Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pansonic shows 150in plasma screen

It's the Consumer Electronics Show again, and this year Panasonic is pushing the size of its HD plasma screen to 150inches! It is also likely to be selling fro roughly the same price (£50,000) as last year's 103in version. But this is going to need some high class content, or be viewed from quite a long way away!
video

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fuel cells and virtual network computing show polar bears

Photo: © R & C Buchanan
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) embedded technology from a company in Cambridge has been used to control and maintain a network of remote cameras in Canada to track the movement and behaviour of polar bears.
The project used an IP-based network system of digital microwave links to transmit images across the tundra from Cape Churchill cameras to the remote town of Churchill, which was in turn connected to the control centre in Alaska via the Internet. The work also involved a Tundra Buggy that fed live Polar Bear Cam streaming video through a 45MB wireless link to the town of Churchill and then to the National Geographic website.
The system was set up by SeeMore Wildlife Systems that specializes in remote wildlife monitoring solutions, to help researchers from Polar Bears International researchers from the University of Florida to film the dwindling number of polar bears as they prepared to head off to the Arctic for the winter.
"As the cameras were unmanned and powered by methanol fuel cells, it would have been virtually impossible to keep the system running without using VNC," said wildlife filmmaker Daniel Zatz of SeeMore Wildlife Systems. "VNC provided full control and monitoring of the camera network and remote PC server in Churchill from the relative warmth and luxury of project HQ in Alaska."
One of the benefits of realVNC is that it works with virtually any platform or operating system across any network, using just a simple downloadable interface or through a browser. This meant that Zatz and his team could log in, manage the network and download images directly from a PC, Mac or even handheld device.
The VNC technology comes from RealVNC in Cambridge which was originally developed in the AT&T labs in the City under Porf Andy Hopper. With over 100 million software downloads, VNC is a de facto standard for remote control and has been used widely in hundreds of different products and applications, from helpdesks to virtualization.
RealVNC has broadened the scope for VNC software by founding Adventiq to design semiconductors and software for sending keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) signals via IP networks market. Products containing Adventiq chips and embedded VNC software are already on the market.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Handheld projectors start emerging


The problem of displaying information from ever smaller devices has been a major headache fro several years. Micromachined technology such as Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processor (DLP) have driven down the size of projectors to just-about-handheld (see previous stories) and now a new venture is tackling the same market.
Microvision of Redmond, Washington has developed a prototype of a truly handheld, battery powered projector (right) for mobile phones and personal media players that goes on show at the CES consumer electronics show next week (Jan 7th), although production is planned for the end of the year.
Code-named SHOW, Microvision's pico projector uses a single micromachined mirror (rather than TI's array of mirrors) and laser scanning to get the size down to 7mm thick and keep the power down. The images projected can range anywhere from 12 inches (30 cm) to 100 inches (2.5 m) in size depending upon the projection distance and are always in focus. The production version of the device is expected to offer approximately 2.5 hours of continuous battery life, sufficient to watch a full-length movie without a need for recharging.
Microvision says that SHOW can project a widescreen, WVGA (848 X 480 pixels), DVD quality image, compared to other miniature projectors that typically only offer QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels). The technology is already being used for a head-up display in development for cars.
"While mobile multi-media subscription services are on the rise, handset manufacturers, content providers and service providers view tiny cell phone displays as a barrier to stronger consumer adoption of their products and services,” said Alexander Tokman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Microvision. "SHOW is a significant milestone for Microvision and is proof that our technology is maturing according to plan and is close to being market-ready. Microvision's low-profile and low-power design, supported by leading supply chain partners, is very attractive to numerous mobile handset device manufactures, carriers and content providers. We believe that this milestone is meaningful not only for our company but for the industry at large," he said.

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