HP unveils 3D printing and immersive computing


While 3D viewing (stereoscopic imaging that emulates our eyesight and 3D printing (an inkjet-like manufacturing process) really mean very different things, HP rolled out new products in each arena simultaneously as part of its new “Blended Reality ecosystem.”

The HP Multi Jet Fusion hardware “delivers on the potential of 3D printing,” and the Sprout “immersive computing platform” redefines the PC user experience “and creates a foundation for future immersive technologies,” the company says. “We are on the cusp of a transformative era in computing and printing…  enabling us to express ourselves at the speed of thought — without filters, without limitations.”

hp multijet 3d printer

The Multi Jet Fusion provides better quality, increased productivity, and break-through economics as compared to existing solutions, HP claims, with a “synchronous architecture that significantly improves the commercial viability of 3D printing and has the potential to change the way we think about manufacturing.” It’s 10-times faster, and the proprietary multi-agent printing process utilizing HP Thermal Inkjet arrays simultaneously apply multiple liquid agents to produce best-in-class quality that combines greater accuracy, resiliency and uniform part strength in all three axis directions, HP adds.

Of, HP “has been an industry leader in 2D printing for 30 years,” the company notes, and “Now, we are bringing our expertise to bear in 3D printing, leveraging all of our investments and intellectual property to develop tools that can enable the next industrial revolution.”

Sprout “Reimagines computing”


Yes, Sprout is a funky name for a desktop all-in-one Windows 8 PC. But HP says it “combines the power of an advanced desktop computer with an immersive, natural user interface to create a new computing experience.” It has a scanner, depth sensor, and a projector in a single device, to let you “take physical items and seamlessly merge them into a digital workspace,” as “people have always created with their hands.” The “Illuminator” projection system scans and captures real-world objects in 3D, allowing the user to immediately interact and create: there’s a 23-inch LCD primary display up top, and 20-inch capacitive pad on the bottom, under the camera and projector.

There a demo of the system in use here.

It’s sells for $1889 here.


Photo book finds funding, ties to mobile

smolan tracks

smolan tracks

Famed photographer Rick Smolan is enhancing one of his earliest works with a smartphone-enabled coffee table book — for which he has now completed a first round of funding on Kickstarter.

Inside Tracks: Alone Across the Outback is based on a woman’s solitary 1,700 mile camel trek across the Australian Outback, the book she published about her journey, the photos Smolan captured — and the new movie hitting screens soon.

Smolan was a twenty-eight-year-old photojournalist when he was sent to document Robyn Davidson’s nine-month Australian adventure. National Geographic published his initial photos; she wrote her own book about the journey; and Smolan later published his own photo book, From Alice to Ocean.

Inside Tracks will be a self-published 224-page landscape coffee-table book, 30-inches wide when open. It will “weave together three experiences of her journey,” Smolan says: quotes from her book, the best of his photos, many of which have never been seen before, and images and the screenplay from the new movie.

With integrated HP technology, Smolan adds, “you simply point your phone or tablet at specially marked photos and immediately you’ll see a clip from the movie showing how that photograph was brought to life.”

The Kickstarter funding has met Smolan’s initial goals — but you can still sign up now to get a good deal on the finished volume, and help ensure the publication.


Adobe changes time, removes haze

adobe demoes haze

adobe demoes haze

The latest update to Adobe’s Creative Cloud did not provide any of the eye-catching new photo-editing features the company debuts every year or two — but that doesn’t mean more new tricks aren’t in the works.

At its recent conference Adobe showed it could alter the apparent time at which a photo was captured. The Defog demo automatically cuts down on environmental haze that sucks out contrast and saturation in objects that are far away from your camera, reports Popular PhotographyThe full story is here.

Image sensor may be 12x more sensitive

12x sensor

12x sensor

Better than the human eye? That’s the talk surrounding a new imaging technology that captures more complete color information at each photosite on a sensor.

How much color? It will distinguish 36 individual color channels, twelve times that of today’s chips — and our own eyeballs.

The “Transverse Field Detectors” developed by researchers at the Universities of Granada, Spain and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, can be precisely tuned to detect a photon’s wavelength.

The Imaging Resource has the full story here.


Flying cameras get FAA approval

parrot bebopdrone

mit drone light

The Federal Aviation Administration is now permitting the use of camera-equipped drones on movie sets. It’s hopefully a first step in lightening regulations on all pros and hobbyists who want to shoot stills or video from their quadcopter.

The Consumer Electronics Association says the FAA decision “is an important milestone as the agency develops rules to allow unmanned aircraft to operate safely in U.S. airspace. We support the FAA’s action and related guidance that provides a model for other private businesses seeking approval to operate drones in populated areas under controlled environments.”

The devices are used in aerial coverage for sports and real estate, assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief missions, and “providing novel new camera angles to capture professional and personal video footage,” the CEA adds.  “The sky is the limit.”

CEA forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 (just under a million units).

Samsung and Oculus collaborate on mobile VR headset

samsung oculus gear carmack

samsung oculus gear

Is this how you want to look at your photos and other media? Samsung says its new Gear VR “creates an immersive mobile virtual reality experience that the industry has never seen before… enabling users to fully immerse themselves in a cinematic virtual reality environment.”

Made in partnership with VR innovator Oculus, the Gear VR works with the new Galaxy Note 4 phone’s 5.7-inch display, and also uses the phone’s GPU and CPU. The headset is wireless, “so users can be fully engaged in virtual worlds without being tethered to a computer.” Its sensor include an accelerometer, gyrometer, magnetic, and proximity.

You can “sit in the best seat of a theater,” Samsung says, “be on the stage of a performance with full 360-degree 3D video, or can enjoy gaming like it’s never been seen before, inside stunning worlds where imagination becomes reality,” Samsung says.

Oculus, now owned by Facebook, developed a virtual reality headset “that allows players to step inside the game. It provides an immersive, stereoscopic 3D experience with an ultra-wide field of view and super low latency head tracking.” Oculus says its collaborated with Samsung for 12 months

“It’s still early days for mobile VR,” Oculus adds. “Some of the key challenges include a lack of 6DOF positional tracking, limited CPU/GPU bandwidth with today’s hardware, thermal management, power consumption, and overall ergonomics, but we’re making progress quickly and the Innovator Edition is only just the beginning. Still, the experience on the device today is pretty astounding. The magic of a completely portable and wireless VR headset is easy to underestimate until you have experienced it. We don’t have the raw horsepower of a high end gaming PC (yet), but there are valuable compensations that make it a very interesting trade off, and many developers will thrive on the platform, especially as it improves at the rapid pace of the mobile ecosystem.”

The Gear VR will be available this year in a beta “Innovator” version.

samsung oculus gear carmack

Toshiba develops faster 20-megapixel sensor for phones

T4KA7 toshiba

T4KA7 toshiba

“The markets for smartphones and tablets increasingly require smaller cameras but with much higher resolution,” Toshiba says. “With a 1.12-micrometer pixel size, Toshiba’s new sensor achieves 20-megapixel images …in a 6mm z-height camera modules for smartphones and tablets.”

The T4KA7 is a 1/2.4 inch BSI CMOS image sensor. It can capture 22 frames per second, 1.8 times faster than Toshiba’s previous 20-megapixel sensor.

There’s more information here.

Instagram offers free Hyperlapse app

instagram hyperlapse

instagram hyperlapse

It was only a week or two ago that we were all marveling at a Microsoft Research project that superbly smoothed out videos that had otherwise suffered from lots of motion.

And now Instagram is providing a free app that will let anyone do it on an iPhone.

Instagram said it used its own in-house stabilization technology to let you “shoot polished time-lapse videos that were previously impossible without bulky tripods and expensive equipment.” You can shoot handheld even “while you’re walking, running, jumping or falling.” The result “will be instantly stabilized to smooth out the bumps from the road and give it a cinematic feeling.”

Examples of its us could include “Capture an entire sunrise in 10 seconds—even from the back of a moving motorcycle; Walk through the crowds at an all-day music festival, then distill it into a 30 second spot; Capture your bumpy trail run and share your 5k in 5 seconds,” the company says.

The app is here.

Wired has a very interesting profile of the developers here. “What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free,” the article says.

The gist of it: rather than use a smartphone’s limited computational power to replicate intensive video post-processing, Instagram’s tech uses the phone’s built-in gyroscopes during capture to measure the camera’s movement directly.


Vine now imports and edits video

vine edits

vine edits

“Vine” makes fun little video clips posted on Twitter and other social media. But the app has long had a serious limitation: you could only use the video you captured in the app. There was no using clips from your phone’s camera roll, no importing editned and enhanced video from other tools.

No longer: the newest version  “gives you the freedom to create a Vine in any way you want,” the company says. The new app “offers powerful ways to edit your videos as well as the ability to import existing videos on your phone and turn them into Vines. Simply put, this release gives you total creative freedom.” The app also sports imporved editing tools.

Vine boasts “Every day, millions of people open Vine to share memories in the moment. Every month more than 100 million people watch Vines across the web, and there are more than 1 billion loops every day.”


MediaFire automates photo and video syncing on mobile



MediaFire updated its Android cloud storage app to automatically store, access and share mobile photos and videos; it launched an iOS version earlier this Summer.

“In just one week since the launch of our automatic photo and video syncing update for iOS, MediaFire users have used our app to back up and share over 5 million photos and videos online,” the company says.

The service “can be a convenient tool for photographers” the company adds “because it supports uploading file hierarchies. Creatives with lots of subfolders can automatically sync all that organized content to the cloud without having to upload individual files.”

The service also supports one-click sharing for a large number of social media services, and includes embed links for major blogging platforms. It also supports “watching” folders, so you can share, follow and track access to specific files.

MediaFire is available for Windows, OSX, iPhone, Android and the Web, and provides 15GB free cloud storage, and 1TB for $25 per year.

The “online storage and collaboration company” says it now has 37 million active registered users. It was founded in 2006 in The Woodlands, Texas.