Friday, 15 May 2009

Golden-i: Futuristic Bluetooth Headset with Virtual PC Display



Microdisplay technology maker Kopin Corp. reports it has partnered with Motorola Inc. to introduce a wireless headset with a high-definition virtual display and speech recognition for remote control of things such as smart phones and PCs.

Taunton-based Kopin (Nasdaq: KOPN) teamed up with Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Solutions division to put a 15-inch virtual PC display together with a microphone and earpiece into the headset it calls the “Golden-i.”

According to material from Kopin, the Golden-i uses Bluetooth 2.0 to connect to the devices, as well as to Bluetooth-enabled peripherals such as a mouse, touchscreen or keyboard. Golden-i runs on the Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 operating system, and once connected, users will see their PC desktop screen on the 15-inch virtual display.

To control the connected device hands-free, Kopin is incorporating the VoCon3200 software from Burlington-based Nuance Communications Inc. Golden-i also uses Nuance’s text-to-speech application to read back documents, e-mail messages, web content or any text on the display screen. According to Kopin officials, it supports up to 20 languages.

If no interface peripheral such as a Bluetooth mouse is available, Golden-i can use its built-in Hillcrest Labs 6-axis, real-time position tracker to allow control of the connected device using head gestures. The device also provides a mini-USB port, and a removable Micro SD card slot taht can support up to 32GB of memory.

The target market for Golden-i, according to Kopin, is remote workers looking to quickly connect to a PC or network for information, such as outside sales staff. It is also aimed at network support personnel, as it can support connections to multiple devices, Kopin said.Kopin, which counts the defense industry as a major customer, last December reported it had landed $3.1 million from the U.S. military for displays used in weapon sights.



Once connected to a host device, such as a PC, users see their PC desktop screen on the 15-inch virtual display and with Nuance’s VoCon3200 software they can control it using voice commands in a number of languages. Kopin claims this software provides more than 90 percent proficiency straight out of the box, and the more it is used, the better it works.

Golden-i requires no push-to-talk buttons and is ready to respond to a user’s request whether in light hibernation or during intermittent use. Golden-i also readily accepts conventional user interface from any host device touch screen, keyboard or wireless mouse and integrates Nuance text-to-speech, enabling Golden-i to read back any text displayed in a number of common languages.

Running on the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 platform, Golden-i can remotely wake a PC from practically any location and, when work is finished, the PC can be placed in hibernation with a single spoken command. The headset can also remotely control up to seven other devices or networks at one time, similar to the way users control software applications on a PC desktop.
It operates much like a highly mobile server, a hub between various host devices. If a USB interface or removable memory is required, Golden-i provides a mini-USB port and a removable Micro SD card slot capable of supporting up to 32GB. Supported by Texas Instruments’ third generation OMAP dual processor platform, a single 1200 mA/hr li-ion battery should provide more than eight hours of standard use.

While the Golden-i can be used just about anywhere, it is designed for “mobile information snacking”, rather than continuous use over long periods. Initial development of the unit has focused on industrial applications, so Kopin is seeking to engage several industrial organizations in several months of in-depth field testing and evaluation. Kopin hopes to incorporate any improvements and refinements uncovered during testing into its Golden-i products, which are expected to be available in 2010.

Kopin believes Golden-i will free users from the need to carry a PC or laptop about with them. Freedom from work, though, is another matter entirely.

You can read all about the hardware and software details and features of this device here.

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