Friday, May 27, 2011

Wearable Computer project.

So finally getting back around to one of my back burner projects. Yes the ongoing project to build a comfortable 24/7 Internet fuelled Augmented Reality wearable computer project.

At the time being I may have a good computer platform candidate as it meets the following guidelines.

1) decent power usage (less then 5-16Watts an hour)

2) USB host master support (For using wifi/CDMA dongle or custom fabricated Human User Interfaces)

3) Component video display output.

First up running candidate is the GP2X Caanoo. []

System specs are as follows and can be obtained for less then $200, with less then a week before i could get my grubby little hands on.

SoC (System on a Chip): MagicEyes Pollux VR3520F
CPU: ARM926EJ 533 MHz embedded on SoC (architecture version ARMv5TEJ)
GPU: 3D hardware engine embedded on SoC (OpenGL ES 1.1 support)
3D performance: 133M Texel/s and 1,33M Polygon/s
main RAM: 128 Mbytes DDR SDRAM 133 MHz (peak memory bandwidth: 533 Mbytes/s)
video buffer: about 16 Mbytes of main RAM are reserved for the video/texture information
Operating System: GNU/Linux based
Flash memory: None (128 Mbytes reserved to the OS)
Connection to PC: USB 2.0 High Speed through EXT Port
USB Host: USB 1.1 standard socket
Supports SD / SDHC memory cards (up to 32 Gigabytes)
G-Sensor/Vibration Motor
High precision analog stick
Display: 3.5 inch LCD 320×240 pixel (resistive touchscreen)
Stereo audio DAC: Wolfson Microelectronics WM1800
Embedded Microphone and stereo Loudspeakers
Power: Internal 1850mAh Lithium Polymer Battery (approx. 5/6 hours game/video playback)
Dimensions : 146 (w) × 70 (h) × 18.5 (d) mm
Weight : 136g
WiFi via adapter (USB dongle – Purchased separately)
Colors: Black/Blue, White

The Next candidate is the Norhtec Gecko Surfboard []\

This board uses less then 5 Watts an hour, comes with a 1ghz CPU, has needed I/O features. But drops in at $275 shipped from Taiwan. Down side it may take anywhere from two weeks to several months to come through customs. Not to mention this baby may be to cool to tear apart and canabalise as a wearable computer.

Features & specifications:

1 Ghz Xcore86 x586 Device on Chip
1 RS232
1 VGA output
Integrated 1280 x 1024 with 128 MB dedicated video RAM
1 TV / Composite video out (Optional)
2 x SDs, 2 x USB 2.0
1 x SATA (Internal)
Hi Definition Audio - Audio in and out
Optional WiFi and / or 3G module
Tiny footprint
No cooling fan or moving parts
Regular expansion ports - USB/Serial/LAN etc.

Now with this said and done Theirs the aspect of building a decent input method.

1) Chord keyboards - Steep learning curve but fairly practical in the long run as it could be
adapted fairly easily to a EKG bio feedback system.

2) Speech recognition - Fairly easy to execute in GNU/Open source environment but is resource

3) Gesture recognition- Might prove to be way to system resource intensive.

4) EKG based input, could use a array of conductive fabric/body modification piercings and
complementary circuitry to translate into computer interaction.

The next step will be figuring out how to finance this project. I dont want a corporate sponsor as in i want to be able to keep this project open to the public and freely hackable without a bunch of impossible legal red tape that might stem from getting this sucked up or ground into the wheels of a juggernaut.

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