Local company to receive grant for wearable supercomputer

Device would be used for military, other purposes

POSTED AT 10:26 PM ON Dec. 10, 2008 


A Bloomington-based company, MNB Technologies Inc., is in the process of developing a supercomputer with the capacity of 10 to 12 desktop computers in a gadget the size of a notebook.

The company announced that the Department of Defense has awarded them an $85,000 grant to further its development of the wearable supercomputer.

The wireless computer is strapped to a soldier’s belt and is viewed through a high-definition, head-mounted monitor that looks like a tennis visor.

“We have a head-mounted display, HMD, when wearing it gives you the same feeling as if you are sitting six feet away from a 54-inch monitor,” said Nick Granny of MNB Technologies.

The grant awarded to the company will allow them to reduce the size and weight of the device to that of a common paperback book.

“We are shipping the first prototypes to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, at the end of this month,” Granny said.

The supercomputer device is not restricted to use in military operations. The device has the potential to come in handy in industries such as agriculture, air traffic control and disaster management. It can be used wherever portable high-performance computing has the potential to increase quality and efficiency.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program helped MNB secure the federal funding. The Bloomington technology company is one of 120 companies from which the IEDC has assisted in securing federal funding.

It is an effort by 11 federal agencies to accelerate the development of high-tech products for use by government and consumers around the world.

The company providing the software for the supercomputer is an Orlando-based company, Cole Engineering Services, Inc. John Stevens, chief technology officer at Cole Engineering, said in an e-mail that the company is producing software and is helping create the final packaging for the device that will include the MNB supercomputer.

Stevens said the software is not scheduled for completion until 2010.


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