Wrist-controlled computers have long been a staple of sci-fi movies such as Predator, but actual wrist computers have been built for U.S. special operations forces by SpecOps Systems. Now a version of this device known as the WC2 has been built by SpecOps for first responders.
Its special ops heritage allowed the company to devise a computer well-suited for first responder use. In fact, the WC2 is an extremely tough, durable unit that can link to other units and dispatch via wireless data paths.
The WC2 consists of three wearable components. The first two are the computer core and the battery, both of which are strapped to the user's body. The third is the forearm unit, as the wrist section is called. Consisting of a shaped panel that straps to the user's forearm, this unit contains a small LCD display and an iKey KYB-170-OEM telephone-style numeric keypad. The keypad has a force sensing resistor pointing device for moving the cursor around the screen, but text entry has to be done akin to texting on a cell phone, due to the lack of dedicated alphabetical keys.
Despite its unique form factor, the WC2 is a real computer built upon a standard Intel chipset and Pentium Mobile 4 CPU. It can run Windows XP Professional, Linux or even DOS. Basically, if you can load an operating system on your non-Apple desktop PC, you can load it on the WC2. The computer core has the CPU, motherboard, memory (RAM), video interface, audio interface, IDE interface, USB 2.0 interface, Ethernet interface, voltage regulator, proprietary low-battery warning and protection system, and a flash drive for operating system, application, and data storage (64 GB standard; 128 GB optional).
Given its special operations roots, it is no surprise that the WC2 meets all MIL STD 810F requirements for temperature, shock, vibration and impact resistance. As configured for first responders, the WC2 is water- and pressure-resistant to 66 feet deep.
That's not all: The WC2's battery runs for 15 hours, yet weighs less than 3 pounds. The flash drive is solid state: This means it has no moving parts, and thus can handle the tough environments. The unit's LCD screen is transflective, which allows it to be read even in full sunlight.
The bottom line: If you need a tough wearable computer for use in the field, there are few units more suitable--and cooler!--than the WC2.
For more, visit www.specopssystems.net.
James Careless is a freelance writer with extensive experience covering broadcast, radio and satellite communications, telecommunications and computer technologies.