Like something out of a James Bond movie—albeit more likely to be found in 1962’s Dr. No than in 2008’s Quantum Solace—Motorola has announced that it is teaming up with micro-display specialist company Kopin to create the current market’s first next generation hands-free computing headset—you heard me right, headset—called the “Golden-i” platform.
While there’s little doubt that hands-free devices are some of the most sought after accessories for everything from cellphones to MP3 players, the notion of wearing a computer on your head—or any part of your body for that matter—has never really gotten off the ground.
The difference today—as opposed to previous tech eras where headset computers were attempted—is that the technological landscape has changed significantly, with more and more businesses, in particular, looking for efficient, effective, and not to mention advanced methods of business computing and communication.
If the time is indeed right for the hands-free computing handset, Motorola may be able to corner the burgeoning market with this project, but the reality is, who would want to wear this thing on their head?
Reminiscent of 3D television technology and handheld tablet computers, Motorola is reaching into the failed technology of the past bin and pulling out another possible gem, a wireless computer headset. Codenamed the Golden-i platform, the Motorola/Kopin offering brings together Bluetooth and Wi-Fi gesture and voice recognition technologies into a next generation computing headset package.
The Golden-i’s micro display will appear to the user as a virtual reality-style 15-inch, 24-bit colour monitor. As Golden-i program manager Jeff Jacobsen explains, “”Golden-i provides a full 128-bit encrypted link to your PC, so you instantly see your own PC screen, full size, 18 inches from your eyes…You can use every application and open any document on your PC remotely.”
Further, the goal for this project is to give users an easy-to-use convenient and powerful computing hub from which to organize and control all your devices, meaning that it will conceivably sync with your PDA, smartphone, and computer all at once, giving users a Heads-Up-Display (HUD) reminiscent of so many science fiction and action films of the past.
But even if Motorola is hoping to have success by pulling an old idea out of the garbage bin, will this wireless headset finally find the widespread adoption that eluded all previous attempts at wearable computing technologies? I doubt it, at least not in its current state. While perhaps some people may not mind wearing this bulky monstrosity while sitting at their office desk, I find it hard to imagine people walking down the street with them, and if you’re still chained to your desk out of embarrassment, it defeats the purpose of having a portable hands-free computing headset to begin with.
That being said, I applaud Motorola for the attempt, with full knowledge that future iterations of this device will almost certainly sport the subtly sleek designs of current Bluetooth headsets.