Through a Lens Sharply

Tiny shape-shifting lenses that mimic the lens of the human eye could transform the multibillion-dollar camera-phone market

12 min read
Photo: Philips Research
Photo: Philips Research

The Camera Phone is one of the hottest-selling items in all of consumer electronics, with anticipated sales this year of 170 million units. The little gadgets have become so ubiquitous that hardly anyone finds it odd anymore to see tourists squinting with one eye while pointing their cellphones at a Buddhist temple, a Greek statue, or a New York City skyscraper. It's easy to see why analysts expect that this year camera phones will outsell conventional digital cameras and traditional film cameras combined.

But as anyone who has ever seen them can attest, the images that come out of camera phones leave plenty to be desired. Part of the problem is their CMOS imaging chips, which typically have a sensor array of only about 300 kilopixels--a quarter or less of the number in a low-end digital camera. Of course, semiconductor industry fundamentals ensure that 1-megapixel camera phones will soon be the norm. When they are, however, the only thing we may see more clearly is the other weakness of these cameras: their tiny, fixed-focus lenses, which have poor light-gathering and resolving power.

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Acer Goes Big on Glasses-Free, 3D Monitors—Look Out, VR

Is this what’s needed to bring augmented reality to the home office?

4 min read
A standing tablet computer shows a blow out of a car that appears to be coming out of the display.

Content creators are a key target for Acer's glasses-free 3D.

Acer

Acer, the world’s fifth largest PC brand, wants to take the growing AR/VR market by the horns with its SpatialLabs glasses-free stereoscopic 3D displays.

First teased in 2021 in a variant of Acer’s ConceptD 7 laptop, the technology expands this summer in a pair of portable monitors, the SpatialLabs View and View Pro, and select Acer Predator gaming laptops. The launch is paired with AI-powered software for converting existing 2D content into stereoscopic 3D.

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DARPA Wants a Better, Badder Caspian Sea Monster

Liberty Lifter X-plane will leverage ground effect

4 min read
A rendering of a grey seaplane with twin fuselages and backwards-facing propellers
DARPA

Arguably, the primary job of any military organization is moving enormous amounts of stuff from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of that stuff is weaponry, but the vast majority are things that support that weaponry—fuel, spare parts, personnel, and so on. At the moment, the U.S. military has two options when it comes to transporting large amounts of payload. Option one is boats (a sealift), which are efficient, but also slow and require ports. Option two is planes (an airlift), which are faster by a couple of orders of magnitude, but also expensive and require runways.

To solve this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to combine traditional sealift and airlift with the Liberty Lifter program, which aims to “design, build, and flight test an affordable, innovative, and disruptive seaplane” that “enables efficient theater-range transport of large payloads at speeds far exceeding existing sea lift platforms.”

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
Comsol Logo
Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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