Motorola Solutions HC1 Offers Computer For Extreme Environments

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Head-mounted HC1 is designed for field engineers

Motorola Solutions, the part of the US company not acquired by Google, has today unveiled its HC1 Headset Computer – a rugged Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled device which is controlled with voice and gestures, and mounted on a user’s head.

HC1 was developed primarily for engineers, repairmen, military personnel and anyone else who needs an always-on computer in extreme environments. The creators call the futuristic device the first in a “new class of hands-free enterprise mobile computers”.

Motorola Solutions HC1

Designed for field services and the defence, utilities, telecommunications, aerospace and aviation markets, HC1 can stream video, display schematics and manuals, offer communication and navigation. It uses Kopin Corporation’s optical micro-display technology to provide the user with a view comparable to a 15-inch laptop-size screen.

The dual bi-directional noise-cancelling microphones and near-ear loudspeaker enable instant natural speech recognition with 98-99 percent accuracy and no software training required. This enables users to browse documentation hands-free.

Unlike traditional gesture recognition systems, the one used in HC1 is based on accelerometer, which means it can be controlled by movements of the head.

At the heart of the device is a Texas Instruments 3730 Series Dual Core processor clocked at 800 MHz, supported by 512MB of RAM. The HC1 comes with 512MB of Flash memory, which can be extended to 32GB with a microSD card. The system runs Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 Pro.

The device could instruct users in the maintenance and repair of complex machines in real-time, while the addition of a camera would enable field-based engineers to take pictures and broadcast video, adding to the collaborative aspect and improving productivity.

The HC1 was primarily designed to connect to Motorola’s range of enterprise smartphones and mobile computers.

“In the highly demanding and regulated nuclear energy industry, innovation is essential in meeting ever-increasing standards for safety and operational performance for our utility customers. With the Entervise Remote Expert application running on Motorola’s HC1 headset computer, we can perform independent quality oversight at nuclear power plants without requiring a second person to enter restricted areas,” commented Dr Andrew Cook, senior vice president of Operational Excellence and Innovation at AREVA.

“With the HC1’s added camera functionality, our on-site technicians can enlist the support of our experts at the home office in real time to see exactly what is seen in the field and help them resolve conditions quickly and safely. We expect that the HC1 will provide us with measurable gains in productivity and efficiencies that will reduce radiation dose and operating costs,” he added.

Earlier this year, Motorola Solutions bought UK tech icon Psion, the inventor of the personal digital assistant (PDA) and source of the one-time leading mobile operating system Symbian. The deal was intended to help Motorola Solutions cut costs and expand its reach with industrial clients.

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