Archives for December 7, 2009

Faster, better holographs

3D holographic display provider Zebra Imaging says it has now “cut production time in half while doubling the resolution on both color and monochromatic holograms.”

Using patented technical advances in lasers, optics and computing, Zebra’s holograms are portable and can be made either transparent or opaque and rigid or flexible through various lamination techniques. The hologram is illuminated with a halogen or LED light source.

The recent improvements let the company create high-resolution holographic images in less than two and a half hours, Zebra says, “allowing for the rapid production of digital holographic imagery at previously unattainable speeds and quality.”

Zebra says it holographs are a “robust, cost-effective and accurately-detailed medium to present plans and designs in a true 360-degree viewpoint without requiring special goggles, glasses or other eyewear.”

The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Feather-light video viewing

To better accommodate those with low-bandwidth connections, YouTube is testing a stripped-down viewing page designed to ensure videos load and play quickly.

“A consequence of rolling out higher quality video is that playback might suffer if bandwidth or computer processing power is low,” the company says. To counter this where needed, the “Feather” player defaults down from HD to standard definition, and related videos, comments and other familiar features from the main “watch page” are “kept to a minimum.”

The page also uses “advanced web techniques for reducing the total amount of bytes downloaded by the browser,” YouTube says, and “this results in a user experience that aims to keep things simple, and the videos loading and playing quickly.”

However, YouTube adds that Feather is “a work in progress” and may not work for all videos.

Sports in 3D: 2010 FIFA World Cup

Sony is backing its bet on 3DTV with a deal to use its 3D cameras to capture World Cup soccer.

“3D viewers around the world will feel as though they are inside the stadiums, watching the games in person,” Sony says.

Sony previously announced plans to introduce 3D LCD TVs next year, as well Blu-ray DVD players and PlayStation game consoles.

LG first with 3D HD

LG Electronics asserts it’s the first display maker to mass produce a monitor with both full HD resolution and 3D.

The panel can produce both 2D and 3D imagery. The 23-inch screen works with shutter glasses for its 3D appearance.

The Korean company says the thin-film transistor liquid crystal display has picture quality almost twice as crisp as that of 3D displays currently available in the market — thanks to a 3D controller capable of processing more than twice as much image data as other HD LCDs.

Apple sued over iPhone camera

Following successful suits against Sony, Canon, and others, St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants is now suing Apple, with the claim that the digital camera in the iPhone infringes on the same basic digital camera patents for which St. Clair has received royalties from many manufacturers.

The suit, filed in the US District Court of Delaware, charges Apple’s phone photography violates four patents.

Companies that have previously agreed to pay royalties include Motorola and Sanyo. In its lawsuits, St. Clair won almost $35 from Canon in 2003, and $25 million from Sony in 2001.

Kid Rock is first Fathead music artist

Fathead, Livonia, Mich., announces the launch of a music category and has chosen rock and roll superstar, Kid Rock, as the first musician to kick off the Fathead music roster. Fathead has produced nine eye-catching images for loyal Kid Rock fans.  The Kid Rock Collection by Fathead® is the first-ever individual collection of Fathead images, in a variety of Fathead styles and sizes, from huge portrait/murals and life-size likenesses to the more space friendly Fathead Jr.-sized Kid Rock.

“Selecting Kid Rock to launch our music category with his own collection of images was a natural choice for us,” says Patrick McInnis, CEO of Fathead. “He has always represented Detroit passionately, both on the music front and by giving back to the community.  Yet, he’s also a globally recognized super-star, so there is no one better suited than Kid Rock to kick off this Fathead first for us.”

Study shows Canadians are world’s top social networkers

Canwest News Service reports Canadians are the top users of social networking sites in the world, according to a new survey from Forrester Research. It shows four out of five online Canadians use social media, and almost 57 percent participate in social networks at least once a month, making them the most active social networkers of any market regularly surveyed by Forrester.

Americans are the next most active social networkers behind Canadians at 51 percent, with the United Kingdom coming third at 38 percent.

If you add in all social media — from those who simply peruse blogs or watch YouTube videos all the way up to content creators — the number of Canadians using social media climbs to almost 80 percent.

Facebook is the most popular social network in Canada, with almost 10 times as many weekly visitors as MySpace.

Additionally, social media is cutting across all generations in Canada. Almost every online member of Generation Y — generally those between the ages of 18 and 29 — uses social technologies and they are more likely to be contributors to social media, while 85 percent of Generation X — between 30 and 45 — use social technologies. Eight percent of online seniors are considered creators in social media.

Pentax announces new security lens PAIR technology

Pentax Imaging Co., Golden, Colo., announced new technology to overcome the big challenges of the atmospheric interference of fog, snow, and haze in outdoor live security surveillance. PENTAX Atmospheric Interference Reduction (PAIR) system technology offers newly developed image processing circuitry installed directly within PENTAX lens housings with specific step-by-step signal processing for each lens characteristic.

The primary advantages of in-camera PAIR technology include:

* No image adjustment requirements.

* Real-time clear images available immediately after video switching with multiple cameras.

* Removable noise (graininess) that is caused by solid particles such as snow, smoke, or sand or by liquid particles such as fog and rain.

* Color image reproduction for more accurate information.

* Half the cost of dedicated devices such as image enhancers and/or element cancellation devices.

* Autofocus.

“PAIR technology entirely eliminates the need for more expensive, separate fog cancellation devices that require multiple cameras with individual adjustments,” said Tom Harada, managing director of Security Systems and Machine Vision Optics for Pentax.

CIPA: October Shipments of digital cameras up 7 percent

According to statistics released from Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), shipments of digital cameras in October in Japan notched up 6.8 percent year-on-year to 777,000 units, due mostly to a favorable going of compact models, which rose 114.4 percent in number, according to JPEA Photo Electro News. Cumulative shipments for the first ten months in 2009 came to 86.6 percent level of the previous year, while DSLRs at 87.4 percent, in spite of the severer economic condition.

The market outside Japan in October in unit terms rose 4.1 percent in total, a 1.4 percent gain in DSLR models, while compacts gained 4.4 percent. Cumulative shipments to October came to 96.4 percent level in the case of DSLRs, while the mainstay compact models remained at the 82.6 percent level, making the total shipments at the 83.6 percent level of the previous year.

Constant Contact extends local educational seminars for small businesses

Email marketing tool provider Constant Contact Inc., Waltham, Mass., expanded its regional educational program. The company provides local seminars across the United States to help small businesses learn winning strategies for email marketing, event marketing and online surveys and help them to connect with other small businesses and area resources. Small businesses in Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado, and throughout the New England area can now benefit from Constant Contact’s free, in-person educational seminars focused on helping them succeed by developing stronger customer relationships.

Corissa St. Laurent, a public relations and marketing expert with more than 10 years of experience in creating powerful marketing campaigns has taken the reins as New England’s regional development director. St. Laurent has a proven track record of entrepreneurial success and will serve as the local expert in New England to help educate small organizations in relation to how email marketing and other online tools can support their business goals.

Julie Niehoff, regional development director, is expanding her territory beyond Dallas and its surrounding area to include the Austin region. Niehoff has more than 10 years of marketing communications experience and has become an integral part of the Dallas small business community by helping small organizations in the area build effective relationships with their customers. Niehoff will now be able to reach a wider audience of small businesses seeking marketing advice.

Email marketing expert and Colorado native Zak Barron, has more than 8 years of experience in customer service, marketing and sales and has helped thousands of businesses improve their marketing efforts. Most recently located in New England, Barron will now return to Colorado to leverage his experience and knowledge of the area’s business and cultural landscape to help small businesses in Colorado build powerful and sustaining relationships with their customers.

“Small business owners and marketers have been clamoring for the hands-on marketing seminars we provide throughout the country. As the market leader, we strive to reach as many small businesses as possible and will now increase our reach further,” said Annette Iafrate, senior director, regional development, Constant Contact. “Our seminars provide small businesses with advice from an expert located in their community relative to how to build effective communications programs, create stronger customer relationships, and drive repeat business.”