Wireless Handheld Computers: The Next Generation in Industrial Computing

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Dr. Greg Wolffe, wolffe@gvsu.edu

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In the past, when portable computing solutions were needed, companies were forced to invest significant resources in order to develop a custom platform. This has recently changed with the introduction of the handheld computer.

The goal of this project was to prove that handheld computers are capable of providing a portable computing solution for industry. This was accomplished in four phases. In the first phase, comprehensive research was performed on the available hardware and operating systems to select a platform. The second phase consisted of configuring the hardware and learning the software tools. Once this was complete, applications were written to benchmark the processing power, screen update rates, and the TCP/IP communication performance. Finally, after validating the capabilities, a remote pendant application was developed and integrated into an industrial machine. This project demonstrated that handhelds can execute a substantial array of software and are capable of becoming the next generation of industrial computers.

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