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LinuxDevices.com: Ripley -- a Linux-based wearable computer

Jun 02, 2001, 14:21 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Cliff Leong)

Here's a profile of the Ripley wearable computer project. Initially modeled loosely on Prof. Steve Mann's wearcomps, the project's gone off on its own direction. The current versions support the 2.2 or 2.4 kernels, boast speech recognition and a full complement of applications.

"The Ripley wearable computer project was born in 1999 with the purpose of allowing us to liberate ourselves from the desktop computer.

Our first goal was to build an anytime, anywhere general purpose computer that is efficient enough to run on consumer grade batteries for several hours, small and light enough to wear on the body, wirelessly connected to the Internet at all times, and easy to interact with even while doing other things (i.e. non-modality of computer/human interface).

Existing computing devices, such as laptop computers and PDAs, were unsatisfactory. Laptops are just small desktop computers with the same modality of use. Users of laptops need to be in "laptop mode" -- sitting with the laptop balanced on their laps and their attention focused on its screen and keyboard. In order to do something else, they then need to break away from laptop mode -- which makes it difficult to continue to interact with the laptop. PDAs, on the other hand, were simply not robust enough to handle most of the situations we envisioned."

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