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Competition up in 3-d defense imaging
by Staff Writers
Albuquerque (UPI) Mar 8, 2009

Belgian newspaper issues 3D edition
Brussels (AFP) March 9, 2010 - A Belgian daily newspaper offered its readers a new perspective on the world Tuesday with a 3D edition complete with special glasses. All the photos and adverts in La Derniere Heure's special edition were treated to give them the three-dimensional effect when viewed through the different lenses of the kind well-known to 3D filmgoers. "The goal was to make the whole paper 3D," said the French-language paper's chief editor Hubert Leclercq, who said it took two months to prepare the special edition, which had a higher than normal print run of 115,000 copies, for the newstands. "We hear about 3D cinema, television and video games, so we took up the challenge," said Leclercq, adding that he was unaware of any other paper in Europe producing such a paper, though there had been 3D images in the press before. "This is a trial, there's no further (3D) plans for the time being," he said, admitting that the need for the special specs and the sheer costs involved made it difficult to popularise the technique.

Sony to roll out 3D TVs in Japan in June
Tokyo (AFP) March 9, 2010 - Sony said Tuesday it would start selling 3D televisions in Japan in June, aiming to ride a new wave of interest in the technology thanks to recent movies such as sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar". The Japanese giant said its first 3D liquid crystal display TV models would hit the Japanese market on June 10, with a price tag of about 350,000 yen (3,535 dollars) for a 46-inch version. Viewers will wear electronic glasses that open and close rapidly in time with images designed for the right and left eye, creating a three-dimensional effect. Sony said its overall television business would shift into high gear in the fiscal year to March 2011, targeting sales of more than 25 million liquid crystal display TVs -- up two thirds from its forecast for this year. It aims for 10 percent of the sets to be capable of viewing 3D images.

The next 12 months are "really a year when we think we can attack," Yoshihisa Ishida, senior vice president in charge of Sony's home entertainment business, said at a press conference. Sony has been caught off guard in recent years by innovative new products such as Apple's iPod and Nintendo's Wii, but it has high hopes for 3D televisions. The TVs are key to chief executive Howard Stringer's goal of converging Sony's strengths in electronics, such as Bravia televisions and PlayStation game consoles, and content generated by its movie studio and music label. Blockbusters such as James Cameron's science fiction 3D opus "Avatar" have fuelled the buzz around images that appear to jump out of the screen. But many experts think consumers are unlikely to rush to buy the premium-priced 3D TVs due to the need for special glasses and because many people have already upgraded to high-definition sets in recent years. Sony is lagging behind some rivals. Panasonic plans to launch a 3D TV in the United States on Wednesday, ahead of its rollout in Japan, as it goes head-to-head with South Korea's Samsung Electronics. Sony has not yet announced a launch date for 3D TVs outside Japan.

International competition in three-dimensional imaging for defense applications is gathering momentum as security industry companies worldwide scramble to develop new technologies, with market forecasts that the sector will see major growth in the coming years.

New technologies have focused on minimizing human contact between combatants and delivering maximum damage on the enemy without loss of lives. Three-dimensional photography, deployed in defense, is part of an overall strategy followed by military procurement agencies of governments worldwide.

The one major hurdle in the way of new technologies being employed more widely by military establishments is the availability of appropriate funding and the nature of threat faced by the country, analysts said.

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were a major incentive for defense industries to devise technologies that would minimize casualties and increase the offensive power of weapons deployed to deal with enemy threats.

The technologies applied in warfare are also usable in corporate environments after necessary modifications, analysts said.

The Boeing Co. announced Monday it has begun offering a new, compact, energy-efficient camera that provides three-dimensional images for both military and commercial applications.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems and wholly owned Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab developed the camera using their own research and development funding and tested it over the past two years by attaching it to mobile ground platforms and a Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter, the company said.

Equipped with advanced sensors that were developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory and transferred to Boeing under a teaming arrangement, the cube-shaped camera is one-third the size and uses 1-10th the power of most comparable 3-D imaging cameras.

"Our three-dimensional camera fits a lot of capability into a small package," said Nasser Karam, vice president of Advanced Technology Products at Spectrolab. "Its compact design and modest power needs will allow it to be deployed on a wide range of platforms, including unmanned aerial and ground vehicles that don't have much room or power to spare."

The camera, which Boeing can customize for each customer, has many potential

uses, including mapping terrain, tracking targets and seeing through foliage.

To create a 3-D image, the camera fires a short pulse of laser light, then measures the pulse's flight time to determine how far away each part of the camera's field of view is.

"The camera combines cutting-edge sensor technology with Boeing's advanced pointing and tracking solutions and real-time processing to provide our customers with highly integrated 3-D imaging payloads for ground, airborne or space-based applications," said Joseph Paranto, Growth lead for Boeing's Directed Energy Systems in Albuquerque.

Boeing is integrating the camera into compact 3-D imaging payloads on unmanned aerial vehicles and will test that capability this spring.

The team will add 3-D video capability to the camera soon to complement its existing still-image capability.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space and Security has headquarters in St. Louis and is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses. Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

Aside from Boeing, Fuji, Sony and others have begun marketing 3-D cameras and imaging systems and some have gone to the consumer market with a growing range of gadgetry, with the option to adjust the technology for corporate and defense uses.

Analysts said the propagation of three-dimensional imaging meant a major upheaval and overhaul of security systems in place in commercial, government and public use. It also meant that both government and corporate sectors worldwide would need to allocate larger funds to modernize and replace imaging systems employed in defense and security, right down to surveillance equipment in public places.


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'Avatar' inspires a high-tech fair in glorious 3D
Hanover, Germany (AFP) March 4, 2010
Hot on the heels of the stunning success of James Cameron's 3D adventure "Avatar," the world's top high-tech fair this year was definitely best viewed through 3D glasses. "It's completely crazy this year. 3D is all everyone's talking about," said visitor Amanda Grossbauer, 52, as she peered hesitantly through her special glasses at a 3D display at the CeBIT fair in northern Germany. Alth ... read more

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