Pentagon Testing Wearable PCs During Reconstruction

The Department of Defense is evaluating Xybernaut’s wearable computers configured with Protolex field force automation tools during the reconstruction of the Pentagon. The mobile/wearable computing solution, which includes inspection, maintenance, quality assurance and project management capabilities, was developed by the Lanham, Md.-based Protolex for use by site supervisors.

As part of the Pentagon reconstruction, site supervisors are required to walk room-to-room daily to examine work in progress. Utilizing a wireless/wearable information delivery system based on Xybernaut MA V computers, supervisors or inspection teams hope to complete more accurate and timelier inspection checklists, create location specific recommendations, prepare real-time inspection reports and work orders.

The Protolex software offers wireless, voice navigation and data entry for site supervisors to manage the scheduling and performance of the many subcontractors involved in repairing the Pentagon. Currently, 30 different sub-contractor organizations are involved.

Project supervisors use a speech-activated Xybernaut wearable computer system with a lightweight headset, digital camera and an all-light readable touch screen flat-panel display (FPD).

When appropriate, other types of data — such as digital photographs, video or information from diagnostic equipment, can be captured and saved locally to the Xybernaut hard drive or sent to remote locations using wireless or hard-wired networks.

Schematic diagrams and technical specifications can be viewed on the FPD in dark settings or in full sunlight. Additionally, OSHA workplace safety regulations can be downloaded onto the wearable computers for easy access and insertion into the report forms during inspections.

Before work crews arrive on-site at 7 a.m., supervisors will have used the wearable computer to prepare a daily summary of items needing attention. At that time, the supervisors will also have prioritized work orders delegating action-item responsibility to the various sub-contractors.

Wireless connectivity will be used to link the inspection computer to the general contractor’s primary network and server cluster located in a management trailer, which is off-site in a separate parking lot.

“Construction, property management and related industry segments are natural candidates for wearable computing and mobile solutions,” said Edward G. Newman, chairman, president and CEO of of the Fairfax, Va.-based Xybernaut. “Many of our business customers utilize Xybernaut platforms to automate the various tasks related to inspection, maintenance and repair out in the field. While productivity gains are often significant, additional value is realized because our wearable/mobile technologies are easily integrated into existing enterprise IT infrastructure.”

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