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Motorola HC1: Head-Worn Computing For Workplaces With Deep Pockets

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the remarkably-cheap-from-historical-perspective dept.

Displays 42

alphadogg writes "Motorola Solutions has unveiled a head-mounted, voice-controlled computer that's targeted at the military and other industries where workers need hands-free access to information. Called the HC1, the device runs on an ARM processor and has an optional camera to send back real-time video over a wireless network. Unlike Google Goggles, though, the HC1 is aimed at the enterprise market with a price tag of $4,000-$5,000 per unit. Areas the company has been experimenting with include 'high-end repair markets,' such as aircraft engines, said Paul Steinberg, CTO of Motorola Solutions (which is the part of Motorola Google did not acquire). 'Emergency medical personnel at trauma centers might be looking at this too.' The HC1 will augment what users see by providing additional data, he said. Multiple units could be networked together and share information. Video here. "

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42 comments

Can't wait for these to be cheaper. (2)

MrLeap (1014911) | about 2 years ago | (#41728657)

I have all sorts of ideas of things I'd create with an affordable device of this type and an API. Feels like this might be the next application gold rush, if we can get an affordable one that doesn't make you look like a mouth breathing neck beard.

Re:Can't wait for these to be cheaper. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41729031)

Then look no further then smart phones evolution. To make virtual reality affordable we need affordable high resolution screens and a lot of computing power at minimal consumption, exactly what the mobile market is pushing right now.

Voice activated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41728697)

Doctor to patient: You want me to get rid of your pain?
Computer: Understood, removing brain.

It could also have a market for (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41728713)

It could also have a market for one-handed porn adicts

Apropriate Acronym (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41728721)

Pictures [motorola.com]

Hideous Contraption 1

Head Crab 1

Heavy Crap 1

Horrifying Cranium 1

Headborn Casheater 1?

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | about 2 years ago | (#41728821)

Head Cancer -- what's the EMF rating on this puppy?

Re:Apropriate Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41730761)

Que the morons who think a magnetic field causes cancer.

I mean, seriously?

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41728911)

Pictures [motorola.com]

Hideous Contraption 1

Head Crab 1

Heavy Crap 1

Horrifying Cranium 1

Headborn Casheater 1?

Wasn't there an entire section in Snow Crash about 'Gargoyles' who had embraced wearable computing in a big way, and how everybody hated them and thought that they were freaks?

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41731951)

I knew I wouldn't have to scroll far to find the Snow Crash reference.

A guy named Lagos had something whose description sounded a lot like this thing, but with a visible laser scanner on it, too. That didn't end well. Mental note, infrared.

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41734565)

Does someone with your sig ever need to scroll far to find a Snow Crash reference?

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41735611)

Does someone with your sig ever need to scroll far to find a Snow Crash reference?

Well, it's that or I have to leave a comment...

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#41730343)

Harmed Cervicals 1, Hooray Chiropractors 1...

Re:Apropriate Acronym (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41731929)

What about Hairy Cu... ah, you know what, let's just skip that one...

Re:Appropriate* Acronym (1)

tomzyk (158497) | about 2 years ago | (#41730947)

Funny. At first glance I thought it was actually "HCl" [wikipedia.org] , which is something that you would not exactly want on your head.

Re:Appropriate* Acronym (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41731181)

And I thought of HCI [wikipedia.org] , which is exactly the sort of thing that could happen on your head somehow.

high-end repair markets where the works will soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41728731)

high-end repair markets where the works will soon be contractor jobs where the works will have to buy them on there own just like how FedEx is.

Goggles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41728743)

You mean Glass surely?

Difference (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#41728761)

And so where's the ACTUAL difference between this and the Google Goggles? Besides the pricetag? (Or in other words: what justifies that price difference?)

Re:Difference (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41728847)

And so where's the ACTUAL difference between this and the Google Goggles? Besides the pricetag? (Or in other words: what justifies that price difference?)

Google Glass is a consumer level device. This is an enterprise-level device. So lots of little things, like specifications, ability to attach accessories, probably battery life. It's hard to give numbers, as AFAIK Google hasn't released detailed specifications about Glass yet, but in general, they aren't even targeted at similar markets.

Re:Difference (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#41729001)

But nothing keeps an enterprise customer from buying consumer-class equipment if that also fits the specific requirements.

Those similar priced markets only exist because they have different requirements. "Targeting a business market segment" is not a carte blanche for selling the same crap at overprized rates.

Except of course this company: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2012-10-21/ [dilbert.com]

Re:Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41737003)

One of the key differentiators between consumer-class and enterprise-class mobile devices is something called "ingress protection", which can be certified through the IEC-524 standard. Another important factor is impact resistance, certified through MIL-STD-810 military spec.

These entreprise-class devices have certified drop-specs, can be used in the harshest industrial environments (or deserts, forests, labs, mines, etc.) and usually have polycarbonate reinforced screens, components that withstand wider temperature ranges, high-performance barcode readers...

Let your iPhone or Android fall from 5 or 6 feet. Drop it in a bucket of water. Then take it to a steel forgery and try to read 40 barcodes in under one minute with it.

So, it's no "overpriced crap". It's a purpose-built device with an adequate price tag for a device that will survive and be supported for 5 years or more.

Re:Difference (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41730159)

And so where's the ACTUAL difference between this and the Google Goggles? Besides the pricetag? (Or in other words: what justifies that price difference?)

Google Glass is a consumer level device. This is an enterprise-level device. So lots of little things, like...

Calling them "Enterprise". That's always good for a 3X markup in marketing alone

Re:Difference (1)

rlwhite (219604) | about 2 years ago | (#41728939)

I'm not familiar with the HC1 specifically, but I am familiar with Motorola Solutions products in general. They target enterprise, and typically the devices are ruggedized. They write their own web browser that includes APIs for their built-in peripherals (barcode scanner, MSR, etc.) Their Android devices also feature significant tailoring of the OS, for example they have multi-user support in an Android 2.3 build. In the past year they have acquired RhoMobile and integrated that company's cross-platform development environment and libraries with the Motorola Solutions Android and Windows Mobile devices. They also sell rapid deployment infrastructure and wifi infrastructure, all tightly integrated with their devices.

In short, the pricetag isn't worth it for a consumer, but there's typically enterprise features that draw companies in. Is it worth it? That's another question entirely that I'm not going to get into.

Re:Difference (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#41728995)

Depends on the industry, some companies have far deeper pockets than others, everybody operates at a different level of efficiency... besides all that man hours tend to be the big cost to most employers, so if this is proven to reduce those, the investment will pay for itself over time.

Re:Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41730045)

These run wince, so are going to suck. You need to price them higher so the stupid people will assume they are better, and still buy them.

Re:Difference (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 years ago | (#41730171)

>The HC1 runs Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 Professional

Ahahaha looks like they dug up this project form archives.

Re:Difference (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41733103)

what justifies that price difference?

Applications. Back when Microvision was in this space, they had customers like airplane engine repair. The techs could overlay a schematic of the engine on the engine they were working on, for instance. How much is that capability worth? Probably at prices over $15K, they'd start to to question the cost effectiveness.

Besides - nothing like early adopters to help fund development of the mass-market product, all while being competent beta testers for your effort.

Look, we can't have any firing in there... (0)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 years ago | (#41729205)

...I, uh, I want you to collect magazines from everybody.

Hudson -> Is he fuckin' crazy?
Frost -> What do you expect us to use man... Harsh language?
Gorman -> Flame units only - I want rifles slung.
Apone -> But, sir...
Gorman -> Do it Apone... And no grenades.

It's all in the software (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about 2 years ago | (#41729255)

With a price tag like that, I'm sure this thing could pack some decent quality hardware. But the actual value of a system like this is entirely dependent on the software it comes with, and I don't know how much I trust Motorola's ability to deliver on that aspect of it.

The huge advantage of a platform like Android, iOS, Windows etc is the enormous ecosystem of third party developers, who have relatively open access to fill in all the gaps in the software feature set that originally shipped with the hardware. (For example, would Microsoft have gotten anywhere without Lotus 1-2-3 to give their MS DOS machines actual business utility? Would the iPhone really have taken the mobile world by storm with just the iOS feature set and no apps?)

With a hardware system like this, targeted at "Enterprise" and military users at more than 4 grand a pop, it's pretty obvious that the install base is going to be very small. It seems unlikely that there will be a thriving third-party software development ecosystem. That makes me wonder if the hardware will really be leveraged sufficiently to deliver real, usable value. What's the point of amazing hardware if it doesn't really do anything very useful?

Anyway, it certainly looks the part for a cool cyberpunk character design in a movie.

Re:It's all in the software (1)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41731147)

Anyway, it certainly looks the part for a cool cyberpunk character design in a movie.

Yeah, a '90s movie.

HC1? Pshaww! (1)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 years ago | (#41729399)

We had Motorola HC12 boards all the way back in the 90's, and they were complete crap back then too!

Cellphone on the back of your head (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41729547)

How is this different from a modern cell phone strapped to the back of your head with the screen precariously dangled in front of you?.. and an optional forward facing camera? I don't see there being much in the way in adoption of this " product "

Deep Pockets (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#41729565)

I've worked for organizations with very deep pockets before.

Usually that isn't all that great an indicator regarding expenditures because these same organizations had short arms.

DIcFK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41730085)

may be hurting 7he achieve any of the had becom3 like we don't sux0r as is the worst off bombshell hit 7000 users of and financial ASSOCIATION OF volatile world of

While we're on the subject... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41730229)

Back in the 1990's, a little known company was contracted to build wearable computers. You may have heard of them, a company called 'Xybernaut'? They made things like the MA-IV and the MA-V which were miles ahead of their time considering that there was no other computer on the market that approached the Xybernaut's quality and functionality. There were large, ungainly tablets, and PDAs with dubious functionality, but these were true, fully functioning computers. Originally outfitted with Windows 95 or Linux, they came with low power x86 hardware, (or later, ARM) and eventually even migrated to Windows CE. They had small portable LCD tablet screens or as an added feature, an HMD that did 640x480 or 800x600 depending on the device. They're still around, somewhat, and had a short foray producing portable computers for kids called the Atigo, which could even be adapted into a device built into the child's backpack. At the time, they sold for something around $5,000, or around $1,500 for the Atigo Tablet. You can pick them up on eBay now for dirt cheap.

Or does nobody remember that they existed?

I do not want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41730347)

and ARM on my HEAD!

Display resolution? Anybody? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 2 years ago | (#41731399)

I scanned through various product pages, and couldn't find anything about display resolution. I'm not interested in sitting through videos. Can anybody summarize some actual specifications?

Re:Display resolution? Anybody? (1)

Artifex (18308) | about 2 years ago | (#41731579)

I scanned through various product pages, and couldn't find anything about display resolution. I'm not interested in sitting through videos. Can anybody summarize some actual specifications?

From one of the links [motorola.com] :

Display type

Full color, SVGA, Transmissive TFT (800 x 600) micro-
display with an adjustable backlight; Field of view: 32
degrees (diagonal); Virtual image size: 15 in. diagonal

Oil collector? (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | about 2 years ago | (#41733051)

And I thought my laptop case and touch-screens got oily fast from fingers. Head-worn devices will bring it to a whole new level for a lot of people.

Head what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733201)

Dammit, I read "Head-Worm Computing" and got all excited for a second there

Didn't realize they jerk off so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41738845)

in the military and other industries

LOL (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about 2 years ago | (#41740549)

If anyone actually came to me and said they "needed" one of these, they would instantly become the laughing stock of the company.
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