By Alexandra Burlacu | Oct 24, 2012 01:30 PM EDT
Motorola unveiled its head-mounted computer called the HC1 on Monday, Oct. 22, as a wearable computer aimed at business users.
Motorola's wearable computer is somewhat similar to Google Glass, but aims to make it easier for remote field workers to do their jobs hands-free, even in precarious locations. The HC1 is slated to go on sale in the first half of 2013, aiming to bring a hands-free computing option to enterprise workers.
The new HC1 headset mobile computer from Motorola enables workers to use simple voice commands or head movements to operate the computer and complete their tasks. The device also allows optional video streaming, enabling workers to broadcast hands-free images and video. With the HC1, workers will also be able to view documents and schematics even in difficult working conditions where traditional laptops would not be usable, explained Motorola.
Unlike Google Glass, however, Motorola's HC1 is aimed squarely at enterprise users and is not being offered as a device for consumers, noted Nicole Tricoukes, business innovation manager for Motorola Solutions.
"Designed for field services and the defense, utilities, telecommunications, aerospace and aviation markets, the HC1 can be used for maintenance, repair, operations/overhaul (MRO) and training and simulation applications that improve inspection time and accuracy, reduce labor rates and increase safety," reads the press release.
"We focus on government, defense, telecommunications and public safety markets," Tricoukes further noted. "Plus, the technology is different for business users, to solve complicated problems. It is durable and features high resolution and can be used by workers to map schematics or view documents. It offers a Windows-type of environment, just like looking at a laptop screen."
According to Tricoukes, the HC1's high-quality optics and micro-display capabilities provide users with a clear view of a 15-inch laptop screen without having to carry the laptop with them. Meanwhile, the optional video component means that users can snap a special camera in place so remote experts can see what workers are doing and offer their assistance.
"You can have an expert over your shoulder who doesn't have to be there. You can let them take a look. You can snap a photo, annotate it and send an image to others," Tricoukes explained.
The HC1 system consists of a micro-display suspended in front and below the wearer's eyeline. It runs at a SVGA 800 x 600 resolution to appear like a virtual 15-inch panel, and packs an 800MHz OMAP 3 dual-core running Windows CE 6.0 Professional. It also features a custom speech recognition engine, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, USB, and a nine-axis head-tracking accelerometer with digital compass.
Motorola Solutions started envisioning the device several years ago, and worked with industry experts on a series of prototypes to see what worked best and what they needed in such a gadget, said Tricoukes.
As the HC1 uses standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it can connect with any smartphone, laptop, tablet, or hotspot, allowing users to send data back and forth. The wearable computer is expected to go on sale in the first half of 2013 with a $4,000 to $5,000 price tag, before discounts.
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