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Motorola WT4000 Series

Wearable terminal with handmount scanner option
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

In October of 2006, Symbol Technologies introduced the WT4000 Series of wearable terminals. Symbol has ten years of experience in wearable computers, but the WT4000 is a giant step forward compared to their earlier DOS-based offerings. Based on the simple and logical conclusion that some jobs require both hands while still needing constant computer assistance, Symbol designed a small, state-of-the art computer that can either be worn on the wrist or farther up on the arm.

The smartly designed device is quite small -- measuring just 5.7 x 3.7 x 1 inch -- and weighing 11.3 ounces with a battery powerful enough to last a full shift. The WT4000 Series, geared towards warehousing and manufacturing markets, is powered by a 520 MHz version of Intel's XScale PXA270 processor, comes with 128MB of RAM and 64MB of flash, and use the professional version of Windows CE 5.0. The display is an exceptionall bright transflective LCD measuring 2.8 inches diagonal.

Connectivity is provided through a USB host and client port, accessible via the charging connector. The device has Bluetooth and 802.1a/b/g WiFi. There is no expansion slot.

The WT4000 does not use a touchscreen but relies on keyboard navigation instead. There are three sets of keys. To the left of the display are Esc, Tab, Ctrl, Shft and a function key that provides access to Alt and Menu. Along the bottom are two programmable keys that also control brightness, and a large enter key. To the right is a 15-key multifunction phone-style keypad that can also be used for alphanumeric text entry. A legacy-colored alpha entry pad and a cellphone-style alpha entry option are available.

What's particularly interesting is two specially designed scanner peripherals of the WT4000. The one shown above is the RS309 Wearable Scanner that's worn on the back of the hand. The device uses the Symbol SE1224HP scan engine that's powered by a 650nm laser and can read and decode virtually all 1D symbologies. If longer range scanning is not required, there is an even lighter and handier option, the RS409 Ring Scanner. It's called a ring scanner because you wear it just like a ring, even on a gloved hand. It's using Symbol's SE955 scan engine designed for scanning in the four inch to four foot range.

Both the WT4000 wearable computer and the scanners are sealed to IP54 specifications and can survive four-foot drops. Their -4 to 122 degree Fahrenheit temperature operating range makes them suitable for use on almost any job.

Another interesting aspect of this stylish and highly functional computer is its ability to use voice recognition or multimodal voice/data input. Between its innovative hardware design, scanner options, great industrial design, and ease of use, the WT4000 series of wearable terminals may have considerable appeal well beyond Symbol's official target markets.

In April of 2009, Motorola/Symbol announced the RS507 (shown in the righthand column), a hands-free imager that interoperates with the WT4000. Built on the Symbol SE4500 imaging engine from Motorola, the RS507 has a 624 MHz microprocessor that reads any bar codes in a matter of milliseconds, regardless of lighting. Its omni-directional scanning eliminates the need to align bar code and scanner, ensures first time every time fast and accurate capture of virtually any bar code.

Specifications Symbol WT4000 VC80
Added/changed Added 11/2006, updated 4/2009
Form-factor Wearable computer
CPU Speed Intel PXA270/520 MHz
OS Windows CE 5.0 Professional
RAM/Flash 128MB/64-128MB
Card slots none
Display type Transflective color TFT LCD
Display size/res 2.8-inch/320 x 240
Digitizer/pens no touchscreen
Keyboard/keys Total of 23-key alphanumeric
Navigation nav controls, keys
Housing impact-resistant plastic
Operating Temp -4 to 122F
Sealing IP54
Shock 4 feet to concrete
Tumble 500 one-half meter tumbles at room temperature (1,000 drops)
Size (WxHxD) 5.7 x 3.7 x 1.0
Weight 11.3 oz.
Power 3.7V, 2,330mAH Li-Ion or extended 3.7V, 4,600mAH
Interface USB, mic, speaker, hand-mount or ring laser scanners
Wireless 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth v1.2
List price US$2,598
Contact www.motorola.com