Tag: 3D

Thyssenkrupp sets up 3D printing centre

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp is to open a 3D printing centre this year to manufacture products for its customers.

For those who came in late, Thyssenkrupp is famous for making steel, submarines and elevators, and supplies thousands of tonnes of metal and plastic products and provides supply-chain management services to a quarter of a million customers worldwide.

Some industrial components such as airline or wind-turbine parts can now be made by 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, in which objects are printed in layers directly from a computer design instead of being cut out of blocks of material.

This saves money on material costs by reducing the number of parts needed tenfold or more, and also saves time from design to manufacturing, allowing objects to be produced in small batches in a cost effective way.

Hans-Josef Hoss, an executive board member of Thyssenkrupp Materials Services division, said the company had invested already into the machines and the people.

“We start from the engineering side and deliver the final product with all aftersales and related services,” he said in a speech at an event during the Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair.

Hoss said the centre would be inaugurated in September, and would produce both metal and plastic products.

General Electric is investing $109 million to expand a German 3D printing firm it bought last year – one of two it acquired at a total cost of over $1 billion – and would open a 3D printing customer centre in Munich.

Beancounters at Wohlers Associates think the use of 3D technology is surging. Sales reached $1 billion in 2007, jumped to $5.2 billion in 2015 and will hit $26.5 billion by 2021.


3D telly dropping fast

Tigre-3DThe last two telly makers to support the standard are giving up on 3D this year

LG and Sony have decided to kill off the standard this year. None of their TVs, including the high-end OLED TV models, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.

The 3D feature has been offered on select televisions since 2010, when the theatrical success of “Avatar” in 3D helped encourage renewed interest in the technology.

Despite enthusiasm at the box office and years of 3D TVs being available at affordable prices, the technology never really caught on at home.

There are plenty of 3D Blu-ray discs still being released, such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but if you want to watch them at home you’ll need a TV from 2016 or earlier — or a home theatre projector.

Sales of 3D home video gear have declined every year since 2012. According to data from the NPD Group, 3D TV represents just eight percent of total TV sales dollars for the full year of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2015 and 23 percent in 2012. Native 3D-capable Blu-ray players fell to just 11 percent of the market in 2016, compared to 25 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2012.

The big problem is that while people like 3D they never use it because of the arsing around with glasses.  Higher quality pictures using 4K have made the picture good and most people are happy with what they see.

Going to the movies and seeing 3D is a different concept and people are happier to have that experience.


MIT boffins create 3D without need for glasses

Tigre-3DMIT boffins, fed up with having to watch movies with glasses over the top of their glasses have invented a 3-D experience that does not need them.

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated a display that lets audiences watch 3-D films in a movie theatre without extra eyewear.

Dubbed “Cinema 3D,” the prototype uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater.

While the researchers warn that the system isn’t market-ready, they are optimistic that future versions could push the technology to a place where theatres would be able to offer glasses-free alternatives for 3-D movies.

Glasses-free 3-D already exists, but not in a way that scales to movie theatres. Traditional methods for TV sets use a series of slits in front of the screen (a “parallax barrier”) that allows each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a simulated sense of depth.

But parallax barriers have to be at a consistent distance from the viewer and this does not work for big theatres.

Cinema 3D encodes multiple parallax barriers into one display, such that each viewer sees a parallax barrier tailored to their position. That range of views is then replicated across the theater by a series of mirrors and lenses within Cinema 3D’s special optics system.

Cinema 3D’s prototype requires 50 sets of mirrors and lenses, and yet is just barely larger than a pad of paper. But, in theory, the technology could work in any context in which 3-D visuals would be shown to multiple people at the same time, such as billboards or storefront advertisements.


Boffins build 3D glasses for praying Mantis

While most of us do not get up in the morning and think about sticking a pair of 3D glasses on a praying Mantis, apparently they do in Newcastle.

Neuroscientists at Newcastle University led by vision scientist Jenny Read recently outfitted praying mantises with a little pair of 3D specs.

The goal was not to corrupt a young and impressionable generation of praying Mantises to 3d porn, they wanted to see if the insects can be tricked by 3D images.

Praying mantises have stereoscopic vision, unlike most invertebrates. When they are not at prayer, or biting the heads off their mates, they are sophisticated hunters.

By putting 3D glasses on the mantises, Read hoped to fake them out and learn how the insect’s vision differs from ours.

The big idea is that you could create much simpler algorithms for programming 3D vision into robots.

Vivek Nityananda, a neuroscience research associate working with Read said that to conduct the vision testing, the scientists attach what the university says are the world’s tiniest pair of 3D glasses to an insect using beeswax.

Then the mantis is placed in front of computer monitor that displays images in 3D. One image is a circle that appears to be an object coming right at the insect, intended to elicit a strike.

We guess the mantis is asked “does it look more real after the glasses go on or before”.

Afterward, the specs are taken off and the mantis goes back to a room where it gets fed.

If the researchers can fool the praying mantises into making errors in judgment about depth, it will prove that they actually are judging 3D.

This is the first major research project investigating these mechanisms following the discovery made by Samuel Rossel in 1983 that praying mantises have 3D vision. Rossel conducted successful experiments by placing prisms over their eyes and creating an optical illusion that an object was within their range, thus triggering a strike from the mantises. 

Amazon wants to create 3D smartphones

Word on the street is that the online bookseller Amazon is preparing to announce the next generation of smartphones.

The new phone will feature a 3D screen and users will not need to use 3D glasses to see it.

Apparently the rumour is that the phone will “employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to a hologram.

Some common features, like zooming in to get a closer look at a photo, will happen automatically. The 3-D screen technology can sense the movement of a person’s eyes and whether the screen is moving closer to a user’s face. The phone can automatically zoom into images as it moves closer to a user’s face and could manipulate text and images as a person moves the phone.”

Amazon has already been showing early versions of the phone to suppliers in Seattle and San Francisco and a formal announcement is expected in June. The phones should be shipping by September with Amazon ordering 600,000 of them.

What is unusual is that this is Amazon’s first foray into the phone hardware market and it is coming in with technology that no one else has.

The outfit has been increasing its tech output lately. On April 2, it introduced the video-streaming and gaming console Amazon Fire TV and it has offered the Kindle e-reader since 2007.

The company has not said which service carriers the phone will work with, or what operating system it will use.

It will be certainly cheaper that what is out there for the money. Not only will Amazon be getting a subsidy from the carriers, it will also be subsidising the phone itself. The company is ok about losing money on hardware to get people to use its services and buy more items through the devices. Amazon thinks that using devices to highlight its video streaming service, app store, or shopping options means more returning customers. 

Meg Whitman wants to go 3D

The maker of jolly expensive printer ink, HP, has plans to enter the commercial 3D-printing market in June.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman said the company had solved the technical problems that have hindered broader adoption of the high-tech manufacturing process.

She told shareholders the company will make a “big technology announcement” that month around how it will approach a market that has excited the imagination of investors and consumers.

Analysts have been muted in their interest in 3D printing which they think is over-hyped and still too immature for widespread consumer adoption.

But many wondered why HP, the largest of several printer-making companies from Canon to Xerox, had not got into the business.

Whitman said HP’s inhouse researchers have resolved limitations involved with the quality of substrates used in the process, which affects the durability of finished products.

She thinks that the bigger market is going to be in the enterprise space, manufacturing parts and prototypes in ways that were not possible before.

HP executives have estimated that worldwide sales of 3D printers and related software and services will grow to almost $11 billion by 2021 from a mere $2.2 billion in 2012. 

Duke Nukem outfit in trouble again

The company that could not finish a Duke Nukem game in 12 years is being sued by the company that finally did, for threatening to finish another one.

Gearbox, which in 2010 bought Duke Nukem and the rights to it from its creator, 3D Realms, is suing 3D Realms over something called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

Normally Gearbox would not be worried, after all 3D Realms created the world record for trying and failing to get Duke Nukem into the shops.

But it seems that Gearbox actually thinks that 3D might be serious. Earlier this month in a teaser site that quickly disappeared but has since returned. Gearbox’s suit says the game was being made, without its knowledge or permission, by 3D Realms and was to be published by Interceptor Entertainment, a Danish firm also named in the filing.

According to Gearbox. after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3D Realms sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened.

3D Realms and Interceptor “colluded to misappropriate and make infringing use of the Duke Nukem trademarks and copyrights owned by Gearbox.

Gearbox said that its acquisition of Duke Nukem in 2010 entitled it to all future development of anything using its name or characters, bailed 3D Realms out of a sticky situation in which publisher Take-Two Interactive was suing. EA had spent a fortune on Duke Nukem Forever’s development.

When it took the 3D Code it found it was “sorely deficient,” also describing it as “a technological jigsaw puzzle of a video game.

Kotaku which has seen the paperwork said that Gearbox wants damages, including punitive and a judge’s order to stop Mass Destruction from ever releasing. Gearbox’s lawsuit says the game was due to launch on February 25 however, that was only the date a countdown timer at AllOutofGum.com was set to expire.

Gearbox’s filing includes a declaration, signed by both Miller and co-founder George Broussard, in which they acknowledge Gearbox’s exclusive ownership of Duke Nukem and that Mass Destruction violates the rights they sold to Gearbox in 2010. “I apologize to Gearbox for the infringement and breach represented by my efforts,” reads the declaration, dated February 16. 

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU, part two

[Part one is here]

Kirk Skaugen, senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel took over in the second half of Wednesday’s IDF Keynote presentation. He began talking about the “2 in 1” computing platform. That raises the question: Have Ultrabooks slipped off Intel’s road map just when HP is announcing its HP ZBook 14 Ultra Workstation?

Kirk Skaugen


Perhaps they are simply not selling in the volume predicted at a couple past IDFs when Ultrabooks were announced? Skaugen put it this way: “Now we’ve stopped counting [OEM designs], and assumed that the entire world has gone thin”. He added that more than 40 percent of all Core notebooks have been designed with touch. Seventy percent of today’s Ultrabooks are touch-enabled, on the way to 100 percent touch later this year.

Skaugen said by this year’s holidays, the 2-in-1 form factor will be selling in the $999 down to $349 price range. He said that by the year’s end, there will be 60 2-in-1 devices in that future marketplace. Examples he showed were the Sony Duo 13-inch slider, the Dell XP 11, the Sony detachable – which only weighs 780 grams and handles both wired and wireless, and the Dell XP 12, which is a flip screen. An application from CyberLink will be provided on Haswell machines by the end of the year to energise content creation.

Skaugen handed over to Tami Reeler, Microsoft VP who discussed the Windows 8.1 released to developers. There was the usual sales story about how wonderful Windows 8 is.

In August, Windows 8 had the highest demand and sales, which was probably prompted by the back to school movement. She discussed Windows XP and its end of support in April 2014. She also claimed that “three quarters of the corporate users have moved to a modern Windows from Windows XP” – but she didn’t specify whether they were using Windows 7 or Windows 8.x.

Tami Reeler talks Windows 8 with Kirk Skaugen

Intel says that it has the business community handled with fourth generation core CPUs, SST Pro 1500 SSD, location-based security in the enterprise, and its new Pro-WiDI plus password free VPN connections – which got a round of applause from the audience.

Mario Müller, VP of IT Infrastructure at BMW, was next to join Kirk Skaugen on stage. There was some banter about a new BMW for everybody in the audience. Müller said that 55,000 of its 120,000 employees will be getting core i5 computers, but none of the audience will be receiving a BMW, unfortunately.

Mario Müller and Kirk Skaugen discussing new BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid Sports Car 

Skaugen returned to topic saying that Bay Trail has 140 design wins and it runs all operating systems faster – Android, iOS, Chrome, and Linux. He talked about the Cinnabar benchmark using the fourth generation Broadwell 14 nm CPU. The chips will include AVX 3.2, DDR4 and PCI Express 4.0 support among their improved feature set.

Bay Trail SoCs are aimed at tablets and convertibles with screen sizes priced at $599 or below and will ship in tablets running Windows 8 and Android, ranging down to below $100 in price. When Chinese tablet OEMs start selling $100 price point 7-inch tablets with Bay Trail inside, then Intel will have to be taken very seriously by the ARM and MIPS partners.

Sony Duo slider as a tablet 

The discussions turned towards 3D. By Q2 2014, Intel predicts there will be collaboration over a 3D camera specification that will be implemented into Ultrabooks. We were told that Intel has had high numbers of downloads for its 3D SDK. It has the $100,000,000 Experience  and the Perceptual Computing Fund to work with.

Skaugen showed a 2D/3D camera that fits into the bezel of an Ultrabook. He gave an example of 3D functionality with a video showing children playing with an Ultrabook which had a 3D camera installed. Their expressions were of surprised joy.

3D developers should be glad to know that Project Anarchy is a free 3D game production engine and is ready to be downloaded and used.

Gonzague de Vallois, VP Sales and Marketing for Gameloft, showed off the company’s latest Android 3D auto racing game, referred to as Asphalt 8: Airborne, which takes advantage of Bay Trail and 3D graphics. At $4.99 it’s pretty affordable.

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, for Android

Sundar Pichai, Senior VP Android Chrome & Apps at Google talked about the just-introduced Haswell CPU Chromebook and its stunning performance, extended battery life, and 3D capabilities. He also presented Doug Fisher from Intel’s Software and Services Group with an official Google Beanie cap – what a new hire at Google wears for their first days. After Pichai left the stage, Fisher said something about ‘that is a give away’.

Sundar Pichai gives Doug Fisher a Google Beanie

Over 1,000 Intel engineers are working on Google Android and Chrome.

Research firm NPD says Chromebooks represent 20-25 percent of the $300-or-less computer segment. Clearly, Intel has embraced Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems as a target market to put a lot of “Intel Inside”. 

Intel announces Bay Trail tablet CPU: Part One

Wednesday’s IDF Keynote started by asking the audience to stand for a moment of silence in remembrance of lives lost on 9-11 in 2001. From there, it was business as usual with product hype and promises of future success.

Intel seems to be spotlighting health. It opened with a feel-good video of Jack Andraka, child prodigy and biology whiz. Andraka is a high school sophomore who won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in December 2012 for inventing a new method to detect a lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

From there, Intel moved into its theme of “The Internet of Things.” One thing that aroused curiosity was a dull white plastic wristband on every seat. It became an attention-getter later in the programme. In the meantime, everyone got a shot at the podium to talk about their pet project.

Doug Fisher, VP General Manager Software and Services Group, gave a few brief remarks, then introduced Dr. Herman Eul, VP General Manager Mobile and Communications Group. He started off with a video about MTV and Intel getting together to improve the audience’s experience because they do not really understand how wireless works, and what are its limitations.

Eul said the goal is to make the mobile platform smarter, the CPU more powerful, and the imaging performance better. He did a brief introduction of “Bay Trail,” the next-generation Atom Z3000 ,  focusing on it being used as a gaming platform. He showed that it is capable of running Windows – which is called heavy legacy software – or running Android OS, Apple OS, Chrome OS, or Linux OS. Bay Trail is a 64-bit processor, built using Intel’s Silvermont 22nm micro-architecture. There will be six variants of the chip available – with dual and quad-core configurations. Clock speeds will range from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.

Bay Trail’s Hardware and Software supports:  

  • Windows (32/64-bit) and/or Android and/or Chrome
  • Displays resolutions up to 2500 x 1600 (Retina display)
  • Dual independent displays
  • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology
  • Up to 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • USB 3, HDMI, Displayport, SD card, NFC, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS
  • X 11, Open GL 3.0 graphics
  • Up to 13MP camera on the rear with Zero shutter lag, burst mode, digital video stabilization, 1080p recording at 60FPS and up to 2MP on the front.

Eul then brought Victoria Molina on stage, a fashion industry consultant and former executive for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the Gap, who explained her virtual shopping experience application. They developed it using the Intel Android SDK in about a week  – but gave no information on the experience level of their programmers.

Molina said the most important part of this application is the fit map, an important factor in making the apparel attractive on the wearer, to attain a “cool” outcome. The application uses an avatar based around the person’s measurements, height and weight, and a facial photograph. The shopper goes out to the web site where they want to shop and chooses the clothing to virtually try on before purchasing. Next, the website pulls up sample clothing from their product lines.

After you build your ensemble of clothing, then you can adjust the clothing so the fit is tight, medium, or loose. After deciding on your look, you go through the “Cat Walk” show-n-tell process. That means the avatar is dressed with each one of the outfits in the size and drape you want and it looks like you are a model on a fashion show runway. Molina said, “This will revolutionise the online shopping experience. Because of the huge “cool factor”.

Next, Intel focused on a Bay Trail small-form-factor tablet running and editing videos. Eul invited Jerry Shen, chief executive of Asus, to introduce its T100, a 2-in-1 Bay Trail notebook with over ten hours of battery life. “We are very excited about the Bay Trail quad-core promise,” Shen said.

Asus is more optimistic than Intel regarding battery longevity. Intel claims Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer more than eight hours of battery life when the users are watching high-definition video.

Neil Hand, Dell’s VP of Tablets, showed its  Venue 8-inch, Windows 8.1, Bay Trail tablet that is going to be shipping soon. He said it has 4G LTE.
Eul talked briefly about upcoming Merryfield, a 22nm SoC which is build on the Silvermont architecture specifically for smartphones. We were told that Airmont, a 14nm process engineering SoC with all the features of Bay Trail for tablets, is on schedule for Q3 2014 release.

Finally, Eul satisfied our curiosity by showing his audio DJ idea which activated those dull white plastic bracelets that were sitting on each chair. A video was projected onto the giant screens in the auditorium showing the Keynote audience and the wristbands lighting up in synch with Eul’s music.

The presentation took another turn with Kirk Skaugen, Senior VP General Manager PC Client Group at Intel which will be covered in part two.

3D printer maker comes up with anti-gun filter

Earlier this year a group of American firearms enthusiasts demonstrated the first 3D printed gun, which caused quite a stir despite the fact that the weapon itself was rubbish.

First of all it wasn’t exactly practical and bleeding heart liberals were quick to point out that it could evade metal detectors, conveniently forgetting that bullets tend to contain plenty of copper, lead and brass. 

The State Department promptly ordered everyone to delete all 3D files related to the gun, forgetting that kindly asking the internet to delete something doesn’t really work.

New York City’s lawmakers than tried to push through legislation that would render the production of 3D printers illegal, unless the producers are licensed gunsmiths. Of course, copying movies and music is also illegal and we all know how well banning that works.

For Europeans the whole mess was rather amusing, but they eventually decided to join the fun. Danish 3D printing outfit Create it REAL came up with a simple software solution that would identify any attempt to print 3D gun components and stop the printer cold. 

The software looks for specific firearms characteristics and since any 3D gun would have to use off-the-shelf ammunition, this should be possible to do. For example, the printer could detect a shape chambered for popular cartridges, or other components such as magazines, receivers and so on. It’s not like everyone needs 9mm printed tubes or strange plastic containers for 5.45x45mm  rounds, with some springs at the bottom.

Of course, the approach is not foolproof, as all sorts of software can be tampered with, but it’s a start.

The company acknowledges that the feature is intended to prevent people from “accidentally” printing a gun, so it sounds like a way of deflecting liability, reports Tech Dirt