Tough Competition: How Rugged Computing Is Growing with the Rest of the Laptop Market - Page 5

Other Rugged Offerings

Geared toward the health care industry-with its nurse-white looks-Panasonic calls its Toughbook H1 a mobile clinical assistant.

The rugged H1 has a shock-mounted 80GB hard drive and a 10.4-inch display with both touch-screen and tablet digitizer input. It weighs 3.4 pounds, has an integrated handle for easy carrying, and comes standard with an RFID reader, 2-megapixel camera, full-resolution fingerprint reader and a contactless smartcard reader.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Qualcomm's Gobi technology for global 3G mobile Internet access, and the H1 runs on a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Processor Z540.

And finally the most format-challenging of the rugged offerings we've seen lately is the Adapx Capturx for ArcGIS, a rugged pen-and-software solution that's perhaps best explained through its recent deployment by the Santa Barbara, Calif., fire department.

When fighting fires, conditions change quickly, and communication between field crews, helicopters and incident command posts is essential for strategizing and creating "incident action plans." Looking at large geographic areas, the Santa Barbara crew has always found paper maps easy to use, but the paper-based information was difficult to communicate in real time, as well as during post-fire surveys.

With the Adapx Capturx for ArcGIS solution, the department now creates field maps with Capturx software, which, when printed-with normal office paper and ink-include a barely noticeable digital watermark.

In the field, firefighters use a rugged Adapx digital pen-which can write on a number of surfaces in poor conditions and is said to feel like a ballpoint-to write on the maps as usual.

With each ink stroke, however, the data is digitized; each mark on the paper map creates a new feature or annotation that is geospatially referenced and added to the shared ArcGIS geodatabase once the pen is docked through the USB port of a laptop. The data can also be sent directly to Microsoft Office applications and Autodesk.

Even if the map is destroyed or lost, the fire fighter's notes or directions have been saved and can be reproduced. Special weather-resistant notebooks from Rite in the Rain can also be used with the pen and software.

The Adapx pen can hold approximately 55 pages of data, front and back. The OneNote pen retails for $349, and the ArcGIS solution is $1,495.