Japan Is Developing Tiny Personal Ear Computer

When it comes to technology, the future and quirky vending machines, the puny Japanese nation has always been five steps ahead of rest of the world.

When it comes to technology, the future and quirky vending machines, the puny Japanese nation has always been five steps ahead of rest of the world.

In the latest reports coming out of the island nation in East Asia, it is understood that researchers are currently testing a tiny personal computer that is worn on the ear and can be controlled with the blink of an eye or the click of a tongue.

The peculiar device is known at the moment as the ‘’Earclip-Type Wearable PC” and is packing a microchip and data storage, which will enable users to load software on to it. The 17-gram wireless device has Bluetooth capability and is equipped with a GPS, compass, gyro-sensor, battery, barometer, speaker and a microphone.

”We have made this with the basic idea that people will wear it in the same way they wear earring.” said engineer Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Hiroshima City University. The design of the device is based on the traditional ‘ikebana’ flower arrangements.

The device, which developers are hoping to have ready for Christmas 2015, can be connected to an iPod or other gadget and would allow the user to navigate through software programs using facial expressions, such as a raised eyebrow, a stuck-out tongue, a wiggle of the nose or by clenching teeth. The devices functions by using infrared sensors that monitor tiny movements inside the ear, which differ depending on how the eyes and mouth move.

Since, the device eliminates the act of hand movements, its developers say it can serve as a “third hand” for everyone from caregivers to rock-climbers, motorcyclists to astronauts, as well as people with disabilities.

“Supposing I climb a mountain, look at the sky at night and see a bright star up there, it could tell me what it is,” Taniguchi said. “As it knows what altitude I’m at, which direction I’m looking and at what angle, it could tell me, ‘The bright star you are seeing now is Sirius’.” Using a smartphone to connect to the Internet would mean you could be automatically put in touch with people in faraway places who are doing the same thing as you. “This could connect you with a person who is looking at the same star at a remote place at the same time,” enabling the people to swap impressions, Taniguchi said.

Furthermore, a second version of the device might be pressed into use to help relatives keep an eye on elderly family in greying Japan. The earpiece, which could also function as a hearing aid, could monitor the wearer’s health, including their pulse and body temperature, while logging how often they eat and sneeze, offering early warning of the onset of illness. An onboard accelerometer could tell when the user falls and instruct the smartphone to pass information to relatives, or call an ambulance based on GPS data.

The testing of the device is being currently carried out in Hiroshima and the researchers are hoping to commercialize the earpiece by April 2016.

Wearable computing devices is thought by many commentators to be the next big thing in technology. Case in point being Google’s Glass and the recently presented Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch. However, the Japanese folks seem to have taken the wearable device segment to a whole new level with its “Earclip-type Wearable PC”.

This one device, we reckon, will be widely anticipated by the tech industry.

Article Categories:
Mobile & Computers

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