The European Union has funded an ambitious project related to wearable technology. This project, named WearIT@work will end in one year and was funded with 14.3 million euros of EU money, even if the total project cost is expected to exceed 23 million euros. For mobile workers, the goal is to replace traditional interfaces, such as screen, keyboard or computer unit, by speech control or gesture control, without modifying the applications. This wearable system is currently being tested in four different fields including aircraft maintenance, emergency response, car production and healthcare.
You can see above two photos showing emergency rescuers and a doctor using some of these wearable computers to ease their work. (Credit: WearIT(at)work project)
For more information about the WearIT(at)work project, you can check this fact sheet. You also can read an ICT Results article titled "Wearing technology on your sleeve."
Here is a quote from Michael Lawo, technical manager of the project. "We address fields where there are no similar applications today. Take the example of an aircraft technician. There is a person doing paperwork who has to find the relevant documentation on a computer. He has to find the aircraft maintenance manual and the parts manual, and produce a printout. These documents are handed over to the technician who then goes to the aircraft to do his work. He then has to write a report on a sheet of paper. And that is the way things work today. What we are doing is giving the worker support and direct access to the ICT system from the workplace. We get rid of the paper."
And here is another excerpt from the ICT Results article. "With a considerable number of applications potentially possible, perhaps the most challenging test case for the project is the one involving emergency response teams, in collaboration with the Paris Fire Brigade. The technology helps support the communication, collaboration and information processes of rescue forces. The efficiency and safety of firemen can be considerably improved by a number of light, easy-to-use and resistant devices, such as biosensors monitoring their physiological condition and improved localisation of hazards, personnel and retreat paths.
For more information, you also can read several flyers about the different applications currently targeted by the project.
Sources: ICT Results, November 21, 2007; and various websites
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