CeBIT: Belt up for the 21st Century

Futurologists have been talking about computers you can wear for years, now at last one company is actually selling them.

Making its debut at CeBIT 99 today, is the the wearable, wireless PC. Call it what you want -- a Tummytop, a Waistheld or BeltPC, the 22 oz machine sits in a pouch that wraps around your waist like a belt.

The wireless ViA II PC, developed by ViA and National Semiconductor company Cyrix, can hook up to a mobile phone and the Internet. It has a flat panel display which can be accessed via stylus or voice. However, for voice activation you need software and a headset.

It is a pretty powerful gizmo. Cyrix's MediaGX processor integrates graphics, audio, memory control and the PCI interface into the chip itself.

Although it sounds gimmicky, the dust and water resistant ViA II is meant for serious hands-free applications such as in manufacturing, healthcare, restaurants, construction and aerospace. In the US, restaurant staff at the fast-growing coffee chain Starbucks and surveyors at Schneider Excavating are already using them.


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