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Hands-on with the Motorola Solutions HC1, a modular head-mounted computer

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One of the more entertaining posts we wrote up at last year's CES was for the Golden-i, a head-mounted computer that lets field workers control their machines using voice commands and by moving their heads. The idea being: technicians, soldiers and other hands-on types ought to have their hands free if they're going to do their jobs safely.

Since then, the Golden-i has been replaced by the Motorola Solutions HC1, which uses the same technology but is now rugged enough to withstand four-foot drops. It also has a much more comfortable, modular design. So comfortable, in fact, that you have to wonder why the original wasn't designed this way. Now the padded inner lining is velcro-attached, so workers can adjust it about as easily as they would a bike helmet. That's convenient for people who live in their headgear 40 hours a week, but it's also nice for companies where employees share helmets -- after all, it'd be nice to take out your own lining so that you're not sharing the same sweat-soaked padding with someone else.

Additionally, workers can remove components like the speaker module, which they might need to if the headset's in need of cleaning. There's now a user-programmable button, which you can do to turn off features like voice commands. The eyepiece, too, is now attached to a sturdy, flexible boom, which lets you adjust the LCD position just so.

In terms of actual functionality, the core technology hasn't changed much: this is still a heads-up display that allows you to control things using your voice or by moving your head. However, the software has been improved in such a way that you can now share your screen -- or rather, your field of vision. So, for example, if a field worker is having trouble repairing something, he can have a distant colleague remote in and offer help -- sort of the virtual equivalent of looking over someone's shoulder. That's it in a nutshell, but we've got photo and video of the hardware below. Apologies if you have a fear of mannequins.

Gallery: Motorola Solutions HC1 Headset Computer hands-on | 9 Photos

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