Intel notes that the versatility of the SwitchBack-PC is nearly “boundless,” and the modularity of the Black Diamond solution creates a lot of optionsvfor the design of the chopper. “Instead of a computerized dashboard affixed permanently to the bike we can use the BackPack technology to make it portable,” explains Intel’s Reed. “So theSwitchBack-PC not only controls and monitors the chopper, and integrates with its electronic subsystems, but it also functions as an Ultra Mobile PC, allowing the user to surf the Internet, do email, write reports, and so forth. You can snap it off and take it with you, preventing any unauthorized person from operating the vehicle.”
But it’s not just a snap-on PC either. “Everything on the bike is integrated with the computing system, and vice versa,” explains Justin Dyster, president of Black Diamond. What that means is that the ignition system is controlled by fingerprint recognition software. The sunlight viewable digital dashboard displays all of the traditional vehicle indicators like speedometer, tachometer, fuel and oil gauges, battery life, and turn signals. Black Diamond used StreetDeck* infotainment software to integrate audio and video applications like GPS navigation, Wi-Fi connectivity for quick updates on traffic and web-surfing, and touch-screen access to the radio and MP3 files, all of which are also integrated with the handlebars and headset in the helmet. Rear-mounted USB cameras replace standard rear-view mirrors to display rear-view images on the digital dashboard. This “dashboard” is also a fully functional PC, complete with QWERTY keyboard that can be disconnected from the vehicle and taken with you, to create, edit and view presentations, spreadsheets, do email, and so forth.
Dyster also notes that the SwitchBack-PC used on the Intel Chopper is just like the off-the-shelf version that Black Diamond makes for other applications, with a few minor differences. “We used a custom paint scheme, and we increased the performance of the SwitchBack with the new Intel® Core™ Duo processor to allow for more features.” Battery life of the SwitchBack-PC has been extended in several ways. Besides the engineering efficiencies that give the device a long battery life to begin with, hot swap capabilities allows the user to replace the battery on the go. Plus, the SwitchBack-PC battery will be recharged while the bike is operating. So the user will always start with a fully charged battery when the UMPC is detached from the vehicle.
Updated 09-17-2009 at 03:14 PM by ecog