Wireless Portable Pen Computer

In 1987 I described, among many other things, in a report for a swedish class "Construction of automization system" a device called "TankeNyckeln" (MindWrench or MindKey in english), as specified in the report it was actually possible to build with the technology available at that time (apart from the digital wideband radio which was not invented yet).

Here is a comparision of my drawing of the MindKey from 1987 . compared with a recent picture of what today is often called a Tablet PC .

I will soon provide the original report from 1987 here, it can be interresting to read, as I also have a visonary part where I discuss how the society will be around 2037. But to achieve this I need the invention which I will reveal on this site before the 23rd of April 2004. The report is written in swedish though, but I will provide a translation. It was also written with the help of a nowadays unavailable word processor called DynaStar (a precursor to Word Perfect) using a now non existing operative system named Flex, which was running on the computer I built 1980, based upon the Motorola 6809 processor. I did buy my first Amiga in 1987, but it didn't have a reasonable word processing program to start with and I had already started writing the document in DynaStar so the most efficient was to continue with that. The document was further on stored on these old 1.2 Mb high density 5 inch floppies, but I have an old reader which I can connect to the Linux system, with a little hacking (when I've found the floppy among those tousends of old floppies I have ...).

So I guess I have to scan the old report and provide it as a bitmap in the first case, but I will try to do OCR on it also (still not available for Linux as far as I know).

The "MindKey" was something I just simply needed and it was possible to build at that time, apart from the radio. It was several years later when the GSM protocol arrived it would make such a device completely implementable, although still with low bandwith, but possible to build. When GPRS arrived later around 2000, we could get a bandwith up to 115 kbit/s and today with EDGE we can achieve about 2 Mbit/s. The WLANs has also improved since I first started using WLAN from 1 Mbit/s 802.11 to the Aironet with 802.11b I bought in 1999 through todays 54 Mbit/s 802.11g, which unfortunately is not very easy to use with Linux, as drivers are still only provided in binary due to stupid reasons. By combining several channels you can now reach over 100 Mbit/s.

The Compaq Ipaq I bought I haven't actually used much because it was quite tedious to load it with Linux, and this was only doable from another operative system (M$) which I don't use. The device was also quite clumsy as it didn't have the WLAN builtin. Todays Ipaqs and similar devices have, however, both the WLAN and the Body LAN (Bluetooth) builtin. Bluetooth has, however, too low bandwith for feeding a display with, so there we still need cables, but thanks to the new WUSB which Intel is specifying now, we can achieve Body LAN with 400 Mbit/s which is enough to feed also the holographic display which I've sketched upon in the display part of this site. Further on the hand recognition techniques are still not very well developed for Linux, so I still have to wait for a while.

Problem: When I in 1987 tried to convice people around about the benefits about such a device connected to a global wireless network, there were almost no one that I spoke with that really saw the usage of such a device. One obvious usage, apart from accessing the world's knowledge, would be for instance what I 1987 called the Terrestrial Operative System, nowadays usually referred to as Global Grid Computing which for instance the SETI project is a precursor to.

If these devices could have been manufacturered at that time according to my specifications, then we would have had a lot of possibilities to develop hand recognition software alreday then, in collaboration, as is done within GNU Free Software Foundation and the Linux community today. We geeks need better resources.


aimnonutopia.org. Last modified: Tue Mar 22 05:40:21 CEST 2004