Hands-off with the Golden-i head-mounted computer


Until now we've only seen the Golden-i shown off as a concept, but now it's actually shipping. The wearable computer (manufactured by Motorola, using technology licensed from Kopin, running software created by Ikanos) has 512MB of RAM and a TI OMAP under the hood. Currently it's a series 3 with a maximum clock speed of 1GHz, but the next iteration should move to a 1.2GHz 4 series CPU. Instead of relying on a touch screen, keyboard or mouse you control the Windows CE machine using voice commands and by moving your head, thanks to the six axis accelerometer and dual mics which provide rather impressive noise cancellation. (Neither of the two demo units had any trouble understanding us on the crowded show floor.) It also packs WiFi N and Bluetooth radios, and there's talk of a forthcoming 4G dongle from Verizon.

The display is on an arm which not only pivots and tilts, but can also easily be popped off and moved from one side to the other. It's meant to just sit just out of your line of site, but you do have to keep it somewhat in your peripheral vision to clearly focus on the interface. We found that the units were a little overly sensitive to our head motions, but we were able to quickly adjust and (as an Ikanos and Kopin rep were quick to point out) the units weren't calibrated for our use -- they were simply pulled out of the box and popped on our domes. That's particularly impressive considering that, in the roughly 20 minutes or so we spent barking commands at the Golden-i, the Nuance-based voice-control system only balked once (and, of course, it wound up in the video after the break). The system is available now, but the $2,500 asking price is sure to make even some of it's industrial and security targets pause.

Dana Wollman contributed to this report.