April 7, 2008 It seems inevitable that we’ll eventually all record our live digitally, and the Momenta neck-worn PC is the first viable design we’ve seen to facilitate such functionality. It’s similar in functionality to Microsoft’s ongoing Sensecam project we reported on a few years ago, as it is designed to capture the best and most exciting moments of your life. If you’ve ever thought, "I wish I had that on tape", when everybody is laughing themselves to tears, Momenta has already captured the previous five minutes in its rolling buffer and continues to record until you tell it to stop. Triggered by increased heart rate, it captures those hilarious or exciting moments that are usually lost forever.

Using the new light-weight Microsoft operating system, SLIM, this PC travels with you effortlessly. The projected touch-gesture interface allows you to interact with your software wherever you are without requiring interface peripherals but its wide-coverage 700 MHz WiFi wireless allows both connection to the web and to performance enhancing peripherals.

The Momenta is just one of a number of fascinating designs amongst the finalists in Microsoft’s Next-Gen PC Design Competition which this year focuses on futuristic PC designs to inspire people to pursue their passions.

Microsoft’s annual Next-Gen PC Design Competition is now closed, but the competition web site includes detailed coverage of all of the finalists and if we can be so presumptuous, we’d suggest that most Gizmag readers will find browsing the entries inspiring and thought provoking. Two others we really like are the AlphaGrip HC (an ergonomic handheld) and a palette for digital artists.

Endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the competition aims to encourage ongoing enthusiasm for Windows-based PCs by engaging the imagination and creativity of the industrial design (ID) community and delivering a resource for the PC industry at large, which it achieves comprehensively – don't go there unless you have a spare hour because all of the finalist designs have intriguing functionality and elements of all of them will find commercial application.

This year’s competition theme focuses on designs that help people fuel their passion and the designs had to contain scenarios and features that address ways to help people pursue their passions more easily and enjoyably. This is also the first year the competition looked at software and hardware as part of the PC design.

Five winners will be selected, and up to five honorable mentions may be chosen by the judges, with US$50,000 also being awarded by Bill Gates himself for the one he likes best.

The winners will be announced in May 2008 at WinHEC, the 2008 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. All the finalists can be found here, and if this piques your fancy, previous finalists in this inspiring competition can be found here and here.

View gallery - 18 images