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July 2, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:41pm

SYMBOL HAS “WEARABLE” COMPUTER TO ASSIST WAREHOUSE STAFF

By CBR Staff Writer

Portable terminal and bar code scanning company Symbol Technologies Inc has come up with a wearable computer which it believes marks the start of what will be a major trend. The Wearable Scanning Device is primarily designed for the warehousing industry to enable more accurate picking and distribution, while at the same time leaving the hands of the operator free. The device consists of a lithium battery-powered unit that has four or eight line screen, a 27-key keyboard and an optional radio that is strapped to the forearm. A small wire is attached to the unit and leads to a laser ring-device that fits on the middle and forefinger. The device runs on a DOS-based computer with the Symbol Spectrum 1 Local Area Network and battery life lasts generally for about eight hours. Development of the product was carried out by Symbol after it was developed in conjunction with United Parcel Service who, according to Robert Hurt, director of marketing, were keen on the concept of wearable computers but wanted something more advanced than its previous wearable Gladiator device, which came out four years ago. The Holtsville, New York company that employs some 3,000 people is the firm responsible for the personal shopper system that enables customers in supermarkets to carry around a remote control-like device and scan in their goods as they go along. Having previously inserted a privilege card, when they get to the checkout the cashier simply has to scan in the customers’ receipt. Symbol has also developed the Portable Data File bar code which is capable of storing some 18,000 characters and resulted in Symbol ‘installing’ PDF codes on identity cards for the entire Egyptian population. Symbol reported revenue up 18.3% to $656.7m for the year to December 31 and Hurt said the company will be disappointed if it doesn’t see a 20% rise this year. The Wearable Scanning Device, with a list price of $3,000, was released in the US in January and Symbol has had to hold back on launching the product in Europe because it had to wait to get radio approval.

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