Hitachi and Xybernaut Team up to make Wearable Internet Appliance

Hitachi, Ltd., Shimadzu Corporation, Colorado MicroDisplay, Inc., and Xybernaut Corporation today announced that they will cooperate to explore business opportunities in the field of Wearable Internet Appliances (WIA).

WIA affords hands-free, mobile access to the Internet. The appliance will be comprised of a wearable display that allows hands-free viewing of a PC-class high-resolution large screen image, and a control unit that supplies images, including streaming video, to the display, and provides wireless access to the Internet.

The control unit is powered by a Hitachi SH-4 32bit RISC processor, and Microsoft Windows CE 3.0, an embedded operating system for 32-bit connected client devices that demand rich applications and Internet services and weighs only 230grams in prototype.

WIA can be an ideal solution for a range of business applications, from call center and maintenance services to environments requiring worker mobility such as in postal services and logistics, health care and hospitality industries. Employing WIA, for example, can provide full screen access to Internet content anytime, anywhere. It can also be applied to audiences in remote or isolated environments. For example, patients in health care facilities can have access to the Internet and electronic books through pointing devices designed for earable systems. Additional information about the WIA can be found on the Internet at href="http://www.hitachi.co.jp/wia/">http://www.hitachi.co.jp/wia/.

Shimadzu Corporation developed the wearable display. Hitachi, Ltd. developed the control unit. Colorado MicroDisplay Inc. developed the microdisplay and interface chipset for the wearable display. Colorado MicroDisplay partnered with Hitachi, Ltd to manufacture the display interface ASIC. Xybernaut Corporation will assist those companies to explore the business opportunities of WIA. Microsoft Corporation will demonstrate the prototypes during 2001 CES at booth number 626.

“Windows CE 3.0 was designed to enable a broad range of innovative embedded devices, and the Hitachi WIA is a perfect example of this,” said Keith White, director of marketing in the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. “The rich functionality and comprehensive tool set provided by Windows CE enabled Hitachi to quickly and easily bring to market a new device class that includes rich multimedia support and a complete browsing experience.”

“We welcome this opportunity to build on our long-standing relationships with Hitachi, Shimadzu and CMD to extend user-supported computing into the exciting world of consumer electronics, computing and communications. We anticipate this product line to have a major impact on the future of telephony, computing, musicand video players, gaming and consumer e-commerce in general”, said Edward G. Newman, chairman and CEO of Xybernaut Corporation.

“Devices like the WIA were not possible prior to the introduction of high-performance high-resolution CMD microdisplays. By delivering image quality superior to that of a standard notebook TFT LCD, end users do not have to compromise on image quality when they go mobile”, said Mark Willner, CEO of Colorado MicroDisplay, Inc. “We are pleased that we were selected to provide our technology and expertise, and contribute in a significant manner in the development of this visionary product.”

“The Monocular Head-Mounted Display is one of the most anticipated next-generation displays for personal computers and other equipment, ” said Yutaka Nakamura, General Manager, R&D Department, Aircraft Equipment Division, Shimadzu Corporation.

“Small size, light weight, wearing comfort, and viewing ease is required for the Monocular Head-Mounted Display, since people wear it on their heads. Through long experience in Aircraft Display market and technology, Shimadzu developed the state-of-the-art experience in Aircraft Display market and technology, Shimadzu developed the state-of-the-art Monocular Head-Mounted Display which not only fulfills those requirements, but goes beyond them. Shimadzu’s original and patent pending optical design technology combined with CMD reflective miniature LCD, brought extra-light weight, small device that can present a clear and wide field-of-view image.

A user can easily wear the headband type. The displayed image is as large as a 13-inch size television located 60 cm ahead in front of the eye. Screen resolution is SVGA, 800 x 600 dots. The weight is less than 75grams. Any information can be obtained hands-free and viewed in the privacy afforded by this Monocular Head-Mounted Display. This device is dedicated as a Wearable Display.”

“WIA indicates a key direction for Information Appliances in the post-PC era”, Yoshiyuki Imoto, General Manager, Digital Media Systems Division, Hitachi, Ltd. said. “There is a strong requirement for PC-compatible, high-resolution, full-color screens in mobile environments. To drive such a display, including the capability to show streaming video, strong processing power is required in the Control Unit, as well as high-reliability and a compact form factor for mobile environments. Hitachi has featured the SH4 SuperH RISC processor, and has brought to bear on the WIA its experience and expertise in large scale, mission-critical mainframe computers and servers, desk-top and notebook PCs, and its consumer products experience ranging from television sets, including large-screen rear-projection TV, to DVD camcorders.”


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