Future Smart Phones Will Project Images On the Wall

Mobile phones currently on the market are capable of showing high quality images and video, but the phones’ small size sets insurmountable limits on screen size, and thus the viewing experience. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, EpiCrystals Oy and the Aalto University are developing a better laser light source for projectors that will be integrated into mobile phones, which will enable accurate and efficient projection of, for example, photographs and movies on any surface. Mobile phones equipped with the laser light source can be within the ordinary consumer’s reach already in a few years time.

Small-size laser projectors 1-2 centimetres in length can be integrated into many kinds of electronic appliances, such as digital or video cameras, gaming devices and mobile phones. Integrated micro projectors could, in practice, project images the size of an A3 sheet of paper on a wall.

The challenge is to develop a small, energy-efficient and luminous three-colour (RGB) light source, whose manufacturing costs can be kept low, for use in the projectors. Solutions for these challenges are sought in a project combining Finnish know-how, whose parties are VTT, EpiCrystals Inc. and the Aalto University.

“The project has successfully combined multi-technological know-how from VTT and its partners in the project, from manufacturing materials and the accurate focusing of laser chips all the way to production line design. The project was launched last autumn, and we are now entering the stage where we can move from brainstorming and design to building prototypes. It is our goal to prove by next summer that large quantities of the new laser light sources can be manufactured quickly and economically ,” says Principal Scientist Timo Aalto from VTT.

EpiCrystals Inc. aims straight for the global market with its product, and it is the company’s goal to be the technology and market leader in laser light sources for micro projectors by 2015.

“We are developing an entirely new technology that is currently not in use anywhere else in the world. At the moment, there are stand-alone projectors on the market that can be connected to electronic appliances and early stage integrated projectors, but their quality and price are not competitive enough. Large electronics manufacturers are extremely interested in integrated projectors, and market research shows that demand for these micro projectors will increase strongly in the coming years. Soon, around two billion mobile phones per year will be sold in the world, and if even a couple of per cent of those contain a projector, we are talking about tens of millions of copies, and the hundred million mark is not far either,” says Vice President of Business Development Tomi Jouhti of EpiCrystals Oy.

TapSense

Smartphone and tablet computer owners have become adept at using finger taps, flicks and drags to control their touchscreens. But Carnegie Mellon University researchers have found that this interaction can be enhanced by taking greater advantage of the finger’s anatomy and dexterity.

By attaching a microphone to a touchscreen, the CMU scientists showed they can tell the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail and a knuckle. This technology, called TapSense, enables richer touchscreen interactions. While typing on a virtual keyboard, for instance, users might capitalize letters simply by tapping with a fingernail instead of a finger tip, or might switch to numerals by using the pad of a finger, rather toggling to a different set of keys.

Another possible use would be a painting app that uses a variety of tapping modes and finger motions to control a pallet of colors, or switch between drawing and erasing without having to press buttons.

“TapSense basically doubles the input bandwidth for a touchscreen,” said Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). “This is particularly important for smaller touchscreens, where screen real estate is limited. If we can remove mode buttons from the screen, we can make room for more content or can make the remaining buttons larger.”

A video demonstrating the technology’s capabilities and possible applications can be viewed at:http://chrisharrison.net/index.php/Research/TapSense.

“TapSense can tell the difference between different parts of the finger by classifying the sounds they make when they strike the touchscreen,” Schwarz said. An inexpensive microphone could be readily attached to a touchscreen for this purpose. The microphones already in devices for phone conversations would not work well for the application, however, because they are designed to capture voices, not the sort of noise that TapSense needs to operate.

The technology also can use sound to discriminate between passive tools (i.e., no batteries) made from such materials as wood, acrylic and polystyrene foam. This would enable people using styluses made from different materials to collaboratively sketch or take notes on the same surface, with each person’s contributions appearing in a different color or otherwise noted.

The researchers found that their proof-of-concept system was able to distinguish between the four types of finger inputs with 95 percent accuracy, and could distinguish between a pen and a finger with 99 percent accuracy.

Smartphones Revolutionize Psychological Experiments

Researchers have tapped into smartphone technology to carry out psychological experiments, allowing them access to millions of participants at the touch of a button.

Instead of bringing people into laboratories to study the internal mental processes involved in how humans remember, think, speak, and solve problems, researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London joined an international team to launch an iPhone / iPad app that people can download for free in seven languages as part of the biggest international experiment of its kind.

With the number of iPhone users worldwide expected to exceed one billion by 2013 the researchers wanted to find out if they were able to utilise this market to revolutionise research in cognitive science.

The scientists used an original lab-based experiment and adapted it for use on an iPhone. The results are published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, explains: “We wanted to find out if we could harness the precision of these mini computers to conduct experiments on a global scale that involve unprecedented numbers of participants. Results collected so far are strikingly similar to those obtained in laboratory conditions, demonstrating the potential for capitalising on this technology in the future.”

She added: “It could change the way that human social and psychological research is conducted because it allows us to access vast numbers of individuals from a range of demographics relatively inexpensively. We managed to test almost 5,000 participants in a period of three months, which would have taken years in a lab and incurred very substantial costs.”

The app, called the “Science XL: Test your word power,” tests the participants word power by asking them to decide whether each word presented is a real word or a non-word. The application measures accuracy and importantly the time taken to make such decisions, i.e reaction time.

This task has historically provided considerable insight into the cognitive processes involved in skilled reading as well as reading impairments such as dyslexia, through measuring millisecond-level response time and accuracy in deciding if a letter string is a word or not.

The app is free to download from iTunes AppStore (search for “Science XL”) and is non-profit making.

For more information on how to get involved visit:http://www.sciencexl.org/home/english

Smartphone Battery Life Could Dramatically Improve With New Invention

A new “subconscious mode” for smartphones and other WiFi-enabled mobile devices could extend battery life by as much as 54 percent for users on the busiest networks.The approach is still in the proof-of-concept stage and is not yet commercially available.

Even when smartphones are in power-saving modes and not actively sending or receiving messages, they are still on alert for incoming information and they’re searching for a clear communication channel. The researchers have found that this kind of energy-taxing “idle listening” is occurring during a large portion of the time phones spend in power-saving mode — as much as 80 percent on busy networks. Their new approach could make smartphones perform this idle listening more efficiently. It’s called E-MiLi, which stands for Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening.

To find out how much time phones spend keeping one ear open, Researchers conducted an extensive trace-based analysis of real WiFi networks. They discovered that, depending on the amount of traffic in the network, devices in power-saving modes spend 60 to 80 percent of their time in idle listening. In previous work, they demonstrated that phones in idle listening mode expend roughly the same amount of power as they do when they’re fully awake.

“My phone isn’t sending or receiving anything right now,” Researcher said, lifting his power-skinned iPhone, “but it’s listening to see if data is coming in so I can receive it right away. This idle listening often consumes as much power as actively sending and receiving messages all day.”

Here’s how E-MiLi works: It slows down the WiFi card’s clock by up to 1/16 its normal frequency, but jolts it back to full speed when the phone notices information coming in. It’s well known that you can slow a device’s clock to save energy. The hard part, researcher said, was getting the phone to recognize an incoming message while it was in this slower mode.

“We came up with a clever idea,” Researcher said. “Usually, messages come with a header, and we thought the phone could be enabled to detect this, as you can recognize that someone is calling your name even if you’re 90 percent asleep.”

When used with power-saving mode, the researchers found that E-MiLi is capable of reducing energy consumption by around 44 percent for 92 percent of mobile devices in real-world wireless networks.

In addition to new processor-slowing software on smartphones, E-MiLi requires new firmware for phones and computers that would be sending messages. They need the ability to encode the message header — the recipient’s address — in a new and detectable way. The researchers have created such firmware, but in order for E-MiLi use to become widespread, WiFi chipset manufacturers would have to adopt these firmware modifications and then companies that make smartphones and computers would have to incorporate the new chips into their products.

Researcher points out that E-MiLi is compatible with today’s models, so messages sent with future devices that use E-MiLi’s encoding would still be received as usual on smartphones without E-MiLi. E-MiLi can also be used with other wireless communication protocols that require idle listening, such as ZigBee.

Firefox Installation on Ubuntu

Firefox:

Firefox (formerly known as Phoenix and Firebird) is a redesign of the Mozilla browser component. It is similar to Galeon, K-Meleon, and Chimera, but it is written using the XUL user interface language and was designed to be cross-platform.

What is new in firefox 6

The latest version of Firefox has the following changes:

  • The address bar now highlights the domain of the website you’re visiting
  • Streamlined the look of the site identity block
  • Added support for the latest draft version of WebSockets with a prefixed API
  • Added support for EventSource / server-sent events
  • Added support for window.matchMedia
  • Added Scratchpad, an interactive JavaScript prototyping environment
  • Added a new Web Developer menu item and moved development-related items into it
  • Improved usability of the Web Console
  • Improved the discoverability of Firefox Sync
  • Reduced browser startup time when using Panorama
  • Fixed several stability issues
  • Fixed several security issues

Install firefox 6 on ubuntu

Open the terminal and run the following commands

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Localize your firefox 6 using the following command

sudo apt-get install firefox-locale-$code

where code is the two-letter symbol of your language.

Hardware Encryption Developed for New Computer Memory Technology

Security concerns are one of the key obstacles to the adoption of new non-volatile main memory (NVMM) technology in next-generation computers, which would improve computer start times and boost memory capacity. But now researchers have developed new encryption hardware for use with NVMM to protect personal information and other data.

NVMM technologies, such as phase-change memory, hold great promise to replace conventional dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in the main memory of computers. NVMM would allow computers to start instantly, and can fit more memory into the same amount of space used by existing technologies. However, NVMM poses a security risk.

Conventional DRAM main memory does not store data once the computer is turned off. That means, for example, that it doesn’t store your credit card number and password after an online shopping spree. NVMM, on the other hand, retains all user data in main memory even years after the computer is turned off. This feature could give criminals access to your personal information or other data if your laptop or smart phone were stolen. And, because the data in the NVMM is stored in main memory, it cannot be encrypted using software. Software cannot manage main memory functions, because software itself operates in main memory.

NC(North Carolina) State researchers have developed a solution using a hardware encryption system called i-NVMM.

“We could use hardware to encrypt everything,” explains Dr. Yan Solihin, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing i-NVMM, “but then the system would run very slowly — because it would constantly be encrypting and decrypting data.

“Instead, we developed an algorithm to detect data that is likely not needed by the processor. This allows us to keep 78 percent of main memory encrypted during typical operation, and only slows the system’s performance by 3.7 percent.”

The i-NVMM tool has two additional benefits as well. First, its algorithm also detects idleness. That means any data not currently in use — such as your credit card number — is automatically encrypted. This makes i-NVMM even more secure than DRAM. Second, while 78 percent of the main memory is encrypted when the computer is in use, the remaining 22 percent is encrypted when the computer is powered down.

“Basically, unless someone accesses your computer while you’re using it, all of your data is protected,” Solihin says.

i-NVMM relies on a self-contained encryption engine that is incorporated into a computer’s memory module — and does not require changes to the computer’s processors. That means it can be used with different processors and different systems.

Sensor Network for Cities

Thanks to numerous sensors, Smartphones make it easy for their owners to organize certain parts of their lives. However, that is just the beginning. Darmstadt researchers envision entire “smart” cities, where all devices present within municipal areas are intelligently linked to one another.

Car-to-car communications could help to prevent traffic jams. (Credit: Copyright Thomas Ott)

Computer scientists, electrical and computer engineers, and mathemati­cians at the TU Darmstadt and the University of Kassel have joined forces and are working on implementing that vision under their “Cocoon” project. The backbone of a “smart” city is a communications network consisting of sen­sors that receive streams of data, or signals, analyze them, and trans­mit them onward. Such sensors thus act as both receivers and trans­mit­ters, i.e., represent trans­ceivers. The networked communications involved oper­ates wire­lessly via radio links, and yields added values to all partici­pants by analyzing the input data involved. For example, the “Smart Home” control system already on the market allows networking all sorts of devices and automatically regulating them to suit demands, thereby alleg­edly yielding energy savings of as much as fifteen percent.

“Smart Home” might soon be followed by “Smart Hospital,” “Smart Indus­try,” or “Smart Farm,” and even “smart” systems tailored to suit mobile net­works are feasible. Traffic jams may be avoided by, for example, car-to-car or car-to-environment (car-to-X) communications. Health-service sys­tems might also benefit from mobile, sensor communications whenever patients need to be kept supplied with information tailored to suit their health­care needs while underway. Furthermore, sensors on their bodies could assess the status of their health and automatically transmit calls for emergency medical assistance, whenever necessary.

“Smart” and mobile, thanks to beam forming

The researchers regard the ceaseless travels of sensors on mobile systems and their frequent entries into/exits from instrumented areas as the major hurdle to be overcome in implementing their vision of “smart” cities. Sensor-aided devices will have to deal with that by responding to subtle changes in their environments and flexibly, efficiently, regulating the quali­ties of received and transmitted signals. Beam forming, a field in which the TU Darmstadt’s Institute for Communications Technology is active, should help out there. On that subject, Prof. Rolf Jakoby of the TU Darmstadt’s Electrical Engineering and Information Technology Dept. remarked that, “Current types of antennae radiate omnidirectionally, like light bulbs. We intend to create conditions, under which antennae will, in the future, behave like spotlights that, once they have located a sought device, will track it, while suppressing interference by stray electromag­netic radiation from other devices that might also be present in the area.”

Such antennae, along with transceivers equipped with them, are thus recon­figurable, i.e., adjustable to suit ambient conditions by means of onboard electronic circuitry or remote controls. Working in col­lab­or­a­tion with an industrial partner, Jakoby has already equipped terres­trial digital-television (TDTV) transmitters with reconfigurable amplifiers that allow amplifying transmitted-signal levels by as much as ten percent. He added that, “If all of Germany’s TDTV‑transmitters were equipped with such amp­li­fiers, we could shut down one nuclear power plant.”

Frequency bands are a scarce resource

Reconfigurable devices also make much more efficient use of a scarce resource, freq­uency bands. Users have thus far been allocated rigorously defined frequency bands, where only fifteen to twenty percent of the capacities of even the more popular ones have been allocated. Beam forming might allow making more efficient use of them. Jakoby noted that, “This is an area that we are still taking a close look at, but we are well along the way toward understand­ing the system better.” However, only a few uses of beam forming have emerged to date, since currently available systems are too expensive for mass applications.

Small, model networks are targeted

Yet another fundamental problem remains to be solved before “smart” cities may become realities. Sensor communications requires the cooper­a­tion of all devices involved, across all communications protocols, such as “Bluetooth,” and across all networks, such as the European Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) mobile-telephone network or wireless local-area networks (WLAN), which cannot be achieved with current devices, communications protocols, and networks. Jakoby explained that, “Con­verting all devices to a common communications protocol is infeas­ible, which is why we are seeking a new protocol that would be superim­posed upon everything and allow them to communicate via several proto­cols.” Transmission channels would also have to be capable of handling a mas­sive flood of data, since, as Prof. Abdelhak Zoubir of the TU Darm­stadt’s Electrical Engineer­ing and Information Technology Dept., the “Cocoon” project’s coordinator, put it, “A “smart” Darm­stadt alone would surely involve a million sensors communicating with one another via satel­lites, mobile telephones, computers, and all of the other types of devices that we already have available. Furthermore, since a single, mobile sensor is readily capable of generating several hundred Meg­a­bytes of data annu­ally, new models for handling the communications of millions of such sen­sors that will more densely compress data in order to provide for error-free com­munica­tions will be needed. Several hurdles will thus have to be over­come before “smart” cities become reality. Nevertheless, the scientists working on the “Cocoon” project are convinced that they will be able to simulate a “smart” city incorporating various types of devices employing early versions of small, model networks.