Science & technology
Researchers testing tiny ear computer
Publish Date: Mar 01, 2014
Researchers testing tiny ear computer
Hiroshima University (Japan) lecturer Kazuhiro Taniguchi showing the "Earclip-type Wearable PC" equipped with a GPS, compass, gyro-sensor, battery, barometer, speaker, microphone and bluetooth wireless communication capability in Tokyo. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

TOKYO - A tiny personal computer that is worn on the ear and can be controlled with the blink of an eye or the click of a tongue is being tested in Japan.

The 17-gram (0.59-ounce) wireless device has bluetooth capability and is equipped with a GPS, compass, gyro-sensor, battery, barometer, speaker and microphone.

Wearable computing is thought by many commentators to be the next big thing in technology, with products such as Google Glass at the forefront.

The device, known at the moment as the "Earclip-type Wearable PC" has a microchip and data storage, enabling users to load software, said engineer Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Hiroshima City University.

Its designs are based on traditional "ikebana" flower arrangements.

"We have made this with the basic idea that people will wear it in the same way they wear earrings," Taniguchi told AFP in a recent interview as he showcased a black prototype.

The system, which developers are hoping to have ready for Christmas 2015, can be connected to an iPod or other gadget and would allow the user to navigate through software programmes using facial expressions, such as a raised eyebrow, a stuck-out tongue, a wiggle of the nose or by clenching teeth.

The device uses infrared sensors that monitor tiny movements inside the ear, which differ depending on how the eyes and mouth move.

Because the user does not have to move either hand, its developers say it can serve as "a third hand" for everyone from caregivers to rock-climbers, motorbike riders to astronauts, as well as people with disabilities.

"Supposing I climb a mountain, look at the sky at night and see a bright star up there, it could tell me what it is," Taniguchi said.

"As it knows what altitude I'm at, which direction I'm looking and at what angle, it could tell me, 'The bright star you are seeing now is Sirius'."

Using a smartphone to connect to the Internet would mean you could be automatically put in touch with people in faraway places who are doing the same thing as you.

"This could connect you with a person who is looking at the same star at a remote place at the same time," enabling the people to swap impressions, Taniguchi said.

A second version of the device might be pressed into use to help relatives keep an eye on elderly family in greying Japan.

The earpiece, which could also function as a hearing aid, could monitor the wearer's health, including their pulse and body temperature, while logging how often they eat and sneeze, offering early warning of the onset of illness.

An onboard accelerometer could tell when the user falls and instruct the smartphone to pass information to relatives, or call an ambulance based on GPS data.

Tests are being carried out in Hiroshima, with the aim of commercialising the device from April 2016.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Apple Watch begins global launch - quietly
The Apple Watch makes its global debut on Friday in a launch aimed at making Apple the leader in wearable technology....
Google search mobile switch a revolution for some
Google''s latest Internet revolution this week saw the web giant modify its search algorithm to favour mobile-friendly sites, in a bid to upstage Apple that US media branded a "mobilegeddon"....
Apple Watch goes on sale - quietly - in Asia
The Apple Watch debuted in some Asian markets Friday, but with sales limited to those who had pre-ordered online it was a low-key start with none of the fanfare and fuss usually seen for a launch by the tech titan....
Apple wins patent appeal in China
Apple has won an appeal in China over patent rights to voice recognition software such as the iPhone's "Siri", with a court overruling an earlier decision that had gone against the US technology giant....
Apple rejecting rival Pebble
APPLE has begun rejecting iOS apps that support Pebble, the immensely popular and more affordable alternative to Apple Watch...
Microsoft Releases new Windows 10
SOMETHING cool just happened. Microsoft has released the biggest new version of Windows 10 in ages and it does something vitally important...
Do you support KCCA'S move to return city communter buses?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter