The MIT Whole-Body Sensor Suit

November 29, 2007

In collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, MIT has produced a new kind of suit that can capture the motions of your entire body — and you don’t need a studio or lab environment to use it. It even works for people driving or playing ping-pong. A New Scientist article discusses the suit, explaining how it uses ultra-sonic beeps, gyroscopes and accelerometers:

Several sensors measuring about 2.5 centimetres on each side are attached to a person’s legs and arms. The sensors detect movement in two different ways: accelerometers and gyroscopes measure motion, but ultrasonic beeps are also emitted.

Tiny microphones mounted on the torso pick up these beeps, allowing a laptop computer, carried in a backpack, to calculate the distance to the sensor. The system is similar to, albeit much simpler than, bats’ ultrasonic echolocation, and together with the motion sensors provides a more accurate overall picture of body movement. The small backpack also holds the batteries that power the system.

Originally designed to allow MIT students to give Clippy a virtual beating, the system could be utilized for various purposes. A New Scientist article mentions the potential for making animated movies more realistic and help doctors analyze movements of patients undergoing physical therapy.

This is awesome. Is there anything more to this? Yes. The price. The NS article quotes Rolf Adelsberger from ETH on that: The suit was made from off-the-shelf components and is much cheaper than similar systems used in the past. Currently, it costs about $3,000 — but Adelsberger imagines that the price could go down to a few hundred dollars if mass-produced.



New company promises event organisers more bang for their buck

November 2, 2007

Event organisers are “Missing out on significant revenue opportunities through ineffective media management”, claims the founder of a new business that aims to put live event organisers firmly in charge of their valuable media assets.

The new company, Event Integration, is the brainchild of Christopher Milnes, former Managing Director of big-screen specialists Massteknik UK and well-known personality within the European event production industry. Event Integration combines hardware and media content management into a truly integrated solution that allows organisers to make the most of the wide range of revenue opportunities that now exist through concerts, festivals, sporting fixtures and public gatherings.

“What we are trying to achieve,” explains Christopher, “Is the bringing together of all the disparate elements of a major event to ensure that the event producer has the opportunity to derive maximum value from their brand. An integrated approach which encompasses the whole event – from design to  rights management and out-of-home advertising – is massively important in fully developing the commercial aspects of an event.” With technology moving rapidly, Christopher warns that some producers are missing out: “Organisers sometimes fail to grasp the potential that exists today, meaning that opportunities often remain significantly underexploited.”   

The key to Event Integration’s approach is its ability to manage both the hardware and media aspects of an event. Christopher continues, “We provide the delivery infrastructure, such as LED screens and OB facilities, as well as collateral equipment such as plasma screens in hospitality areas; but we also provide and manage the media content. Having both elements under the management of a single entity means that it is far easier to leverage the value of this content. For example, in the short term such as onward transmission to live TV, or in the longer term, such recording and offline editing for later release.” Event Integration also provides the means to capitalise on the value of an event’s media delivery channels through sponsorship, DVD sell-through and even e-commerce. “With 3G services now widely available”, comments Christopher, “An event’s video screens can effectively become point-of-purchase advertising for music or video downloads. With the technology available to us on-site, we now have the capability to produce, market and deliver media content virtually in real time through webcasts and download. For an organiser or event sponsor, that’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool to have at their disposal.”

Event Integration began trading in the Summer and has already been in action in Europe and the Middle East. “The response from clients to our combination of on-site media management and event hire services has been extremely positive,” says Christopher. “Clients have been quick to realise the kind of value that we can add to their event. We expect next year is going to be rather busy!”

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Manufacturing show extends opening hours by popular request

November 2, 2007

The most popular regional industrial event in the UK makes an eagerly-awaited return to the Emerald Isle next week as the doors open on an expanded Manufacturing Technology Ireland show. The unprecedented popularity of last year’s event has prompted the organisers, European Trade & Exhibition Services (ETES), to extend both the hall and the show’s opening hours.

On the first day of Manufacturing Technology Ireland (Wednesday 7th November) opening times at the National Show Centre (NSC), Dublin will be extended until 6.00 pm.  On Thursday the show will close at 4.30 pm, as usual. As with all ETES Regional Industrial Exhibitions, tickets to the show and the extensive seminar programmes are free.   

Last year’s inaugural MTI show was the largest manufacturing exhibition and conference ever staged in Ireland, completely filling the NSC, next to DublinAirport. For this year’s event, the organisers have expanded the exhibition area with the addition of a purpose-built temporary building flown in from the Netherlands especially for the event. This will be fully integrated with the existing hall to make a single, complete venue able to accommodate the 300 plus exhibitors expected.

The extra space has enabled ETES to create focus areas, designed to be of special interest to Ireland’s thriving Pharma-bio, Medical, and Food & Drink industries, which together accounted for over 35% of last year’s visitors to the show. The new Processing, Packaging and Logistics (PPL) pavilion will showcase materials handling systems, stainless steel products, control technology, packaging and labelling solutions.

The ability to tailor events to the specific needs of local industry is one of the most powerful aspects of ETES’s regional industrial exhibitions. This geographic focus on specific business areas will be seen again at the next and biggest event in the ETES calendar, the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Show (February 6th-7th 2008, FarnboroughInternationalAirport). A new event running alongside the Southern Manufacturing show – Auto Aero 08  – will focus exclusively on the needs of specialist aerospace and automotive engineering enterprises, many of which are located in the South and along the M4 corridor.   

Details of all ETES regional industrial exhibitions, including online registration and reservation places on any of the free industrial seminars, can be found at

Mitsubishi Electric previews latest LED technology in Japan

November 2, 2007

Mitsubishi Electric has previewed production prototypes of its latest LED display at the CEATEC technology show in Japan. Named Resolia, the new system is the first Mitsubishi LED display designed specifically for indoor digital signage applications. Despite a display size measuring an impressive 1.8m tall by 3.1m wide (140” screen diagonal), the Resolia is just 150mm deep, making it the slimmest LED screen ever produced by Mitsubishi. The ultra-thin profile of Resolia enables its use in places until now considered impractical for LED systems.

The use of digital signage is growing rapidly around the world. Due to its high light output, LED is an extremely effective display technology in applications such as railway stations, airports, shopping malls and atriums where high ambient light levels are common. However its relatively large form factor, weight and space requirement for cooling and maintenance has so far limited its appeal in many situations where it would otherwise provide the ideal solution. Applications such as shop windows or display cases, for example. Along with the physical problems of module size and weight, indoor LED screens are usually assembled in-situ from smaller individual LED modules, the fitting and aligning of which is a labour-intensive and time-consuming task.

Despite being based on Mitsubishi’s tried-and-tested LED technology, Resolia has been designed from the ground up as a pure-bred digital signage solution that is practical, easy and quick to install in virtually any location. Through careful redesign on the internal layout and improved cooling systems, the depth of the Resolia display has been reduced to 150mm – half the depth of Mitsubishi’s existing IDT series screens. Resolia is also completely front access, meaning it can be installed flush against an area boundary or wall, greatly reducing the space required. Finally, its integrated screen design means that installation is simply a matter of connecting signal and power cables. No further LED module alignment is needed.

The display specifications of Resolia are identical to Mitsubishi’s highly successful IDT4 Diamond Vision system: True 4.00mm pixel pitch, 3-in-1 LEDs deliver 1500cd/m² light output  and startlingly clear image quality. Resolia employs the same “Black Package” LEDs as used in the  IDT4 screens to deliver exceptional contrast performance and perfect noise-free blacks. Clever design ensures viewing angles of 120º vertical and 150º horizontal, with no colour distortion even when viewed off-axis. A pixel density of 62,500 pixels/m² reduces minimum viewing distance is just 1m, making Resolia ideal for close-viewed applications such as shop displays. Its exceptionally slim, front access design and relatively low weight makes Resolia a very practical solution for most retail and public environments.

Resolia enters full production on November 1st and will be launched officially in Europe at ISE 2008 in January. Pre-production preview models will be on show at SATIS in Paris (October 23-25),  Broadcast in Madrid (November 6-9), at ISE Russia (November 8-9) and SoccerEx 07 at the Sandton Centre in South Africa (November 25-28).