BOSTON (03/01/2000) - Wearable computer maker Xybernaut Corp. today said it has been issued a U.S. patent for a transferable core for use in a wide range of future mobile devices.
The transferable core would be roughly the size of a pack and half of cigarettes, or a little smaller than a Palm Inc.'s handheld device, and would contain the processor, memory, storage and I/O circuitry -- everything but the power supply and display, according to Michael Jenkins, chief technology officer at Xybernaut. The power supply and display would be supplied by the hosting devices, such as a desktop, laptop, cell phone or car dashboard, he said.
Currently, people with multiple computing devices, such a PC, a laptop and a handheld computer, can spend much time synching up data and versions of software on these devices, according to Jenkins.
"This core concept eliminates this problem, since I'm carrying the computing environment with me wherever I go," Jenkins said.
The patent covers the concept of a transferable core as well as the idea of the hosting devices, which Xybernaut calls enclosures, Jenkins said. Users could purchase the enclosures they wanted and use them as needed by inserting the core, he said.
"Imagine if Dell [Computer Inc.] could sell you a laptop and a desktop, plus the core," Jenkins said.
Xybernaut is speaking with manufacturers about building some of the enclosures, though the talks are still at a high level as opposed to hammering out nitty gritty technical details, Jenkins said. So far, Xybernaut is talking to a chip maker and a docking station company, but the company hopes to share the architecture with as many manufacturers as are interested, he said.
"The only way we're going to accomplish this (concept) is by opening up the architecture," and quite frankly the architecture isn't any great secret: it's Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp, Jenkins said. "We want to make this as open as possible."
Prototypes will probably be ready late in the fourth quarter, and transferable cores and enclosures may be for sale in 2001, Jenkins said. The pricing model has yet to be determined, but Jenkins said he envisions competitively priced products, rather than specialty products pitched at the high end.
Xybernaut has filed corresponding patents in 26 other countries, Jenkins said.
Xybernaut, in Fairfax, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-631-6925 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.xybernaut.com.