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
South Korea
South Korea's Samsung and LG unveiled new smartwatches Thursday with upgraded functions and design as they step up their drive to lead an increasingly competitive market for wearable devices....
Iran
Tehran will "accelerate" arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said...
WhatsApp reaches 600 million active users
THAT'S up from the roughly 450 million it had in February when Facebook first announced plans to acquire the messaging service for $16 billion with another $3 billion in restricted stock...
Youtube to charge for music videos?
YOUTUBE will begin charging subscriptions for viewers to watch official music videos on their site with no ads. This will follow streaming services subscription plans like Spotify, Pandora (P) and Rhapsody...
LG to unveil circular smartwatch
ANDROID Wear supports round and square designs, but up until now Motorola has been the only company to announce an Android Wear device with a round face...
Galileo satellites lose their way in space
Two European Galileo satellites launched as part of a navigation system designed to rival GPS have failed to locate their intended orbit, launch firm Arianespace said Saturday....
Do you think the National Census positively contributes to improved Livelihood in Uganda?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter