SwitchBack – Rugged Ultra Mobile PC

SwitchBack – Rugged Ultra Mobile PC
The U.S. Company Roper Mobile Technology recently introduced its flagship product – the most powerful version of the SwitchBack PC. The SwitchBack is a Windows XP-based PC that meets strict military specifications as it is capable of operating in extreme conditions including rain, high temperatures, and shock. Its BackPack technology that attaches onto the SwitchBack allows one to incorporate many devices into one BackPack, including cameras and biometric sensors providing a highly resistant, ultra mobile personal computer.

Roper Mobile Technology, located in Tempe, Arizona, designs rugged mobile computing solutions for challenging environments. Roper’s SwitchBack PC is equipped with a condensed QWERTY keyboard, removable hard drive, customizable BackPack technology, hot swappable battery and a 1024×600 WSVGA display with a stylus equipped passive touch screen. In addition to the standard wireless capabilities (WIFI b/g and Bluetooth 2.0), this PC has a status & control feature through which remote diagnostics for automatic troubleshooting are made possible. It controls important PC functions such as power consumption, input and output shortages, temperature fluctuation and more.

The SwitchBack PC is powered by Microsoft Windows XP and utilizes a 1.0 GHz Intel Celeron M processor (or a stronger 1.6GHz Core Duo), 2GB of 400 MHz DDR2, has up to 120GB of optional storage space and an integrated (civilian) GPS. It is fully rugged as it is encased in magnesium housing reinforced with rubber isolators and shock-mounted electronics. The computer is even designed to withstand 30 minutes of immersion in up to 1 meter of water.

By attaching a small accessory called BackPack to the back of the SwitchBack computer many add-ons can be incorporated, including a digital camera, a Barcode or RFID biometric scanner, an external graphics card, high definition audio devices and various custom communications devices for military  or other applications. The standard BackPack includes type II PCMCIA, one USB 2.0 Port, a serial port, a VGA output, and audio line in and out.

Creating a rugged ultra mobile PC (UMPC) comes at a cost, and the SwitchBack isn’t exactly a thin and light device- it measures 7.5″x5.5″x2″ (19 cm x 14 cm x 5 cm) and weighs a relatively hefty 3 lbs/1.3kg (by UMPC standards).  

TFOT recently covered a new type of briefcase-like laptop with dual 15′ XGA touch screens. TFOT also reported on a bulletproof USB flash drive constructed with double layers of sealed protective metal. The metal is designed to  protect the flash drive from circuit damage caused by water and fire, and even shielding it from the impact of a bullet, making i-Disk BulletProof the most rugged USB flash drive in the world.

More information on the SwitchBack can be found at Roper Mobile Technology’s website.

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About the author

Noa Rotkop

Noa has a B.A. in Philosophy from Tel-Aviv University and is currently completing her degree in Arts. She has also applied for MA studies in Philosophy, which she plans to begin next year.

View all articles by Noa Rotkop