MONTEREY, Calif.--A start-up called Artificial Muscle hopes its actuator technology will provide a cheaper, quieter, and lower-power alternative to the host of motors and other devices that control mechanical movements inside cameras.
The company's technology employs a particular variety of resilient substances called elastomers. This variety changes properties when a voltage is applied across them, growing softer or firmer. Artificial Muscle mounts a ring of the material to a central disk that's pushed by a spring; when the material relaxes, the spring pushes the central disk outward.
The distance the disk travels, or "throw," is … Read more
Those of us who are artistically challenged need all the help we can get when it comes to design software. A new tool called Vector Magic--the result of Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory research project by James Diebel and Jacob Norda--seems to be a valuable addition to the arsenal of free apps available for creating and editing images online.
Basically, Vector Magic takes rasterized images (composed of pixels) and converts them to vector (or scalable) images. The result is an image that can be easily resized with no blur or pixelation--an ideal format for logos or other images that need to appear both large and small. Vector Magic supports the uploading of JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and TIFF formats, and can export its final products as EPS, SVG, or PNG files. A warning on the Vector Magic blog today warns users to be patient because of a recent upswing in the load on its servers, but I had no problem at all converting JPEG images of various sizes into vector images in no time at all.… Read more
Recently Power Downloader received an e-mail from Kitty Kilobyte who was away at school. Apparently Kitty had amassed a huge amount of digital photos by taking her camera with her wherever she went. She had pictures from birthday parties, school events, and concerts she had attended, and also simple shots of friends at school and other scenery in her life. She had thought about putting them into albums or posting them online, but wondered if Power knew of something new and exciting she could do with her photographs.… Read more
This week includes a ton of firmware updates from Casio, info on Adobe's Photoshop advancements, and some big news from HP on its camera line.Adobe: Online Photoshop coming this year Another pen, another camera AVCHD video: The hardware is willing, but the software is weak Brace yourself for Adobe's Photoshop overhaul Firmware Ahoy: Casio unleashes a deluge of Exilim camera updates Flickr centralizes printing abilities Hands-on with the Eye-Fi card How to stick your camera to a tree HP to stop designing own cameras Kodak enters the fashion fray Lexar's UDMA CF/SD reader ShoZu: Subscribe to friends' Flickr photos on your phone
Hewlett-Packard has never done as much as it could to use its servers, PCs, printers, software, and the like to cross-leverage and complement each other.
One need only look to Apple to see how this sort of thing can work. The iPod would arguably not have succeeded without the Mac home base to build from, and the Mac has clearly piggybacked on the iPod's success. With even more assets, such as servers and services, HP had still more opportunities. But it largely paid lip service to connecting them. Indeed, at present, HP seems to be headed back to a … Read more
Last week I wrote about the Eye-Fi Card, a special SD card that enables digital cameras to upload their photos wirelessly. Well, I've had several days with the card, and I'm ready to give you some first impressions. Unfortunately, the card I've been using doesn't include the firmware the Eye-Fi Card will use at release, so I can't yet give this product a formal score.
The card comes with a USB reader, a small instruction booklet, and nothing else; all the pertinent software is included on the card, and it autolaunches when you connect it … Read more
Lexar is about to start shipping a new reader to complement its line of 300X Professional UDMA CompactFlash cards. First announced back in February, the reader features two slots: one UDMA-compatible CompactFlash slot and one SDHC-compatible SD card slot. The reader's slick design includes an integrated cover for the card slots. If you press buttons on the sides of the reader, the middle portion pops up and the slots become accessible. When you're done, just push the middle part down and the slots are covered, so you don't have to worry about dirt or dust getting inside … Read more
MONTEREY, Calif.--Adobe Systems has committed to shipping a beta version of its online image-editing tool, Photoshop Express, this year, and said it will be complete in 2008.
"By late this year, we anticipate having a beta version," said John Loiacono, senior vice president for Adobe Creative Solutions, speaking at the 6sight digital imaging conference here. And next year, the online service will be "available to anyone," he said.
Loiacono showed Photoshop Express running on an Adobe server connected over the Internet, he said. But when the average person experiences the software, it likely will be … Read more
A whole heap of Web 2.0 companies are competing for recognition of their phone-to-Web and Web-to-phone services. Most are mainly media storage, sharing, or manipulation companies like Thumbplay and 3Guppies, that have added a proprietary push-to-phone service to make their brand do more. ShoZu, a 2007 Webware 100 winner, is one of the few I've seen whose actual goal is to push content to your phone and from it, using as many partner services as they possibly can.
Today ShoZu announced a partnership with Flickr that lets users subscribe to friends' individual media feeds. A lot has changed … Read more