Archive for October, 2009

Oct 29 2009

Solar is the theme at IEEE Nano Nov Conference

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The November half day confer for the San Francisco Bay are IEEE Nanotechnology Council on Nov 17 in Santa Clara is focusing on power and Solar.  Technologies for making and handling PV as well as advances in battery technology are going to be presented at the conference.
The agenda and registration information is available at www.ieee.org/nano .  The conference is discounted for IEEE members and those who are currently unemployed.  Presentations include those from Applied Material, IBM and Sunrgi.
PC

The November half day confer for the San Francisco Bay are IEEE Nanotechnology Council on Nov 17 in Santa Clara is focusing on power and Solar.  Technologies for making and handling PV as well as advances in battery technology are going to be presented at the conference.

The agenda and registration information is available at www.ieee.org/nano .  The conference is discounted for IEEE members and those who are currently unemployed.  Presentations include those from Applied Material, IBM and Sunrgi.

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Oct 29 2009

Imagination Technologies – Shaders available for Mobile Apps

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At the ARM Techcon3 in October, IMG Tech, reported that there were now over 100 mobile products using their POWERVR SGX graphics IP blocks in production.  These engines, even in their low power configurations, all deliver OpenGL ES 2.0 capable graphics including shader functions.  This has helped the IP block to be placed into over 75 MID and netbook applications in addition to the aprox 25 handset.  These products are from suppliers such as TI, Intel, NEC, Renasis, Samsung and others.
The SGX IP block is available in multiple technologies with a commons software development environment.  The current production released node is 65nm and there is on-going development and qualification taking place down to the 28nm node.  The IP block at these nodes still remains a scalable and synthesizable soft core and is not a fab specific hard block.  The availability as a foundry independent soft block rather than a hard IP core, is driving its use in multiple new applications.
The SGX core is well entrenched in the MID and netbook market due to the architecture of the device being on the memory to memory side of the graphics, video and audio processing.  This allows the core be support current, legacy and future connection protocols (VGA, DVI, DP, HDMI) without have to be updated and supporting a common control environment.
The IMG cores are making inroads to the automotive navigation system applications as they can easily provide the 3D shaded graphics with routing overlays, in the form factor and in the power factor as a generalized graphics and video engine.  This is allowing the navigation system market to create realistic displays with touch screen, multi touch, 3D animation and high resolution displays.  To support this area, IMG also announced a development partnership with Futuremark to bring the Kanzi UI to the PowerVR development environment for handsets, automotive and CE applications.
The ability to process HD video in the IP cores is now bringing H264 encoding to handsets and MIDs in addition to their current HD decode capability.  This ability ot support the 3D imaging and Flash 10 graphics was part of the decision to include the core inside the Intel 3100 media processor.  This Intel product is the main chip of interest in the growing “smart” settop box (sSTB) market.  These boxes will support traditional STB functions as well as internet based on demand viewing, data download and transfer, complex menus and 3D broadcast.
The SGX cores are in production at a current run rate ramping to 200M units/yr in 2011.
PC

At the ARM Techcon3 in October, IMG Tech, reported that there were now over 100 mobile products using their POWERVR SGX graphics IP blocks in production.  These engines, even in their low power configurations, all deliver OpenGL ES 2.0 capable graphics including shader functions.  This has helped the IP block to be placed into over 75 MID and netbook applications in addition to the aprox 25 handset.  These products are from suppliers such as TI, Intel, NEC, Renasis, Samsung and others.

The SGX IP block is available in multiple technologies with a commons software development environment.  The current production released node is 65nm and there is on-going development and qualification taking place down to the 28nm node.  The IP block at these nodes still remains a scalable and synthesizable soft core and is not a fab specific hard block.  The availability as a foundry independent soft block rather than a hard IP core, is driving its use in multiple new applications.

The SGX core is well entrenched in the MID and netbook market due to the architecture of the device being on the memory to memory side of the graphics, video and audio processing.  This allows the core be support current, legacy and future connection protocols (VGA, DVI, DP, HDMI) without have to be updated and supporting a common control environment.

The IMG cores are making inroads to the automotive navigation system applications as they can easily provide the 3D shaded graphics with routing overlays, in the form factor and in the power factor as a generalized graphics and video engine.  This is allowing the navigation system market to create realistic displays with touch screen, multi touch, 3D animation and high resolution displays.  To support this area, IMG also announced a development partnership with Futuremark to bring the Kanzi UI to the PowerVR development environment for handsets, automotive and CE applications.

The ability to process HD video in the IP cores is now bringing H264 encoding to handsets and MIDs in addition to their current HD decode capability.  This ability ot support the 3D imaging and Flash 10 graphics was part of the decision to include the core inside the Intel 3100 media processor.  This Intel product is the main chip of interest in the growing “smart” settop box (sSTB) market.  These boxes will support traditional STB functions as well as internet based on demand viewing, data download and transfer, complex menus and 3D broadcast.

The SGX cores are in production at a current run rate ramping to 200M units/yr in 2011.

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Oct 27 2009

PhotoShop World Vegas 2009 – By Diane Chatterjee

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Starting on a new career path can be overwhelming.  For those just venturing into the world of photography or graphics, Photoshop World is the place to go.  From pre-conference workshops and photo shoots, to partying at midnight with the professionals, there is something for everybody.

Scott Kelby and NAPP unveiled some really cool features available for  NAPP members on the website.

Upon opening the NAPP website,  Kelby and friends have added  a feature for those just starting out in PhotoShop.  It’s a collection of 20 videos just for beginners  that covers key points of navigating the NAPP website and also gives a brief overview of the basics of Photoshop.

Expanding on the help system they developed, they have created videos, all less than 60 seconds each that cover any possible menu selections or buttons available in Photoshop.  For example, if you want to crop a selection of a photograph, but take into account the perspective, there is a video covering just that.  This feature makes quick work of those items that you are not sure about, or on one of  those days,  you just can’t remember.

John Loiacono, Executive VP of Adobe, reviewed some of the highlights of Adobe offerings, such as Pixel Bender which became the talk of the conference, as well as the fact that Adobe CS4 Camera Raw now supports 260 cameras.

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Oct 24 2009

“Living .vs. Aging” – CTIA Wireless by Jason Kim

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CTIA Wireless Conference 2009 was held on October 7-9 in San Diego, California.   As if to highlight the contrast of “Living .vs. Aging”, one of the session which I decided to attend was held at the top floor of the San Diego Convention Center overlooking the airly balcony windows which greeted the convention visitors with picture perfect California skyline exhibiting the endlessly calm pastel blue Pacific Ocean.

As I was waiting for the conference room door to be opened, I spyed out few sail boats on the distant horizons and my thoughts wondered off to the times when I came down to San Diego for a sailboat racing long ago.   I recalled of my old conversation with one of my coworker who bought a house with large lots in San Diego, so that he would retire early and raise horses and grow vegitable garden. …

The session opened with pannel discussion moderator, Emilio Pardo – Chief Brand Officer of AARP, stating the US sensus statistics that only 10% of the baby boomers are retiring early at age 60, thus the need for better health for living longer versus extending the life of aging population is of our concerns.  In light of the current congressional debate about the escalating cost of medical services, what can we the technologists do to help the aging population?

Dr. Jeremy Lowell, the owner and operator of Gold Gym, noted that more and more elderly clients come to his Gym these days to get fit, consequenlty, his usually young Trainers (unprepared for medical emergency) are inadvertantly becoming the caretakers of elderly patients.  Unfortunately, because current US healthcare insurance companies do not reimberse for preventive healthcare expenses, it is difficult him to hire Trainers with medical knowledge.

Mr. Don Jones, the VP of Health and Life Sicence at Qualcom chaimed in saying that the US healthcare systems should move away from current reimbersement policy of rewarding the treatments, because it effectively rewards the sick instead of well.   With the reimbersement policy favoring the “well-care” instead of “sick-care” there would be more opportunities for “wellness” technologies – such as an active patient monitoring system that would work like a “band-aid” to allow preventive care.  This would help us to control the escalating healthcare costs, because the preventive care cast would take the least amount of money for the industry while keeping the population healthy.

Mr. Pardo than asked about the current debates concerning the need of keeping electronic health records versus the need for personal privacy.   To these, Mr. Jones responded by saying that controlled subject studies showed that people were actually more concerned about their medical data being used against them for getting insurance than keeping them private.   In this study, he mentioned that the controlled group of people who had strong opinion for keeping their medical record private, were given an option for a medical treatment which would give them great benefits to their health, but the catch was that their medical records had to be made public.   After weighing the benefits, all these chose to take the treatment instead.

Dr. Jeremy Lowell also responded by saying that his Gym members prefered to use their heart rate monitor data public and use them to motivate one another in competitive spirit of excercising more to keeping their heart rates lowere than the others doing the same level of excercise.  This, he believes is the positive motivational use of fitness data for the well beings of the people.  Sadly, current set of devices can not share these data beyond the boundaries of their products, so the extend of their influence is limited.

Mr. Jones also pointed out that the incompetible medical data system is also the current situation for the healthcare community.   There is no common starandard way of sharing the records, instead, current electronic medical record is nothing but a disjointed scanned images of paper records – therefore the benefits of data mining for improving healthcare procedure is minimal.  For this he suggested that the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid System) should mandate a stanard electronics data filing for reimbersements.   This should force industry to come up with solutions that will allow information sharing.

Near the end of the session, one of the audience asked the question, where does all these fit with the topic our our discussion, “Living .vs. Aging” ? The answer seems to be that the “Living” requires the promotion of “wellness” whereas the “Aging” promotes the extening of life over “sickness”.   I personally thought that our choice would be obvious and the healthcare insurance system could be used to promote the “Living” by the use of tried-and-true “Carrot and Stick” to “Wellness” policy.

Jason Kim

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Oct 19 2009

Armada by Marvell – New ARM based application processors

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Marvell has been well known for its communications, interface and embedded controller chips.  They currently make about 1 Billion chips a year, and about 65% of them have at least one ARM core in them.  Based on this expertise, leveraging their ARM architecture license and the custom processor experience from the Xscale processor group acquired several years back, Marvell has created a new ARM based application processor family called Armada.

These processors are targeted at the new non-PC based computing and connectivity applications that are growing in the CE, industrial and communication industries.  The ARM processor already enjoys a 98% penetration in the mobile phone market, and are also entrenched in the growing ebook, smart peripheral and ubiquitous computing application in the connected living room.  There are 4 initial members of the Armada family the Armada 100, 500, 600 and 1000.  The Armada 100, 500, and 1000 are made using a standard process “G” which are targeted toward high speed (up to 1.2GHz operating freq), low active power, DDR2 memory interface and multiple power down modes.  The Armada 600 is made using a standard “LP” process option which is targeted to low leakage, long standby power applications and a dual DDR2/DDR3 low power memory interface.

In order to address low power application with high performance, the ARM5 (single in A100 and dual in A1000) and ARM7 cores are supplemented with control logic to offload video and graphics to a separate MMX2 co-processor which is more power efficient for those applications than fully powering up the main processor.  The processors have HD video decoders (A600 has both encode and decode) as well as full connectivity interfaces.   This connectivity includes wireless, SATA, PCIE, USB, 1G ethernet, and HDMI.  The processor family share a common code base over them and support Android, Linux, Windows Embedded CE6, Adobe Flash Lite and also 1080p HD.  The video processing can support multiple displays.

The Armada 100 is targeted at low cost “smart device” applications such as eBooks, digital photo frames, IP surveillance camera, VOIP terminals and handsets.  The Armada 500 is targeted at Smartbooks, MIDs, Netbooks, thin client applications and industrial control.   The Armada 600 is targeted at smart phones, point of sale devices, handheld multimedia and video targeted MIDs.  The Armada 1000 is targeted for line cord application in the digital living room, bringing web enablement and connectivity to televisions, blu-ray players, set top boxes and digital media adapters (DMAs).  The Armada 100, 500 and 1000 devices have been sampling since earlier this year and will be showing end products with these components at CES in Jan 2010.  The Armada 600 (Low Power) will be sampling soon for end products that will be showing in early 2010.

The new architecture incorporates high speed connectivity, HD video control and decoding, peripheral connectivity and an OS agnostic environment for application development in a single product.  Figure 1 shows the SOC architecture of the A510 product.

Fig 1 - Armada510 SoC block diagram

Fig 1 - Armada510 SoC block diagram

This new direction, of application for a system around a compute core, has also been advocated by Intel with their Atom based SOC model and with MIPs based cores from several vendors.  Marvell however is not just talking about it, they have delivered the products and are in the process of ramping production on the product line to address the market needs for 2010, not just the 2012 peak market year.  The development platform for the Armada 510 chip is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2 Armada 510 Platform Block Diagram

Figure 2 Armada 510 Platform Block Diagram

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Oct 16 2009

Open Access – Fall 2009 Conference

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Si2 held it fall 2009 Open Access conference this week.  The event was well attended with a full room and registration about 2X the attendance at the event.  This years event was free to all to attend as a support for the down economy and to give a networking opportunity to those in the community who are between positions.

The event was split into three sections that align with the three working coalitions – OA, DFM, and Low Power, in addition to the keynote.  The audience was full for the keynotes, and then dropped a bit and changed attendees based on the three technical areas covered.

The DFM portion featured the 2008 Wiki that was generated as a dictionary for common terms used.  The graphics are very representative of the engineering issues, however the description and explainations tend to be very vendor centric based on who supplied the definition.  It is a good resource to interpreting a rule that may be new to a user from a foundry, but it is now quite complete enough for a user to be able to modify or create new rules based solely on these definitions.  In an area of work effort that still has difficulty with the concepts of  “long & short” and “inside and outside” the DFM Wiki is definitely a major step forward.  This section also had presentations by foundries and service providers indicating where the DFMC fits into thier business model and flow.

The OA section dealt mostly with interoperability issues with third part tools and ecosystems.  The anchor presentations were by Intel on interoperable analog and Ciranova on the interoperable PDKs for analog.

The last section, and a refilling of the audience, was on Low Power and CPF.  The presentations consisted of a Cadence presented direction for CPF 1.2, and an AMD presented Do’s and Don’ts for CPF 1.1.  Most of the sessions were very well received with the majority of questions be asked and handled offline as they related to particular use cases.

The presentations from the event will be available at www.si2.org next week.

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Oct 13 2009

The “Perfect Storm” at CTIA Wireless – by Jason Kim

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“Perfect Storm” is the phrase used by today’s keynote speakers, the Father-and-Son duo team of Qualcomm, Dr. Irwin Jocobs (co-founder) and Dr. Paul Jacobs (CEO), for the cellular wireless industry.

It definitely a nice set of words for the optimistic view for enticipating another phase of explosive growth for cellular market which is approaching the 107%  market saturation by 2012.  What is the cellular industry’s strategy and where can the next generation of chip designers expect to find more challenging opportunities?  The statistics for the achievements of cellular network is definitely staggering, as Qualcomm looked over their early begining – 1985.

When they first introduced their digital phone with their CDMA technology, they estimated to get 30 to 40 times spectrum efficiency.  Realistically, they could only get about 10x more efficiency, which by the way was a major breakthrough and excitement of itself.   But today, they claim to have achieved 50x more spectrum efficiency.   As they paint the picture for the future of exponenical growth for more data bandwidth demand, the lack of spectrum availabilty seems to give optimizm for more of that Qualcomm magic with over 2000 patents.  Higher efficiency of spectrum usage has been on their drawing board over 12 years, it is the matter of time and cost structure.

In Drs. Jacobs’ view, the real killer apps for this exponential growth potential is the “Simple User Interface” of the smartphones that would allow developers to be able to pack very complex features which user can easily use.   Like the wireless magic of Kindle (eBook), user need not know how his purchase of eBook shows up in his Kindle – they just know that it happens as they want.

One other feature they would like to see is the wireless power and wirless cup-holder.   You just need to place all your personal gadgets on to charging platform for charging all your gadgets.   Likewise, when you place your cellphone in the “cup-holder” it wirelessly charges and connects you to the car-set.   This simplicity will drive the market demand for more sofisticated cellphones and wireless gadgets.

John Donovan, the Chief Technology Officer of AT&T opened his keynote ice breaker by telling people to “Turn-On your cellphones and have them ringing- since we are in a wireless conference”.  He shared lots of statistics and projected statistics which he said their legal advisers asked him to “flash their legal disclimer statement” that these are “forward looking information” that we should not relay for our investment.   According to Mr. Donovan, AT&T has seen over 18X increase in data packet use over the past 2 1/2 years while they saw 2x increase in voice packet use during the same time period.   They believe this is because of the “Life Style” data sharing – personal photos, videos, and other user generated contents.

AT&T sees that 4G technology based on  HSPA 7.2 mbps will be the key for the next generation.  But, the adaptation will not start until 2012, thus they will still be working to improve and implement the 3Gplusplus technologies.   They are doing this by implementing fiber links and Ethernet links to all their cell sites, to support and enticipate the massive data bandwidth demand.

In summary, please work to enable Easy of Use technologies for Life Style sharing of data, because, Cellular network will be ready to support them.  The key takeaway message was that “this is the perfect time to prepare for that Perfect Storm”, because AT&T and Qualcomm has been investing more money during this times of recession.  Keep it up.

Jason Kim

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Oct 07 2009

Set Top Box 2009 – HDMI 1.4, and STB Trends

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At the Set Top Box (STB) Conference the theme was the expansion of the role of the STB in the home.  Currently, the STB is the hub for TV based broadcast centric viewing and content selection.  This limited role has suited the use model to date, but that sole role is rapidly going out of date.  The home ecosystem is moving towards a STB centric environment featuring broadband and multi-room connectivity, laptops and MIDs, social media functions, dynamic media, and consumer provided content.  The use model is also shifting as the Millenials come on as a consumption group, as they are searching for an “always connected”, “think & discuss in groups” format that is based on the consumption of “media snacks” products.
This format shift and the non-reliance on real time broadcast content is driving the work efforts on metadata tagging and organization, meta frames, handling of VOIP, HD Video, and messaging in the environment.  The future of the STB in addition to base content functionality, is also going to support advanced searching of the content, use hardware enabled video on demand search/stream capability, support a NAAS (Network as a Service) business model, and require multi-vendor interoperability so the CE solution space can operate as a “plug and play” setup right out of the box.
The trend includes continued support of SD and HD.  In the HD formats, these included 3D and multi-channel sound as requirements for new products.  The pricepoints of the products and the intended markets are still setting the performance targets for the variety of STBs on the market.  Additionally, the memory configuration and core processor technology are still widely dispursed base on the intended price and application target.  The major shift is the discussions on the incorporation of some sort of more user friendly text input and control function (such as the displayed small qwerty remote control keypad by xxx) to allow higher speed access to web content and communication services.
Completing the discussion about interfaces (USB, SATA, Display Port)  from IDF (see http://www.chipdesignmag.com/pallab/2009/09/ ) Silicon Image presented an overview of new capabilities that would be available from the recently defined HDMI 1.4 interface.    It appears that the feud between Display Port (DP) and HDMI is over and the two have settled into two separate customers camps – DP getting the OEM and PC centric applications and HDMI being the Consumer Electronics (CE) applications.   HDMI has completed it adoption for current products being in 100% of TVs and Blu-Ray players being sold in 2010, and 100% of the DVD player by the 2012.  The HDMI 1.4 specification is a new release that utilizes the same connector, however, with the advanced functions, it requires a different cable construction.  The new specification is backward compatible to the 1.0-1.3 cables and peripherals.
Features of the new 1.4 spec include a mini-HDMI connector for mobile and MID applications, support for a 100MB/s ethernet channel, an audio return channel , 3D TV support, 4Kx2K resolution support, enhanced color space and bits.  Silicon Image went on to further discuss thier new LiquidHD products which not only address the HDMI 1.4 feature set, but also provide standard codecs for HD applications.
PC

At the Set Top Box (STB) Conference the theme was the expansion of the role of the STB in the home.  Currently, the STB is the hub for TV based broadcast centric viewing and content selection.  This limited role has suited the use model to date, but that sole role is rapidly going out of date.  The home ecosystem is moving towards a STB centric environment featuring broadband and multi-room connectivity, laptops and MIDs, social media functions, dynamic media, and consumer provided content.  The use model is also shifting as the Millenials come on as a consumption group, as they are searching for an “always connected”, “think & discuss in groups” format that is based on the consumption of “media snacks” products.

This format shift and the non-reliance on real time broadcast content is driving the work efforts on metadata tagging and organization, meta frames, handling of VOIP, HD Video, and messaging in the environment.  The future of the STB in addition to base content functionality, is also going to support advanced searching of the content, use hardware enabled video on demand search/stream capability, support a NAAS (Network as a Service) business model, and require multi-vendor interoperability so the CE solution space can operate as a “plug and play” setup right out of the box.

The trend includes continued support of SD and HD.  In the HD formats, these included 3D and multi-channel sound as requirements for new products.  The pricepoints of the products and the intended markets are still setting the performance targets for the variety of STBs on the market.  Additionally, the memory configuration and core processor technology are still widely dispursed base on the intended price and application target.  The major shift is the discussions on the incorporation of some sort of more user friendly text input and control function (such as the displayed “smallQWERTY” remote control keypad by Mobience) to allow higher speed access to web content and communication services.

Completing the discussion about interfaces (USB, SATA, Display Port)  from IDF (see http://www.chipdesignmag.com/pallab/2009/09/ ) Silicon Image presented an overview of new capabilities that would be available from the recently defined HDMI 1.4 interface.    It appears that the feud between Display Port (DP) and HDMI is over and the two have settled into two separate customers camps – DP getting the OEM and PC centric applications and HDMI being the Consumer Electronics (CE) applications.   HDMI has completed it adoption for current products being in 100% of TVs and Blu-Ray players being sold in 2010, and 100% of the DVD player by the 2012.  The HDMI 1.4 specification is a new release that utilizes the same connector, however, with the advanced functions, it requires a different cable construction.  The new specification is backward compatible to the 1.0-1.3 cables and peripherals.

Features of the new 1.4 spec include a mini-HDMI connector for mobile and MID applications, support for a 100MB/s ethernet channel, an audio return channel , 3D TV support, 4Kx2K resolution support, enhanced color space and bits.  Silicon Image went on to further discuss thier new LiquidHD products which not only address the HDMI 1.4 feature set, but also provide standard codecs for HD applications.

PC

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Oct 07 2009

UbiSoft – Developing a New Paradigm in 3D Gaming

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UbiSoft has been working for several years on the 3D gaming experience to accompany the widely anticipated James Cameron feature Avatar.  Unlike other movie related games on the market, they have chosen not to follow the story line of the movie as the basis for game play, rather they have set a game with a multiple user experiences into the world and environment of the Avatar film, which will provide the gamer an opportunity to explore features of the world at different levels than the plot line of the movie.
The game is being developed as a dual 2D/3D gaming solution on the Xbox360, PS3 and PC platform and a 2D gaming solution on the Wii.   Being a joint production concurrent with the film project, the approx 400 member development team was able to get access to original 2D and 3D CGI, scenes characters, effects and sound from the film.  As a result, the development staff focused on game play, additional characters and character builders for the single, multi-player, net based multi-player versions.  The game also supports its own “Pandorapedia” for the world of Pandora and multiple meta-games.
The game will be using standard TVs and PCs to display the 2D version of the game.  The graphics are full 1080p at 30fps for the PC, Xbox and PS3 platforms.  On the Wii, there is difference game play with completely different charaters and challenges which allowed the game developers to utilize BOTH the balance board and motion plus controllers in addition to the standard controller.  The enhanced interactivity is the offset for the reduced graphics capability of the Wii platform, however reactions from some who have tested the multiple platforms have rated the Wii Avatar experience as equally if not more immersive that the other platforms.
The 3D version is selectable as a graphics option and does not change the game play, only the display. As the data is being rendered live at play time, the rendering of the 3D scenes are done through the graphics processors and do not impact the frame rates or display times.  The 3D version is targeted at the new 3D TVs which utilize either the circularly polarized or active shutter glasses.  On the PC, standard displays can be used with the appropriate graphics card and active glasses or one of the new 3D displays that are auto-steroscopic can be used.
The depth of story, and the designed use of 3D from the beginning of the project (camera angles, lighting, character movement, SFX) have brought about a new paradigm for the creation of 3D gaming.  Historically it has been a 2D game with 3D SFX.  The 3D experience is as much a shift in the immersive experince of the game play as the move has between 2D and 3D.  The new 3D technology also allows for long periods of game use (3-6 hours blocks) without the eye fatigue and headaches that were associated with previous home 3D viewing systems.
PC

UbiSoft has been working for several years on the 3D gaming experience to accompany the widely anticipated James Cameron feature Avatar.  Unlike other movie related games on the market, they have chosen not to follow the story line of the movie as the basis for game play, rather they have set a game with a multiple user experiences into the world and environment of the Avatar film, which will provide the gamer an opportunity to explore features of the world at different levels than the plot line of the movie.

The game is being developed as a dual 2D/3D gaming solution on the Xbox360, PS3 and PC platform and a 2D gaming solution on the Wii.   Being a joint production concurrent with the film project, the approx 400 member development team was able to get access to original 2D and 3D CGI, scenes characters, effects and sound from the film.  As a result, the development staff focused on game play, additional characters and character builders for the single, multi-player, net based multi-player versions.  The game also supports its own “Pandorapedia” for the world of Pandora and multiple meta-games.

The game will be using standard TVs and PCs to display the 2D version of the game.  The graphics are full 1080p at 30fps for the PC, Xbox and PS3 platforms.  On the Wii, there is difference game play with completely different charaters and challenges which allowed the game developers to utilize BOTH the balance board and motion plus controllers in addition to the standard controller.  The enhanced interactivity is the offset for the reduced graphics capability of the Wii platform, however reactions from some who have tested the multiple platforms have rated the Wii Avatar experience as equally if not more immersive that the other platforms.

The 3D version is selectable as a graphics option and does not change the game play, only the display. As the data is being rendered live at play time, the rendering of the 3D scenes are done through the graphics processors and do not impact the frame rates or display times.  The 3D version is targeted at the new 3D TVs which utilize either the circularly polarized or active shutter glasses.  On the PC, standard displays can be used with the appropriate graphics card and active glasses or one of the new 3D displays that are auto-steroscopic can be used.

The depth of story, and the designed use of 3D from the beginning of the project (camera angles, lighting, character movement, SFX) have brought about a new paradigm for the creation of 3D gaming.  Historically it has been a 2D game with 3D SFX.  The 3D experience is as much a shift in the immersive experince of the game play as the move has between 2D and 3D.  The new 3D technology also allows for long periods of game use (3-6 hours blocks) without the eye fatigue and headaches that were associated with previous home 3D viewing systems.

PC

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Oct 07 2009

CTIA Wireless Health – Day 1 by Research Editor Jason Kim

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Hello Everyone,

We just came back from attending the CommNexus’  wireless healthcare promotional conference in Sorrento Valley which is about 15 miles north of San Diego, CA.   Their topic or motto was to be “The Nation’s Hub for Wireless Healthcare”  The mood for the evening event was cheerful among large crowd of some 200~300 people in attendance.  Unlike the most Engineering Tech conferences, most attendees seemed of older conservative business professionals – wearing suits but without ties.

During the main event which Qualcomm was hosting, was a panel discussion of the area’s three key promoters of wireless healthcare, Gary West who funded some ~$30M to create West Wireless Healthcare organization; Don Jones – VP of Qualcomm life science; and Eric Topol M.D. of Scripps Research Institute.

Gary West broke the ice by responding to the Moderator, Jeffrey Belks’ question, ‘why did you invest your money for this effort?” saying that his advice was to not invest on Race Horses, because it bites big chunk out of money from investing for community benefits – and draw big laughter from the audience.

Later during the session, Gary West mentioned that he tries to be agnostic in screening for good idea, even though it is very difficult to screen the “Good Idea from Good Story” – meaning that well trained marketers will make a good story for their venture, but those inexperienced may have good idea which does not get told well for the venture investment.  I personally found big relief in hearing that some investors are still trying to sort-out for real good idea despite bombardments of good story tellers.  :-)

Don Jones playfully mentioned that Qualcomm believes in the wireless healthcare innovation, because they want “Every Body on the Net” and “IP address for every Body and Organ parts”.  Considering the fact that cell are on most individuals now, it seem to make sense that the only way to make cellphone companies to grow is to increase subscriptions to multiple body parts”.  Mr. Jones shared his thought that the future is not only to have faster data transmission and services, but also to have faster analysis and predictive diagnostic models.

Eric Topol mentioned that it is very difficult to promote wireless health initiatives, especially to our congressional member who thinks healthcare IT means “Electronic Health Record”.   He explained that there are two separate issues – managing of Data and Monitoring of health.   Dr. Topol believes that future healthcare is in the electronic monitoring of health through innovative sensors for monitoring the condition of body.   These new sensors and network of sensors must now be more effective and lower cost.   The previous practice of adding premium cost for better equipment is no longer acceptable.   Thus we must now deliver lower cost solution through integrated healthcare services.

Dr. Topol shared that public healthcare must be motivated by the consumers awareness of their health needs.  Just as the drug companies have learned to advertise directly to the consumers to create demand for their medicine, he believes that the consumers must be given the option to demand their own good health.
In short, what I heard from this meeting was the ‘call to action’ for “consumerizing the healthcare industry”.
I think we have more than enough consumer electronics industry experts to full fill this call.  Don’t you think?

Jason Kim.  10/6/2009

reporting from CommNexus conference.
www.commnexus.org

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