Posts Tagged ‘improve’
It’s called MobileBench: an industry consortium planning to offer “more effective” performance assessments on mobile devices — most likely centered on, but not limited to, Android. Unsurprisingly after recent developments, Samsung joins as a founding member, alongside Broadcom, Huawei, Oppo, and Spreadtrum. While that’s who’s in, who isn’t? Well, both NVIDIA (responsible for the Tegra series of mobile chips) and the increasingly ubiquitous Qualcomm, which makes the Snapdragon mobile processor range. Between them, they power the likes of Microsoft’s Surface series, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire range, not to mention numerous flagship devices from LG, Samsung, Sony and Motorola.
The group gathered for the first time yesterday in Shenzhen, China and outlined how it aims to offer more useful tools for mobile platform designers and “more reliable indices” for assessing user experience. MobileBench plans to establish impartial guidelines and a more sophisticated evaluation methodology for both its first benchmark tool, MobileBench and MobileBench-UX, for testing system-level applications. The benchmarking tool will assess hardware performance, including high-level processes like video and image viewing, camera use and other real-life use cases, with one of the primary aims being result consistency and less deviation between repeated tests. Another app is planned for consumer use in the future, likely similar to the benchmarking apps Engadget uses in its reviews. The bigger question is how much the consortium can achieve without wider adoption inside the industry — it’s apparently “actively seeking” more members.
Source: MobileBench consortium (PDF)
Drones are very fun, is something that I recently realized playing with a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 for the first time. But the image on the screen you see from most drone cameras is laggy, pixelated and generally sub-par, even if the camera on your drone itself is capable of recording much higher quality video. Sky Drone FPV aims to improve that, with a new crowdfunded project that will provide full streaming HD video to your tablet or smartphone of choice live from your flying robot.
Drone hobbyists are a fanatic group, and quality is important to any fanatic. The Sky Drone FPV wants to make the lived reality of flying drones more similar to the videos and photos uploaded to YouTube, which often reflect the HD capture, not the actual first person view you’ll see on a device while piloting. It promises to offer 1920×1080 full HD streams at 30 frames per second, unlimited range so long as there is cell tower coverage via 3G or LTE networks, a heads-up display (so long as you have the required circuit board) and 5 megapixel still shots. It also works with just a smartphone or tablet, and requires no additional antennas or gear.
Finally, the feed is encrypted via AES-256 encryption to prevent any spying eyes from taking a peek at your feed, and there’s an HDMI out option to connect to virtual immersion goggles, with Oculus Rift support listed as one of the company’s stretch goals for the Sky Drone FPV.
The project is designed to help wean drone hobbyists and FPV enthusiasts off of their clunky analog solutions by addressing the three big problems of current digital offerings, which include achieving low latency; performing consistently and reliably, and doing so at a cost that isn’t absurd.
Backers can reserve a Sky Drone FPV set for $ 349, which gets them a kit including a cellular modem, USB hub, cables, a controller, a camera and an AP cable and uBEC. The package also includes the Sky Drone FPV groundstation app, which allows you to control exactly what you see on your screen, configure your HUD and actually view the stream live from your remote-controlled flying device.
The Sky Drone FPV is currently functional on BlackBerry 10 and Playbook devices (yes, the devs used BB as a starting platform, likely because BlackBerry VP of dev relations Alec Saunders is a founding investor) but will be build for Android and iOS too, which is what the funding will help with, as well as refining the still image capture mechanic. The Hong Kong-based team aims to deliver by December, 2013, so you could be flying in glorious HD in time for the holidays.
While Samsung and Nokia (and everyone else really) are locked in a sort of mobile photography war by baking elaborate cameras into new smartphones, Sony is apparently testing a slightly different approach. Rather than cramming a high-end camera into a phone, the folks at SonyAlphaRumors have happened upon a set of photos that depict a pair of Sony “lens cameras” that latch onto your smartphone instead.
This isn’t the first time Sony’s curious camera phone attachments have popped up — they were the subject of another leak earlier this year — but now we’ve got a clearer picture of what these things are actually capable of. At first glance, the hefty things don’t seem too different from some other smartphone accoutrements out there right now, but their looks are deceiving.
See, the attachments don’t actually augment your phone’s built-in camera so much as they replace them entirely. That’s the weird thing about what Sony has cooked up: They’re more than just a lens, but they’re not quite a standalone camera, either. Instead, the devices float in the limbo between both of those things and relies wholly on a smartphone to actually make it usable. According to the SonyAlphaRumors’ report, everything — from the 18- or 20-megapixel sensor to the image processor to the SD card slot — is packed into those barrels while the phone it’s connected to acts as the viewfinder.
For what it’s worth, Sony’s rationale seems at least partially defensible. So long as companies like Samsung, Apple, HTC, and even Sony want to duke it out over how thin they can make their smartphones, they also need to figure out how to continuously improve those mobile cameras while keeping heft to a minimum (unless they temporarily lose their minds). By moving the lion’s share of the hardware outside of the chassis completely, Sony gets to continue trying to push the envelope on camera performance without having to worry about the impact all that extra hardware has on the aesthetics of a new phone. And since these lens cameras aren’t tied into one specific device, Sony could see continued sales of the things even after consumers ditch their old phones for new ones. It’s definitely a strange approach, but it’s also pretty smart.
As we all know, though, being smart doesn’t necessarily translate into being successful, and there are plenty of reasons why something like this wouldn’t catch on. You’ve got to carry around another gizmo for one, and the potential price tag could cause would-be mobile photogs to balk (especially when decent point-and-shoots are getting stupidly cheap). It shouldn’t be long before these lens cameras start trickling into the wild, so we’ll soon see if Sony is actually onto something here.
Meet Disney’s AIREAL technology.
Imagine playing a first-person shooter in which you feel the rush of air from bullets screaming over your shoulder, or a massive open-world role-playing game in which you feel the brush of a leaf on your forearm.
That’s the promise behind AIREAL, the new haptic feedback technology announced by Disney on Friday. The technology, developed by Disney's research division, shoots off ring-shaped spurts of air at a player to augment his or her experience.
Here's the science-y bit, from Disney:
AIREAL is designed to use a vortex, a ring of air that can travel large distances while keeping its shape and speed. When the vortex hits a user's skin, the low pressure system inside a vortex collapses and imparts a force the user can feel…Five actuators are mounted around the enclosure which displaces air from the enclosed volume, through the flexible nozzle and into the physical environment. The actuated flexible nozzle allows a vortex to be precisely delivered to any location in 3D space.
Basically, this lil nubbin receives displaced air from five small speakers.
Microsoft added some gestures to improve trackpads in Windows 8, but the underlying issues with laptop trackpads weren’t really addressed fully. With Windows 8.1, it appears that Microsoft is taking the issue seriously and working closely with partners to improve what has been a notoriously mixed experience for Windows users over the years. In a session at Build recently, Windows principal program manager James Clarke outlined some of the improvements being planned for the 8.1 release later this year.
Microsoft has been working with Intel, Elan, and Synaptics to allow Windows 8.1 to directly control the pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in trackpads. For Windows users this should mean that future laptop trackpads will work more…
Question by The Piano Playing Pony: What types of graphics card does my MacBook have, and what can I do to improve it for gaming?
I have a MacBook from Mid 2010 running a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, has 2 gigs of RAM, and has an NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256 MB graphics card. I’m very disappointed in the performance my computer presents while playing games via Steam. I want to know why with the given information above, what I can do to improve it (if it’s affordable), or if it would be less of a pain in my pocket to buy a new computer entirely. The best answer will go to whoever provides accurate information in a pithy manor.
Answer by Jonathan Price
Crap and nothing
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
Listen up, Yahoo .
Sometimes it's hard to tell what's going on at Tumblr…
Is this satire or a real life tumblr change?
Ok, it's satire. But admit it, you had to think about it.
…to put it gently.
Currently, producing fuel directly from biological products can lead to some tough choices. The resulting biofuel usually either needs to be mixed with regular petroleum or the vehicles themselves need to be modified to work with it. New research published recently details the work of scientists to try to avoid both problems by creating a biofuel that’s compatible with diesel engines. “Producing a commercial biofuel that can be used without needing to modify vehicles has been the goal of this project from the outset,” says Professor John Love of the University of Exeter. The study (funded by Shell), used E. coli to create the “bio-fossil-fuels,” as Love calls them, though this biofuel is a long way from your gas tank. It takes around 100…
Taking its traffic-management technology to Indonesia, Japanese car-maker Honda has successfully road-tested a new smartphone app that on average was able to delay the formation of traffic jams by as much as six minutes and improve fuel-efficiency by as much as 22 percent. Tech-On reports that Honda worked with researchers at the University of Tokyo to deploy a new smartphone app in vehicles between September 2012 to February 2013 on a toll road in Jakarta, which monitored the acceleration and deceleration of a vehicle and instructed drivers on when to slow down.
If you’ve ever swallowed your pride and bit the bullet on hotel WiFi, you’ve probably felt the sluggish pull of other users dragging down your connection speed. Coffee shops, airports and other heavily impacted public hotspots can slow to a crawl as they try to mete out data to dozens of users sharing a single channel. All hope is not lost, however — a team at NC State University are about to release a paper detailing a technology that could bolster WiFi data throughput performance by up to 700 percent. The team is calling their technology WiFox, and it’s already made their local test network four times faster, on average. WiFox keeps track of the amount of traffic gumming up a WiFi channel and actively assigns priority access to avoid a traffic jam of data requests. Fixing sluggish hotspots should be a snap, too — Student and lead author Arpit Gupta says WiFox could be “packaged as a software update that can be incorporated into existing WiFi networks.” The full paper will be presented at ACM CoNext next month in Nice, France. Can’t wait? Feel free to click on the source and ogle the paper’s abstract.
[Image credit: Charleston's TheDigitel, Flickr]