Kopin Golden-i: What It's Like to Wear a 4G Headset Computer

Say you're a public safety officer and an alert comes in for a missing child while you're patrolling with your Segway. You don't have to take your hands of the controls because the photo of that child just got streamed straight to your eye. Then you say "Camera 1" to bring up the security camera feed via 4G LTE to see what was happening when she went missing. That's just one compelling use case for the Kopin Golden-i, a wearable computing headset Verizon Wireless is showing off here at CTIA Wireless 2012.

We took the Golden-i for a spin to find out just how practical a device like this could be in the field.

Designed in partnership with Motorola, the 6-ounce Golden-i was created to provide a cloud-connected experience that you operate via speech recognition and gestures. Video gets streamed to a near-eye, 15-inch virtual PC display and speaker that sits near your ear. You can easily adjust the monocular display system so you can view critical incoming data while still being able to see what's going on around you. For example, an emergency medical technician could get instructions on how to stop severe bleeding while tending to a patient in an ambulance.

The Golden-i we tested used Bluetooth to stream video from a nearby PC, but Verizon says that Kopin is working on a version with 4G LTE capability that will enable users to get all sorts of information from the cloud on demand. An optional detachable camera will enable wearers of this device to send real-time video back to a home office or other headquarters. Verizon says to expect six to seven hours of battery life.

During our hands-on demonstration, we successfully pulled up instructions on tending to a patient who has a broken bone and simulating calling for video assistance. We also played the role of Paul Blart 2.0 by pulling up a video feed being captured by a nearby Panasonic camera, which could also be powered by 4G LTE. In both of these scenarios the voice recognition didn't work on the first try, but overall we were impressed with the potential of the Golden-i.

The Golden-i has lots of other potential uses, from auto mechanics who need to keep their hands free to utility pole repair workers. Who knows, in a few years we may see coaches stalking the sidelines with Golden-i devices to review the previous play and plan their next move. 

Check out the video and let us know what you think.

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.