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Published: Sunday March 2, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday March 2, 2014 MYT 8:21:27 AM

Researchers testing tiny ear computer

‘A third hand’: An engineer showing the ‘Earclip-type Wearable PC’ in Tokyo. — AFP

‘A third hand’: An engineer showing the ‘Earclip-type Wearable PC’ in Tokyo. — AFP

TOKYO: 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 is being tested in Japan.

The 17g wireless device has Bluetooth capability and is equipped with a GPS, compass, gyro-sensor, battery, barometer, speaker and microphone.

The device, known at the moment as the “Earclip-type Wearable PC” has a microchip and data storage, enabling users to load software, said engineer Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Hiroshima City University.

Its designs are based on traditional ikebana flower arrangements.

“We have made this with the basic idea that people will wear it in the same way they wear earrings,” Taniguchi said.

The system, 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 programmes using facial expressions, such as a raised eyebrow, a stuck-out tongue, a wiggle of the nose or by clenching teeth.

The device uses infrared sensors that monitor tiny movements inside the ear, which differ depending on how the eyes and mouth move.

Because the user does not have to move either hand, its developers say it can serve as “a third hand” for everyone.

A second version of the device might be pressed into use to help relatives keep an eye on elderly family in greying Japan.

Tests are being carried out in Hiroshima, with the aim of commercialising the device from April 2016. — AFP

Tags / Keywords: Regional, world

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