Thursday, January 31, 2008

Solid State LapTop Delivers Linux Mobility Option

From the center ... out - a Sony VAIO UX490 on top of a Asus Eee PC 4G - Galaxy 7" PC Mobile Internet Device on top of a 15" Apple MacBook PRO. Image Credit: Glenn Reynolds/Popular Mechanics

Solid State LapTop Delivers Linux Mobility Option

Enterprise mobility devices take on many forms, WiFi enabled handheld datacollectors, smart PDA cellphones, and adapted laptop computers.

The problem with many computer systems that are programmed for deployment throughout an enterprise application (sales force management, route accounting, jobber automation, web 2.0 application development, and etc.) generally just comes with the choice of form factor and operating system.

Enter the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award - Asus EEEPC 4G - Galaxy 7" PC Mobile Internet Device (512 MB RAM, 4 GB Hard Drive, Webcam, Linux Preloaded).

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks/Asus Website

This edited from Popular Mechanics –

Top 20 Products at CES 2008

By The Technology Editors - Published on: January 7, 2008

Asus EEE WiMax PC

How it works: The EEEPC is a full-fledged computer in a tiny package. Costs stay low by integrating a free, Linux-based operating system that includes everything from Web-browsing software to sophisticated productivity applications such as a word processor and spreadsheet program.

It's a great little machine, but it's going to get a whole lot better: This year, Asus plans to integrate a WiMAX card, which will offer multi-megabit per second bandwidth that rivals current cable Internet connections.

Why it matters: Asus has already shrunk both the form-factor and the price of laptops with its $400 EEEPC, a 2-pound mini laptop that runs on the Linux OS and foregoes a hard drive with 4GB of solid-state flash memory. Now they're on the forefront of a wireless revolution.

This year, Asus will launch the EEEPC with an integrated WiMAX card, giving people real citywide wireless broadband Internet service on Sprint's new Xhom service.
Reference Here>>

Top 20 Products at CES 2008: PM Editor's Choice Awards - Asus EEE WiMax PC - Image Credit: Popular Mechanics

This review excerpted and edited from Popular Mechanics -

Asus Eee Is a Tiny PC That Hits the Mark: Hands-on Blogger Review
By Glenn Reynolds for Popular Mechanics – Jan. 30, 2008

Earlier this month, I
reviewed two tiny PCs and concluded that neither was quite on the mark as a go-anywhere Web surfing and e-mail tool. ----So I kept hearing and reading about the Asus, and I finally just ordered one myself—at $399 it wasn't going to break the bank.

I've had it for a couple of weeks now, and I think it fills my need for an inexpensive tool for surfing, blogging and reading e-mail. It's cheap, fun and surprisingly full-featured.

There's no hard drive—4 GB of flash memory is standard, but you can upgrade, or just plug an SD card into the memory card slot and use that as a second hard drive. ----The Asus has a real, if diminutive, keyboard. Though the keys are small, it's pretty easy to hit the correct one without thinking—except for the right shift key, which is tiny and dangerously close to the up arrow (There's also no CAPS LOCK light, which is occasionally irritating). Still, it's easy to type on—I'm writing this review on it—in a way that the slide-out keypads on the Sony and Nokia
[reviewed earlier] are not.

The screen is also tiny but, at 7.5 in., much bigger than those of the Sony and Nokia. I find it easy to read and navigate pretty much any Web page, and videos from YouTube play well. Plus, the speakers are surprisingly good for a laptop.

The Asus comes preloaded with a customized Linux operating system and some basic applications—word processing, photo editing, music management—but it's primarily an Internet tool.

The one thing it's missing is some sort of WWAN (i.e., a wireless wide area network such as EVDO from Sprint or Verizon or HSDPA from AT&T) functionality. It works fine with Wi-Fi, but without WWAN access you're limited to hot spots, though those are plentiful nowadays—and there's that version coming this year with an integrated WiMAX card to work with Sprint's super-speedy Xohm network).

For now, you could probably use a USB-based AirCard—the Asus comes with a generous three USB ports (more than the MacBook Air, but I haven't tried that yet). A look at the Verizon Web site shows that its software doesn't work with Linux, so any work arounds would be strictly home-brew. (Asus tells me there's no driver yet and won't be for at least a couple of months.)

Alternatively, it's possible to put Windows XP on the Eee PC, though you'd have to buy a copy, for a substantial chunk of the laptop's total price. The Eee PC also has an Ethernet port and a VGA out. So you get a lot of computer for the money, and it's also surprisingly chic—when I've pulled it out in public it's drawn a crowd.

Women, in particular, seem to like that it will easily fit in an ordinary-size purse.

Is it perfect? No. But for $399 it's pretty close.
Reference Here>>

Depending on type of enterprise mobility application and deployment, this laptop may be the best choice for size (a good bridge), durability (solid state hard drive), functionality (ample size QWERTY keyboard), open source (Linux OS for application development), road warrior (enough ports for any group of applications), and cost!
(HT: Instapundit)

Friday, January 25, 2008

SEARS, ScanBuy 2D Codes, And The Web 2.0

Web 2.0 application where the cellphone handset with a camera becomes an automated information retrieval device that delivers the the web displayed into ones hand. Image Credit: ScanBuy

SEARS, ScanBuy 2D Codes, And The Web 2.0

Last week, at the NRF 97th Annual Convention & EXPO 2008 held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, Sears discussed its efforts to launch an in-store test solution for providing customers access to information on products they were interested in purchasing. This test represents the first major retailer combined with selected product manufacturers in the United States to investigate the Physical World Hyperlink functionality of symbology and the cellphone handset.

In this test, that began its roll-out last month in a store located in Georgia, Sears was interested in testing ways on how to automate providing product information without having to place price checker/information kiosk systems in the aisles. The idea is to provide information through leveraging a tool the customer may already be carrying in their hand … the camera cellphone.

Sears has placed a special use two-dimensional symbology (read digitally on an X-Y axis) developed by ScanBuy on advertising displays located strategically next to participating manufacturers goods throughout the retail floor.

The cameraphone as a scannerphone using ScanBuy symbology. Video Credit: Face2099

Sears has its concerns with this specific application on a couple of levels in that not all phones have cameras, or if they have the camera – the phone does not have the software needed to have the phone decode the image captured and bring the information to the phone’s display.

Other technologies considered for this application include NFC or near field communications that would be triggered through cellphones that are equipped with an RFID chip. Normally this chip is used as the “wallet” in a PoS cashpoint application when the phone is used as a credit card for identification purposes, but can be adapted to trigger a Web 2.0 response when the customer is looking for additional information on products offered on the Sears sales floor.

At Symblogogy, we ask this technology question to Sears:

For the application of replacing the functionality of having to place price checker/information kiosk systems in the aisles and leveraging the cellphone as an information display tool, why not test Bluetooth broadcasting to the cellphone display (commonly referred to as Bluejacking)?

A high number of handsets already are equipped with Bluetooth capability and the technology is easy to implement in that no additional action is required from the customer except to opt-in by turning on the Bluetooth function while roaming the asiles in the store.

The cameraphone as a scannerphone. The camera picks up the ScanBuy symbology image, decodes it, then has the phone launch a webpage associated with the decoded information contained in the ScanBuy code. Image Credit: Face2099

This article excerpted from eWEEK -

Sears First Out Of Gates with 2-D Bar Codes

By Evan Schuman - 2008-01-18

Sears First Out Of Gates with 2-D Bar Codes

Sears is the first major U.S. retailer to start a public trial of 2-D barcode technology.

Efforts to implement retail 2-D bar codes are accelerating, with Sears becoming the first U.S. retailer to begin a public trial that started in mid-December at a store in Marietta, Georgia.
There are multiple vendors pushing the technology in the United States; Best Buy and Target are working with a company called StoreXperience, while Sears and others are talking with an outfit called ScanBuy.
The technique involves having a cell phone's digital camera "look" at a small 2-D bar code on an advertisement, which launches an applet. A server interprets the bar code and the phone then launches a Web browser and deep-links to a page on that site, typically the Web site of the advertiser.

Currently, the biggest concern, which is also likely to be the most short-lived, is that the service is available on a relatively few phones in the United States. The concern about a shortage of supported phones was mentioned by a Sears manager involved in the trial.

ScanBuy, for example, has worked out deals with only Sprint and Alltel, according to ScanBuy CEO Jonathan Bulkeley. Such negotiations are complex because it requires deals and programming for multiple browsers, carriers, hardware manufacturers, operating systems and camera manufacturers. A code or management change from any one of those players can make the whole package unravel.

At the Sears trial, several hundred product advertisements in the store have the code, Bulkeley said. To simplify matters, Sears is initially having store associates use the phone and then show the results to customers, as opposed to letting consumers do their own scanning. This sidesteps some of the hurdles, such as guaranteeing that the phones used are fully compatible with the demo and that the cameras are aimed properly. On some phones, if the bar code is not directly in the center of the screen, the application won't work.

Another concern is that consumers must download the application. The applications tend to be small—both the apps for StoreXperience and ScanBuy start at about 200K, depending on the browser and the required OS needed—and can be installed in less than a minute.
The Sears trial is slated to end this June.

One IT manager with a Fortune 50 consumer goods manufacturer said that his firm is in talks with ScanBuy and that they were introduced to the firm by Verizon. That manager said he is impressed with the technology and is discussing it internally, but he believes that 2-D bar code will be pushed aside by NFC (near-field communications) devices, which are still a few years away. He sees 2-D as a short-term placeholder until NFC is real.

"Personally, I think that touchless NFC approaches will likely be more successful. No need to aim your camera. But Scanbuy's approaches are worth following," he said.
That manager's thoughts about NFC were similar to others. But news this week—courtesy of a new NFC market share report this week from ABI Research—suggested that NFC is farther away than initially thought, giving 2-D more maneuvering room.

The new ABI numbers for NFC shipments dropped the 2007 estimate to 650,000 from a predicted 1.1 million and also reduced the projections for this year to 6.52 million, from a predicted 9.81 million.

Even so, Bulkeley predicts NFC and 2-D bar code co-existence based on pure economics. The nature of NFC will lend itself better for payment and POS interface but it's not practical to create one for every print ad in stores, streets and in publications. But 2-D bar codes, he argued, can be mass-produced for very little money.

"NFC will be for a payment mechanism but I'm not so sure it will be an information access mechanism," Bulkeley said. "Car and Driver (magazine) isn't going to print 400 near field codes."

Like all trials, it's not clear whether any will lead to actual deployments. And like all negotiations, it's not clear how many of the retailers who have expressed an interest will end up agreeing to a trial. A Nordstrom's manager, for example, said Thursday that the chain has decided to not pursue the discussed 2-D trial. One reason mentioned was that it was seen as placing too much of a burden on the consumer.
Reference Here>>

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Heads Up! On An “Eyes Up” Contact Lens Display

Contact lenses with circuits and lights … a possible platform for superhuman vision - Science Central Video Link (click photo) - Image Credit: University of Washington

Heads Up! On An “Eyes Up” Contact Lens Display

Have you ever asked yourself, “How can I see the display of my cellphone (or any enterprise mobility device) without having to use my hands?”

Well, it looks as though the researchers at the University of Washington have asked themselves the same question and set about doing something to address this perceived need.

Eyes with a contact lens that contains circuits that will display images one can see while going about ones business.

Contact lenses with metal connectors for electronic circuits were safely worn by rabbits in lab tests. The lenses were manufactured at the microscopic level by researchers at the UW. Image Credit: University of Washington

The prototype contact lens device contains an electric circuit as well as red light-emitting diodes for a display, though it does not yet light up. The lenses were tested on rabbits for up to 20 minutes and the animals showed no adverse effects.

This excerpt from University Week (University of Washington) –

Bionic eyes: Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision
By Hannah Hickey - News and Information - Jan. 17, 2008

Movie characters from the Terminator to the Bionic Woman use bionic eyes to zoom in on far-off scenes, have useful facts pop into their field of view, or create virtual crosshairs. Off the screen, virtual displays have been proposed for more practical purposes -- visual aids to help vision-impaired people, holographic driving control panels and even as a way to surf the Web on the go.

The device to make this happen may be familiar. Engineers at the UW have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.

"Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside," said Babak Parviz, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering. "This is a very small step toward that goal, but I think it's extremely promising."

The results were presented today at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' international conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems by Harvey Ho, a former graduate student of Parviz's now working at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. Other co-authors are Ehsan Saeedi and Samuel Kim in the UW's electrical engineering department and Tueng Shen in the UW Medical Center's ophthalmology department.

There are many possible uses for virtual displays. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see.

Example Of A Heads Up Display (HUD) On A F16 - What A Pilot Sees! YouTube Video Credit: src66
Ideally, installing or removing the bionic eye would be as easy as popping a contact lens in or out, and once installed the wearer would barely know the gadget was there, Parviz said.
Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes one third of a millimeter across. They then sprinkled the grayish powder of electrical components onto a sheet of flexible plastic. The shape of each tiny component dictates which piece it can attach to, a microfabrication technique known as self-assembly. Capillary forces -- the same type of forces that make water move up a plant's roots, and that cause the edge of a glass of water to curve upward -- pull the pieces into position.

The prototype contact lens does not correct the wearer's vision, but the technique could be used on a corrective lens, Parviz said. And all the gadgetry won't obstruct a person's view.
Future improvements will add wireless communication to and from the lens. The researchers hope to power the whole system using a combination of radio-frequency power and solar cells placed on the lens, Parviz said.

A full-fledged display won't be available for a while, but a version that has a basic display with just a few pixels could be operational "fairly quickly," according to Parviz.
Reference Here>>

Poll Answers
(originally posted at Oblate Spheroid)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

At NRF, ArcaTech Introduces A “Bank 2.0” Solution

ArcaTech introduces the Arca8000D Cash Recycler on the show floor at this year’s NRF 97th Annual Convention & EXPO 2008 held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. Image Credit: Aubrey Meador/ArcaTech Systems

At NRF, ArcaTech Introduces A “Bank 2.0” Solution

Handling money really is a job and process of its own. One creates and has a successful retail enterprise and then the biggest problem becomes “How do we accurately count and keep what money we take in on our goods and services?”

Traditionally, tills would go to the backroom, the money physically counted, documented and pouched ready to transport to the bank.

For the bank's part, when they receive pouches from the many merchants they serve, the bank location would have the assistance of automated machines to count and document the currency received.

ArcaTech Systems (a company that manufactures automated currency handling machines) recognized that a need existed where the retailer could reap the benefits and advantage of automation by creating a device that could bring the automation of the bank right there to the backroom of the retail operation.

This excerpted from ArcaTech Systems NRF Press Release –

ArcaTech Unveils Industry's First Integrated Remote Cash Capture System With Currency and Coin Recycling and Bulk Cash Storage
News Release - MEBANE, N.C - Tracy Phelan, The Catevo Group – Jan. 17, 2008

ArcaTech Systems, a leading supplier of transaction automation solutions for the financial, retail and self-service industries, has introduced a unique solution for the control and remote capture of cash in retail environments.

Both currency and coin recycling devices are used in the Arca8000D, the industry’s first integrated cash control system that allows retailers to control the cash handling process and obtain provisional credit for cash that remains secured within store locations. Designed specifically for retail cash management, this system dispenses and reconciles cashier tills, sorts and counts deposits and enables remote cash capture, the electronic deposit of cash values.

ArcaTech introduces the Arca8000D Cash Recycler at the NRF 97th Annual Convention & EXPO 2008 held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. Image Credit: Marr International Ltd

Previously, cash had to be physically picked up and processed before credit would be granted by a bank. Remote cash capture systems allow funds to be electronically deposited to retailer-specified accounts as soon as cash is deposited into the RCC depository safe at the store. Cash can be transported to the financial institution at a later time.

Ideal for large retail operations, the Arca8000D is a cash recycler and high-volume, bulk storage system for banknotes. A bulk coin recycling and bulk storage device also can be added for till management and coin handling.

"We're proud to offer this first-of-its-kind technology and to make cash management easier and more efficient for retailers," said Mort O'Sullivan, president of ArcaTech. "We are confident that retailers will welcome the innovation."

ArcaTech officials say the most obvious benefit of the integrated system is the way it limits in-store cash touch points while enabling electronic cash deposits. By automating cash handling and deposits, the remote cash capture system limits the number of employees who must manually process cash, reducing risk, discrepancies and costly labor.

"Retailers know that more employees handling cash means more mistakes and discrepancies," said Jim Halpin, ArcaTech's Retail Solutions Director. "Our automated cash control system will eliminate human error and reduce shortages and deposit variances."

"We understand the challenges of processing and controlling cash in the retail environment,” Halpin continued. “That understanding guided the development of our systems. With this solution for retailers, we're bringing the bank to the store’s backroom."
Reference Here>>

"Bank 2.0" Solution - ArcaTech Systems introduces the Arca8000D at The Big Show 2008 on the 97th NRF tradeshow floor. Image Credit: ArcaTech Systems

And this excerpted from ArcaTech Systems website -

Arca8000D Cash Recycler

The most unique cash handling device in the world.

Combining the best of cash recycling technology with bulk cash acceptance, the Arca8000D allows you to deposit and withdraw money for your normal operational needs, and move excess cash into a secure, deposit-only safe. Once cash is moved to the deposit-only side, access to the cash is limited to only those who have been authorized to open the second safe.

Cash deposits and cash recycling in one.

The eight cash recycling cassettes allow users to deposit withdraw money for all kinds of transactions. You can create and settle cash tills, exchange large bills for smaller bills, sell excess cash, buy cash, or perform customer cash transactions.

The two removable deposit cassettes store over 8000 notes. The notes moved in here cannot be dispensed back out. This allows the money to be extremely secure and accessed only by authorized personnel. You can also automatically segregate fit from unfit currency and store them in separate cassettes.

Easy Access - The intelligent design of the Arca8000D allows users to have easy access to the note path. This allows greater uptime because most of the note path is accessible without having to open the safe. Image Credit: ArcaTech Systems

Large Deposit Cassettes - Each of the two removable deposit cassettes hold more than 4000 notes. Image Credit: ArcaTech Systems

Two Separate Safes - Because the recycling and deposit-only modules are housed in two separate safes, ownership and access to the money in each side can be easily segregated. Image Credit: ArcaTech Systems
Reference Here>>

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Yahoo! Jumps Into The World Of Third Party Applications

A "start page" allows Yahoo users to access a number of the company's applications, like Yahoo Mail and Flickr, as well as the requisite news-and-weather mobile features. /// Yahoo has additionally launched a developer initiative to put third-party widgets into its mobile offerings. Initial launch partners include eBay, MySpace, and MTV News; these applications can be selected and installed directly from Yahoo Go's mobile "Widget Gallery." Image Credit: Yahoo!

Yahoo! Jumps Into The World Of Third Party Applications

In a move to show its relevance to the mobile applications world, Yahoo! unveils a demonstration of its Go 3.0 platform at a keynote speech from the CES in Las Vegas yesterday.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang used his speech at CES to announce several mobile efforts including a redesigned mobile home page and a beta of Yahoo Go 3.0, which will be open to widgets created by third-party software developers.

Confusion as to whither this demonstration was an actual launch of Go 3.0 or not seems a little moot in that Yahoo! needs to make a bold move on which to stave off rival Google’s advanced recognition of the future of smartphones and their access to the internet.

Widgets to get a third-party platform on Go 3.0 - Image Credit: Yahoo!

This excerpted from Telecompaper -

Yahoo! adds third-party mobile apps with Go 3.0 launch
Published: Monday 7 January 2008 12:59 PM CET

Yahoo! has unveiled a range of new mobile internet services at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In an effort to compete with rival Google's growing presence in the mobile world, Yahoo! has launched a new version of its Go mobile platform, a re-designed mobile home page and a mobile application developers platform. The company said it wants to create and lead its own open mobile ecosystem, serving consumers, developers, publishers and advertisers.

The Yahoo! Mobile Developer Platform aims to speed up the launch of mobile applications, helping developers build mobile widgets that can launch simultaneously on hundreds of different mobile phones.

The move to embrace third-party developers is part of the new Yahoo! Go 3.0 platform, which in addition to Yahoo! services will now also include third-party applications.
The new mobile home page is initially available on the Apple iPhone, several Nokia S60 devices and select Windows Mobile devices. The latest Go software will also incorporate display advertising for the first time, alongside existing search ads.

Reference Here>>

Start page as seen from the show floor at CES, Las Vegas - Image Credit: Yahoo!

And this excerpted from CNET -

Yahoo hopes developers don't pass 'Go'
Posted by Ina Fried - Updated at 12:10 p.m. to include potential Yahoo Mail features.

LAS VEGAS--Yahoo is hoping to prove it can be as mobile and open as its rivals.
"I think it is time to get Yahoo yodeling again," he said [Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang].

The goal, he said, is the same as in the early days--to make Yahoo the starting point on the Internet. But he said the world is far more open, social and mobile.

"We're already the home page for hundreds of millions of people."

Yang and Marco Boerries, executive vice president for Yahoo's Connected Life unit, showed off the new Yahoo Go complete with a lot of eye candy, including an animated user interface and mobile Flickr and maps applications.

Yahoo is hoping its reach will woo developers to write widgets using its XML development environment, dubbed Blueprint.

In its early beta form Yahoo Go 3 will run on 30 devices, but the company will move to reach the more than 300 devices that can run Yahoo Go 2.0.

Beyond that, widgets developed for Yahoo's platform can also run on phones that can't run the full Yahoo Go. Any phone with a browser that can display plain HTML or XHTML can run the widgets.
Yahoo is working with some phone makers, including Motorola, to also allow cell phones to run widgets natively from the phone.

Yang also demonstrated a future desktop version of Yahoo Mail that would sort through an inbox, prioritizing status updates and messages from people who are part of a user's social network. The sort function highlighted messages from Yang's most important contacts.
He also showed an inbox that could get voicemail and text messages, as well as tabs for third parties, potentially folks like MySpace and Evite.

Yang stressed that the features he showed off were not part of a current or pending release.

"This is not a launch." he said. "This is more of a concept demonstration."

Reference Here>>

To reiterate - confusion as to whither this demonstration was an actual launch of Go 3.0 or not seems a little moot in that Yahoo! needs to make a bold move on which to stave off rival Google’s advanced recognition of the future of smartphones and their access to the internet.

The Go 3.0 agenda effort isn't actually a mobile operating system, it's a piece of software that piggy-backs on a handset's existing firmware. This could prove difficult for Yahoo.

This excerpted from Webware –

Green light for Yahoo Go 3.0
By Caroline McCarthy – January 7, 2008, 8:14 AM PST

But, as a New York Times article notes …

"Other companies, including cellphone makers like Nokia and Apple, and mobile software providers, like Google and Microsoft, are trying to lure third-party publishers and programmers to create services for their mobile platforms," the story pointed out.

A company eager to put its brand into the mobile market could consequently find it counterproductive to create widgets for a downloadable software package like Yahoo Mobile. The application comes pre-loaded on a number of partner handsets, but the Times article explains that U.S. cell carriers remove this prior to retail, meaning that it has to be manually downloaded. Widgets created for Yahoo Go quite likely won't have the reach of applications created for operating systems like Apple's iPhone firmware or Google's hyped Android project.
Reference Here>>

Friday, January 04, 2008

1) For The Money … 2) For The “SHOW”

Microvision’s lensless, iPOD sized, PicoP projector, named “SHOW”, to be unveiled at the 2008 International CES, January 7-10, Las Vegas. Image Credit: Micorvision weblog

1) For The Money … 2) For The “SHOW”

Want to travel for business, deliver presentations, and not have to lug and check-in a whole audio-visual department's worth of heavy equipment into the belly of the jet flight (or fill up the trunk of the Prius) one has to take just to get to the meeting?

Next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s smallest image projector - manufactured by Microvision and named “SHOW” - will be formally introduced to the buying public and is expected to be in the stores before the end of the year.

Giving an intimate one-on-one presentation at a Cafe using the SHOW and a PDA/Smartphone. Image Credit: Microvision

The solid state, laser enabled, full color, DVD resolution device is about the size of a typical iPOD and can project and image from about five feet on to a white surface that would be about five feet square.

The reason one might be using a Prius to get to the meeting is that the SHOW is not only small, but energy efficient as well. The SHOW does not require fans to keep it cool or any lenses to project the image keeping the device small and green.

The final product is expected to sell for under $300.00 making it not only small in size, but small in price!

Image Credit: Microvision

This excerpted from PC Magazine -

World's Smallest Projector Set for Launch
by Lance Ulanoff - PC Magazine - CES Preview

Just 12 months after demonstrating a working prototype of the world's smallest projector, Redmond, Wash.-based Microvision is unveiling a fully functioning, self-contained prototype that should be available as a real product—possibly from Motorola—later this year.

Dubbed SHOW, the lensless PicoP projector is designed for home and business use, and uses tiny lasers to shoot a WVGA (848 by 480, roughly DVD resolution) image on virtually any surface that isn't a dark color or textured. It can even project onto curved and uneven surfaces. From a distance of two feet, it could project a two-foot diagonal, full-color image on a white T-shirt. From five feet away, it could show a five-foot image on, say, a white wall or ceiling.

Wii image projected onto a wall in the recreation room. Image Credit: Microvision
It includes a rechargeable battery and can charge and power via USB cable, as well.

Hannigan explained that SHOW is plug and play and should work with any video-out capable devices, including laptops, the iPod touch, and some phones.

SHOW is even something of a green product. Hannigan noted that its three colored lasers turn on only when needed. So unlike the powerful lamps in standard business projectors which are always on during operation, SHOW doesn't need a fan to keep the PicoP-based projector cool. Also, the lack of a physical lens allows Microvision to make SHOW as thin or thinner than your standard cell phone. The rechargeable battery on the prototype lasts about an hour and a half, but Hannigan expects the final product's battery to last almost twice as long.
Reference Here>>

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Intrasonics – “Soundings” On The Digital Applications Ecosystem

Intrasonics LOGO - Image Credit: Chord Capitol

Intrasonics – “Soundings” On The Digital Applications Ecosystem

Digital enablers to used access, identify, find, initiate, and respond to software programs designed to automate our lives has just found a new partner.

Symbology, as in optical character recognition, barcodes, 2D matrix, and 3D color dimension codes - RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, and RFID with memory - Biometrics, as in fingerprint, retina, vein-pattern, and face - Card Technologies that include magnetic stripe, embedded microchip, and RFID has a new technology player … Sound.

Circle Of Interactivity, patented SLS bridges the gap. Image Credit: Chord Capitol

Intrasonics is a company dedicated to bringing sound as the key communications implementer for a host of applications. As the Intrasonics website instructs, “The company is applying its patented ‘Sound Link and Sync’ (SLS) system to a range of interactive applications in broadcast and recorded media, enabling interactivity with mobile handsets, toys and mascots.”

The science of using sound in this manner is very new and does not have a formal name but we, at Symblogogy, will use “Acoustiology” … automatic identification applications set to sound.

Phone captures embedded sound files and uses them to get coupons, be directed to a website for information and commerce, or interactively respond to events broadcast on TV or radio. Image Credit: Chord Capitol

Acoustiology – AutoID Applications Set To Sound

This information excerpted from The Pondering Primate -

TV And Radio Broadcasts To Embed Hyperlinks In Sound
The Pondering Primate - Friday, December 21, 2007

Intrasonics offers another way to link the physical world to the Net with a mobile phone. By embedding data the sound of a TV broadcast or on the radio, a mobile phone is able to decipher/scan and connect a mobile phone to the Internet.

TV ads and shows can now be interactive with the mobile phone.
Intrasonics is added to the list of companies that enable a mobile phone to connect to the Internet via real world objects.

Intrasonics Ltd is Sagentia Group’s interactive media services venture which provides a completely new way of directly connecting broadcast media to mobile networks using data embedded in sound.

The technology can be used across a number of applications including interactive gaming and advertising.

Intrasonics works by communicating directly between a broadcaster and mobile handsets via data transmitted in the sound of ordinary broadcasts.

The data is embedded in the audio and is unobtrusive to the listener. The sound and data is picked up by the microphone in the mobile and can be decoded to enable a compelling range of new interactive experiences for the consumer.

Luc Jonker, CEO of Mainframe Participaties B.V. comments " Our vision is to bring interactivity into every household around the world by changing the way in which consumers currently interact with their TVs or radios"

Reference Here>>

Additional application information excerpted Intrasonics and from the assets found at Chord Capitol and its subsidiary, Sagentia Group –

Intrasonics Ltd is a new company that creates, develops and licenses unique solutions for mobile-media interactivity. The company is applying its patented ‘Sound Link and Sync’ (SLS) system to a range of interactive applications.

SLS allows data to be hidden within almost any audio material. The data is spread across the audio band and then masked using psycho-acoustics, making it unobtrusive to the casual listener.

Intrasonics SLS-encoded audio may then be stored on CD, tape or DVD - or transmitted via broadcast TV, radio, or a public address system - and is unaffected by typical audio compression systems.
The technology has application where small amounts of data need to be sent over an existing broadcast or recording system. Typically, it can be used to provide links relevant to the audio material – e.g. giving access to a website related to a TV advert, or facilitating 'one touch' interaction with a TV show.

Intrasonics SLS can also be used to synchronise audio subtitles to a film, to display messages on mobile handsets even if no radio connection is possible, and enable new ranges of interactive toys and themed mascots, whose actions are co-ordinated with broadcast or recorded media.

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Capturing Coupon from sound files embedded in broadcast commercial. Image Credit: Chord Capitol

Our Product - how does it work and what does the market say ?

Intrasonics Ltd owns a significant portfolio of six patent families covering its acoustic data communications system - called 'Sound Link and Sync' (SLS). SLS allows small amounts of data to be hidden unobtrusively within an audio stream. The audio, carrying the data, may then be broadcast over any distribution system (radio, TV, in-store PA) where it is transmitted to air by any loudspeaker.

Software downloaded directly from a cell tower. Image Credit: Chord Capitol

A simple downloadable application on a mobile handset then interprets the sound, picked up by the mobile's microphone, and decodes the data. This results in the user receiving an interactive link or message on his mobile which he can click to see the advert or play along with the game show on the TV at that precise moment.

Dynamic TV broadcast "Game Show" play. Image Credit: Chord Capitol
When the audio is played through ordinary loudspeakers, the Intrasonics data is also carried - and can be decoded using a microphone connected to a low-cost DSP
[Digital Signal Processor - A special-purpose CPU used for digital signal processing applications] or by a software-only addition to a mobile phone.
No special hardware is needed in the handset whatsoever and no change is needed to either the broadcast network or the TV itself – all existing TVs and radio receivers worldwide are already fully Intrasonics-compatible which is a critical consideration for ease of distribution.

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This ACOUSTIOLOGY "sounds" like another great idea on which our lives are made eaiser through technology and automation.