Computers toughen up

Written by: mf | Published:

Modern laptops and PDAs may be performance heavyweights but threaten them with any form of physical 'abuse' and they become glass-jawed weaklings

Problem: Modern laptops and PDAs may be heavyweights when it comes to performance but threaten them with any form of physical abuse, such as dropping them, and they become glass-jawed weaklings. Laptops are the most vulnerable and, depending on how they land, some damage can usually be expected.

Solution: Scottish company, Diagnostic Instruments , has designed a computer terminal with and on behalf of Siemens, which can survive repeated drops onto a hard surface from a height of 2m – regardless of orientation.
The Mobic T8, described as a 'mobile industrial communicator', is a full-blown computer, with a 168MHz NEC 64-bit MIPS VR4121 processor, 32MB of Flash memory, 48MB of RAM and an 8.4in SVGA LCD screen.
Ruggedness is achieved by armouring the two ends with elastomer and mounting the screen and lamp in a cradle on four elastomeric mounts. The case, made of Bayer 'Bayblend' FR90 PC/ABS, can also take its fair share of knocks. One of the cunning aspects of the design is that the cradle is able to move up to 5mm to absorb impact shocks, but manages to do so without compromising the IP65 environmental protection. The Windows CE 3.00 OS negates the need for a shock-sensitive hard drive.

Applications: The device can communicate via an RJ45 Ethernet socket, an irDA (infrared) interface or RS232 port. It can also be fitted with PCMCIA wireless LAN, LAN, WAN, GSM or GPRS cards. Potential markets include: garages, for MOT tests; industrial automation; warehouses; defence; servicing and maintenance; the police and fire brigade; safety; and the construction industry. Prices start from £2,250. It would be nice if all electronic handhelds and laptops were as rugged as this. TS
To e-mail Siemens click here.

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