Hands-off computer makes links

January 12, 1996

The world's first hands-free computer, worn on the belt with a one-inch screen built into an eyeglass and responding to voice commands, will rely on software created at the University of Southampton.

The Mobile Assistant, a pioneering device produced by CPSI located near Washington DC, will use Microcosm application development software developed at the university's department of electronics and computer science. The Mobile Assistant has uses in engineering and plant maintenance as it links manuals and guides quickly. "Whether it's for an innovative product like Mobile Assistant or a desktop PC, there's no faster way to create information management applications from information already held on computer," said Peter McManus, managing director of Southampton-based company Microcosm Ltd that is marketing the application.

CPSI chose Microcosm for Windows for its proven speed in turning existing data into time and labour-saving interactive applications. It will harness Microcosm to link engineering drawings from CAD/CAM systems.

The news comes hard on the heels of a European success for Microcosm. Short-listed from nearly 300 information technology entries, Microcosm was one of 20 prize-winners honoured by European Commissioner Martin Bangemann at an awards ceremony in Brussels at the Esprit conference.

Microcosm is an open hypermedia system for managing and distributing unstructured digital information from sources ranging from mainframe computers and CD-Roms to the World Wide Web. Major cable-making company Academic projects now include MAVIS, a framework for content-based retrieval from non-textual documents, Multicosm, a distributed version of Microcosm and five TLTP developments, Software Teaching of Modular Physics, Biodiversity Consortium, History Consortium and two internal projects at Southampton, the Campus Wide Structure for Multimedia Learning and the HiDES Project .

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