Friday, December 30, 2016

Forget the glasses

Hustled off to visit a friend this morning before I got done reading my alerts.

This one showed up when I resumed reading this afternoon.

A decent summary of what is going on in augmented reality -- and a nice mention of Microvision.

Also in the AR-heavy category, and already shipping to developers and some business customers, is Microsoft’s $3,000 HoloLens, an AR headset with all its necessary computing performed on board. The trade-off Microsoft made to make this technology portable is in its field of view: At less than 45 degrees, it’s like looking through a small window. One of Microsoft’s competitors, Meta, is taking preorders from developers for a $950 headset with a 90-degree field of view—but the Meta headset requires tethering to an external computer to operate. Both project images outward, not directly on your retina, as Magic Leap is expected to do. But Magic Leap may not end up being the only AR retina display out there. Kartik Hosanagar, professor of technology and digital business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, says he believes that MicroVision, a pioneer in retina displays, may move into commercial augmented reality.

Mixed and Augmented Reality at CES 2017

Not heading to CES this year.

I hope I'll be able to see the CES offerings of Microvision sometime shortly after CES.

From the linked report -- most of what we're really curious about doesn't look like it will be at CES - No Hololens, no MagicLeap. Osterhout's offering is apparently a significant improvement over last years, but reports said that it now has a significant weight issue. (It was heavy last year too.)

Vuzix should be very interesting -- it's a known customer of Microvision.

NextRealityNews  - More at the source

  • Microsoft - Probably no hardware event, but probably hardware partners
  • Occipital - Has a booth in AR Marketplace
  • Osterhout R9 Smartglasses -- Will make an appearance
  • Magic Leap -- not registered 
  • Vuzix -- Has a booth.. M300, Blade 3000 -- known to be a Microvision customer
  • Sony - Smart Eyeglasses (monochrome, not designed for consumer use)
  • Stereolab Lina -- Not on the vendor list

So Sony, Osterhout and Vuzix... 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Добро пожаловать Читатели из России

Welcome Readers from Russia

Not sure where the traffic is from, but today is a first. More visitors to here from Russia than the US.

Tech that will change your life in 2017

All good for Microvision.
Microvision is all over this stuff.... 

Wall Street Journal -- More at the source.
Mobile Video Goes Mainstream
Like it or not, you’ll watch more video on your smartphone this year. Facebook LiveTwitter LiveInstagram Live (and Stories). With new streaming video features, all the major social networks are clamoring to become the television network in your pocket. They’re also clamoring to out-Snapchat Snapchat, the soon-to-go-public picture-chat service, where upward of 10 billion videos are watched each day. Considering video is a data hoover, cellular carriers will offer heftier plans and incentives to increase our data buckets. ( T-Mobile and Sprint have already shifted back to unlimited plans.) Some carriers including Verizon will begin testing 5G networks for an even faster wireless future.

Forbes Predictions for Media in 2017

PicoP isn't mentioned, but everything here bodes well for it.

Forbes -- More at the source.

Wireless providers like AT&T can now let their subscribers access their DirecTV live and DVR'ed content for free on their AT&T phones. With Time Warner content in the AT&T family, those subscribers will also be able to watch even more HBO, Turner or Warner Brothers content in the same way. Verizon (VZ) has tried to make its own play for content by snapping up sports rights like the NFL and NBA for their subscribers to stream. They're also building their GO90 video content service to entice subscribers. What will Sprint (S) or T-Mobile (TMUS) do in response? 


Expect more mega-media deals along the lines of an AT&T / Time Warner, as well as smaller Comcast-DreamWorks content stockpiling deals this year. If you've built the pipes to get customers, these companies will need to think of interesting stuff to show on those pipes to keep customers.


If mobile net neutrality or no data caps on certain content is going to become increasingly important, why wouldn't Comcast want to launch its own wireless service when it already owns the content? Expect more MVNOs (or mobile virtual network operators)


As this 8 year stock rally continues in the coming years, it wouldn't at all be unprecedented to see cash become an increasingly bigger component of new deals. Therefore, if the Trump Administration also allows companies to return offshore cash to the US to invest in more jobs and do more deals, this should act as a further stimulant to more deals.

How Amazon Innovates in ways Google and Apple Can't

Focus on the consumer for successful innovation. (what do they want?)

They want larger screens on their portable devices.

In 2013, we saw PicoP embedded in a Kindle Fire Tablet....  -- More at the source.

Google’s approach — solve the hard technical problems first, worry about the business model later — is rooted in the engineering background of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In contrast, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spent almost a decade working for several Wall Street firms before starting Amazon — a background that gives him a more pragmatic outlook that’s more focused on developing products customers will actually want to pay for.

Bezos has worked to create a culture at Amazon that’s hospitable to experimentation.

“I know examples where a random Amazon engineer mentions ‘Hey I read about an idea in a blog post, we should do that,’” Eric Ries says. “The next thing he knows, the engineer is being asked to pitch it to the executive committee. Jeff Bezos decides on the spot.”

A key factor in making this work, Ries says, is that experiments start small and grow over time. At a normal company, when the CEO endorses an idea, it becomes a focus for the whole company, which is a recipe for wasting a lot of resources on ideas that don’t pan out. In contrast, Amazon creates a small team to experiment with the idea and find out if it’s viable. Bezos famously instituted the “two-pizza team” rule, which says that teams should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Microsoft will support OTHER Augmented Reality Devices

So, we have been watching Microvision for Hololens, but they're going to support augmented reality with their software to support other companies devices as well.

These -- according to TheStreet will arrive in the first Quarter of 2017

Augmented Reality is already being used -- and there is demand already from Industry -- which is HUGE. The price will come down to $300 from $3000-- (Lenovo and Dell). 

When Windows Holographic OS arrives... this year.

And -- working on software to combine projection along with near eye displays.  (yes, the video uses a fixed projector, but in the wild it would need to be attached to the wearable devices.

I'm counting three times Microvision could be included in the same device.

Future is looking good to me.

WinBuzzer -- More at the source.

Holodeck closer to reality

Why Microsoft is betting on AR -- The Street

In Q1, Microsoft partners Asus, Acer, HP (HPQ) , Lenovo and Dell plan to launch a line of $300 Windows 10 headsets that will enable both virtual reality and mixed reality experiences and run on PCs costing as little as $500. At the other end of the spectrum are devices such as Microsoft's $3,000 HoloLens Development Edition goggles, which are for companies and software developers to test and build apps for.

The key to Microsoft's approach is its launch sometime in 2017 (the company has not said exactly when) of Windows Holographic, a version of Windows 10 built for mixed reality applications, via a free online update (it's available right now, though, on the HoloLens Development Edition). Companies such as Volvo and Thyssenkrupp Elevators, and institutions such as Case Western Reserve University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are actively using HoloLens.


Cincotta said developers can target mixed reality experiences destined for a range of VR, AR and mixed reality devices, and not just for the HoloLens.

According to Alexis Macklin, VR analyst at research firm Greenlight Insights, Microsoft's approach is different from what top VR and AR companies are doing. Microsoft is starting to position its VR and AR product suites as business tools that help deliver digital transformation for enterprises.


Microsoft will be in a unique position when Windows 10 headsets begin shipping because those devices will support the full spectrum of mixed reality. Cincotta said it's up to each company how it designs its headset to take advantage of these emerging technologies. The headsets are expected to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week, when consumer launch dates will also be revealed.

The direction of Sharp

So, new management shows up at Sharp. 

The new guy will look at all the assets of the company and how to leverage them.

This company has access to Microvision's technology -- and a collection of large and powerful customers.

Taiwan's Sharp Savior

Tai Jeng-wu, 65, took over as president of Sharp Corp. in August after Foxconn Technology Group, and its founder Terry Gou, won a four-year battle for control of the struggling electronics maker. One of Gou's long-time lieutenants, Tai (pronounced Dai) is tasked with delivering on promises to turn the company around after five annual losses in six years.


Fluent in Japanese and an operations specialist, Tai's 30-year career at Foxconn means he's been alongside Gou as the company transitioned from plastics molding and low-end components maker to become the world's biggest manufacturer of electronics including the iconic iPhone, which put the Taiwanese company on the map. He led the protracted battle with creditors and shareholders to get control of Sharp, and was instrumental in turning around Sakai Display Products Corp. which Gou owns personally along with Sharp.

To keep the turnaround on track Tai will be trying to leverage Foxconn's close relationships with major clients, including Apple Inc., to keep its finger on the pulse of technology developments and win more orders. For sure, Foxconn and its biggest client are keen to sideline their mutual rival Samsung Electronics Co. which is both a supplier to and competitor of Apple, but that can only happen if Sharp is able to offer the right products.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

MicroVision Begins Shipping Samples to Customers of Its Small Form Factor Display Engine

I hadn't been expecting this announcement for a while. 

I take this as an indication that the efforts for mass production are on schedule as well, and customers are gearing up for mass production.

This is less than half the volume of the SONY engine.

At 0.6 centimeter's thick, it's can fit comfortably into a smart phone.

It is very clear from the verbiage of this press release that there are customers lined up for Microvision's products.

MicroVision Begins Shipping Samples to Customers of Its Small Form Factor Display Engine

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 27, 2016-- MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS), a leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display and sensing technology, today announced that it has begun on-schedule customer shipments of samples of its new, small form factor display engine.

MicroVision announced in November that it plans to sell a display engine beginning in the second quarter of 2017. This small form factor display engine is based on the company’s proprietary PicoP® scanning technology, a laser beam scanning (LBS) approach for pico projection and 3D sensing. MicroVision plans to be ready for mass production of this engine early in the second quarter of 2017.

The small form factor display engine, model number PSE-0403-101, is a compact laser beam scanning engine measuring just 3.6 cm wide by 5.3 cm long by 0.6 cm thick with a volume of only 11.6 cubic centimeters. The sleek form factor and thinness of the engine make it an ideal choice for products such as smartphones, portable media players, tablets and other handheld electronics. A short focal length version of the engine, model number PSE-0403-102, is well suited for aftermarket head up display (HUD) applications and other applications with a fixed, short focal length.

The PSE-0403-101/2 display engine is an all-in-one unit combining an integrated photonics module (IPM) containing MEMS and lasers and an electronics platform module (EPM) containing MicroVision’s proprietary ASICS and system control software. Some customers prefer a flexible solution of the IPM and standalone MicroVision ASICS that they can combine with the electronics of the device into which the engine is embedded. The form factor of the IPM, which measures only 4.66 cubic centimeters, is a critical attribute for OEMS considering incorporating pico projectors inside their consumer products.

In addition to the PSE-0403-101/2 engines, MicroVision plans to offer two other scanning engines: an interactive display engine that can support simultaneous projected display and multi-touch interactivity with the projected images and a sensing engine for mid-range LiDAR. Samples of the interactive display engine are planned for the second quarter of 2017 with production engines expected in the third quarter of 2017. The company expects to begin shipping samples of the mid-range LiDAR engine in the second half of 2017 with production units planned for first half of 2018 availability.

MicroVision’s business model and product line offering includes display and sensing engines, licensing its patented technology and selling components to licensees for incorporation into their scanning engines.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

PicoBit on YouTube

Thanks for posting that Mike!

Show us more.

Big things in Phones that didn't live up to the hype.

An interesting article. And some of the things mentioned did seem silly even at the time. Most interesting here is the commentary about the quality of the projector. The projector phones mentioned had things going against them in a big way. Poor resolution and focus wheel requirement. 

The Motorola Instashare seems to be getting some traction, and it still has poor resolution and a very touchy focus wheel.

Smart Cast hasn't been released yet. -- And Microvision has the ability to release a really good projector.

As far as not having any use... well, every phone has a camera -- to capture images. Projectors are for sharing images - and people like that a lot more than capturing them.

TechRadar -- More at the source.

1. Projector phones

Notable examples: Samsung Galaxy Beam and Galaxy Beam 2, Lenovo Smart Cast

This is possibly the best example of something that was made because it could be, not because it should be. How many people really want a sub-par projector bolted on the side of their phone?

OK, Powerpoint Pete would probably be happy not to have to take a laptop to his dull sales presentations, but the rest of us?

Projector phones came about because pico (ie, tiny) projectors were suddenly possible, so of course someone had to put one in a phone, in case that was the magic bullet that killed the iPhone.

Spoiler: it wasn’t.

When the inexplicable sequel to the first Galaxy Beam came out, a pico projector expert told us: “It's a bit of fun - when people first see pico projector phones, they say ‘Wow! That's really cool!’."

But the novelty wears off quickly – in fact, as soon as they see that they're not actually any good".

Nonetheless, they do reappear occasionally, usually in China (they’re making projector smartwatches now too).

The most promising reinvention of this tech was the Lenovo Smart Cast in 2015, which projected a touchscreen - in other words, you could actually interact with the projected image to play a virtual piano and other such gimmicks.

But until the projector quality improves and someone actually thinks of a use for these things, it looks like the writing’s on the wall for the poor old projector phone.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ways Companies can incorporate Augmented Reality

A nice list of specific use cases. 

This is getting to be on the radar of more and more people (most still don't know.) And there are drivers for its adoption. And Microvision has a great AR patent portfolio. -- More at source

  • Better Customer Service
Augmented reality not only makes life easier for customer support staff of any organization, but it also helps them work smarter, and increase overall productivity. Perfect for the retail sector, augmented reality helps retailers create their own products, thus allowing customers to experience their favorite products by themselves. For example, a sales representative at a spectacles counter can utilize AR glasses to assist customers select the spectacles that best suit their appearance and style.
  • Visualizing Objects
Visualizing objects through augmented reality can help professionals interact with virtual 3D models in the real world. Through the ability of visualization, augmented reality allows users to get a better sense of the finished products, rather than flat image on the screen. Instead of waiting to see your vision transform from paper, with AR, an automotive engineer drawing a plan for a new car can use an AR viewer to view 3D virtual parts, based on which they can easily manipulate and refine the parts to get the right design.
  • Remote Guidance
Many people, such as engineers, salesman, etc., often spend maximum time working onsite, and at some point in time they face situations where they need a helping hand back from the office. Here is where augmented reality can come in handy and provide professionals with relevant information, like manuals or instructions, which helps them efficiently solve the specific task in front of them. Instead of a salesman visiting door-to-door selling products, they can utilize an AR viewer to help customers understand products and its utility.
  • Relationship Building
Augmented reality allow businesses the opportunity to develop their own products, improve user engagement, and build a long-lasting relationship with their customers. A viable marketing option, augmented reality helps organizations increase the scope of their business and inculcate a sense of mutual loyalty among the customers. For example, a travel company can make use of AR glasses to help customers experience wonderful places by themselves, and ensure that the experience they are communicating comes to fruition.
  • Innovative Working Methods
Besides giving a helping hand for remote guidance, augmented reality can also prove to be beneficial in improving work processes of an organization. With the functionality to recognize objects, augmented reality can change the scenario of today’s office culture, making it more productive and appealing. Instead of traveling to a site, an insurance company examining a wrecked car after an accident can make use of an AR headset to easily recognize the damage and the cost estimate for fixing it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Disney to create Content for SnapChat

More about the ecosystem for PicoP success.

Portable - Short - Good content -- supported by advertising.

That's perfect. (And it's not dependent on any particular platform.)

With this, and carrier specific video content (free to the users of the particular carrier.) the ecosystem is primed and very ready to use PicoP when it's available.

Reuters -- more at source.

The Walt Disney Company’s U.S. television arm will create shows for Snap Inc’s Snapchat, Disney announced on Wednesday, in Snapchat's latest deal with a major U.S. media company.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Snap, which is preparing for next year's initial public offering, has signed a variety of advertising and content agreements this year with Viacom, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Time Warner Inc’s Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Media companies such as Disney partner with Snapchat in an effort to reach the type of younger viewers the social media company targets, which increasingly eschew traditional television. The two had previously worked together for a special Live Stories, a Snapchat feature that curates user-submitted photos and videos tied to a specific event, around ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards in February.

Unlike in Snapchat's other deals with media companies, where any ad sales responsibilities would be shared across both companies, Disney will control and sell all advertising for the shows it produces for Snapchat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Illumiroom still on the Radar at Microsoft

Much of what we have seen in the past is still there -- 

This kind of projection can be done with regular projectors, but to ensure that everything is in focus, (I'm pretty sure) would cost a lot more computing horsepower than simply having an always in focus laser projector.

This does look like a LOT more fun than a lot of other things they've come up with.

For regular movies and shows --- could be a lot more immersive by hinting at surroundings... (A forest, city, farm or bar scene could be changed so that you feel like you're actually THERE.)


Xbox Two Hardware

Microsoft has already acquired Illumiroom, a proof-of-concept projector system that can augment the area surrounding the TV to reflect what's being seen on the console. This hardware akin to the Surround Sound only in visual form may befeatured in the Xbox Two according to Tech Radar.

However, Microsoft claimed that the hardware is too costly for mass production in Xbox One. To have it in Xbox 2 may push the price higher, an impractical move for Microsoft right now especially with the delayed arrival of the console.

Increasing Demand for AR is opportunity for investors -- The Street

A lot of investors are looking at this tech. And based on behavior in the marketplace they're moving money around to get in front of this one.

Microvision isn't getting the attention it deserves in this regard, but they will.

The Street -- More at the source

Technology that once seemed confined to the theoretics of science fiction is starting to become common.

This trend bears watching by investors.

Consider this summer's obsession, Pokemon Go. The record-breaking mobile phone game uses augmented reality technology (AR) to superimpose Nintendo'sfictional characters over the real world as seen through a cellphone's camera lens.

Demand for AR technology is likely to grow significantly. Goldman Sachsestimates that the market for AR and its sister technology VR (virtual realty) will reach $80 billion by 2025, with the potential for that figure to rocket higher, to more than $180 billion.

Oculus Rooms and Parties

I don't know if this is what was intended when Oculus was purchased by Facebook, but it does look interesting, and will probably have some popularity.

Augmented is going to be more popular, because it won't replace your surroundings and isolate you from the people you're with.

Rooms and Parties are significant steps for the Oculus ecosystem for a few key reasons. The first is that they finally put your friends list to better use. Since launch, the Oculus Home friends list has been evolving toward usefulness. Oculus Rift owners have been giving their buddy list a workout with the addition of more and more multiplayer games, but these two new social experiences are some of the biggest use cases yet for your friends on Gear VR.
It also seems that Oculus and Facebook are in an active state of iteration with their social platforms. Oculus Social released with a few things to do (trivia, social theaters, etc.) but that platform has largely stagnated since release. The feature overlap with Oculus Social and Oculus Rooms leads one to believe that Rooms is the new poster child for pure social interaction on the Oculus platform.
Parties is also the first time Oculus and Facebook are allowing their customers to user a VR platform as a general communications tool. Third party creators like AltspaceVR have been doing this for a while now, but this is the first time that the folks in Menlo Park are taking a similar approach.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Weird things that affect the industry....

There is a basic theme of Microvision, its abilities and ultimate value: People want bigger screens on their mobile devices & Microvision's scanning technology will play a critical role in upcoming technologies that are widely anticipated: Gesture control, Augmented Reality, screenless displays and robotics including self-driving cars.

For me, that's an investing theme that is worth sticking with.

That said, this is an example of something completely unrelated making the market difficult. Problems can pop up anywhere. Opportunities can pop up anywhere too. I think we're much more likely to start finding pop-up opportunities.

Everything is connected, and unintended consequences are... unintended.

HindustanTimes -- more at the source

Mobile manufacturing falls 40% as note ban spells wrong number for industry

At a time when the government is looking to push digital payments, the production of mobile phones in India is down by at least 40%.

The ban on circulation of banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 has hit the industry hard, with handset manufacturers, including Foxconn, Flextronics and GDN-Wistron, may have been looking to cut jobs or sending employees on leave.

“Contract manufacturers are seeing a 40% slump in production, with consumers putting off purchases, which is killing demand,” an industry executive told HT on the condition of anonymity. “The situation is so bad that they might have to take tougher decisions regarding employees,” he added.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Big Screen Projector" Surface Phone --CES or MWC 2017?

They still haven't backed off this language of a phone that is a "big screen projector."

Mobilnapps More at the source.

Looks like a Microsoft Surface Phone 2017 release is just around the corner with CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 in January being the most likely release date window. Other sources hazard a guess that Microsoft will unveil the oft-rumored smartphone at the MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2017.

A11 Processor production in April

The timing of this production is something I find interesting.

Fox Business

Analysts with BlueFin Research Partnerssay that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE: TSM) will begin manufacturing Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) A11 processor in late April(via Barron'sOpens a New Window. ). The A11, BlueFin says, will be manufactured in TSMC's 10-nanometer manufacturing technology.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Teaching Doctors Anatomy with Hololens

Thanks T!

The ability of augmented reality to increase efficiencies and save resources will make it an economic hit..... don't doubt this. 

ZDNet -- Much more at the source.

Dissection labs are often cramped, with too many students per cadaver to afford everyone a good view. The chemicals used to preserve the bodies are harsh and can provoke allergies in some people, and the labs are difficult and expensive to maintain.
Could there be a better way for medical students to learn anatomy? One university thinks so: when Case Western opens its new health education campus in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic in 2019, students won't learn anatomy from cadavers, they'll learn it from virtual reality.
"In 2013, I was part of a team that was asked to teach anatomy completely digitally -- not having any cadaver lab in this new building. Obviously, this is a pretty big challenge. We've had many hundreds of years of teaching anatomy the same way, but we also thought the time was right to think about doing it in a new way... it's very difficult to maintain a cadaver lab, the cost and infrastructure required to maintain that is very difficult. Not only is there the challenge of having people's bodies donated, but there's a lot of challenge around all the environmental concerns," Mark Griswold, a professor in the department of radiology at Case Western, told ZDNet.

Himax Out at Hololens?

With Microvision's known wider field of view, Hololens is certainly something to watch closely. 

They were using a Himax display, here is more evidence that they are no longer using the Himax display -- which may give MVIS an opening. Whether or not it's actually Microvision remains to be seen, but we are a logical choice. 

According to the article - they may be trying to update their technology at Himax and continue to supply Hololens.

Microvision's Nomad had better field of view than any other available offering at CES last year.

That Microsoft intends to open this tech to others --- that's very interesting stuff as well. 

Next Reality News

We've been hearing some interesting rumors in the last few days that are stirring up all kinds of speculation about the potential upcoming consumer release of the HoloLens. However, MSPoweruser has speculated a bit further past the consumer HoloLens release to a possible HoloLens 2 as soon as Q3 2017.

Himax Technologies, a major supplier for many of the components of the current HoloLens version, had its stock price fall 19.1% back in September. This was because of weak shipments of the mixed reality headset at the time, as well as speculation that a shift in the production line for the HoloLens was taking place.

More recently, Jordan Wu, CEO of Himax, somewhat confirmed this rumor when he blamed a "major AR customer's shift in focus to the development of future generation devices," and hinted at increased sales after the first few quarters of next year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Visited Celluon to See the PicoBit... Here it is

I visited Celluon yesterday. The PicoBit is awesome. Have pictures and comments. (and not a lot of time.)

This is the first of many similar devices, and they're only going to get better.

*** Shipping date is today, but I was told they're being shipped directly from Korea.

The PicoBit is much brighter. In a dark room it's not so apparent, (at least to me. perception is a funny thing.)  but in a brightly lit room, the difference I noticed is significant.

This is the PicoBit working in a room that is well lit with florescent office lights. In similar circumstances with the PicoPro you would probably end up looking at your phone.

It's VERY convenient for apps or movies to have the integrated unit. The big advantage is that the difficulty of connecting the unit to the phone (and the time it takes) is gone.

Below is the Application screen. The top of the PicoBit is all a touch pad.  (Move the cursor with one finger, tap to click, drag things with two fingers, etc.) 

The Android system in this was faster than the tablet they were using, and all the apps available on the PlayStore will work. 

That's the picture from the PicoBit on the left, and the PicoPro on the right. To my eye, there was not a lot of difference between the pictures (in the dark. much different in the light, and as you can see in the side by side pictures, the camera isn't lying. The picture in the dark for the PicoPro is fantastic.)

To the camera however (from my Sony phone) the pictures were actually showing a flare from the extra brightness of the PicoBit. (We also had open blinds on the left for a bit, which was skewing the pictures.)

Another sample showing the Flare. It does the PicoBit side an injustice, because the camera adjusted for the dark side of the frame, not the bright side of the frame -- which is how we usually want things.  To my eye, there wasn't a lot of difference between the pictures when in the dark -- the camera clearly could tell the difference.

Many want to stream from Apple devices. There is an Application there called AirPico which allows streaming from Apple devices -- it's not a true Apple Application, so streaming from Apple's own Applications doesn't work. Streaming from YouTube works fine, and as recent positive news about downloading content from Netflix works, there's a memory card slot on the PicoBit, so, you can keep a lot of content with you. 

Look at the second Icon from the left on the top row..

There is a fan opening on the bottom of the PicoBit. It is not as large as they showed on one of the pre-production units. 

The unit did get warm after 45 minutes of use, but not uncomfortably so, and we weren't worried about battery life for the time that we were using it either. There's a tripod mount on the bottom. 

I could only hear the fan when I held it right up to my ear. Its very quiet. 

The speakers on the unit, on the other hand were quite good. They have the same speakers as the PicoPro, but they must be putting more power to them. Loud enough to share your watching with others and not miss the show.

Insider Buys

Some not insignificant insider buying took place yesterday. 

My understanding is that their window to buy is quite small and they aren't allowed to just buy whenever they want to. (I'm not a finance guy or a lawyer.)

Given the trading volumes we're seeing lately, I'd say we're starting to be on the trading and investment radar.

Insider Updates


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Google Launches IOT

This is a big development worth paying attention to.

Google Launches preview of Android Things Developer Platform

Google today announced Android Things, its new comprehensive IoT platform for building smart devices on top of Android APIs and Google’s own services. Android Things is now available as a developer preview.
Essentially, this is Android for IoT. It combines Google’s earlier efforts around Brillo(which was also Android-based, but never saw any major uptake from developers) with its Android developer tools like Android Studio, the Android SDK, Google Play Services and Google’s cloud computing services. Support for Weave, Google’s IoT communications platform that (together with Brillo) makes up Google’s answer to Apple’s HomeKit, is on the roadmap and will come in a later developer preview.
As a Google spokesperson told me, the company sees Android Things as an evolution of Brillo that builds on what Google learned from this earlier project. Google will work with all early access Brillo users to migrate their projects to Android Things.

Project Field

This is an interesting kind of use for AR, that would be (As Disney illustrated) very compatible with PicoProjection. 

They are apparently connecting this with Forward Works -- which is their mobile gaming platform.

The company is showing off dedicated smart pads that pair with a phone or tablet to bring card games to life. Imagine a game like Hearthstone, for instance, but with physical cards that you buy in store. Or the physical and digital versions of Pokémon Trading Card Game fused together.

When a user places a card on one of the pads, it's identified using an NFC-like wireless technology. The pad then sends the card's exact position to the phone or tablet using Bluetooth. Once the card is in the game, the pad is able to detect movement -- if you slide a card to another position, for example. The cards will be both readable and writable, meaning in-game status changes can be saved. Depending on the game, players will also be able to "grow" a character, with stats stored on the card.

Disney's Augmented Reality -- interacting with Cards

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Surface Hub - Surprise Hardware Hit

PicoP -- will be possible to make this a lot cheaper -- and something that can be carried around... 

Surface Hub Website


When Microsoft launched its Surface Hub conference room computers about a year and a half ago, we weren't entirely sure what to make of them. On the one hand, they offered a smart mix of video conferencing, digital whiteboarding, and collaborative working with a price that felt surprisingly low—$6,999 for the 55-inch version and $19,999 for the 84-inch version. On the other hand, meeting rooms are where old technology clings on to the bitter end; VGA ports are still abundant, clunky video conferencing systems are the norm, and for many companies a whiteboard is as high-tech as it gets.

There were initial signs of strong demand. Microsoft delayed the release, from September 2015 to January 2016, claiming that higher than expected demand (in particular of the 84-inch version) meant the company needed to change its manufacturing capabilities. The company also hiked the price of both models by $2,000, to $8,999 and $21,999—another move suggesting that demand was healthy.


The average Surface Hub customer is buying about 50 devices for each deployment, and the company has achieved will hit more than 2,000 customers by the end of the year. One (unnamed) car manufacturer bought 1,500 of the things. Though Microsoft didn't reveal the exact mix between sizes, Surface Hub looks like it's another billion-dollar-a-year business for the software giant—to boot, it's a piece of hardware that it got right even in version one. In a Forrester report commissioned by Microsoft, it's claimed that meetings start more promptly—less faffing about to get remote attendees dialed in or computers hooked up to the projector—saving 15 to 23 minutes per meeting. Less measurable, Microsoft claims that Surface Hub is also driving greater meeting engagement, with people standing up and engaging with each other and the screen rather than hiding behind their laptop screens around a conference table or quietly playing games on their phones.

About Masayoshi Son

Entire Article here, so the content isn't lost, and because of aggravating pushy advertising.

Straits times

The man who wants to be the tech industry's Warren Buffett had very humble beginnings

Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son was born into poverty, but struck his first deal at 21 on his way to founding and leading one of the country's tech giants, SoftBank.
Now 59, the telecoms mogul is noted for going against the archetype of Japanese business leaders, with his audacity and showmanship in pushing for his Silicon Valley-esque vision of the future.
His penchant for making waves was no more evident than during his meeting with United States President-elect Donald Trump last week.
He pledged to create 50,000 jobs and invest US$50 billion (S$71.5 billion) in US start-ups, with the money to come from a "SoftBank Vision Fund" launched in partnership with a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund.
Mr Trump, in turn, called him by his nickname "Masa" and said he was "one of the great men of industry" in a sign of their camaraderie.
The meeting drove SoftBank's share prices up 6.1 per cent, adding US$2 billion to Mr Son's coffers as he became Japan's richest man, according to Forbes.
I haven't invented anything earth- shattering. If I could be said to have one noteworthy ability compared with the average person, it's that I have a keen interest in reading the direction and timing of paradigm shifts.
I don't care about the sort of things that will bring in chump change over the next two or three years. I think I'm better than others at sniffing out things that will bear fruit in 10 or 20 years while they're still at the seed stage, and I'm more willing to take the risks that entails.
That was not the first time Mr Son has made headlines this year.
Just weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Mr Son bought UK-based ARM Holdings - a global leader in smartphone chips - for £24.3 billion (S$43.7 billion) in what was the largest Japanese acquisition of a foreign company. He has vowed to double its 1,600 strong British workforce in five years.
Details are scant as to how hiring more people will fit into his grand vision of a future of "Singularity" - one where artificial intelligence will supplant human beings - that he spelt out in an earnings call last month.
But to get there, he has come up with a 300-year plan for his US$68 billion conglomerate and dived into deals with a reported 1,300 companies around the world.
These include Singapore ride-hailing service Grab, Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Holdings, Yahoo Japan, US telecoms giant Sprint, as well as media outlet BuzzFeed.
Mr Son, who harbours aspirations of becoming the tech industry's Warren Buffett, might not yet be a household name around the world, but his name opens doors.
Earlier this month, he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a US$10 billion investment in the country's technology sector that was pledged in 2014. Some US$2 billion of the sum has been invested.
Mr Son, who believes the future lies in renewable energy, also has his eye on India's vast resources. He is reportedly dismayed by Japan's reluctance to give up on nuclear energy even though the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami sparked the Fukushima nuclear disaster, one of the worst in history.
Mr Son also met South Korean President Park Geun Hye in September, pledging a five trillion won (S$6.1 billion) investment in the country's technology sector over 10 years.
Executive editor William Pesek, of financial magazine Barron's Asia, wrote in a recent column: "Mr Son has tried to relocate Japan's animal spirits. SoftBank worked to reclaim the mantle of innovation and risk-taking that... (are) powerful antidotes to the Japan Inc groupthink that trumps audacity."
But Mr Son had very humble beginnings. Born in Kyushu to an immigrant family from South Korea, his father eked out a living by being a small-time farmer and restaurateur. He was bullied in school for his heritage, though this was said to have hardened his resolve.
With his gumption as a teenager, he managed to arrange a meeting with his idol, McDonald's Japan founder Den Fujita, who advised him to learn English and study in the United States.
His family managed to save enough to send him abroad, and he graduated with a degree in economics in 1980 from the University of California, Berkeley.
A year before that, he sold a pocket translator that he invented to Japanese tech firm Sharp for US$423,000, which is at least US$1 million in today's terms.
He met his wife, Masami Ohno, while in university. They have two daughters.
Mr Son returned to Japan and started SoftBank in 1981. The company went public 13 years later, and now has more than 60,000 employees across its diversified portfolio.
The investments that Mr Son is feted for also come with big risks - and he holds the ignominy of suffering the largest financial loss by any one person. He lost US$70 billion during the dotcom crash of 2000.
Even then, he was unfazed. Years later, he struck one of his most notable deals with the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, to whom he had shown a hand-drawn sketch of the "ultimate mobile machine" before the iPhone hit the market.
This exchange, he told Nikkei Asian Review in an interview this year, led to SoftBank's initial exclusive rights to bring the iPhone into Japan.
Mr Son envisions a world of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, prompting his 2012 acquisition of French company Aldebaran Robotics for its expertise in humanoid robot technology. Now, SoftBank's Pepper robot, which can detect human emotions, has been used in Japanese hospitals and retirement homes, as well as in retail outlets.
With ARM's expertise in designing microchips, he wants to forge a world where, for instance, street lamps can "talk to" cars and switch off to save power when there are no cars around.
He told Nikkei: "I haven't invented anything earth-shattering. If I could be said to have one noteworthy ability compared with the average person, it's that I have a keen interest in reading the direction and timing of paradigm shifts.
"I think I'm better than others at sniffing out things that will bear fruit in 10 or 20 years while they're still at the seed stage, and I'm more willing to take the risks that entails."
And the legacy he wants to leave behind, is to be "a crazy guy who bet on the future".
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2016, with the headline 'SoftBank's Masayoshi Son, the 'crazy guy who bet on the future''. Print Edition | Subscribe