HDSLR cameras are taking off in a big way as cheap video rigs with quality interchangeable glass – but the more you get into SLR filmmaking
, the more obstacles you find yourself working around. One of those obstacles is that you can't stick your eye to a viewfinder – you have to watch an LCD screen. And in harsh sunlight or wide aperture conditions, that makes it very difficult to get a tight focus on the action. And that's exactly why Zacuto's Z-Finder EVF was built; it's an alternative plug-in LCD screen for your DSLR that can be mounted on a frame or held separate to the camera. It's got higher resolution than your camera's screen, it's got a rubber eyepiece to block out ambient light, and a bunch of other pro video-friendly features that help move your DSLR closer to a proper video camera form factor.
When it comes to display technologies nothing says "cool" like a transparent display. While we've seen a number of prototypes, such as TDK's flexible OLED display
, pop up at trade shows in the last couple of years, Samsung
has announced it has already started mass production of a 22-inch transparent LCD
panel. Because they rely on ambient light instead of the usual back lighting, the transparent panels consume 90 percent less electricity than conventional LCD panels. But despite the fact the new panels are starting to roll off the Samsung production lines, it will probably still be a while before transparent panels make it onto our desktops.
GoPro’s HERO HD
actioncam has been probably the
best-known and most widely-used actioncam
for a few years now, but it’s always had one limitation – the lack of an LCD screen. While the camera’s 170-degree fisheye lens is sufficient to capture most of the action, there are always those situations where users want to check exactly how the shot is lined up, or that their recorded footage worked out the way they hoped it would. The company’s response was a promised add-on LCD screen module, although HERO owners have been waiting some time for that gizmo to show itself. Well, they need wait no longer, as GoPro announced today that its LCD BacPac is available for purchase.
Genetically engineered remote controlled animals ... what the? Using inexpensive and widely available technology combined with the latest techniques in optogenetics, researchers at Georgia Tech have created exactly that. Optogenetics is a mix of optical and genetic techniques that has allowed scientists to gain control over brain circuits in laboratory animals. Mary Shelly would be proud – or totally freaked out. But don't expect remote controlled poodles or parrots in your nearest pet store by Christmas, this might be a few years off.
Chris Mullin from Pittsburgh has designed a pair of smart electronic sunglasses
that pinpoint and reduce glare using a moving liquid crystal display spot inside the lens. Dubbed "Dynamic Eye", the sunglasses dim direct sunlight or other hot spots without dimming everything else in view, so you no longer have to worry about driving home with the sun streaming directly into your line of vision.
In May, Sony and Google announced a strategic alliance to develop new Android-based hardware products. The partnership is bearing fruit in the form of Sony Internet TV, powered by Google TV. It seems that most premium new release HDTVs come with Internet connectivity
these days but one of the big differences offered by Sony’s Internet TV devices is a Dual View feature that lets viewers watch TV and surf the web at the same time.
After five years of effort, chemists at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University have developed a new class of liquid crystals with an electric dipole that’s over twice that of existing liquid crystals... that’s good, right? Yes, it is. An electric dipole consists of two equal yet opposing electrical charges (i.e: positive and negative) within a molecule, that are physically separated from one another. The greater the distance between them, the larger the dipole. In liquid crystals, larger dipoles result in the ability to switch between bright and dark states faster, and lower threshold voltages – this means it requires less voltage to get them moving.
According to University of Cincinnati electrical and computer engineer Jason Heikenfeld, there are two types of electronic devices: things such as e-readers, that require little power but have displays with limited performance, and devices such as smartphones and laptops, that display bright, full-color moving video, but that guzzle batteries. After seven years of development, however, Heikenfeld and collaborators from Gamma Dynamics are now presenting a new type of electronic display. They claim that their “zero-power” electrofluidic
system combines the energy efficiency of the one type of device, with the high performance of the other.
The sales of 3D TVs
haven’t exactly set the world on fire despite the considerable marketing push by manufacturers. The scarcity of 3D content is one of the major reasons as is the fact that many consumers balk at the thought of wearing (and buying) the glasses required to produce the 3D effect. Various companies are working away on glasses-free 3D
but Toshiba is the first to release a 3D TV that works without having to don dedicated eyewear – however there are a few limitations.
Only a small percentage of backlight actually makes its way out through the multiple layers that make up the ubiquitous LCD displays we use today. That may change with the development of new filter technology at the University of Michigan. White light is sent through tiny, precisely spaced gaps on nano-thin sheets of aluminum and is said to result in brighter, higher definition color reproduction. Other benefits of the technology include efficiency gains and simpler manufacturing.