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New Year Special Features '99

  • Casio Computer Develops GPS Navigation Wristwatch
  • January 13, 1999 (TOKYO) -- Casio Computer Co., Ltd. said that it has developed a wristwatch with a built-in global positioning system (GPS) navigation-assist function.
    Other portable GPS devices are available, but Casio's new product is the world's first to be incorporated into a watch.

    Casio will launch the product around July as a new model in the company's range of multi-function PRO TREK watches designed for outdoor enthusiasts. It is likely to be priced around 60,000 yen (US$540).

    The prototype model runs on a single lithium battery (CR2). The battery can be used for more than 600 GPS readings, or for 10 hours if the watch is set to automatically take readings at one minute intervals.

    Casio said the GPS readings are based on signals the watch picks up from satellites. Signals are received from a maximum of eight and a minimum of three satellites for each reading. At least four seconds is needed for the user's location to appear on the display from the time the signals are picked up.

    The device shows the wearer's exact longitude and latitude, in degrees, minutes and seconds. In addition, if coordinates for a destination are input in advance, it can graphically display the direction and remaining distance from the current location. The GPS readings are accurate to within a 30m radius, Casio said.

    Also, the watch is equipped with a memory capacity so that as many as 200 individual readings can be stored. And it can record 100 sequences of related positions, the company said. The latter of the memory options will be useful for hikers, mountaineers and others who seek to maintain a record of the route they have taken. The watch will even allow them to display the route graphically on the LCD screen, which is fitted with an electro luminescence backlight.

    The watch weighs 148g, including the battery, and it measures 65mm by 66mm by 29mm, without the wrist strap. The time it displays is automatically adjusted based on time signals transmitted from the GPS satellites.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Tue Jan 12 17:19:05 1999 PDT