Our readers see more than a few eco-products
featured here on a regular basis. Very seldom, however, do we have an opportunity to see a "big picture" vision for how an eco-friendly lifestyle can be achieved on a larger scale. Panasonic attempted to give us such a glimpse at the Eco Products 2010 exhibition in Tokyo, devoting an entire booth to demonstrating the company's "comprehensive energy solutions for entire towns."
Panasonic's newest addition to its LUMIX Micro Four Thirds camera range squeezes a host of new features into a frame that's a good deal lighter and smaller than its predecessor. The company has given the DMC-GF2 a more powerful image processor, increased its sensitivity, and added touchscreen interactivity. Like the model before it, the camera has a built-in flash and high definition movie recording, although users now get a choice of 720 progressive or 1080 interlaced.
In a move that will surely bring a tear to many an eye in the DJ community, Panasonic last month announced that it was discontinuing production of analog products within its Technics brand – most notably its iconic line of turntables. Technics turntables are renowned for their quick start-up and reliability thanks in part to a Direct-Drive turning mechanism that used magnets instead of a belt drive and have become the turntable of choice for DJs the world over.
We've covered a number of amazing exoskeletons
here on Gizmag, ranging from the solutions for paraplegics – see REX Bionics'
and Berkley Bionics'
exoskeletons – to the downright wacky Kid Walker
mecha for children. Last year we saw Activelink's Power Loader
, an exoskeleton that takes its name from the suit of the same name in James Cameron's Aliens
. The company, a subsidiary of Panasonic, has now come out with a lightweight version, appropriately named the Power Loader Light.
At CEATEC 2010
in Chiba, Japan, Panasonic
exhibited the Lumix Phone, amid some significant excitement as they had teased the specs in a release
the previous week. While it remains to be seen exactly how good the Lumix Phone is, it's certainly interesting to see a product that at least approaches the model of a camera with a phone rather than a just another phone with a camera.
Though nearly every country in the world is ageing fast, Japan is at the front of the pack and in the next few decades will see its ratio of workers to retirees change from 7-1 to 2-1 – a scary prospect, particularly in a country that has always revered and respected the elderly. Robotic assistants offer a solution to this dilemma and Panasonic has just announced the development of two special-care robots; a robotic bed that also transforms into a wheelchair and a robotic hair washing assistant. Both are specifically designed to aid and give independence to the elderly and people with limited mobility.
Panasonic's ambitions to make LUMIX a major camera brand took a major leap at the Photokina
imaging expo in Cologne this morning when it showed the LUMIX DMC-GH2, the new “flagship” of the LUMIX G Micro System
. The DMC-GH2 offers a range of significant improvements over the GH1 including the world's fastest auto focus (approx 0.1 seconds), an ingenious touch-screen control for focusing and a range of other functionality access on the fly, full HD 1920x1080/60i movie recording at 24p, a simultaneous HDMI output while recording images and several new lenses including a 3D lens
which transforms the GH2 into a 3D movie and still camera. One wonders just how good the cameras will be that we'll be using five years from now, such is the progress of development.
IBC is a globally-important video and content creation show held in Amsterdam each year. It’s where trends emerge and this year it delivered irrefutable proof that the advent of Digital SLRs such as Canon's 5D Mk II
has influenced the design of the video camera. The biggest benefit of the huge DSLR sensor is the narrow native depth of field that allows the videographer to isolate a subject. It’s the control which film and TV creatives want, and has seen the 5D spawn an entire industry of gear which turns the still camera into a ripping video camera – in just two years. So successful has the DSLR become as a full-frame video camera, that manufacturers are responding with cameras that take all the DSLR's strengths and add in the features videographers want and/or need. The belle of the ball is undoubtedly Panasonic's EUR 5000 (US$6500) AG-AF101, so Gizmag's Noel McKeegan and Mike Hanlon went to see what all the fuss was about.
While augmented reality
still hasn't quite lived up to the initial hype (at least in terms of practical applications), it's still a great source of eye candy and geeky fun, especially in Japan. Panasonic is the latest company to jump on the AR bandwagon, as they recently released an iPhone
app called '3D VIERA AR Greeting' that uses augmented reality to promote the new 3D VIERA TVs
Amongst the plethora of displays out to tempt our eyeballs at IFA 2010
in Berlin were some nice looking new release plasmas from Panasonic. There was the 42-inch TX-P42GT20 that marks the addition of yet another series to the company’s 3D VIERA line-up, along with two new 3D plasmas to join its high-end VT20 series. The new 42-inch and 46-inch models, the TX-P46VT20 and TX-P42VT20, sees the VT20 line-up expand to cover the gamut of 42- to 65-inch screen sizes. The new 42-inch models also mark a world first for 3D plasmas.