What am I going to do with that? Anything (almost)

The head-mounted display headset Golden-i, from Kopin, brings the PC to your eye


Golden-i was designed to position information for easy accessibility, yet not obstruct normal vision or situational awareness. Jacobsen explains there is a small space next to the user’s nose and slightly above the cheek about 1 inch tall and 1.5 inches wide that most people rarely use in their normal vision. He explains, “the reason you don’t use this space is that it’s easier if you want to look at your shoes to just bend your neck and look
down, rather than stand upright and roll your eyes down to see
your shoelaces.”

With a monocular headset, users can take advantage of this space for a near-eye display.

When one would look into Golden-i they would see a full 15-inch PC screen, virtually 18 inches from the user’s eye with SVGA (800 pixels by 600 pixels — the native resolution for Microsoft documents such as Word or Excel). At XGA resolution (1,024 pixels by 768 pixels) users see a full 18-inch PC screen virtually 18 inches from the user’s eye, while a 1,280 by 720 resolution displays a 26-inch image.

Combining one of these micro-displays with Golden-i’s six-axis solid state head motion tracking, allows the officer to connect to or open several display screens at one time, displaying virtually multiple full size documents, photographs or other graphical images in front of the officer. By slight head movement, the officer can look at each full size screen, one after the other as desired. Jacobsen relates this to connecting six or eight PC screens on the officer’s desk or the patrol car’s notebook PC. Users can
have and support as many screens as necessary.

If an officer would want to be quiet and avoid using Golden-i’s voice recognition interface, the head tracker can be turned into a mouse by command. The mouse cursor can be moved about the display screen by small head movement. The officer can make a simple head nod or other desired gesture to select a highlighted icon or item. Golden-i also has a small wireless mouse with a thumb joy stick, about the size of a roll of dimes.

Additionally Golden-i’s head tracking provides the officer spontaneous zoom-in and zoom-out with seamless magnified image look around. By merely moving his or her head an officer can see an entire highly magnified document or graphical image many times larger than any notebook or desktop computer screen. While a Volkswagen-sized dot shows the power of the display’s zoom, it’s not very practical. Zooming into a document, explains Jacobsen, looks more like standing next to a wall sized image and looking up and down, left and right. You can seamlessly see the entire page — Golden-i’s head tracking interprets what the user is looking for under any magnification.

This holds great potential in the viewing of multiple types of information at once. The headsets can place several magnified documents, images and a video in an officer’s immediate field of view, accessible by head movement or reduce every document, image or video into a single display screen.

“I’ve got this ability to have a full computer display when I’m highly mobile,” says Jacobsen.

 Speech and speaker

Kopin understood the need for Golden-i wearers to remain aware of their surroundings — especially the law enforcement user. The headset places its speaker slightly outside of the ear, yet it has been designed not to block natural peripheral hearing. Speaker volume can be raised by spoken command, or the system can monitor ambient noise and automatically increase speaker volume when necessary to overcome ambient noise.

The phased array, multiple microphone noise cancellation system is integrated into the optical pod, which floats just above the cheek and about an inch above the user’s mouth to the side of the nose.

Tested in the noisiest environments, well over 100 decibels with ambient noise from all directions, “[Golden-i] electronically extracts all the ambient noise from what a user is saying, so he can speak in a soft or normal tone of voice, even though the environment may be deafening,” says Jacobsen.

However “hearing” someone does not necessarily equate to “understanding” someone — nowhere is this more important than in speech recognition, a technology rife with errors, bad publicity and horror stories in training the software.

One of the hurdles Golden-i had to overcome was being able to recognize multiple versions of words spoken with regional
dialects and accents within the same language.

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