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Hitachi's Wearable Internet Appliance 186

Ned Flanders writes "JapanToday is reporting that Hitachi has produced a Wearable Internet Appliance with head mount display (800 x 600) and a pointing device (all at @500 grams total). Smurf the Weib (c) via PHS or wireless LAN on your shinny new wearable SH-4 32Bit RISC processor running Windows®CE3.0. Available February 28, 2002. Launch in US and Japan was Planned for end of 2001." Someday.
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Hitachi's Wearable Internet Appliance

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  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iacyclone ( 180583 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:22PM (#2996641)
    Why does anyone need this other than the simple reason "because we can have it"?
  • by NOT-2-QUICK ( 114909 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:47PM (#2996784) Homepage
    Perhaps you missed it, but the individual whom submitted the story and was being quoted intended the "smurf the weib" comment to be funny...this is quite obvious as it was followed by a half-assed © symbol - (c)...

    While I agree that it wasn't funny, at last I checked it is not the Slashdot Editors' responsibility or duty to protect us from lame attempts at humor!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:47PM (#2996787)
    oh please. it's attitudes like this that keep us locked into those rediculous bloated processors that Intel keeps spewing out.

    embedded devices aren't going to run the same types of applications as your average desktop for the near future. they're designed for totally different markets. this device is not going to be a consumer-level device at first: it's going to run very customized software for customized work environments.

    additionally the PIII/4 are lousy processors. yes, they'll run pretty damned quickly, but they need to be clocked to rediculous clock speeds to do so. the only reason that the Pentium series is still a leading processor is because Intel is pouring billions of dollars into its development! if they were to pour that many dollars into a well-designed RISC processor, the results would be even more impressive. there will aways be more life in the x86 family, but those improvements come with huge development costs because they're tacked onto an infrastructure that really wasn't meant to do it.

    on a related note, if you put a PIII in a device like this and wore it on your belt you'd probably get third degree burns on your hips. the PIII was never meant for embedded applications. it's all about using the right tool (or chip) for the job

    but anyhow, i'm ranting. but still, i don't see why x86 has to be everywhere. there are better processors for these types of environment, and hanging onto this archaic backwards compatibility is seriously hampering development. embedded devices should use embedded processors, and hey, maybe it's even a chance to help break the WinTel monopoly: Linux runs perfectly well on every embedded processor I've worked on. eventually you have to give up, and move to a new architecture that's better designed for the task at hand. embedded devices are a great place to start this change.

    so do yourself a favour and start looking into the PowerPC, MIPS, SuperH and other embedded processors. the x86 is not the be-all-and-end-all of microprocessors!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:52PM (#2996817)
    Manufacturers expect consumers to wear these devices -- often for hours at a time -- but no substantial testing has been done for health risks.

    Nobody knows what the long term effects of wearing a tiny screen a few inches away from your eye might be, and nobody has bothered to find out. This is characteristic of the technology sector, though. No one considered the risks of keyboards until people started losing the use of their hands. No one asked if monitors were healthy until people started going blind.

    I am not anti-technology, by any means. However, it is ridiculous to destroy one's body for whatever short term gains you may be pursuing. Ultimately, it is an individual's responsibility to assure their own safety, but callousness of manufacturers is appalling. Until congress forces a change, though, I doubt health considerations will be taken into account when designing a product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:54PM (#2996833)
    Think about it; are you going to walk around the with this high-tech eyepatch on? And do you really need to be viewing /. in full color while away from your computer? I just can't see any practicality in these type of devices.

    Sure, they look cool, but I won't be buying one anytime soon. Besides, I would probably have to stop paying rent just to afford it anyway... I'd be kicked out of my apartment, but at least I can browse the interet with a headset!
  • Re:This is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @06:56PM (#2996845) Homepage
    Hey, it was only a few years ago that I looked geeky with one of the early Palm pilots. People used to stare and point and comment all the time. Now whipping out a Palm doesn't draw any attention at all.

    But before wearables become commonplace enough not to be freaky, they really have to become more useful, less obtrusive, better UI's, longer battery life, and far lower cost. We're a little ways away from conquering all of those, but it will happen in the next decade, I would imagine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:26PM (#2997072)
    Moreover, you don't have to be an ergonomic engineering genius to figure out that the design they have is not going to stay where you put it. Even one ounce eyeglasses need to have nose braces to keep them from falling off. Besides that, without semi-transparency (like MVis), the device just blinds you -- fine for a desk but it can't help mobility any. (Ever tried working on an old style microscope for several hours?)

    Incidentally, according to an old CNN article [], Xybernaut cut a deal with microvision to distribute head-mounted laser displays within the year. Since the article is old, maybe its not happening anymore, but it would seem to be a good reason to wait on these devices improving a little.
  • wrong OS choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ledbetter ( 179623 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:34PM (#2997126) Homepage
    This isn't a MS bashing comment or anything, but WinCE seems to me like the wrong OS to use for a device like this... The only consumers who are going to be interested in this device are, well, Geeks! Geeks would much prefer a Linux or BSD based OS for this type of device.. something that can really be played around with.

    I don't see many applications in a corporate setting either, and even if there was, corporations can pay people to develop apps on whatever OS they want.

    Either way.. it's probably way too early on for this type of device to catch on.
  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:34PM (#2997544) Homepage Journal
  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:41PM (#2997584) Homepage Journal
    I always have to carry around an extra toothpick to reset my WindowsCE device. It only locks up about 1 time every 6 months.

    Why not just use the stylus?

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner