
    Stuff to wear to guarantee you'll not get laid if going to a bar.

    This must be something that tops that list haha...
  • by onthefenceman (640213) <`szoepf' `at' `hotmail.com'> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:25PM (#14919800)

    This device does not look comfortable at all - from the artist's rendition it wraps around at least 1/3 of the forearm and half the length from the wrist to the elbow.

    I would imagine it feels similar to wearing a cast...or maybe an arm-mounted chastity belt.

  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:25PM (#14919806) Journal
    Reference picture [linuxdevices.com]

    I don't understand why they always insist on designing wearable computers like this to work from the back of the wrist the same way a wristwatch is worn. It would be far more ergonomic to turn your hand palm-up, and it would have the added benefit of giving the screen a measure of protection as it wouldn't be sticking out from your arm.

    This is a very cool device, though. I'd buy one if I had the money and could see a practical use for it.

    • I don't understand why they always insist on designing wearable computers like this to work from the back of the wrist the same way a wristwatch is worn.

      That's interesting. For me, the best place would be strapped to my penis.

      You can pee and check email, it'll make it look bigger ( and square), and it's the best place for viewing porn!

    • Another benefit for having it face palm-up would be that something could stick out the side that would use the fingers on that arm. You wouldn't have a lot of maneuvarability; mainly just a button for up and one for down, but it would be useful to leave the other hand free for other stuff.

      You could make a cloth thing that would be worn around the palm that would interact with the fingers and send signals (using something not made of cloth, obviously).

      Now I'm getting mental images of someone wearing one of t
    • The picture you've linked does not have the wearable on the back or the wrist. It has it on the side of the wrist in such a way that you would not need to turn your arm at all for it to be used. The protruding portion of the device would point directly at your side.

      I'm sure that end users are not their target market. This could be a useful form factor for industrial handheld computers. It will be too bulky and ugly for people to wear in everyday use, unless they start making this thing like a sandbenders:

      "

    • A better design (Score:2, Interesting)

      by uberjoe (726765)
      My dream wearable computer would have all the guts contained in a belt, a bluetooth enabled display in a HUD projected on my glasses.

      Modern PDAs have an awful lot of power these days, more so than my pentium pro desktop from a few years ago. Where they fall flat IMO is in the display. I can't get much done with a 3 by 4 inch display. But if all the batteries, memory, and processor spread out around my waist, I wouldn't really notice the weight, and a full screen translucent display in front of my eyes that

    • This is a very cool device, though. I'd buy one if I had the money and could see a practical use for it.

      Those two observations are the death knell of most any product.

      Anything you can't justify actually paying the money for and whose actual purpose is cloudy is doomed to failure.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So with a 2" touch screen, and roughly .5 sq inch finger tip, that gives me 16 touch recognition points on the screen? :-)
    • So with a 2" touch screen, and roughly .5 sq inch finger tip, that gives me 16 touch recognition points on the screen? :-)

      Dufus, that's why it comes with the toothpick.
  • Any alarms? (Score:2, Funny)

    by jmartens (721229)
    "puts the device to sleep when the user drops their arm."
    Hmmmm, will it detect if the user raises his arms to defend himself from people who are trying to steel his lunch money?
    • by Zerbs (898056)
      I'm more concerned about the Italians... they won't get nearly as long of battery life the way they talk with their hands.
    • N, by that point it would be detecting the position of the mugger's arm, which it would find itself strapped around and loaded with.. er... mugger stuff.
  • I think it was called ARK2? Back in the early 80's... They ran around in this cool looking Mobile Home thing with an observation bubble on top.., and had a little car like thing to 'scout' about..

    Show sucked, but the 'stuff' was cool.

    Always wanted to build one of those 'scout cars' :)
    • Wow, I remember that show. It was 1978, Ark II [imdb.com]

      The main actor, Terry Lester, had a depressing career. He moved on from Ark II to do single appearances in Eight is Enough, Dallas, Santa Barbara, Voyager, JAG, Walker Texas Ranger, and Diagnosis Murder.

      Oh, and he was in KISS meets the Phantom of the Park.

      He died a couple years ago, and now I'm sad.

  • by spagetti_code (773137) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#14919871)
    802.11b

    Chips are readily available for g and that support WPA. Really - imagine walking around the city wearing one a wireless device that is trivially crackable - you are just asking for trouble.

    At least with a g chip that supports WPA, you can downgrade to WEP if you *really* want to run around with your pants down.

    • At least with a g chip that supports WPA, you can downgrade to WEP

      At last! A serious post unrelated to porn jokes, I think!

      if you *really* want to run around with your pants down.

      Alas. No such luck.
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:48PM (#14920489) Homepage
      They are two seperate issues. There's absolutely no reason you can't do WPA or even the full 802.11i with a 802.11b only chipset. The reason you don't see a lot of vendor support for WPA on old 802.11b chipsets is simply because vendors are lazy and don't want to backport the WPA support to older, largely abandoned chipsets.
  • Come in... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Finnegar (918643) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#14919875)
    ...Detective Tracy!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dicktracy.jpg [wikipedia.org]

    We're living in the future of the '30s...
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:33PM (#14919878) Homepage
    Now you can have the best Leela costume ever!
  • The thing is half the length of the display dummy's forearm. And it holds 6 hours worth of battery power, most of which is going to be turned into heat.

    This couldn't be comfortable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:38PM (#14919917)
    I had no idea I could just draw shit in 3DSMax, make up things it might do and get it posted on Slashdot like it's some kind of actual product.

    I'm goin' home and drawing up my new hovercar. It may have top speeds of up to 300mph, and will be able to run on hydrogen, propane or the laughter of children.
  • Pr0n usage? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:43PM (#14919952)
    Having this thing attached to your wrist is gonna make it really hard to look at the screen while you're... oh wait, I can just put it on my other arm. Nevermind.
  • Patented? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ozbird (127571) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:48PM (#14919993)
    ... and has patented technology that puts the device to sleep when the user drops their arm.

    In other words, a mercury switch.
  • Doesn't Xybernaut still have submarine patents on near every wearable computin device? I know one of thier submarines technically covered digital wristwatches...
  • ok, we need to have a discussion on the meaning of "wearable." i could put backpack straps on any dell at best buy and it would be "wearable." the question is whether i am willing to wear it, not whether i am capable of wearing it.
  • Ultra-mobile storage! Think about it... You carry around, on your wrist, all your most important files and a (presumably secured) file server to serve them up. Just walk into a room with Bluetooth-enabled computers, and you've got all your files (OK, pr0n) right there!
  • Once you start diving you realize, that your motocross gearbag is not heavy, your paintball gear bag is not that big and heavy at all, even with the backup gun.

    With the recognition of how much stuff you can/have to hang on yourself, you also tend to wear bigger and bigger watches and computers ....

    That device does not seem to be bigger than your modern dive computer (e.g. Uwatec smart) , and yes, people wear things that size, and there are screen protectors that cost a few bucks to save a few hundred (many
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:13PM (#14920209)
    If I'm going to wear something that big and geeky on my wrist (I don't even wear a watch anymore, since the advent of the cellphone), it'd better have two features I'm used to wrist cuffs having from tv shows:

    1) make me invisible (Galactica 1980)
    2) deflect bullets (Wonder Woman)
  • Judging from the picture in the article, even the T-1000 likes this new gadget. He can keep all of his "detailed files" on the wearable PC, allowing him to be "a more efficient killer."
  • by davidc (91400) <davidc@nosPAm.ccmi.salk.edu> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:30PM (#14920347)
    I may not speak for everyone, but I certainly would not entertain wearing something on my wrist that weighs nearly half a pound...

    Still, one could always use it as an exercise aid, or as a substitute for 'brass knuckles'
  • by wertarbyte (811674) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:38PM (#14920407) Homepage
    If this photo [linuxdevices.com] is correct (looks a little bit strange), the device runs GPE [handhelds.org], a pretty nice handheld [datenbruch.de] interface used by several linux handheld derivates [handhelds.org] and based on GTK+. Since GPE uses a real XServer, porting applications is quite easy (you can even run them remote), as opposed to OPIE [handhelds.org], which uses the framebuffer directly. Nokia's maemo platform [maemo.org] has many similarities to GPE, I hope that both projects profit from each other.
  • A patented what now (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mixel (723232)
    and has patented technology that puts the device to sleep when the user drops their arm

    Erm, also known as a... tilt switch? not enough? try 3 switches, one for each dimension. still wanting? use one for each DOF. no? Measure some arm drops, run them through a an auto-correlating neural net and compare with input data. Seriously, I see no reason to patent this stuff.

    I reckon that either they've created something totally ingenious that they can sell the rights to for a whole lot more than they can make out
  • It'd be nice if they add an analog watch as part of this wrist pc.
  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@NOSPAm.jmaug.com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:23PM (#14920706)
    Why does it have to be wearable? I'd much rather have a PDA that doesn't attach to me wrist, fits nicely inside of it's case, which also fits nicely inside my pocket. When I want to use it, I take it out of my pocket and flip the case open. If I'm on a crowded subway, it's much less likely to get scratched or damaged, plus no one will see it and think "That guy has money, I should go mug him." I really can't see any practical use for a wearable PDA, at least if it wasn't so hideous I'd understand.
  • This reminds me of that forearm thing that Leela on Futurama wore.
  • ...isn't the computer, it's the display. Or maybe the power source. Anyway, we have a lot of computers that are small enough to be wearable pretty easily. What we don't have is a good available head-mounted display that you can use while walking around, for the full gargoyle effect. And also we're missing a good power supply that will last through a full day (well, depending on how many batteries you're willing to carry around, I guess...)

    This looks cool anyway, but I know from looking into getting a wea
  • Predator (Score:3, Funny)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:43PM (#14920822) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but does it include a self-destruct device that can destroy enough rainforest to cover 300 city blocks?

    -Peter
  • Why do we care how much it weighs without batteries or a strap? If it's 7 ounces without, then it will probably be at least a pound. These are not optional accessories. It's going to get heavy real fast.
  • Is this the dot-com bubble all over again?

    1. Announce product with neat ideas
    2. IPO
    3. Have nothing to show but drawings and a slick slide presentation
    4. PROFIT!

    Seriously now - I go for watches with lot of functionality -- usually flight computers. I had a Seiko flight computer, got sick of it because it was so clunky and gave it away, then I got a Citizen flight computer, slightly less clunky, but gave it to my brother. I am about to buy a Pulsar flight computer, but will probably get sick of THAT, too. The
  • It would be nice if someone were to come out with a half qwerty keyboard that attached to your other wrist. You could put your left hand over your right wrist to type on this keyboard while having a decent view of the display. Put in a little joystick that would rest underneath your thumb and you'd have a functional mouse.
  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:21PM (#14921295)
    ... mobile product descriptions that talk about weight without the heaviest components. TFA states The WWPC weighs seven ounces (200 grams) without straps/batteries, Eurotech says. I will bet the batteries are the heaviest component, Seven ounce total weight for a device I carry around on my wrist might be bearable. However, I will bet the total weight is over 15 ounces and I could only imagine wearing that if I was a muscle builder.

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