Reporter’s Notebook: CEATEC 2013 Preview Tour

Posted: September 30, 2013 in ALPS, CEATEC, Computers and Internet, Consumer Electronics, Japan, Makuhari, MyWay, NTT DoCoMo, ROHM, Travel

Murata – Sonic Gesture Control

Murata’s components for sonic transmission and reception are being used to create a gesture recognition interface, ideal for hands free control of tablets and other devices. This technology could be used for games, such as Fruit Ninja, providing a 3D space in which to work. The gesture X, Y, and Z coordinates can be determined. An SDK is available, provided by Elliptic Labs. Only single point recognition is supported at this time, but Elliptic claims multi-gesture support is in the works.

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Other notes:

  • Single point.
  • Working on multipoint. 2014 target.
  • 180 degree range.
  • Emitters and microphones.
  • 2 Transmitters, 4 microphones.
  • Accurate to about half an inch, but fine movement is supported.
  • Elliptic Labs makes software, Murata the transducer.
  • SDK for android, releasing at CEATEC, Windows SDK already available.

Mitsumi laser heads up display for automotive

Mitsumi demoed a heads-up display for automotive use, preventing distracted driving. The reference exhibit utilizes a laser pico projector and piezoelectric transmission to the mirror rather than the electromagnetic approach their competitor Macrovision (?)  uses.

The projected resolution is claimed to be 1024×640, although I’m unsure if that was a mis-translation – they’re only using a QHD (quarter-HD) panel.

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The device is expected to be shipped to integrators by 2017-2018. End user access could take longer, as integrators decide how to best implement the technology.

Alps Epistemic Cockpit

ALPS showed what happens when you buck the trends of the traditional car cockpit.

Utilizing cameras, biometric sensors, wireless charging and transmission, the cockpit can ensure the driver is authenticated, isn’t sleepy, and provide them access to all their phone’s media.

Other notes:

  • User authentication.
  • Face recognition.
  • Checks physical condition, such as heart rate, gaze direction for drowsiness, whether the driver is looking away.
  • Gaze detection occurs continuously.
  • Vitals dictate whether driver has entered, exited vehicle.

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The system uses a camera and laser to point the user to places in the vehcile, such as where to place their phone. It’s encouraging to see more manufacturers thinking outside the traditional configuration. A lack of such leads us to retaining QWERTY as the default keyboard layout Smile with tongue out

ALPS + MyWay + ROHM Efficient DC-DC Converter

Modern portable DC-DC converters are still quite inefficient, but a recent collaboration between ALPS + MyWay + ROHM may change that forever. The trio has created a much more efficient dc-dc converter – it’s 1/10 the size, 1/5 the weight, and many times more efficient than traditional systems.

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The unit is smaller due to its switching frequency, which is 100KHz , versus 15KHz in current solutions, while still providing effectively the same amount of power.

The module will be sold by MyWay by the end of October 2013.

Possible applications of the module will be significantly smaller and more efficient charging stations and electric vehicle power systems. This could further increase the range of EV systems allthewhile using less space.

Photo from the Intel Booth

While I haven’t yet visited the Intel booth, it sure looks cool.

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NEC DNA Analyzer

NEC has created a portable DNA analyzer capable of analyzing DNA indicators at crime scenes and determining any possible suspect matches through integrated database searching. The company has combined the functions of three DNA machines used on crime scenes into a single, smaller unit. Rather than taking two days to process the samples, it can return results in about an hour, with a target of 30 minutes being their next goal. The database searching is optional and does not significantly affect the unit’s processing time either way.

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Other Notes:

  • In 2014 they will make units available to research and law enforcement. 2015 product launch.
  • Also has disaster site and medical area applications. Anywhere DNA analysis its necessary.
  • Price range expected to be 20-50M Yen. Possibly 10M Yen when it goes mainstream.
  • In conventional system, each of those components costs 10-50M Yen each, so this is a considerable savings. However, those systems can do 40-80 samples at a time vs. only 1 here.

NTT Docomo Intelligent Glasses

NTT DoCoMo showed their take on the software solutions possible when a camera and OS are attached to a glasses interface. They called these scenarios and software solutions “intelligent glasses,” even though no product is shipping as of yet.

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The units had a QHD panel for the interface, with full movie playback capability.

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In the example pictured above, the glasses are generating an overlay touch interface on the book she’s holding.

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Above is their concept for an augmented reality application. Hands can be tracked in 3D space for manipulating an object projected in the lens display.

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One incredible application utilized text and face recognition. Looking at a menu in Japanese, for example, overlaid the English translation over the text. Users could also find and recognize faces in the crowd, making it easier, say, to find your children at a parade, or social media contacts in a crowd based on their online photos.

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NTT already has a similar translation feature on their smartphone products.

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Other Notes:

  • The solution for text translation and face recognition was running on an Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich – platform.

NTT DoCoMo 5G Demonstration

NTT demonstrated a 5G solution utilizing arrays of 100 microantennae to boost per-user signal strength and data transmission. Their goal is to provide 1 GBit/second rates to all users, with up to 10 GBit/second under “ideal” circumstances.

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Below are photographs from their 5G simulation:

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Other Notes:

  • 1000x system capacity, 100x speed increase
  • 1GBps goal typical data rate, sometimes 10 GBits if prefect conditions
  • Question: What processor could handle that on a phone anyway? Makes sense it would be future.
  • Multi cell provides direct path to more users under load. Great for traffic explosion, also in congested environments, with the 100 micro cells per antenna.

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