Zebra WT41N0 Series|
Wearable terminal with handmount scanner option
The Zebra WT41N0 wearable computer, introduced mid-2012, is an update to the original Symbol WT4000 Series that was announced October 2006. The platform was created based on the simple and logical conclusion that some jobs require both hands while still needing constant computer assistance. The WT4000 Series could be worn on the wrist or farther up on the arm, and so can the updated WT41N0, which retains the same external design.
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
The still futuristic looking 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, or much longer with the optional extended battery. The WT410N, which is targeted at warehousing and manufacturing markets, is now powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP 4 processor, comes with 512MB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage, and uses Microsoft Windows Embedded Compact 7.0. The landscape-oriented display is an exceptionally bright transflective LCD that measures 2.8 inches diagonally and offers 320 x 240 pixel resolution, quite adequate for this size screen.
Connectivity is provided through a USB host and client port, accessible via the charging connector. The device has Bluetooth v2.1 and 802.1a/b/g/n WiFi. There is no expansion slot.
The WT41N0 relies on keypad navigation although a touchscreen is optionally available. 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 the specially designed scanner peripherals of the WT41N0. The one shown above is the RS309 Wearable Scanner that's worn on the back of the hand. The device uses the Zebra 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 Zebra's SE955 scan engine designed for scanning in the four inch to four foot range.
Also available is the RS507 (shown in the righthand column), a hands-free imager that interoperates with the WT41N0. Built on the Zebra SE4500 imaging engine, the RS507 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.
Both the WT41N0 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 had enough appeal to reach well beyond the product's original target markets. As a result, the design is still around in the updated WT41N0 version almost a decade after its initial introduction, better and much more powerful.