Toshiba showcases cutting-edge mobile technologies
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
Toshiba Corporation produced a special Innovation Corner at CEBIT to showcase its mobile and display technologies. The technologies and systems on display demonstrated a compelling array of new functionality which will bring consumers enjoyment, comfort, convenience and quality of life.
Toshiba delivers the perfect medium for reading digital content, the SD-BOOK. From Toshiba's SD-Card-based digital rights management system (DRM) to a familiar folding two-page (dual-panel) design, the SD-BOOK combines security with reading pleasure. As easy to hold as a paperback, whether standing, sitting or lying down, the SD-BOOK incorporates two high-resolution, 7.7-inch low temperature polysilicon LCDs that offer the fine detail necessary for image reproduction and comfortable reading of text. High level security suits the SD-BOOK for both B2C and B2B applications, including mobile e-learning, security control and content distribution.
A highly-portable "Mobile Viewer" allows anytime viewing of high-quality moving and still images with sound on a 3.5-inch LCD. The built-in 1.8-inch, 20GB HDD can store up to 80 hours of QVGA-quality video at 15 frames per second (fps), equivalent to 512kbps of video data with audio, or 40 hours of QVGA video at 30fps, equivalent to 1Mbps of video data with audio--much more capacity than any digital video camera.
An optional one million-pixel digital camera can record still pictures and video, and a dedicated cradle adds stereo sound speakers for video, and even listening to music files.
SD Card Viewer with 3.45-inch Organic LED
The SD Card-based video and digital image viewer not only confirms the increasing capabilities of flash memory, it also showcases the superb performance of the Organic LED (Light Emitting Diode), a next-generation flat panel that provides much brighter, sharper, higher contrast pictures and a wider viewing angle than any of today's LCD panels. This concept model integrates the latest prototype 3.45-inch QVGA OLED display developed by Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, Co., Ltd., a leader in flat panel technology.
The OLED panel has the high-speed refresh essential for displaying motion pictures and its light weight and low power consumption are ideal for mobile devices. In addition to the application featured at CeBIT, the new display is the perfect display for mobile TV terminals.
Toshiba's 3D display says goodbye to the twentieth century. No longer does viewing 3D mean special glasses and eye fatigue, thanks to the company's integral-imaging-based 3D display technology. Vivid images and much reduced eye strain are complemented by smooth motion parallax and a wide viewing angle.
Advances in integral imaging realize seamless viewing angles of up to 14 degrees on each side of prototype 15.4-inch displays with 300 horizontal pixels and 400 vertical pixels. Natural 3D images can be reconstructed by increasing parallax to 18. Toshiba has also developed 3D content development software that transforms 3D CG content into 3D images with parallax, and the displays at CeBIT feature both 3D moving pictures and real-time 3D CG scenes.
Potential applications of the new 3D technology include advertising and arcade games, and future applications may well include auto-stereoscopic televisions for the home.
Screen Viewing Angle Control System to protect privacy
While mobile technology brings go-anywhere freedom, the downside is visibility -- displays that can be read by the curious, and even the dishonest. Toshiba restores personal privacy with an innovative technology that gives the user complete control of a display's viewing angle. Once it is activated, anyone looking at a display from the side sees a reticulate pattern -- not the clear image enjoyed by the user. And the user can adjust the viewing angle, narrowing it or widening it to decrease or increase the number of people who can read the screen. All thanks to a Toshiba-developed screen filter and small control circuit built into the hardware.
Depending on the alignment of their liquid crystal molecules, LCDs are either darker or brighter when viewed from an angle. Toshiba's new technology uses this characteristic to order pixels in different directions and to create the reticulate pattern when the display is viewed from sideways on. Applications include cellular phones, PDAs, portable PCs and ATMs. Toshiba's subsidiary, Toshiba Electronic Engineering Corporation, will market the control screen on a global basis from the fourth quarter of 2004.
Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for notebook PCs
Toshiba's global leadership in fuel cells is embodied in the exhibition of a prototype direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) powering a PORTEGE M100, B5-sized sub-notebook PC. The DMFC runs on a methanol-oxygen fuel mix, and generates and supplies power directly to the PC. With an energy density up to five times that of a typical lithium-ion battery, the DMFC delivers much longer continuous operation.
Methanol in a fuel cell delivers power most efficiently when mixed with water in a 3 to 6% methanol concentration -- a concentration requiring a fuel tank that is much too large for use with portable equipment. Toshiba's system allows methanol at a higher concentration to be diluted by the water produced as a by-product of the power generation process. The allows the methanol to be stored at a much higher concentration, in a fuel tank less than one-tenth the size of that required for storing the same volume of methanol in a 3 to 6% concentration.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest hard disk drive (HDD), Toshiba's super-miniature 0.85-inch diameter drive takes mobile storage to the next level. Only a quarter the size of a 1.8-inch HDD, the new drive is a smaller, lighter, high capacity storage medium in which low power consumption is complemented by high performance. With an initial capacity of 2 to 4GB, the drive is expected to add to the functionality and versatility of a wide range of devices, including mobile phones, digital camcorders and external storage devices.
Sample shipment is planned for mid 2004, with mass production to follow in Q3/4.