The latest intriguing mini-projector to hit store shelves (in Japan) is a small cubic, 25 ANSI Lumen LED called the Miseal. Manufactured by little-know Japanese comapny Sanko, the device is just 2.7in. x 2.7in. x 2.8in. and weighs just over half a pound.
Sporting a 100:1 contrast ratio, 800x600 SVGA resolution and ability to cast an image up to 16ft. away at a diagonal width of 70in, the Miseal packs a serious punch for something of such wee size.
Here are two cool examples of augmented reality apps/prototypes that are already out. The first is a really fun one from GE's futuristic Ecoimagination campaign. By making a print-out from their site and holding it in front of your monitor it brings the animation out of the box and into your room. Here's the Future is Awesome's Duncan Rawlinson demonstrating it with the print out attached to his mobile.
Here are some other DIY examples that illustrate it further 1. 2. 3.
Another very cool, though early incarnation technology that gives us a hint of how we'll be interacting with information in our physical environments comes to us from the MIT Media Lab - demoed at the recent TED conference (via Wired).
It's "a wearable computer system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen." Definitely has some of that early stage Minority Report feel to it and I think when looking at these two examples it's pretty obvious that this world will be here sooner than most people think.
MIT Technology Review has a great post on the use of (bee) 'swarm' inspired algorithms to reduce energy consumption of networked appliances like air conditioners, computers and heating systems. Toronto-based startup REGEN ENERGY is building smart energy platforms using new technology standards like Zigbee and micro-controllers to 'maximize collective efficiency'. Their trick is to enable 'bottom up' self organized smart grids for appliances without having to actively manage their energy consumption with a 'single order'.
Sony made recent headlines when it offered the first real commercial OLED (organic light emitting diode) commercial display product. The 11" wide screen is a 3 mm thick, and it only represents the beginning. Now the company is going to a thinner, flexible platform.
CEO Howard Stringer recently demonstrated a foldable display screen that is 0.2 mm thick. Sony is not holding back on its vision of future content consumption on displays that will be flexible, transparent and able to be read in sunlight.
Meanwhile, researchers around the world continue to advance the field of carbon-based or 'organic' electronics beyond thin film solar, OLEDs, fuel cells and batteries. IBM believes we might see 'spray on' solar within five year!
Bloggers agree that this might be the worst viral software product video ever to hit the web. But maybe that was Microsoft's plan - generate buzz with cheesy singing and acting to feature its new song-writing software program Song Smith.
Augmenting Creativity Microsoft is using its Research and Live Labs divisions to extend the applications of software beyond business environments. Song Smith is not the end game. It is the beginning of a new age of software that augments real-time creativity using complex algorithms and databases of things like sound, rhythm, color, texture, design, et al. Microsoft has also released Kodu a software program that teaches children how to visually program new games.
Forget about Microsoft's future operating systems. What is their vision of software for learning and creativity as we enter a Post PC era of touch and voice interfaces, plus networked objects with sensors and microcontrollers?
Microsoft's founding vision was 'a PC on every desk'.
Is their new vision 'software (or algorithms) driving every creative act'?
I mentioned in my post yesterday that we were moving towards a time when the powers that be that influence tech Zeitgeist are seeing their reach and effect increase in a profound fashion. One manifestation of this can be seen in the nimble teams of developers that are and will assemble to make a proposed or roughly designed product or prototype quickly. This coincides closely with the trend towards DIY and making. In this post by leading gadget blog Gizmodo, they lay out a mock-up of a next generation Iphone. The Dream IPhone Pro basically combines the features people would like to see most in today's personal communicators - a Blackberry style qwerty keyboard combined with the full size touch screen beauty and facility of the Iphone (plus a couple of other requisite additions such as wholesale improvement of camera/video). It's a pretty simple idea and one that would satisfy a lot of folks (me included). As a result, there are probably a bunch of people tearing apart Iphones, Blackberry's and Nokias as we speak trying to create a hack.
Japan's largest shipping company, Nippon Yusen, has unveiled a cargo ship outfitted with enough solar panels to produce 40 Kilowatts of power. Named the Auriga Leader, the energy comes from 328 solar panels outfitted on top of the ship which set the company back about $1.7 million dollars. While 40 Kilowatts is a huge sum house-wise, it really only produces enough energy to power about 7% of the lighting systems on board. But when one considers the size of the ship (frickin' HUGE) it should save them quite bit down the road. When combined with Nippon's gel-like paint, it promises to save them hundreds of thousands down the road with this ship alone.
Honestly, it's surprising this kind of tech has waited this long in this market. Transportation eats up a huge amount of oil, especially things like ships, trains, tractor trailers and planes. And to be honest, any help is much needed help for these behemoths. Japan has its solar panels, China is working on solar sails for its cargo ships, and tons of people in America are calling for more efficient big rigs. Now we just need to press innovation ahead faster.
Researchers at Clarkson University have discovered a way to protect teeth from tooth decay by polishing the surface with silica nanoparticles. The teeth are polished so smooth that harmful bacteria, the leading cause of tooth enamel decay, are unable to attach to the surface. "Roughness left on the tooth after the polishing is just a few nanometers, which is one-billionth of a meter or about 100,000 times smaller than a grain of sand." Even if bacteria manage to get a hold of the surface, a simple brushing will brush them off fairly quickly. The polishing method is taken from the method developed to polish semiconductors.
Been wanting to tinker with Augmented Reality? Now you can try it out with your iPhone. Go to Metaio and try out their Augmented Reality iPhone App for free (and unlike the last AR gadget we linked you to, these instructions are in English). You can determine his size, make him run around, even print it out on a holiday card so friends and family can see him. Enjoy!
The Google Earth Blog announced it has made a huge update to New York City regarding 3D buildings. "Google has completed nearly every building in Manhattan Island for Google Earth. Just fly to "New York City" and turn on the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth." Google engineers tried to keep a lot of user-submitted 3D buildings along with their own updates. Head on over to their site to see before and after pictures of the update, it gives you the same feeling the latest update for Google Streetview gives you — Awed and creepy.
GE Labs, those crazy people who brought us bouncing water, have put together a nifty holiday greeting using a single band of flexible OLED panels. "The tree is made by wrapping a working 6 inch by 15 foot OLED around a stand." What better way to highlight their breakthrough OLED roll-to-roll producing technology than through a wacky video. Check out photos from the lighting over at the GE Blog.