In stark counterpoint to small, fast systems like the MacBook Air, big-screened, heavy, packed-to-the-gills desktop-alternative laptops are still alive and well, although sometimes a little hard to justify. Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops has been a well-known example of that type of massive machine for years, and 2011's update to the Qosmio largely continues the trend with a new design. The $1,899 Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is bulky, heavy (8 pounds), and expensive, but it's also got top-of-the-line features. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 graphics, and dual hard drives with a … Read more
If you've ever watched stereo 3D on your smartphone and found yourself rubbing your temples, you're not alone.
New research out of U.C. Berkeley suggests that eyestrain and the ensuing discomfort is the result of a phenomenon called the vergence-accommodation conflict, by which the eyes have to manage both watching a screen at a certain distance and simultaneously making sense of images that are either in front of or behind that screen.
"When watching stereo 3D displays, the eyes must focus--that is, accommodate--to the distance of the screen because that's where the light comes from; and at the same time, the eyes must converge to the distance of the stereo content, which may be in front of or behind the screen," says Martin S. Banks, the professor of optometry and vision science at Berkeley who published the report in today's Journal of Vision.
Though his series of experiments was conducted on just 24 adults, a sort of discomfort trend emerged: Watching stereo content in front of the screen (which appears to jump into the viewer's space) was less comfortable from a shorter distance more typical with cell phones and laptops, while stereo content placed behind the screen (appearing as though the viewer is peering through a window) was less comfortable when viewed at greater distances more common in movie theaters.
Banks suggests that more studies be conducted across larger sample sizes that include children, and that those pave the way for actual guidelines on appropriate viewing distances.
"This is an area of research where basic science meets application, and we hope that the science can proceed quickly enough to keep up with the increasingly wide use of the technology," he says.… Read more
Sprint Nextel will confirm its network-sharing agreement with LightSquared in conjunction with its earnings announcement on July 28, according to people familiar with the situation.
The agreement, in which Sprint's network will be used as the infrastructure backbone to LightSquared's upcoming 4G Long-Term Evolution network, will shed some light on where Sprint wants to head with its own 4G ambitions. The company was supposed to have provided an update on plans for its next-generation network by the middle of the year, but has pushed back its announcement.
While Sprint came on to the 4G scene early with partner … Read more
What exactly is Firefox for?
With a new Mozilla chief executive, a new six-week rapid-release cycle, and new Firefox management, apparently the organization has concluded there's no time like the present to pin down an answer.
"Now that we have a solid base to work from, and greatly improved agility, it's a good time to look at the quickly-evolving landscape and chart our path forward," Jay Sullivan, Mozilla's vice president of product, said in a mailing list message on Friday. "To that end, I've tried to synthesize and distill countless discussions and ideas … Read more
Subwoofers aren't easy. Sure, adding a decent subwoofer to a system to supply more bass is no big deal, but getting the best possible sound out of a subwoofer is. I've written a few How To Set Up A Subwoofer articles and blogs in my time, but Brent Butterworth's recent "Subwoofers: 4, 2, or 1?" feature in Sound and Vision magazine tackled one of the more difficult aspects of home theater setup: do multiple subwoofers offer any performance advantages over a single sub? Butterworth's premise was simply this: Should I spend my $1,200 … Read more
Nowadays, when a friend says her TV stinks, you assume she's talking about picture or sound quality. Some years down the road--assuming certain cross-Pacific R&D pans out--she might mean that literally.
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego are collaborating with Samsung to develop a compact odor-generating component for TVs and cell phones. The as-yet-unnamed device would give television programs and Web sites a palette of 10,000 odors.
Sure, people have been trying to add smell to visual media for a long time (Smell-O-Vision anyone?). The UC San Diego-Samsung collaboration, however, is pushing the technology closer to reality. Miniaturization and digitization are cracking the big challenges of odor-on-demand systems: control and variety.
Odor pixels are the key: a 100x100 matrix of tiny wires will make it easy to heat any one of 10,000 tiny liquid-filled containers.
It'd be cool to catch a whiff of ocean during a beach scene, or take in the heady odor of woodsmoke as a campfire flickers onscreen. But I'm thinking the smells have got to be totally natural. Otherwise, the intense pine forest experience I'm expecting might turn out to be a subliminal cue to break out household cleaning products. Maybe Samsung could offer an eco-organic version. … Read more
High-end audio shows are a great way to see and hear the very best gear. I'm getting good feedback about the goings-on at T.H.E. Show: Newport being held this weekend at the Hilton Hotel at the Orange County Airport in California.
There are oodles of outrageously priced, groovy turntables; gorgeous amplifiers; and statuesque speakers on display; and lots of great music to buy. More than 100 high-end audio companies will be demonstrating their best products in rooms throughout the hotel.
T.H.E. Show: Newport is also presenting a series of seminars on computer audio; tips on … Read more
Nvidia is making 3D more affordable for 3D Vision-ready monitors, projectors, and laptops by launching a wired version of its active-shutter 3D eyewear. Due in late June, each pair costs $99 and comes with a 10-foot USB cable for power. An optional lock lets the glasses be secured to a computer to deter theft.
An existing wireless version is separately available at $149. Nvidia 3D Vision is a proprietary 3D technology for computing devices based on Nvidia's graphics processors such as its latest GTX 560M chip. The system is compatible with high-quality 1080p 3D PC games, 3D Blu-ray movies, and 3D clips streamed online from YouTube.
Imagine a floating 3D map on a car's dashboard that drivers can interact with by gesturing with their hands. It might sound like a scene lifted from "Minority Report," but Pioneer has developed a new Floating Vision display to deliver a similar capability.
The system utilizes an LCD module to project sharp, 3D-like pictures through a special 3D lens. When combined with infrared sensors, Floating Vision allows users to touch and manipulate objects in real time, as illustrated in the above video clip from the Embedded Systems Expo in Tokyo.
Some applications for this technology include in-car navigation, and Pioneer will be offering this version to companies interested in integrating Floating Vision displays in their products. Another variant, which interfaces with the PC through a USB link, is already available.
May is National Stroke Awareness month, and Boca Raton, Fla.-based NovaVision is using the occasion to trumpet a successful new therapy for partial vision loss due to stroke.
According to NovaVision's statistics, stroke is a primary cause of serious long-term disability and often causes partial blindness due to neurological trauma and visual field loss. For example, a stroke victim might retain general sight, but lose their peripheral vision or even the ability to see if he or she moves eyes to the left or right. Until now, according to NovaVision research, the opinion amongst most physicians stated such … Read more