For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Category Archives: Displays

D&D Gets Nerdy(er)

By John Beck

I usually consider myself to be a bit of a tech head, but now and again something comes along which makes me realise how low I really rate on the universal scale of geekery.

The latest blow to my sense of nerdy self worth is SurfaceScapes, a project dreamt up by students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Centre, which aims to create a proof-of-concept for playing tabletop role-playing games on Microsoft’s Surface Table.

Basically, this provides players with a digital environment, which they can interact with using real objects (such as painstakingly detailed miniatures), and also provides automated calculations and visual and audio feedback for actions performed by characters in the game. If that takes your fancy, then watch the video and allow the nasal voiceover to explain things far better than I ever could.

So far, only Dungeons and Dragons is up and running on the prototype system, but fortunately for those whose proverbial boat is not floated by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s magnum opus, the team say it could be expanded to other games in the future.

[ SurfaceScapes ]

Samsung Series 8 LCD HDTVs Announced

This post is syndicated with permission from Gadgetoholic.com

With the digital transition coming in 2009 the LCD HDTV market is booming as people upgrade to new TVs. When it comes time to buy a new HDTV you have to decide between LCD or plasma technology for the most part. Samsung has introduced several new HDTV models recently including some new plasma sets.

Samsung didn’t leave the LCD HDTV fan out either and introduced a new Series 8 line that includes models 850 and 860 both in 46-inch or 52-inch screen sizes. The new TVs feature the Samsung Touch of Color design that puts color inside the plastic housing of the TV rather than simply painting it on. Both the 850 and 860 models share similar specs with 50,000:1 contrast ratio, 120Hz refresh rate and four HDMI inputs as well as other input types. The TVs are also very thin at only 1.9-inches at the thickest part.

Continue Reading

Pico Projector Demoed: Impressive, Most Impressive

Pico Projector

By Evan Ackerman

Back in January, the Pico Projector seemed borderline too good to be true. Then, Motorola signed up for the hardware, and finally we get a look at a bright, svelte, preproduction version stuffed into something about the size of a cellphone. According to Sean Captain from Popular Science, “seeing really is believing with this tech. Point the Pico at any even vaguely flat surface–a wall, someone’s back, the palm of your hand–and it’s movie time.” The version in the video below is a prototype that uses red, green, and blue lasers and a digital micromirror array (ultraminiaturized DLP technology, basically) to pump out a bright picture. The production version will probably rely on LEDs which are cheaper, cooler (in the thermal sense), and more efficient, but most likely a bit dimmer.

You should see this in some sort of production cellphone sometime next year, believe it or not. Take that, iPhone.

[ Microvision Pico Projector ] VIA [ PopSci ]

Dammit: eStarling Introduces 4:3 WiFi Digital Frame

eStarling 2.0 4:3

By Evan Ackerman

I am starting to seriously hate eStarling. It used to be that I only disliked them for the initially crappy, and then finally slightly less crappy version of their brilliant (brilliant if it would only work) WiFi digital picture frame. To bring you up to date, the concept of the eStarling frame is that you can send pictures to it from anywhere via a built-in WiFi connection and an online interface that checks email accounts and RSS feeds for pictures. Version one of the frame was butt ugly, couldn’t connect to any wireless networks over 10 inches away, froze all the time, and had a terrible, terrible screen. ThinkGeek nicely replaced all version one frames with version two frames, which are less ugly, can connect to wireless networks (sometimes), and have a terrible, terrible screen. I reviewed this frame back in May in a two part review, of which the second part never got written, since the frame wouldn’t play nice with my unsecured wireless network no matter what I tried.

Regardless of the software problems that the eStarling has, the most glaring flaw is the hardware. Have I mentioned that the 7 inch, 16:9 (!), 480×270 (!!) widescreen is not only a terrible proportion, but it’s also terrible quality? I can’t stress the terrible enough. Seriously, for the premium you pay ($220), it’s fantastically terrible. And now that eStarling has apparently gotten enough schmucks like me to buy their crappy versions, they’ve released something that looks to have a quality display: an honest-to-goodness, 4:3 800×600 WiFi frame.

More ranting, and specs on the new frame and latest software, after the jump.Continue Reading

Interactive FogScreen Now For Sale

FogScreen

By Evan Ackerman

The only reason that advertisers haven’t put billboards across sidewalks and in store entryways is that smashing your face into an ad isn’t likely to motivate you to buy the product (perhaps with some exceptions). Thanks to FogScreen, you can now look forward to walkthrough advertising blocking your path and eroding your sanity via a standard video projector and a laminar screen of fog.

FogScreen works by using ultrasound to blast water into teeny little vapor droplets, so teeny that they travel with air as opposed to through air, which means that you don’t get wet when you walk through the falling droplets… Although, the 2.5 gallons per hour of tap water it spits out has to end up somewhere, so I might not run one of these things over your priceless oriental rug. The FogScreen won’t take any prizes for image quality, but besides the undeniably awesome walkthrough factor, it’s also able to produce interactive images. Infrared sensors on one side of the screen are able to track hand motions, letting you draw directly on the fog:

The FogScreen comes in a standard 100 inch diagonal model, or in 50 inch linkable models that you can make crazy big screens with, as long as you can handle the price tag of $40,000 each.

[ FogScreen ] VIA [ Wired ]

Microvision Signs with Motorola for Pico Projector Phones

Microvision Signs with Motorola for Pico Projector phone
By Shane McGlaun

Back during CES we talked a bit about the Pico Projector from Microvision and how cool it would be to project your content from your phone onto a wall or other surface for big screen viewing. At the time the Pico Projector wasn’t slated to go into a phone, but today Microvision has announced that they have signed an agreement with Motorola to integrate the Pico Projector into future Motorola products. The PicoP is an ultra-miniature laser based display engine that will enable big screen viewing for mobile devices.

While the details of the agreement weren’t disclosed, the two companies did say that they were working together to integrate the PicoP into a working handset for demo purposes. The prototype phone will use the new WVGA, 854 x 480 pixel wide angle scanner that Microvision introduced at the May 2007 Society of Information Display conference. Looks like we are one step closer to throwing the streaming TV some cellular providers offer onto a screen actually big enough to enjoy.

Via Microvision

*************
If you are making a business to business conference call consider looking into a professional conference call service. By using a company specifically for this service, can help ensure quality, reliability and trouble shooting support for your call.
*************

NLS Dual Vertical 19″ LCD Monitors

Dual Vertical LCDs

By Evan Ackerman

Besides the fact that sporting two LCDs on any computer makes you feel like a serious badass, it’s legitimately good for productivity. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. Neuro Logic Systems has created what they describe as “the world’s first dual 19-inch LCD in a vertical format.” The LCDs fold up from a horizontal position and are supported by no-nonsense gas struts, as well befits a piece of hardware designed for the military. It would be nice if civilian hardware manufacturers realized that even non-military sometimes takes a beating and stopped making laptop LCD hinges out of crappy plastic, but I digress. As you can see from the picture, the RFT-2L19 (catchy name, huh) is primarily designed to be used in a rack mount, but the NLS website does mention that it’s compatible with some sort of transport case. The displays themselves are somewhat unimpressive, at 1280 x 1024 max resolution, 250cd/m² brightness, 700:1 contrast, and VGA/DVI inputs. Personally I prefer my dual monitors to be oriented horizontally, but I’m willing to embrace anything that has the potential to give me more desktop real estate in a portable computer.

[ NLS Displays ] VIA [ Trend Hunter ]

CrystalLine Rear Projection Screens Go Invisible

CrystalLine

By Evan Ackerman

Woehburk, a German company (retailers for the heliodisplay, incidentally) have developed an 91% transparent rear-projection screen that looks like a sheet of glass, creating a pseudo-holographic effect of an image displayed in midair. The screen is made of sheets of acrylic or glass with a material between them that turns reflective when activated by a laser, meaning that the screen is only opaque when it’s in use. As with other projectors, the advantages of the medium are that unlike LCD or plasma screens, the CrystalLine can display whatever resolution the projector puts out (going way beyond HD if your projector has the capability), and you can easily increase the image size by moving the projector backwards and stacking more screens together.

Although the screen is scheduled for release in the near future and will be available in sizes up to 135″, some basic information about the CrystalLine isn’t yet available, such as what sort of brightness and contrast you can expect. Woehburk does say that screen was designed to meet “aesthetic requirements,” with a “discrete however impressively bright picture.” Based on that scanty information, I would guess that the CrystalLine would be more appropriate for the novelty factor and low-budget Sci-Fi production rather than hardcore movie watching.

[ Woehburk CristalLine (In German) ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Samsung’s 94 Series Plasma TVs Lose All Cables, Save One

samsung 94 series

By David Ponce

We try not to write about gadgets with more memory, faster connections or marginally improved compatibility with this or that. Who really cares that Cowon’s iAudio 7 comes in 8GB flavors, as opposed to the iAudio6 which came in 4GB? But when we hear about a plasma TV that loses all its cables save the power cord, that’s something to talk about. The recently announced Samsung 94 Series plasma TVs do just. Aside from the power cord, all the connections are delegated to a separate receiver that transmits audio and video (up to 1080i) via 802.11n, all up to 200 feet away. This receiver accepts a variety of connections, including three HDMI 1.3 ports with CEC technology. Over-the-air HDTV channels can be viewed with the built-in NTSC/ATSC/QAM digital tuner.

Of course, that only leaves the power cord to hide, but that’s only a detail. Untethering the plasma from all the other cables basically allows you to stick the TV on a wall and hide everything else away, not just the cables. No Xbox, cable box, DVD player, etc. nearby. All that’s left is a lone plasma on a wall, which you damn well better admire just as much as the movies you watch on it, as either of the 50-inch or 58-inch sets will cost you (as CrunchGear’s Doug Aamoth poetically says) a “crotch-punching $3599 and $5299, respectively.”

End of year availability.

[ Press Release (PDF) ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]