Tuesday, May 10, 2011


There are some badass things happening in technology. There always are, obviously, but I thought these two items in particular were extremely interesting.

First, David Braden (yes, that David Braden) has invented a PC, and it's the size of a USB key:
The tiny computer -- dubbed "Raspberry Pi" -- looks somewhat like a standard USB memory stick, as a USB 2.0 connector juts out of it. But on the side it packs a SD/MMC/SDIO card reader to provide Flash storage (of course buying said storage might bump the price $10-$20). And on the side opposite to the USB port an HDMI connector sits, capable of piping out 1080p video to a monitor/TV.

The little board has smartphone-esque hardware, with a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 128 MB of SDRAM packed in. Specifics on the processor, including the manufacturer were not yet revealed. The GPU also was not revealed, but it is said to be capable of handling OpenGL ES 2.0 (hence the 1080p output).

Mice/keyboards can be plugged in via the USB slot. The computer runs a version of popular open-source Linux distribution Ubuntu 9 and comes with a variety of open source software tools (Iceweasel, KOffice, Python).

The best part? It costs $25 to make. Amazing. Details here.

Next, remember what I've been saying about autostereoscopic 3D (no glasses) and how the technology will improve rapidly because that's essentially the Holy Grail for televisions? Well, MIT is on the case, and they've come up with this:
The device, described in a paper for SIGGRAPH Asia, improves upon the 3DS parallax barrier technology, a partly opaque screen that helps create the 3D effect without glasses.

The HR3D system, seen in a video below, uses two layers of LCD screens like the 3DS, but the top screen displays a custom image based on the image on the bottom screen instead of relying on large vertical, opaque areas, which block the underlying light and require the batteries to work harder.

"Instead of consisting of a few big, vertical slits, the (HR3D) parallax barrier consists of thousands of tiny slits, whose orientations follow the contours of the objects in the image," MIT said.

"Because the slits are oriented in so many different directions, the 3D illusion is consistent no matter whether the image is upright or rotated 90 degrees."

Look, these issues are going to be resolved. The financial incentives are far, far too great for them not to be.

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