IBM research develops 'watch' running Linux

August 7, 2000

IBM researchers are running Linux on a "smart watch," demonstrating the viability of the operating system across all platforms — from large enterprise servers to the smallest intelligent device.

Designed to communicate wirelessly with PCs, cell phones and other wireless-enabled devices, the smart watch has the ability to view condensed email messages and directly receive pager-like messages. In addition, it will provide users with calendar, address book and to-do list functions.

Future enhancements will include a high-resolution screen and applications that will allow the watch to be used as an access device for various Internet-based services such as up-to-the-minute information about weather, traffic conditions, the stock market, sports results and so on.

The watch contains a powerful processor, along with eight megabytes of flash memory and another eight megabytes of dynamic random access memory. Users interact with the watch through a combination of a touch-sensitive screen and a roller wheel. The watch also has both IR and RF wireless connectivity.

The watch is 56 milimeters wide, 48 milimeters long and 12.25 milimeters thick. It weighs about one and a half ounces and features Linux operating system 2.2.

Among the technologies IBM is developing for small pervasive devices are packaging, displays, processors, hardware encryption, low power systems, wireless protocols, user interfaces, privacy models, middleware, and applications. Other devices that could leverage these technologies include PDAs, smart identification badges, and other wearable devices.

Several benefits accrue from the use of Linux in small pervasive devices. The availability of source code and a well-understood application programming environment makes it easy for students, researchers, and software companies to add new features and develop applications.


Copyright 2000