AT&T stores to trial Microsoft ‘Surface’

April 7, 2008

According to aka.tv, full scale trials of Microsoft’s Surface interative table top are about to begin in the ‘States. This is a significant landmark in the development of gesture-based interfaces, and something we are sure to be seeing a lot more of in the next few years. Products like Surface allow technology to become much more user-transparent, and therefore much more accessible. The combination of Surface and mobile phones is an excellent example of how this can work in practice.

AT&T Stores in 5 locations across the US, will be the first to install the new Microsoft touch-screen interactive 30″ tabletop display – ‘Surface’ – on 17th April.

Customers will be able to place one of eight handsets on the display, and the computer will immediately recognize the phone and present information on the device. Placing another phone on Surface will allow users to trigger side-by-side cost and feature comparisons of the handsets.

As well as general media on the phones, AT&T is touting the ability for customers to view an interactive network coverage map. By using two fingers to pinch or expand the map, users can zero in on their homes, offices and schools to ensure AT&T provides them with good cellular coverage. In the near future, AT&T plans to allow users to customize their phones through Surface by dragging icons of ring tones, graphics and videos over to their handset.

The roll out will then continue through May – and should eventually reach all 2,000 outlets.


Japanese team opens the way for printed flat panel displays

March 27, 2008

Flat-panel computer displays could be manufactured quickly and cheaply using novel inkjet printing equipment demonstrated by Japanese scientists.

The technique has already been used to produce the delicate wiring and tiny components needed for flexible screens. The new inkjet head is able to produce drops 1,000 times smaller than standard printers, according to the researchers. Writing in the journal PNAS, the team say the technique also improves the performance of printed circuits. “The present work demonstrates the feasibility of employing inkjet technology… for electronic device applications,” the University of Tokyo team write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This technique can be applied for patterning high-purity electrically functional materials without preparing original patterning masks,” the researchers write. They were able to create finer details by applying a high voltage to the print head, causing drops in the inkjet to explode into one micron droplets. Using ink made of silver nanoparticles held in a solvent, the researchers printed continuous lines two microns wide and components just one micron across. Although these are large by current microprocessor standards – which can have features measured in nanometres (billionths of a metre) – the researchers believe it is good enough for use in TFT screens.

From InAVate Magazine


GE demonstrates OLEDs manufactured by roll-to-roll process

March 18, 2008
A manufacturing process similar to that used for newspaper printing could eventually result in low-cost, commercially viable OLED lighting.

GE Global Research has demonstrated what it claims to be the world’s first roll-to-roll manufactured OLED lighting devices.GE described the demonstration as a key step toward making OLEDs and other high performance organic electronics products at dramatically lower costs than what is possible today. “Researchers have long dreamed of making OLEDs using a newspaper-printing like roll-to-roll process,” said Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s Advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics.

“Now we’ve shown that it is possible. Commercial applications in lighting require low manufacturing costs, and this demonstration is a major milestone on our way to developing low cost OLED lighting devices.”

OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They represent the next evolution in lighting products. Their widespread design capabilities will provide an entirely different way for people to light their homes or businesses. Moreover, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today with less electrical power.

Duggal continued, “Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.”

“For businesses, architects, lighting designers and anyone interested in pushing the envelope to achieve increasingly energy-efficient lighting — and vastly expanded lighting design capabilities — today marks the day that viable, commercialized OLED lighting solutions are coming into view,” said Michael Petras, GE Consumer & Industrial’s Vice President of Electrical Distribution and Lighting.

“We have more work to do before we can give customers access to GE-quality OLED solutions, but it’s now easier to envision OLEDs becoming another high-efficiency GE offering, like LEDs, fluorescent or halogen.”

 From LEDs Magazine


Interactive multi-touch displays point the way to the future

March 11, 2008

We’ve written before on Talkback about new kinds of HMIs which may well change the way we interact with technology in the future. Previously, we’ve blogged about LucidTouch, a system developed jointly by Mitsubishi Electric and Microsoft.  Another very interesting technology being worked on at the moment by Microsoft is called Touchlight. Like LucidTouch, Touchlight acts as a multi-point touch interface allowing sophisticated and intuitive manipulation of on-screen data. However its underlying technology is fundementally different, allowing it to go well beyond what LucidTouch can do. If you’ve ever seen Minority Report, you’ll have a pretty good idea about how this technology can be employed. It’s still early days, but it is – for the want of a better word – a very cool technology.

TouchLight is comprised of an imaging touch screen and holographic projection surface, and uses a stereo pair of video cameras to allow it to interpret gesture-based interaction.[1] Developed by Microsoft Research employee Andrew D. Wilson, Touchlight was first announced in 2005, and since 2006 has been licensed to Eon Reality. [3]

The TouchLight system can both record input from its video cameras and project data simultaneously. Its 3D capabilities allow it to be used as intuitively as a mirror – holding an object like a document close to the screen surface allows a high-resolution image to be captured, which can then be directly manipulated on the same screen. See it in action here  The screen also has a built-in microphone which can detect the user tapping on the surface, thus allowing “click” type interactions through the same interface.

It’s still early days for Touchlight, but some interesting applications have already been mooted, such as in telepresence systems. Virtual meetings which allow delegates to not only see and here each other in psuedo 3D, but swap documents and virtual objects in real time would be just about the coolest technology imaginable. This is one technology that we’ll be following closely.


Hyundai Motor applies in-car dual display monitor to Grandeur

February 26, 2008

Hyundai announce dual-view dashboard LCD monitor

Hyundai Motor announced that it completed the development of its in-dash dual LCD monitor which can display two different pictures simultaneously based on one the viewer angle. This means the driver can see the navigation while at the same time the passenger watches a DVD movie. According to the company, the newly developed monitor will be applied to Grandeur.

By Grace Won 2008-02-20
Via AVING


Sony invests in OLEDs, sees Blu-ray prevail

February 22, 2008
Sony is to invest more than $200 million to develop OLED displays, while nitride-based laser production could get a boost from Blu-ray’s success against HD-DVD.
Sony Corporation has unveiled plans to invest approximately 22 billion yen (about $203 million) to strengthen middle and large size OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panel production technology. With this investment, Sony says it intends to accelerate the shift to middle and large size, high-image-quality OLED panels.Sony began researching OLED technology in 1994, and has since positioned OLED as a future next-generation display technology. In December 2007, Sony launched the world’s first OLED TV, “XEL-1” in Japan, incorporating Sony’s proprietary “Organic Panel” to realize extreme thinness and superb image quality through a high contrast ratio, high peak brightness, accurate color reproduction and rapid response time (see Sony begins selling world’s first OLED TV).

In order to advance the shift towards middle and large size, high image quality OLED panels, Sony has decided to invest from the second half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009 towards the further development of production technologies.

Sony will reinforce its TFT (thin film transistor) and EL (electroluminescent) layer coating processing facilities at Sony Mobile Display Corporation’s Higashiura factory, and plans to implement this production technology during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

Sony says that it plans to continue to advance the development of OLED panels, positioning the OLED panel as a new device capable of expanding the future potential of televisions and other AV products.

A recent report from Frost & Sullivan estimated that the OLED display market earned revenues of $475.0 million in 2006, and that this will increase to $1.4 billion in 2013.

Blu-ray prevails in DVD format war

Sony’s Blu-ray Disc high-definition format has finally prevailed as the replacement for DVD after Toshiba announced that it would discontinue production of rival HD-DVD products.

Both formats use violet semiconductor lasers manufactured using the same indium gallium nitride (InGaN) material system that is used to make blue, green and white (phosphor-converted) LEDs.

Violet lasers were developed by Nichia, the world’s largest LED maker. However, most of the lasers used by Sony in its Blu-ray players, including the PlayStation 3 games console, are manufactured by Sony, which has a licensing agreement with Nichia.

From LEDs Magazine


CES NEWS: Mitsubishi goes for lasers in the big-screen race

January 26, 2008

Jan 08, 2008

mitsu laser 2006 scaled 

Having already shown concept models of its laser TVs (left) at an earlier CES, Mitsubishi came to this year’s show with working versions, designed to show the superiority of the technology for large screens.

The company is claiming the system gives ‘as much as twice as much colour’ as conventional HD TVs, along with ‘ the most clarity and depth of field.’

Mitsubishi claims that current HD TVs display less than 40% of the colour spectrum the eye can see, but the precise focus and purity of laser illumination doubles that figure. What’s more, the TVs do this while reducing power consumption, as they are more efficient than similarly-sized conventional flatscreen TVs.

Also on display by Mitsubishi was 3D TV, which the company sees as the next big step for home entertainment. Using a 73in 1080P DLP Diamond Series rear projection model, the company partnered with 3D content provider REAL D to make its case.

The claim is that only DLP sets such as this are capable of displaying this 3D material, thanks to their superior response times, unmatched by plasma or LCD rivals.

All the Diamond Series 1080P DLP models are 3D-Ready, and the company expects there to be over a million 3D-Ready HD TVs in use in the States before the end of this year.

From What Hifi Sound & Vision


Plasma breaks 150″ – But to what end?

January 26, 2008

09 January 2008 19:12

As reported in AV Interactive, Panasonic has shown a 150in diagonal plasma screen at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The massive plasma display panel (PDP) reportedly has an 8.84m pixel resolution (2,160 x 4,096) more than four times the 1080p HD specification (1,080 x 1,920). The screen size is equivalent to nine 50in PDPs with an effective viewing area of 11 ft  wide x 6.25ft high.

 

Impressive – certainly. But it’s rather intriguing what market Panasonic are shooting at with this beast. For sure the resolution and clarity would be impressive, but it’s not bright enough for retail environments like a shop window, for example. Being plasma, it’s also not suitable for C3i or control room applications involving the long term dislay of static graphics. Rental? That glass sure looks heavy and fragile – not to mention awkward to move around. Corporate display or boardrooms might be a possibility, but perhaps not the most economical option in terms of capital and running costs.

 

Mitsubishi Electric’s new LED-based Resolia looks to be a more carefully thought-out solution to large-format, high resolution displays. Designed for long term operation in very high ambient light environments, what Resolia lacks in resolution compared to Panasonic’s 150″, it more than makes up for in contrast, longevity and low cost of ownership

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Blu-Ray: Plenty of Thunder & Lightning, No Rainmaker

January 26, 2008
By Bob SnyderWarner Bros. says its will back Sony’s format for storing high def movies and gave the Blu-Ray camp the urge to declare HD DVD “beaten.”

“We’ve heard that before,” insisted executives from HD DVD. But it was scary when they cancelled their own CES press conference because it followed too close on the heels of the Warner announcement. If Blu-Ray wins (or HD DVD, for that matter), the question will not be whether or not one group or another had another more thunder or lightning. The real question is whether either camp could ever be a Rainmaker.

With Apple, Amazon, NetFlix, Cisco, Microsoft and others push downloadable content, with cable and phone companies flogging on-demand, all day/all night HD, with I.T. companies pushing on-line storage and new form factors, the DVD business is looking as promising as the last Dodo bird. JVC, for one example, showed a flat-screenTV at CES that allows users to simply insert an iPod to watch video content. So any slim media player can become an alternative to digital video discs. And Denon, for another example, is building iPod docks into its AVRs like Altec, third example, is doing for loudspeakers. Content is going to jump full-blown into on-line delivery. Any and every device with an IP connection will be content-ready.

Now we’ve often talked a lot to AV integrators about “content’ and how they must get into “content.” Much of the time, we get dull, flat looks. The same look you’d get from a desert nomad when you tell him the future is “fish.” And who can blame them? How do you get your head around the cloud, the cumulus of cognition that’s content?

The opportunity, as we see it, is for integrators to understand the new world of content and how it can be streamed, downloaded and re-formatted across networks and devices. The next gen integrator will show customers what content is available and access to that content can improve their business, their organization.  We will be the Sherpa leading organizations up the Everest of content, their guide to finding new Managed Service Providers (yes, even software becomes content in the New World), and their trailblazer to profitable paths of Web 2.0 (and 3.0) opportunities.

In the Old World, we showed companies and organizations how to hook up Audio and Video.  In the New World, we’ll be compelled to help them to throw away DVDs.


World’s Tallest Elevator Tower

January 3, 2008

Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has opened what it says is the world’s tallest elevator testing tower. The 173m-high (567ft) structure is called Solae and dominates the skyline of Inazawa City. The company says it will use the tower to conduct research into high-speed elevators to serve the next generation of super-tall buildings.

Mitsubishi’s 5bn-yen ($50m) investment will allow it to test new drives, gears, cables and other lift systems. Super-tall buildings have become vogue again in recent years. The world’s current tallest building, the Taipei 101 (508m; 1,666ft), will soon be dwarfed by towers in cities such as Dubai, Shanghai, Moscow and Chicago. Even the traditionally low-rise London is going upwards. At London Bridge station, developers are pressing ahead with the “Shard”, which at 310m (1,017ft) will be Europe’s tallest skyscraper.

The Taipei 101 lifts – built by Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems – have a top speed of 17m/s (61km/h; 38mph) and are recognised as the fastest in the world. They incorporate a pressure control system that stops riders’ ears from “popping”, and streamlined cars that reduce the whistling noise that blights some fast lifts as they are pulled through narrow shafts.