May 12, 2009 Mobile phones and laptop computers have made traditional 9-to-5 workdays a thing of the past for many workers. That ability to work from any location, however, can be a double-edged sword. The flexibility to be freed from the office also means that work is increasingly encroaching on people’s recreation time, as they find they are never really off the clock. That situation looks set to worsen, or improve, depending on your perspective, with the introduction of the Golden-i from Kopin Corporation. The Golden-i is a Bluetooth headset that provides a 15-inch virtual display with a hands-free, natural-speech-recognition interface for wireless remote control over a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, company networks and wireless systems.

The Golden-i connects to a host device through a Bluetooth, WiFi or cellular link, providing hands-free access to digital information, broadcast programming and internet services, including real-time, full-color high-resolution D-1 (720 x 480p x 30 frames per second) streaming video over Bluetooth 2.0.

Integrated solid state tracking technology provides nearly pixel-for-pixel, hands-free cursor accuracy across the 15-inch virtual display. The full-color SVGA micro-display sits on an arm a couple of inches in front of the user’s left eye. It also incorporates a thumb optical mouse, speaker and dual DSP noise-canceling microphones. A wheel on the underside of the display is used to adjust the focus of the screen. Even if you wear glasses, there's no problem controlling the zoom and panning functions.

Once connected to a host device, such as a PC, users see their PC desktop screen on the 15-inch virtual display and with Nuance’s VoCon3200 software they can control it using voice commands in a number of languages. Kopin claims this software provides more than 90 percent proficiency straight out of the box, and the more it is used, the better it works.

Golden-i requires no push-to-talk buttons and is ready to respond to a user’s request whether in light hibernation or during intermittent use. Golden-i also readily accepts conventional user interface from any host device touch screen, keyboard or wireless mouse and integrates Nuance text-to-speech, enabling Golden-i to read back any text displayed in a number of common languages.

Running on the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 platform, Golden-i can remotely wake a PC from practically any location and, when work is finished, the PC can be placed in hibernation with a single spoken command. The headset can also remotely control up to seven other devices or networks at one time, similar to the way users control software applications on a PC desktop.

It operates much like a highly mobile server, a hub between various host devices. If a USB interface or removable memory is required, Golden-i provides a mini-USB port and a removable Micro SD card slot capable of supporting up to 32GB. Supported by Texas Instruments’ third generation OMAP dual processor platform, a single 1200 mA/hr li-ion battery should provide more than eight hours of standard use.

While the Golden-i can be used just about anywhere, it is designed for “mobile information snacking”, rather than continuous use over long periods. Initial development of the unit has focused on industrial applications, so Kopin is seeking to engage several industrial organizations in several months of in-depth field testing and evaluation. Kopin hopes to incorporate any improvements and refinements uncovered during testing into its Golden-i products, which are expected to be available in 2010.

Kopin believes Golden-i will free users from the need to carry a PC or laptop about with them. Freedom from work, though, is another matter entirely.

Kopin is demonstrating concept and evaluation units of the Golden-i at Microsoft’s Tech-Ed Conference booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center, running from 11-15 May.

Darren Quick

View gallery - 5 images