Yes, it’s either mildly terrifying or downright geeky-looking. But Golden-i is a tool, not a fashion accessory.

Courtesy Kopin

Golden Spectacle Specs

Even in an age where smartphones offer the power of a full-sized computer in the palm of your hand, it's no small feat to fit an entire computer onto a cranium. Kopin enlisted some heavyweight partners to pull off this task, including Motorola Solutions, Texas Instruments and Microsoft, to name a few. The result is a mishmash of advanced hardware and software.

The heart of this machine is a 600MHz Texas Instruments CPU, which is paired with 512 MB of RAM, as well as 512 MB of internal flash storage, onto which the operating system (Windows CE 6.0) is embedded. A microSD slot means you can increase storage capacity up to 32GB.

There are multiple options for wireless connectivity, including Bluetooth and low-power WiFi. Those let you connect to the Internet or local networks, or even engage a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse. A mini USB port is also good for a mouse or for data transfers.

A rechargeable lithium-ion is what keeps Golden-i's eyes open. Kopin says that the device should work for about one 8-hour shift before it needs some shut eye.

The really attention-grabbing part of the Golden-i, though, is its display. This 800 x 600 pixel LCD display is mounted to an arm that swings up and out of the way, or down in front of one eye when you're ready for it. The display is miniscule, but Kopin's optics produce a 15-inch virtual display that appears 18 inches in front of your eyes and doesn't block your line of sight or peripheral vision, which is critical in a chaotic or dangerous environment.

Golden-i is made to fit comfortably under a hard hat, and you can switch the display for either the left or right side of your face, whatever is most comfortable for you.

Within the display, you'll see a graphical user interface controlled by voice or the gestures of your head. The speech recognition software is VoCon3200, from Nuance Communications. And motion sensing is courtesy of the 6-axis, real-time position tracker developed by Hillcrest Labs.

A near-ear speaker, as well as to microphones are integrated into the device's frame to let you communicate with other people. You can connect an optional camera, too, that will capture stills or high-definition, live video of the scene around you.

Lumped together, all of this hardware weighs only between 3 and 6 ounces. That's a lot of computing power jammed into a package that won't strain your neck. On the next page we'll show you more about how the pieces come together for a breakthrough product.