Hands-free data, right before your eyes
Operatives and first responders in the field, as well as many technical staff members working in laboratories, generally find themselves needing two things — better, more efficient access to pertinent information and as many free hands as possible.
The Golden-i from Kopin Corp. is a heads-up display that responds to both voice and gesture commands. It’s a headset with a tiny display screen on an adjustable arm. When the display is in place in front of the user's cheek, it gives the impression of having a 15-inch display at arm’s length. The display’s proximity takes a little getting used to, although most people won’t have problems changing their eye focus from screen to the surroundings. The headset weighs less than 8 ounces, so it takes a while before it becomes burdensome.
The Golden-i responds to voice commands as well as to actual head movements. I found that it responded to voice commands efficiently; I had to repeat myself only once in all the period of testing. Kopin uses its proprietary XenoLinguistic Mutating Algorithm that allows the device to be used without the lengthy “training” sessions that can be required with other voice recognition devices or software. The company says it also works in 26 different languages, and regional accents won’t trip it up.
In addition to presenting information, the Golden-I also can record, taking still or video images with its 14-megapixel camera. The unit responded to my head movements in just about any direction when applicable to what I was doing. The company also has an option for hand gestures that was not on the unit I tested, but it’s worth pointing out.
The Golden-i had a mini USB port for connecting to a computer and a MicroSD card slot for holding more data. For connectivity in the field, it had Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11b, g and n Wi-Fi, and 3G/4G LTE cellular capability. Multiple units can be connected to allow one user to see what another is doing.
While the Professional model sits on your head, the company says it also will produce an industrial model that attaches to a hard hat or even a ball cap. Plans also are under way for a military model that affixes to a standard-issue helmet and would of course be set to work with encrypted military frequencies if necessary.
I can easily picture this type of device being used by first responders, particularly EMTs, who may need instant access to a patient’s history. Doctors or forensics teams also might make good use of the Golden-i, as having both hands free yet still having communication and information access could be crucial. Kopin, in fact, offers Police Pro, Firefighter Pro and Paramedic Pro applications for the headsets.
Kopin is slated to have the Professional model available within the next few months but has not released pricing information at this time, although I have been told that it should cost less than a ruggedized notebook computer.