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An expanded Web version of segments seen on CNN

Wireless technology moves beyond the jet set

Nokia 9000
The Nokia 9000 is a wireless phone that can send and get faxes and e-mail, and access the Internet  
February 27, 1998
Web posted at: 12:50 p.m. EST (1750 GMT)

From Correspondent Marsha Walton

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The world of wireless communications, once restricted to car phones for roadside emergencies and pagers and laptop computers for the executive set, is quickly adapting new technologies to suit the needs of everyone from business colleagues to children waiting for their school bus.

As shown at an industry exposition in Atlanta, convenience is paramount, and one of the biggest changes has been to combine communications gadgets to provide that ease of use.

Full report as seen on CNN
icon VXtreme streaming video (2:15)

The Nokia 9000, for example, is a wireless phone that can also send and receive faxes and e-mail, and can access the Internet at your spoken command.

"It's not your father's car phone anymore," said Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, which sponsored the trade show. icon 170K/15 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

'Serengeti' quenches thirst for communications

General Magic's "Serengeti," due on the market later this year, is another multi-use tool -- a voice-controlled virtual personal assistant that lets users access their computers from any phone.

It can read voice- or e-mails, look up a phone number or address and check an appointment on a (computerized) calendar.

Serengeti also can screen calls. That gives you the option of receiving messages from your boss or your spouse immediately, while putting other messages on hold until you want them.

School bus
A new technique called "cellemetry" tracks school buses and lets parents and children know if a bus is on time  

Keeping an eye on your kids' affairs

Not everything at the exhibition was geared to business. One item is designed to help keep your children safe.

Millions of kids stand outside in all types of weather waiting for the school bus, never knowing whether it will be early, on time or late. Cellular telemetry, or "cellemetry," developed by BellSouth, can track buses to the second, making students' waits a thing of the past.

As Carol Kennemore of BellSouth Cellemetry Data Service explained, a stripped-down cellular phone is the crux in communications between the cellemetry device and students' homes.

Hear a computer give voice messages
icon 111K/10 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Global Research Systems representative Gena Payne says the device calls students' homes every morning to tell them when the bus is nearby. icon 102K/8 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

The system is being tested in often-frigid Bemidji, Minnesota, where school officials say, overall, it is working well.

Wireless cursor control
An eye-recognition system using infrared-light beams lets your eyes control the cursor on a computer screen  

The eyes move it

Wireless technology can also mean "hands-free."

The eye-recognition system Erica, developed by Tom Hutchinson at the University of Virginia, is one example. It uses an infrared-light beam to track eye movement; the eyes then control the cursor on a computer screen.

Erica is attached to Windows 95, making many new tasks accessible to the disabled. It can also recall frequently used words to reduce the amount of typing.


Tom Hutchinson describes Erica
video icon 629K/17 sec./160x120
QuickTime movie

And its "eye-gaze" technology also can be used by advertisers to see where a viewer's eye really goes when watching a TV commercial or scanning a Web site.

Up next on the drawing board: a wireless phone that will work anywhere in the world, whether you are in South America or Switzerland.


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