Monday, October 28, 2013

Challenges abound in the future of the media business. But then again, so do the opportunities

Challenges abound in the future of the media business. But then again, so do the opportunities

The next 10 years should be the greatest time in the history of the entertainment business.
The global middle class is growing astronomically fast. It may not be growing in the U.S., but it is growing in the rest of the world: Research shows that when people leave poverty and have discretionary income, they spend on entertainment. In addition, the broadband Internet is growing just as fast as the new middle-class population, reaching 3 billion users in the next five years.
But the problem is that the revenues of media and entertainment firms are barely growing above the rate of inflation. Production and marketing costs are climbing. There are signposts of trouble ahead; if we're smart, we won't put our heads in the sand.
Look at what happened at the box office this summer. For the first time, total revenues were no greater than total budgets for movies costing more than $75 million. It's not a good situation.
In the world of television, you have all sorts of disruptive technologies brought to you by Barry Diller (Aereo) and Charlie Ergen (the Hopper) meant to mess with your businesses.
Analyst Craig Moffett, who has been the greatest champion on the cable and satellite TV businesses, finally admitted cord cutting isn't an urban myth anymore. Primetime TV ratings have fallen 50% since 2002.
In home entertainment, the revenue generated from streaming is never going to equal the amount of money studios receive from selling DVDs atWalmart.
The common wisdom about the videogame sector is that it has avoided the problems of other entertainment businesses. But sales for all major platforms are falling. You might say they're all just going to mobile gaming, but Zynga is not a great business either.
The music industry is a total disaster. Streaming has never replaced what the CD did, and newspaper ad revenues have fallen off a cliff. In the month of January, there were 465 million IP addresses accessing pirated material.
All in all, the return on assets of media and entertainment companies is falling way below the rest of the economy. But all these signposts of disruption can also be read as signposts of opportunity.
Note all of the studios that are financing content: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Microsoft and Amazon. These platforms are allowing new forms of content to be sold.
There's also all new sorts of funding. Consider what Warner Bros. is doing partnering with Kickstarter on the "Veronica Mars" movie. There's also filmmakers accessing money from China and other new regions.
Then there are entirely new computing platforms to consider, like the new virtual-reality headset Oculus Rift that was developed through a Kickstarter campaign. And think of what 3D printing could bring; imagine Warner Bros. allowing a download of the new Batman figure in time for the Superman/Batman movie in 2015.
There's also all of these new distribution platforms coming forth, including those from Intel, Walmart, Target, Flixter and Redbox that are exploring the notion of over-the-top Internet protocol-based distribution in various ways. They may not be brick-and-mortar, but these places will be the new storefronts of tomorrow.
If content is distributed everywhere on an international basis to a market that could grow to 5 billion consumers, getting just 4% of that market is off-the-charts money.
It could be that current production and distribution systems simply are not capturing the possibilities of this new world. What we need to create is an economy where technology is at the service of creativity, content and context.
Jonathan Taplin is director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where he leads the Edison Project for research and executive education dedicated to forming a new media and entertainment ecosystem. This column was adapted from his Sept. 29 speech at the Hollywood IT Society Marketing and Analytics Summit.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flexible gadgets are one step closer

Imagine dropping your phone and seeing it bounce rather than break. Research at RMIT University is bringing that day closer.

The research is advancing transparent bendable electronics for use in science fiction-like gadgets - unbreakable rubber-like phones, rollable tablets and even functional clothing.

Researchers from RMIT's Functional Materials and Microsystems research group have developed a new method to transfer electronics with versatile functionality, which are usually made on rigid silicon, onto a flexible surface.

The result of their work was recently published in Nature Publishing Group's Asia Materials, the leading materials science journal for the Asia-Pacific.

The ability of micro and nano-electronic devices to sense, insulate or generate energy is controlled by thin, transparent nanolayers of oxide materials, often much thinner than 1/100th of a human hair.

These oxide materials are brittle and their high processing temperatures - often in excess of 300 degrees celsius - have until now prevented their incorporation in flexible electronic devices.

Lead author, PhD researcher Philipp Gutruf, said the new process developed at RMIT could unleash the potential of fully functional flexible electronics, while providing a new way for the materials to mesh together.

"We have discovered a micro-tectonic effect, where microscale plates of oxide materials slide over each other, like geological plates, to relieve stress and retain electrical conductivity," he said.

"The novel method we have developed overcomes the challenges of incorporating oxide materials in bendable electronic devices, paving the way for bendable consumer electronics and other exciting applications."

Supervisor and co-leader of the research group, Dr Madhu Bhaskaran, said the new approach used two popular materials - transparent conductive indium tin oxide and rubber-like silicone, which is also biocompatible.

"The ability to combine any functional oxide with this biocompatible material creates the potential for biomedical devices to monitor or stimulate nerve cells and organs," she said.

"This is in addition to the immediate potential for consumer electronics applications in flexible displays, solar cells, and energy harvesters."

Mr Gutruf is supported by an Australian Government Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

The research was supported by Australian Post-Doctoral Fellowships from the Australian Research Council to Dr Bhaskaran and Dr Sharath Sriram, co-leader of the research group.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Patent Filing Reveals Samsung's Designs For Google Glass Competitor

Patent Filing Reveals Samsung's Designs For Google Glass Competitor

rjmarvin writes"A South Korean patent filing, complete with memos and device designs has let the cat out of the bag about Samsung's new head-mounted wearable device to compete with Google Glass, two days after Microsoft was found to be testing a similar prototype. The device isn't wireless; in fact it has an attached USB extension to plug into and serve as an extension of a smartphone. The device is categorized as 'sports glasses' to 'take phone calls and listen to music during workouts.' The filing gives an overhead, front, and side view of the proposed device, another entry into the rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive wearables marketplace."

IZON IP Cameras Riddled With Security Flaws

An anonymous reader writes"With recent action by the FTC against TRENDnet, the 'Internet of Things' has taken a sharp turn in the eyes of the public and government with regard to security. This week, Duo Security employee Mark Stanislav presented security research he did on the IZON IP camera from Stem Innovation. Through his testing, Mark found hardcoded credentials for Linux accounts (accessible by Telnet; Yes, — really), an undocumented web interface allowing for viewing a camera's stream (also with hardcoded credentials, user/user), and a variety of other failings including a lack of cryptography in most of the camera's functionality, including when uploading videos to Amazon Web Services's S3 storage."According to the above-linked article, "Contacted by The Security Ledger, Stem Innovation CTO Matt McBeth said that the IZON firmware, server system and iOS applications tested by Stanislav have since been updated, and that the research contains "inaccurate and misleading information." Stem did not provide specific information about any inaccuracies."

Did Comcast just take a first step towards unbundling HBO? — Tech News and Analysis

Hilarious Video Offers Glimpse of Our Pokey, Heads-Up Display Future

Like it or not, we're rushing towards a dystopian future of head-mounted devices. Fortunately, along the way we are served up with gems like Industrial Technology Research Institute's (ITRI) iAT (i-Air Touch) wearable device promo video. Unlike Google Glass with its boringvoice controls, you control this heads-up-display by stabbing and swiping at the air in front of you. The video is spectacular on many levels. The music, the graphics, the world's worst calculator — it's all there to remind you that the future is being brought to you with the same production values as a late-night informercial.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Inexpensive Robot Tracking System is Swarm Ready

[Ladvien] has figured an inexpensive way to control a robot from a remote PC with a static webcam. Inspired by swarming robot videos such as those from the UPENN Grasp lab, [Ladvien] wanted to build his own static camera based system. He's also managed to create one of the more eclectic Instructables we've seen. You don't often find pseudo code for robot suicide mixed in with the project instructions.

Fixed cameras are used in many motion capture systems, such as the Vicon system used by numerous film, game, and animation studios. Vicon and similar systems cost tens of thousands of dollars. This was a bit outside [Ladvien's] budget. He set about building his own system from scratch. The first step was the hardest – obtaining permission from his wife to screw a webcam into the ceiling. With that problem overcome, [Ladvien] brought openCV and python to bear. He created Overlord, his webcam vision and control system. A vision system with nothing to control would be rather boring, so [Ladvien] createdDotMuncher, Overlord's radio controlled robot slave.

The basic processing system is rather simple. DotMuncher carries a magnetometer on board, which it uses to send heading information to Overlord. Overlord is pre-calibrated with an offset from magnetic north to "video game north" (toward the top of the screen). Overlord then uses openCV's color detection to find DotMuncher in the current scene.
Overlord finally generates a virtual "Dot" on screen, and directs DotMuncher to drive over to it. When the robot gets to the dot, it is considered munched, and a new dot is generated.

The whole system is a proof of concept for future swarm projects [Ladvien] has planned. He's hoping to have autonomous robot tag working before the end of the year. We can't wait to see that one.

Friday, October 11, 2013

'Brain' chips for phones and robots developed - News - iTnews Mobile Edition

Unu, The Tablet That Becomes an Android Games Console is Launching November for $200 |

While the OUYA is trying to be nothing more than an Android console,
the UNU is a system of devices that come together to offer a little
bit of everything. At the heart of it all is a 7-inch Android tablet.
This tablet can then (...)

The tablet features a 7-inch 1280 x 800 display, a quad-core CPU, 1GB
of RAM, 8GB of storage, HDMI output, 2 USB ports and support for up to
64GB of expandable storage via microSD cards. That should be more than
enough to handle most Android games but, the UNU is (...)

DYI, virtual retinal displays.

Avegant’s new Virtual Retinal Display

Avegant unveiled a prototype virtual retinal display (VRD) delivers insanely sharp definition and a realistic image even with low-resolution sources by projecting directly into each eye

"Note that this also puts the field of view of the virtual image entering the eye somewhere between a 24.3° diameter circle and a 24.3° by 43.2° rounded rectangle."

It projects images that appear as 80-inch panels viewed from eight feet away similar to a Vuzix's Wrap glasses, MyVu, Sony's HMZ-T1 and not the Oculus Rift which had head tracking and a wider field of view.

Rather than relying on a set of high-resolution LCD displays placed close to your eyes it actually projects images directly onto your retinas from a micromirror array, which gives it a number of advantages over LCD-based headsets.

The HMD, which can handle 240Hz content (and beyond) , two separate WXGA (1,280×768-pixel resolution) images at each eye, which is essentially double the effective resolution of currently-available Oculus Rift developer kits. Additionally, since these images are being generated with reflected rather than emitted light, they more accurately mimic the way we see in the real world. Pixels blend together more naturally this way, and, since there’s no screen anywhere, the wearer won’t experience the dreaded “screen door effect” that generally occurs when LCD’s or OLEDs are placed close to the eye.

210 E. Huron, Suite H 
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Real-time ASCII representation of your webcam video stream

See it in Action:

Real-time ASCII representation of your webcam video stream

ASCII Camera uses the HTML5 getUserMedia API to transform a video stream from your webcam into a real-time ASCII representation.

Supported browsers

  • Chrome ≥ 21 
  • Firefox ≥ 17 (requires media.navigator.enabled = true in about:config) 
  • Opera ≥ 12 

Libraries used

  • Camera input is done using the camera.js library. 
  • ASCII transformation is adapted from jsascii library by Jacob Seidelin. 


  • Andrei Gheorghe

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

88% reduction in complaints by requiring cameras.

In Rialto California police officers were required to wear a camera in order to document their interactions with civilians. In these areas, public complaints against officers dropped by 88%. 

Rialto’s police officers also used force nearly 60 percent less often

Netgear Push2 tv

Friday, October 04, 2013


Chromecast is a digital media streaming adapter developed by Google. The device plays audio/video content on a high-definition television by streaming it via Wi-Fi from the Internet or local network. Users select the media to play on their television from the Google Chrome web browser on a personal computer or from a supported app on their mobile device.

Tomorrow first thing is the morning is a talk at Code Camp by Kevin Nilson

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Anybots Comes to NBBJ!

Anybots Comes to NBBJ! from nbbjdesign on Vimeo.