VIA this week unveiled what it claims is the first product based on the recently announced Mobile-ITX form factor, the EPIA-T700. It measures just 6cm x 6cm and is intended primarily for medical, military, and in-vehicle applications.
"The VIA EPIA-T700 takes advantage of the modular design principles inherent in our Mobile-ITX form factor specification, making it easier than ever before to create astonishingly compact x86 devices that don't compromise on features," said Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA.
VIA says its module can be used with a variety of carrier boards and is fully customizable. At the heart of the EPIA-T700 is a miniaturized 1GHz VIA Eden ULV processor and 512MB of DDR2 on-board memory.
If you haven't seen it yet, the movie Avatar crams a ton of special effects in a futuristic landscape, and it owes some of that magic to a data center nestled in Miramar, New Zealand.
According to Weta Digital, the visual effects company tasked with creating the images in James Cameron's flick, each minute of Avatar consumed some 17.28GB of data.
For that kind of processing power, Weta Digital tapped into a 10,000 sq. ft. server farm filled with 34 racks and over 4,000 Hewlett-Packard blade servers. According to Paul Gunn, the data center's system admin, the computing core includes about 35,000 processors and 104TB of RAM.
After a long wait, the Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA for short, announced it has finalized DisplayPort v1.2, doubling the data rate of the previous DisplayPort v1.1a standard and paving the way for higher performance 3D stereo display, higher resolutions and color depths, and faster refresh rates.
"DisplayPort v1.2 increases performance by doubling the maximum data transfer rate from 10.8Gbps to 21.6Gbps, greatly increasing display resolution, color depths, refresh rates, and multiple display capabilities," VESA said in its press release.
Other features of the updated spec include multi-streaming, which is the ability to transport multiple independent uncompressed display and audio streams over a single cable, support for high-speed, bi-directional data transfer, support for high-def audio formats, and synchronization assist between audio and video, multiple audio channels, and multiple audio sink devices using Global Time Code (GTC).
As everyone knows by now, Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake, and the true extent of the damage -- from lost lives to demolished structures -- is still being calculated. On the IT side, communications appears to have taken a huge hit, and that's put companies in a frenzy to fix whatever can be fixed at this point.
"The mobile network still appears to be down, though [we're] getting reports that Blackberry is working," said Ory Okolloh, a South Africa-based lawyer and co-founder of crowd sourcing site Ushahidi. "We've been struggling to get a local line or short code [numbers] that people can use. Radio stations also appear to be down."
According to Okolloh, some Haitians have been able to communicate with satellite phones, "so it's no a complete blackout." And because of the situation, Okolloh notes that he's seen "urgent requests" from Haitian government officials for satellite phones.
Ann Saxton, treasurer of Bellevue, Washington-based Trilogy, says getting communications up and running has become a top priority in light of Haiti's already weak IT infrastructure. Trilogy provides cellular services to around 1 million Haitians.
Maybe the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) was just being pessimistic, but whatever the reason, the organization behind CES was expecting a drop in attendance this year. They were wrong.
In 2009, 113,085 people flocked to CES. This year, that number jumped by about 7,000 attendees.
"At show close, preliminary registration figures indicate more than 120,000 industry professionals attended the 2010 International CES," the CEA said in an email.
Other stats include more than 2,500 companies showing off their wares, which is actually a decline of 2,700 from 2009, or more than half. If there's a bright spot, however, it's that there were "a record 330 new exhibitors," the CEA said.
Quick, what color comes to mind when you think of LEDs? If you said blue, you're in the majority, and there's a good reason for that. Blue LEDs happen to be the most energy efficient of the bunch, which might explain why there's not a ton of color variation in the LED world. Jason Hartlove, CEO of Nanosys, thinks that's about to change.
Hartlove was on hand at CES to talk about a type of nanotechnology that could ultimately lead to LEDs with more vivid colors and a wider range of hues, all without sacrificing energy efficiency. So how does it work?
As Hartlove explains it, the technology involves taking a blue LED and adding a phosphor material built out of nanomaterials to create warm white lights. This special coating would allow LED makers to choose from a spectrum of colors.
"We use the same process nature has to architect nanomaterials that provide greater wavelength range," Hartlove explained.
The best part about this approach is that it should be relatively cheap to implement. Companies can easily add the material to their existing process line, Hartlove says, negating the need for costly new factories or significant hardware upgrades.
Look for products using Nanosys' technology to debut this year.
Business churning out environmentally friendly products have reason to look overseas. According to a study performed by consulting firm Accenture, Chinese consumers are willing to open up their wallets wider than Americans to pay a premium for 'green' electronics.
"Virtually all -- 98 percent -- of Chinese consumers, compared with just 43 percent of consumers in the United States, reported such willingness," Accenture said in a report released this week.
Accenture noted that the disparity between consumers from the two nations is "one of the most surprising findings" of the company's research. China wasn't alone, however, in its willingness to pay more. The report also noted developing countries shared China's sentiment, with 84 percent of respondents from emerging countries putting a premium on environmentally friendly gadget. Compare that to just 50 percent of respondents in mature markets.
"Consumers, especially those in emerging markets, clearly indicated their interest in products that have a less-harmful effect on the environment -- and are willing to pay more for such products," the report said.
According to a new Pike Research report released this week, governments and industry leaders around the globe will spend some $200 billion on smart grid technologies between 2008 and 2015.
"Smart meters are currently the highest-profile component of the smart grid, but they are really just the tip of the iceberg," says managing director Clint Wheelock. "Our analysis shows that utilities will find the best return on investment, and therefore will devote the majority of their capital budgets, to grid infrastructure projects including transmission upgrades, substation automation, and distribution automation."
While the term 'smart grid' sounds like a single entity, it actually refers to a number of technologies designed to automate and digitize management of electrical power. According to Pike Research, automation is expected to account for 84 percent of the $200 billion being spent, compared to 14 percent for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and 2 percent for electric vehicle management systems.
Hynix today announced what it claims are the industry's first 2Gb (gigabit) GDDR5 chips using the 40nm manufacturing process. Boasting 7Gb/s of bandwidth and processing power of up to 28GB/s with a 32-bit I/O, these rank as the highest density graphics memory available.
But it's not all about sheer speed. Hynix says its new 2Gb chips also impress on the power consumption front. With an operation voltage of 1.35V, energy consumption drops down by 20 percent over previous parts built on 50nm technology, the company claims.
Hynix will begin mass producing the new chips in the second half of next year to coincide with increased demand for high-performance graphics memory.
Installing LED traffic lights may have sounded like a good idea when first proposed -- after all, LEDs consume 90 percent less energy than the incandescent bulbs being replaced -- but some city planners who made the switch are now wishing they could take a mulligan. Why? Apparently the bulbs just don't burn hot enough to melt snow and can become covered in a storm.
"I've never had to put up with this in the past," said Duane Kassens, a driver from West Bend who got into an accident because he couldn't see the lights. "The police officer told me the new lights weren't melting the snow. How is that safe?"
The simple answer is, it's not safe. More than just a paper problem, snow-covered traffic lights have already been blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death. During a storm in April, 34-year-old Lisa Richter saw she had a green light and made a left turn. But a driver coming from the opposite direction didn't realize the stoplight was obscured by snow and ended up ramming into Richter's vehicle, fatally injuring her.
Several states are testing out possible solutions, including weather shields, adding heating elements, and coating lights with water-repellent substances.