Virtual Worlds For Kids

Pixies and little pets go online.

1 min read

Virtual worlds for kids are expanding.  Hasbro retrofitted their Littlest Pet Shop line of toys, which has been around since 1995, with a virtual world. Each VIP—Virtual Interactive Pet—has a code in its collar that lets you enter the Littlest Pets site, where you can earn the virtual currency of Kibbles to buy wallpaper or plants for your pet.

Disney has the slightly less derivative Pixie Hollow, a line of “eJewelry” branded with Tinkerbell and the fairies of Neverland. The centerpiece is the Pixie Dust eJewelry Box, which has a USB cord that plugs into your computer. When girls buy a Pixie Friendship eBracelet or Pixie eCharms and wave them in front of the box, and it will unlock items in the Flash-based online world of Pixie Hollow. The charms can also interact with each other: girls can click their fairy bracelets together to trade avatar data. The bracelets will glow to confirm that “fairy friendship” has been made. When girls go home and log on, they’ll find that they also transferred codes granting each of them access to new items.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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