The Xybernaut Corporation, of Fairfax, Virginia, has announced that it will be providing mobile wearable computing systems for a future conquest of Mars.
The company's kit will be field tested as part of the 2001 Haughton-Mars Project (HMP). The NASA and SETI funded project is intended to test men and machines in conditions which closely match those of the red planet.
Scientists have chosen a location for the trials largely devoid of atmosphere or intelligent life - Canada. Devon Island - the world's largest uninhabited island - will host an invasion of boffins and starship troopers later this month. The expedition will focus on the island's Haughton impact crater. According to NASA: "The rocky polar desert setting, geologic features and biological attributes of the site offer unique insights into the evolution of Mars, the effects of [meteor] impacts on Earth, and the possibilities of life in extreme environments."
Xybernaut equipment "will help the proto-Mars explorers of the HMP learn to use hands-free computing environments in exploration field work, and will be used as processing nodes for the delivery of video and high resolution imaging from the field site to remote operations centers. Xybernaut's video capability will also be used for two-way conferencing and audio conferencing between remote field parties. Researchers will also test ways to integrate the 'Mobile Assistant' into several prototype `Mars suits' built by Hamilton-Sundstrand, the makers of spacesuits for NASA."
Dr. Pascall Lee, HMP project scientist states: "Xybernaut equipment will help pioneer human exploration of Mars. We need relatively high processor speed and memory, which the Xybernaut devices have. Wearable computers may be the future not only for Mars expeditions, but for many future space missions."