Xybernaut(R) Corporation (Fairfax, VA, U.S.) announced that it has been granted a patent by the Australia Patent and Trademark Office (IP Australia) related to wearable computing as integrated with a protective garment system.
This patent, IP Australia Patent No. 87331/01, corresponds to U.S. Patent No. 6,507,486 called "Wearable Computer and Garment System," and highlights a variety of current and potential military, government, commercial, and recreational applications.
The company claims its present invention is an improvement on the functionality of garments of personal protection. For example, the patent includes uses of protective clothing commonly referred to as "body armor" such as a vest shielded by a layer of protective ballistic armor. The armored garment would reportedly protect both the user and the computing/communication device.
"Our recent success in creating new revenue from our intellectual property has not only helped others to fully appreciate the stored value within our IP, but also has validated our continuing belief that we are following the right path in our commitment to monetize our patents and know how," stated Steven A. Newman, president and COO of Xybernaut. "Australia, being a G-20 international market and a country at the forefront of technology adoption, holds considerable promise for our mobile/wearable computing IP, products and solution services."
Protective garment and computing systems described in this patent have the potential to be programmed with generic data (such as safety instructions or maintenance procedures) or programmed with mission-specific information that is tailored to each operator.
In military, intelligence, or law enforcement situations, this mission-specific information can be an integral part of "operational awareness" during tactical operations. Access to timely and pertinent information can reduce errors in the field and increase operator effectiveness.
Selected features and capabilities of protective garment systems described within the U.S. and Australian patents include the following:
protective materials that would have primary protective properties consisting of ballistic resistive, puncture resistive, nuclear resistive, biological resistive, chemical resistive material, and any combination of these properties;
ability to incorporate communications means in electrical connection to system's general computer, wherein electrical connections are hard-wire or wireless;
capabilities wherein the protective material is camouflaged;
Ability to house a user-supported computer and providing protection against penetrating threats to the user and to the computer;
capabilities wherein the display unit is any of a head mounted display (HMD), a flat-panel display (FPD), a wrist display, a torso-worn display, a neck-hung display, a collar-mounted display, a shoulder-supported display, and any combination of these, with the display optionally being attached to an epaulette of the garment;
ability to protect a user-supported general-purpose computer by integrating support structures for the computer into a ballistic vest, wherein the computing unit and components are connected by electrical cables which are interwoven through the garment and protected by a layer of weatherproofing and/or concealing or camouflage fabric.
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