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WT41N0

  • Object:

    Wearable Terminal

  • Place of origin:

    Long Island (designed)
    China (manufactured)

  • Date:

    2013 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Motorola Solutions (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plastic

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Symbol Technologies, Inc.

  • Museum number:

    CD.39:1 to 19-2014

  • Gallery location:

    On display in Values of Design, Design Society, Shekou, China []

The Motorola WT41N0 is a labour-saving device used by Tesco, Shoe Zone and other retailers. It is designed to increase accuracy and efficiency in warehouses. Connected to a network, the Windows-based microcomputer distributes tasks and tracks their completion. Wearing the device on the wrist or at the hip, the worker uses a finger-mounted scanner or voice-control headset to record activity. If an error is made they receive immediate feedback.

Devices such as the WT41N0 make possible a new type of work where the organisation of goods and deployment of staff is entrusted to a computerised system. Weighing less than 400g, it is ergonomically designed for prolonged use. Wearable technologies in the workplace hit headlines in February 2013 when newspapers revealed that the performance of warehouse workers was being monitored using data from devices like this one.

On 14 February 2013 The Telegraph newspaper published allegations made by a former employee at a Tesco distribution centre in Ireland. He claimed that data collected from wrist-worn devices was being used to grade staff performance, with those not meeting expectations being called before the boss. This story was the second in a week in the national press to draw attention to wearable computing devices and their impact on the work environment. On 8 February 2013, The Financial Times ran an article on working conditions at the eight Amazon warehouses located across the UK. Employees interviewed at the Rugeley site complained of the blisters developed as they strove to fulfil tasks allocated via handheld computers.

Physical description

Wearable Terminal, Motorola WT41NO Wearable Terminal with scanner and headset attachments. Rectangular electronic device with screen. The device attaches to the users arm with a strap a scanner attaches to the wearers index finger and is attached to the main device by a cable.

Place of Origin

Long Island (designed)
China (manufactured)

Date

2013 (manufactured)

Artist/maker

Motorola Solutions (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Plastic

Dimensions

Height: 9.5 cm, Width: 15 cm, Depth: 5 cm

Descriptive line

Motorola WT41NO Wearable Terminal with scanner and headset attachments, 2013

Labels and date

From Future Starts Here

WT41N0 Wearable Terminal
Motorola
2012
13
A HANDS-FREE COMPUTER THAT KEEPS TABS ON EMPLOYEES
Used by retailers such as Tesco and Amazon, this wearable micro-computer allocates tasks to warehouse workers and confirms their completion. Staff use an attached finger-mounted scanner or a voice-controlled headset to record activity, receiving immediate feedback if an error is made. While these devices may make workforces more efficient, they can also erode personal value and self-esteem by routinising every aspect of the job.
Commercially available product.
Plastic, textile and electronics
Given by Symbol Technologies, Inc.
V&A: NCOL.250-2016 [May 2018]
23.05.2014

The Motorola ‘WT41N0’ is a labour-saving device used by Tesco, Shoe Zone and other retailers. It is designed to increase accuracy and efficiency in warehouses. Connected to a network, the Windows based microcomputer distributes tasks and tracks their completion. Wearing the device on the wrist or at the hip, the worker uses a finger-mounted scanner or voice-control headset to record activity. If an error is made they receive immediate feedback. Devices such as the ‘WT41N0’ make possible a new type of work where the organisation of goods and deployment of staff is entrusted to a computerised system. Weighing less than 400g and ergonomically designed for prolonged use, this wearable technology is a reality for thousands of working people in the UK. Wearable technologies in the workplace hit headlines in February 2013 when newspapers revealed that warehouse workers were being monitored and graded on the basis of data from devices like this one.

Motorola ‘WT41N0’ wearable terminal
2013
Designed in Long Island, USA
Designed and manufactured by Motorola
Solutions, Inc.
Plastic, rubber and electronics
Given by Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Museum no. CD.39-2014 [02.07.2014]

Materials

Plastic; Electronic components

Categories

Rapid Response Collecting; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Design, Architecture and Digital Department

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