On the Edge

Wearable computing<@VM>Advanced defense ideas<@VM>Biometric standards

Xybernaut Corp., Fairfax, Va., has introduced a wearable computer for disabled students. Called XyberKids, this computer is packaged in a nylon backpack and can help students with written expression, conversion of text and pictures into structured speech, supplemental communication through audio output devices and software for improving study habits and organizational skills. Field trials have taken place in special education classrooms at the Coventry Local School District near Akron, Ohio. The program concentrated on students with autism, cerebral palsy and physical disabilities. The basic $4,995 computer features a 500-megahertz Intel Celeron processor and a five gigabyte hard-drive.Projects for the Defense Department's 2002 Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration include information assurance, situational awareness and translation systems. The program facilitates rapid transfer of advanced technology into the battlefield. Eighty project areas were announced for this year, including requests for an information assurance and situational awareness system to provide near- or real-time updates on mission-critical systems; a system to improve scheduling of inter- and intratheater transportation; systems that automate translation of spoken or written foreign languages; and a survivable interagency network to assess threats across multiple domains. More information can be found at www.acq.osd.mil/actd/descript.htm.
The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information, or OASIS, has formed a technical committee to provide standard XML specifications for biometrics. The committee will define a set of XML encodings to support the exchange and validation of biometric data between disparate technologies. OASIS will host an open mail list for public comment. Completed work will be freely available without licensing fees. For more information: oasis-open.org/committees/xcbf/index.shtml.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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