Golden-i wearable hands-free computer interface
By David Szondy
February 12, 2013
Computers are an alloyed blessing for many professions. They’re a great way for the likes of aircraft workers or emergency responders to quickly get the information they need, but they also require you to have your hands free to operate them ... often at exactly the moment you don't have a hand to spare.
Back in 2009, the Kopin Corporation’s Golden-i headset promised a hands-free, natural-speech-recognition interface for wireless remote control over a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, company networks and wireless systems, but it was also little more than a concept. Four years on, the company is marketing the wearable, hands free computer interfacing devices for heavy and light industries, professionals and first responders. The Golden-i headsets allow the user to send and receive audiovisual information from multiple platforms by means of both voice and motion control.
We've already looked at the Motorola HC-1, which is based on Kopin's Golden i-headset technology. Intended for heavy industrial applications, it is designed to be mounted on a hard hat or other safety gear and is intended for harsh, heavy industrial environments. Kopin is now targeting the light industrial and professional markets with the Golden-i 3.8.
Like the HC-1, the Golden-i 3.8 can be operated by natural speech and gesture control but Kopin says it is half the size and weight of the HC-1, has 16 times more processing power and folds into a compact pocket size. It features a new lightweight, inertially stabilized 14-megapixel camera along with an optional infrared camera for night and thermal vision. A 1080 HD detachable camera for recording or sending real-time video is also available as an option.
The Golden-i 3.8 features two noise-cancelling microphones, a near-ear speaker, and a near-eye, microdisplay. The monocular display can also be configured for either eye and can be worn with glasses, safety glasses, hard hat or helmet. According to Kopin, the 800 x 600 pixel, full color, transmissive TFT microdisplay appears to the wearer like a 15-inch screen viewed from a distance of 18 inches.
Powered by a 1850 lithium-ion battery rated to last eight hours, the headset also has Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, can control multiple independent devices and supports over 38 languages. In addition, it has GPS and a digital compass.
“The hands-free, wireless computing and communication headset will be tremendously useful for increasing work and office productivity,” said Jeffrey Jacobsen, Kopin’s Sr. Advisor to CEO and Golden-i Program Manager. “Such devices require a wide range of new technologies: lightweight and compact mechanical designs with good ergonomics, advanced electronics including a fast processor and broadband wireless communications, friendly user interface, useful application software, flawless voice recognition with noise cancellation, responsive gesture control, and ultra-small display and camera modules with super-low power consumption. We have been focusing on these innovations for more than five years and have made major advances in these areas. We are very excited about our new device and encourage everyone to experience it first-hand.”
Kopin says that the Golden-1 3.8 can be used for tasks such as viewing schematics and other data, watching instructional videos, streaming live video, contacting experts remotely and receiving notifications and alerts.
It’s backed by Kopin’s LifeBoard software package that can customize up to six screens and “manage your day with ease by inundating you with the latest news, Tweets and need-to-know information.” The suite also includes “Ask Ziggy,” a speech-driven virtual assistant that can be used to make calls, send messages and set reminders by voice command. Available applications include a web browser, telephone dialer, media player and video chat.
Kopin has also introduced the Golden-i 3.5 Developer Unit. This is a fully operational, lightweight version of the Golden-i weighing only three to six ounces (85 to 170 g) and is designed for developers creating their own apps for Golden-i. It works with the Golden-i Operating System (Gi-OS) for writing bespoke apps and uses a new high performance hardware accelerated graphics subsystem that supports transparencies and transition animations.
The video below outlines some of the features of the Golden-i headset.