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Seven-ounce “wrist PC” runs Linux

Mar 14, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 44 views

[Updated Mar. 22] — A European embedded computing specialist has announced a wrist-worn wearable computer that runs embedded Linux or Windows CE. Eurotech's WWPC (“wrist-worn PC”) offers standard PC interfaces, along with several innovative wearable-specific features, the company claims. It targets emergency rescue, security, healthcare, maintenance, logistics, and “many other” applications.

(Click for larger view of Eurotech WWPC)

Eurotech's WWPC

WWPC concept
(Click to enlarge)

According to Eurotech, the WWPC integrates everything users expect of a PC, in a versatile, ergonomic form factor that supports a variety of wrist sizes. It can be worn over or under work clothes, and has flexible left- or right-handed straps that enclose dual 2-cell Li-polymer rechargeable batteries. Claimed battery life is six hours in “fully operational” mode, or eight hours under normal circumstances.

The WWPC weighs seven ounces (200 grams) without straps/batteries, Eurotech says.

The WWPC offers several wearable-specific innovations, according to the company, including a patented orientation sensor that can be configured to induce standby when the user's arm drops. Additionally, the device's tilt sensor can be used to detect motionless operator states, while a built-in GPS receiver and “dead reckoning” technology enable the device to serve as a location-transmitting beacon.

The WWPC is based on an AMD AU 1100 (MIPS) processor, with an Intel XScale-based version under development. It boots from 32MB of flash, and has 64MB of SDRAM. Storage can be expanded through an SD-card slot supporting cards up to 1GB.

Standard PC interfaces include WiFi, Bluetooth, and fast infrared networking, USB host and device ports, sound, built-in speakers, and a headphone jack. The device has a “daylight-readable” 2.8 x 2.2-inch touchscreen LCD, and also supports human interface devices such as microphones and headsets connected via USB or Bluetooth, the company says.

Additional claimed features include:

  • Direct-access keypad
  • L1 16-channel GPS receiver with active helix antenna
  • IrDA (up to 4Mbps)
  • Bluetooth v1.1 (up to 721 Kbps)
  • LAN 802.11b (up to 11Mbps) with “hardware coexistence handshake”
  • Specific internal antennas
  • Supports “different configurable audio/video user interfaces”

On the software side, the WWPC will come pre-installed with Linux, according to Sales and Marketing Manager Roberto Turchi. The device will also be capable of running Windows CE, Turchi says.

The WWPC's Linux software environment is based on Opie by default, with GPE, basic X11, and Qt/Embedded available through a software development kit.


The MIPS-based version of the WWPC will ship in June, followed some time later by the XScale version. Pricing will be around $2,000, Turchi said.

According to its website, Eurotech's corporate strategy is to “define and penetrate new and emerging markets.” The company also offers rugged surveillance systems for public transportation that run Linux. The company is publicly traded on the Italian stock market; it merged with US SBC (single-board computer) vendor Parvus in 2003.

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