Saturday, 23 August 2008

Star Trek XI Priview.


'The Future Begins.....May 2009'

(Click on title)

Rapid Emergence of Holographic Technology and Applications.

I know people that still say it'll never happen. Only....

From product design to architecture to entertainment to communications to education holographic kit is about to rear its head and smash more technological paradigms per unit time than any other.

Along time in the pipeline, 'High Definition Holographic Projectiors' (HDHP) that are at a marketable price point, practical weight and size, and acceptable reliability are now hitting the market.

There are well over 100 R&D programmes, with dozens of companies launching commercial, and soon consumer HDHP systems. Not to mansion the multiple service providers ranging from marketing communications to entertainment to design.

Holograms in your pocket!

One exciting example is the research going on at the Photonics and Sensors Group at the University of Cambridge. Developing breakthrough holographic technologies, which will power a new generation of pocket-sized holographic projectors.

Holographic projections are in fact surprisingly simple, requiring only a few components, which means they can be made very small. In the near future, holo-projectors will be integrated into laptops, PDAs, even mobile phones.

So why has this not been done before?

(1) Holograms are extremely complex objects mathematically, and calculating them fast enough for video applications is very difficult; even the most powerful computers of - in real-time - the past would take minutes to calculate, generate and project even very a simple holographic video frame.

(2) The projected images produced by early holographic technology tended to be speckled and of very low definition quality.

(3) The lasers that are required to illuminate the holograms have, until very recently, been very expensive and limited in availability.

But this is now history.

Several major breakthroughs have been made, together making possible the generation and display of high quality holograms at video frame rates, using just a single custom chip.

So how does it work?

A hologram pattern, which to the naked eye looks like a collection of random dots, is displayed on a small liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) microdisplay - a tiny, very fast liquid crystal display built on top of a chip.

The hologram patterns are calculated by a custom ‘holo-chip’ so that when the microdisplay is illuminated by laser light, the light interferes with itself in a complex manner through the physical process of diffraction, which when carefully controlled, results in the formation of a large, high quality projected image on, for example, a screen or a wall.

Musionmedia Real Time Hologrphic Telepresence Demo


Telstra - the Ozzy Multimedia Corp - used the Musion Eyeliner System to beam a live holographic image of senior staff member, between Melbourne and Adelaide, in what has been billed as world first.

Telstra’s chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow, based in Melbourne, appeared at a business function in Adelaide as a real-time holographic effect and interacted with members of the audience for around 15 minutes.

The real time hologram of Dr Bradlow was made possible by the company's high-speed networks and the Musion Eyeliner holographic projection system.

We've all seen this sort of thing in sci-fi movies, but the reality is here, now and demonstrated.

(Click on title for Holo Vid).

Friday, 22 August 2008

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Roll-Up, Roll-Up: Get Your Flexible LCD Display Screens Here!

I like large displays on mobile devices for reading e-mails, e-books, and viewing detailed pictures. But I also like to tuck those devices into my pocket. Only the bigger the gadget’s screen the more it outgrows my pocket size.

Now a hallmark feature of these screens — their rigidity — is changing. New technologies are developing that make displays flexible, foldable or even as rollable as newspaper, so that large screens can be unfurled from small containers.

One new mobile device, the ‘Readius,’ is designed mainly for reading books, magazines, newspapers and mail, is the size of a standard cellphone. Flip it open and a screen tucked within the housing opens to a 5-inch diagonal display.

The screen looks just like a liquid crystal display, but can bend so flexibly that it can wrap around a finger.

The market for flexible displays is likely to grow rapidly. Flexible displays are the crucial enabling technology for a new generation of portable devices. Flexible displays offer the advantages of easy, relatively inexpensive and safe shipping and handling, compared with conventional rigid screens.
'The future isn't what to used to be.'

World’s First E-Book

Amazon's Kindle is an e-book reader, an embedded system for reading electronic books (e-books) launched in the United States by prominent online booksell Amazon.

It uses an electronic paper display, also called e-paper, is a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper.

Unlike a conventional flat panel display, which uses a backlight to illuminate its pixels, electronic paper reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later.

E-paper is considered more comfortable to read than conventional displays. This is due to the stable image, which does not need to be refreshed constantly, the wider viewing angle, and the fact that it uses reflected ambient light.

Kindle downloads content over Amazon, and can be used stand alone without a computer.

On the release day, the Kindle had more than 88,000 digital titles available for download, but that number has steadily increased.

Amazon's first offering of the Kindle sold out in five and a half hours and the device remained out of stock until late April 2008.

At launch, the device retailed for $399; Amazon subsequently lowered the price to $359.

It’s Health Span Stupid.

Some very nice mice were subject to studies in health and longevity.

A mouse gym was built, which held a miniature exercise machine that tested the rodents’ ability to balance on a rotating bar.

Near nearby a water maze, were the nice mice recalled visual cues to swim to safety on a hidden platform. A test of their powers of nice mice memory.

There reason of the nice mice Olympic stadium?

A company called ‘Sirtris’ has two drugs in clinical trials.

One is being tested against Type 2 diabetes, one of the many diseases of aging that the company’s scientists hope the drugs will avert. With success against just one such disease, the impact on health “could be possibly transformational.

The new drugs are called ‘Sirtuin Activators,’ meaning that they activate an enzyme called Sirtuin. The basic theory is that all or most species have an ancient strategy for riding out famines: switch resources from reproduction to tissue maintenance.

A healthy diet but with 30 percent fewer calories than usual triggers this reaction in mice and is the one intervention that reliably increases their life span. The mice seem to live longer because they are somehow protected from the usual diseases that kill them.

But most people cannot keep to a diet with a 30 percent cut in calories, so a drug that could activate the famine reflex might be highly desirable.

The Sirtris drug being tested in diabetic patients is a special formulation of resveratrol that delivers a bloodstream dose five times as high as the chemical alone. This drug, called SRT501, has passed safety tests and, at least in small-scale trials, has reduced the patients’ glucose levels.

The other drug is a small synthetic chemical that is a thousand times as potent as resveratrol in activating sirtuin and can be given at a much smaller dose. Safety tests in people have just started, with no adverse effects so far.

The hope is that activating sirtuins in people would, like a calorically restricted diet in mice, avert degenerative diseases of aging like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

There is no Food and Drug Administration category for longevity drugs, so if the company is to submit a drug for approval, it needs to be for a specific disease.
Nonetheless, longevity is what has motivated the researchers and what makes the drugs potentially so appealing.

Dr. Christoph Westphal, the chief executive of Sirtris, said of the potential of the drugs, “I think that if we are right, this could extend life span by 5 or 10 percent.” He added that his goal was to develop drugs against specific diseases, with the extension of life being “almost a side effect of our medicine.”

In initial tests in mice, resveratrol has doubled muscular endurance, lowered the bad form of cholesterol, protected against various bad effects of a high-fat diet and suppressed colon cancer. New reports are confirming some of these benefits, but others are ambiguous or puzzling.

The frontiers of science are often turbulent, and it can take years for clarity to emerge from confusion. Dr. Westphal said the decision to ignore the academic debate about exactly how resveratrol may work was one of two principal reasons for Sirtris’s quick success. The other was to focus the company’s limited resources on developing just two drugs.

There’s a much greater chance of a drug that can treat disease than of extending life span. The goal is not the extension of human life span; rather, the prolongation of health is the aim.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

First Solar Pannels Meet Price-Performance Parity with National Grid.

It’s easy to make a small pile of money off photovoltaic cells but very hard to make a big one. The reason is one of the most fundamental in free-market economics: the larger the market you aim for, the more competitors you’ll have to face.

If you just want to power a billion-dollar space probe, almost any price per watt is acceptable. If you are selling to lonely farmhouses, you just have to charge less than the cost of running a power line to the national grid.

In some parts of the world, competing with grid electricity itself may be an easy game during peak consumption hours. But if you want the off-peak market, you’ll have to price your cells at about US $1 per watt (a 1000 watt solar array would obviously cost $1,000)

That price is called grid parity, and it’s the holy grail of the photovoltaic industry. At least 80 firms around the world, from Austin to Hayward’s Heath, are in the chase.

Surprisingly, at the moment no company is closer to that grail than a little start-up called First Solar, which until very recently had been known only to specialists.

It’s located in Tempe, Arizona USA., and analysts agree that it will very likely meet typical grid-parity prices in ­developed countries in just two to four years.

It’s got a multibillion-dollar order book, it’s selling all the cells it can make, it’s adding production capacity as fast as it can, and its stock price has rocketed from $25 to more than $250 in just 18 months.

The product has three massive cost benefits:

(1) Its active element is just a hundredth the thickness of the old standby, silicon.

(2) It is built on a glass substrate, which enables the production of large panels.

(3) Manufacturing takes just two and a half hour, about a tenth the time it takes for silicon equivalents.

Of course, it’s not enough that First Solar match the costs of fossil-fuel generation on the grid; it must also maintain its economic edge over other photo­voltaics.

There are additional nascent technologies, including cells based on copper indium gallium silicon (CIGS) on glass; and the combination of germanium, gallium arsenide, and gallium indium phosphide.

Even conventional silicon technology, which has dominated the market since its commercial launch in the 1950s, seems to have a lot of kick left in it.

Currently, though, it’s suffering from its own success, as an insatiable demand for silicon cells has led to a scarcity of raw material.

However, if the silicon shortage disappears by the end of the decade, as expected, the sale price should drop substantially from recent levels, which have fluctuated between $3 and $4 per watt.