Currently in the development stage, the next iteration of Microsoft's Surface technology is probably about two or three years from materializing. SecondLight, as Microsoft refers to the Surface 2, will add a second camera to project images onto a layer that sits above the surface of the screen.
Also new to SecondLight / Surface 2 are built-in infrared sensors, so not only will it detect multitouch gestures, but it will be capable of reacting to mid-air movements without ever touching the screen.
While no specifics have been given about the cameras being used, Eric Klimczak, creative director of Clarity Consulting, which produces applications for the Surface, said he expects SecondLight to make use of high-definition cameras. And he's probably right, given that the Surface has been used for at least one high profile event coordinating Super Bowl security.
Pretty soon you may be able to link multiple gadgets together to create a larger display. The idea is part of Intel's "Carry Small, Live Large" initiative, in which the company looks to take mobile computing to the next level.
In the case of "Multi-Client Display Linking," as Intel's calling it, the chip maker isn't saying a whole lot just yet. But the gist of the concept is that users could take the displayed output from both new and legacy applications and span it across multiple devices. To give a real-world example, Intel says "Imagine you and 3 friends placing your mobile devices together while on the road to review the video of the day's events."
How Intel plans to link various mobile devices together and which ones will be supported remains to be seen. But stay tuned, as we have no doubt that we'll be hearing more about this concept in the coming months.
Japan-based electronics firm Hitachi Displays Ltd. has plead guilty to price fixing charges on the sale of LCD panels and has agreed to pay $31 million as part of its deal with the U.S. Justice Department.
"The case should send a strong message to multinational companies operating in the United States that when it comes to enforcing the U.S. antitrust laws we mean business," Acting Assistant Attorney General Scot Hammond said in a statement.
Hitachi, who admitted to fixing prices on screens sold to Dell for use in desktop monitors and notebook displays from 2001 to 2004, isn't the only display maker to be accused of price fixing. LG, Sharp, and Chungwha Picture Tubes all struck similar plea agreements last year, with LG having agreed to pay a $400 million fine for panels sold between 2001 and 2006. All tallied, the U.S. government will have garnered over $600 million in criminal fines from LCD price fixing.
If all you can remember getting with your baseball cards is a stick of hardened bubble gum, then maybe you were born into the wrong generation. Or the right one, depending on your outlook. Today's baseball card collectors know nothing of the chewy goodness that came with the hobby years ago, and instead are being encouraged to sit in front of their webcam to bring their cards to life.
It's all part of Topps' new 3D Live series. Place one of the special cards in front of a webcam and a three-dimensional avatar of the player appears on the computer screen. As you rotate the card, so too does the avatar. By going to ToppsTown.com, you can play a catching or batting game with the cards you acquire. There's a term for this meshing of real-world and computer generated data, and it's called "augmented reality."
"This is the 'Beam me up, Scotty' version of a baseball card that will get kids to buy more," said Steve Grimes, chief digital officer at Topps. "We see this baseball season as a redefining moment for us."
And not a moment too soon, either. The sports trading card business has plummeted from a $1 billion per year business to a comparatively small $200 million per year. Technology is seen as hurting the industry, as collectors can easily and quickly look up sports facts online for any player.
On a related note, if you happen to score a 3D Live card of Manny Ramirez and find that his avatar refuses to play on your PC, nothing is amiss - it's just Manny being Manny.
Four-monitor support in a single-slot, low-profile, half-length videocard? You betcha. That's exactly what AMD's offering up with the release of its professional ATI FirePro 2450 multi-view graphics card.
"The ATI FirePro 2450 offers the reliability professionals expect and the efficiency IT departments require. IT managers want a card they can test once, deploy virtually anywhere, and count on to run reliably,” said Janet Matsuda, senior director, AMD Professional Graphics. “The low power consumption enables cool, energy-efficient operation, as well as superior reliability and longevity. The compact form factor can be deployed in nearly any system. This accelerator is perfect for customers who need more than two displays, such as in financial services and process control."
The FirePro 2450 comes equipped with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, variable speed fan sink, maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 2.1 support, native PCI-E x16 and x1, and support for up to four independent DVI or VGA monitors.
According to AMD, the new card consumes less than 18W on average for 2D business usage, and no more than 32W when fully stressed.
The ATI FirePro 2450 is available now with an MSRP of $499.
Dell has announced a new 24-inch LED widescreen display the company says will help cut energy costs and environmental impact. In addition to LED technology, energy saving features of Dell's new green G2410 display include the use of "recycled materials and other environmentally preferable components," less than 0.15W of power consumption when in sleep mode, manufacturing free of PVC, BFR, CFR, arsenic, and mercury, and reduced waste due to up to 20 percent slimmer panel than comparable models.
The G2410 sports a 1920x1080 screen resolution, which might be disappointing for some gamers hoping for 1920x1200, however it's enough for movie buffs to get full 1080p content. Other specs include a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 million color support, a 5ms response time, and 250 cd/m2 brightness. Connectivity options are limited to VGA and DVI-D.
The fruits of a 10-year funded agreement with the U.S. Army that began in 2004 has paid off for Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center (FDC), who has just created the first ever flexible touchscreen display. The display is based on active-matrix electrophoretic technology from E-Ink Corp out of Cambridge, MA, and will find initial application as a military device.
"Our displays have always been flexible, but so far the touchscreens have been glass, which are not rugged enough for many applications," said Sri Peruvemba, E-Ink's VP of marketing. "Now we have a partner that can build a flexible touchscreen to match our flexible display."
That partner is DuPont Teijin films, who manufacturers the plastic used in place of glass in conventional touchscreens. In this case, amorphous silicon thin-film transistors were fabricated on DuPont's flexible Teonex polyethylene napthalate substrate. The end result is a rugged, light-weight device suitable for battlefield scenarios.
Beyond military use, Peruvemba said the technology could become commercially available in as little as 18 months.
MSI plans to give HP a run in the touchscreen desktop market, as evidenced by a trio of Wind Top all-in-one PCs the company had on display during CeBIT. The models included the 19-inch AE1900, 20-inch AE2010, and 22-inch AE2200.
Specs remain pretty sparse, but it looks as though the AE2010 will come with an AMD 1.5GHz processor nestled into an AMD 780G chipset, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a DVD burner, and a 1600 x 900 touchscreen display. Engadget said it also spied an Intel logo on the AE1900 with Windows XP on its screen, which suggests at least one of the nettops will be powered by Intel's Atom processor.
No other details, including price points or projected release date, are yet known, but you can bet we'll let you know as soon as we find out more.
Take two emerging fads -- 3D displays and gesture controls -- mix them together and serve at CeBIT. Fraunofer-Gessellschaft hopes this recipe will cook up interest from consumers, which, incidentally, the company says can even be used for cooking. "Someone kneading pastry in the kitchen, whose hands are covered in dough, can turn down the boiling potatoes by waving a finger without leaving sticky marks on the stove," the company wrote in a press release.
The iPoint 3D doesn't require any 3D glasses or special data gloves, instead utilizing a recognition device Franofer-Gessellschaft says is not much bigger than a keyboard. Two built in cameras detect movement from hands and fingers and transmits the gestures in real-time so that the "system responds instantly."
Beyond gaming and cooking, the company sees its iPoint 3D being used in hospitals, offices, or anywhere else that would benefit from hands-free controls.
Fraunofer-Gessellschaft plans to show off the iPoint 3D at CeBIT, which runs from March 3 through 8.
It appears as though the mobile sector is gearing up for a dual-screen revolution, or at the very least, we expect to see the concept start to become more readily available. Last month Lenovo introduced its two-screen W700ds Thinkpad, and now gScreen is seeing double.
Unlike Lenevo's W700ds, gScreen's G400 sports two full sized 15-inch LED-backlit displays. Graphics chores are handled with either an Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M or GeForce 9800M GT, both with 512MB of video memory. Other specs include an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8Ghz) or P8400 (2.26GHz), up to 8GB of RAM, up 500GB of hard drive space, and the usual assortment of ports.
The company says it is also working on a ruggedized version called the TITAN M-1, which is "being built specifically to specs requested by the U.S. Navy for extreme environments." The internal hardware will be a bit different, not all of which gScreen is wiling to comment on, but did say it will come equipped with an Intel Core 2 Quad QX9300 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive and built to MIL-STD810F standards.
No word yet on price or ship date, but gScreen says customers can reserve the G400 starting February 25th through Amazon.com.