Chip Fixes Common Flaws in Amateur Photographs

February 21, 2013

Smartphone snapshots could be instantly converted into professional-looking photographs with just the touch of a button, thanks to a processor chip developed at MIT.

The chip, built by a team at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory, can perform tasks such as creating more realistic or enhanced lighting in a shot without destroying the scene’s ambience, in just a fraction of a second. The technology could be integrated with any smartphone, tablet computer or digital camera.

Existing computational photography systems tend to be software applications that are installed onto cameras and smartphones. However, such systems consume substantial power, take a considerable amount of time to run, and require a fair amount of knowledge on the part of the user, says the paper’s lead author, Rahul Rithe, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

“We wanted to build a single chip that could perform multiple operations, consume significantly less power compared to doing the same job in software, and do it all in real time,” Rithe says. He developed the chip with Anantha Chandrakasan, professor of electrical engineering, fellow graduate student Priyanka Raina, research scientist Nathan Ickes and undergraduate Srikanth Tenneti.

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CES 2013: Nvidia Unveils Next-Generation Tegra 4

January 7, 2013

Nidia has unveiled its latest mobile processor, dubbed the Tegra 4. The new processor boasts a number of improvements, including 72 graphics cores and better imaging capabilities. The CPU is based on ARM’s latest Cortex A-15 architecture, which gives it a considerable boost compared to the current ARM Cortex A-9 based Tegra 3 quad-core chipset. The new chip sticks to Tegra 3’s 4-plus-1 design. In this design, a fifth smaller core helps regulate the power among the four more powerful cores.

The biggest feature of the Tegra 4 is the 72 graphics core. This is a full six times higher than the Tegra 3. Another feature is the HDR capability of the chipset. The processor quickly takes two photos at different exposure levels and combines them into a single photo that has higher richness in terms of light and colour. While other chips also have this capability, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang claims that the Tegra 4 takes shots at a rate of 0.2 seconds per frame. This is faster than the iPhone 5, which takes HDR shots in 2 seconds. Other camera-based features of the Tegra 4 include the ability to take panorama shots with HDR and the ability to track moving objects. The second one especially is notable, as the company claims that the chip can track these objects without any blurring.

Nvidia has also revealed that it will be sampling its LTE enabled i500 modem to partners. These new modems consist of eight processors, which allow them to deliver 1.2 trillion operations per second. This would allow Nvidia to push out the Tegra 4 chipset to more tablet and smartphone partners.

Here’s The New iPad

March 8, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced it, and the SVP of marketing, Phil Schiller broke down all the specs.

It’s simply called “iPad.”

Here’s what it has:

  • Retina Display, 2048 x 1536
  • Quad-core A5X processor for improved graphics. Claims to have 4x the graphics performance as NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor that’s found in many Android tablets
  • iSight camera, same optics system found in the iPhone 4S. It’s 5 MP
  • Records full 1080p HD video
  • Voice dictation: new key on the keyboard. Tap it, and it dictates everything you say
  • 4G LTE, HSPA+ for wireless carriers. Available on AT&T and Verizon
  • Personal hotspot feature
  • 3G world ready for connecting to international wireless carriers
  • 10 hours of battery life, 9 hours on 4G
  • Starts at $499 for Wi-Fi, 16 GB model. Same pricing structure as the iPad 2
  • Goes on sale March 16
  • Pre-orders start NOW

Nvidia & AMD Say HDD Shortage is Impacting GPU Sales

January 26, 2012

In the summer of last year, Thailand was hit with some disastrous flooding that continues to affect HDD companies and and the supply of hard drives. It’s not unusual to hear HDD companies and tech analysts talk about the flooding and how it is affecting the industry. However, joining the refrain are companies with no stake in the HDD industry. They say that the shortage of hard drives has impacted PC shipments and, as such, had an effect on their businesses.

The Verge reports that both AMD and Nvidia have said the shortage of HDDs resulting from the flooding has had an impact on sales. Though neither expected to see any impact from the 2011 floods, recent earnings calls have revealed that they are feeling a squeeze due to the hard drive shortage.

Nvidia yesterday told investors it earned approximately $116 million less revenue than it had anticipated and is putting at least some of the blame on the hard drive shortage. Meanwhile, AMD also told investors that it was seeing “a little bit of pressure” thanks to the shortage.

Though neither are in the hard drive business, they say the decline in computer shipments has affected graphics processor sales because fewer computers shipped means less demand for components.

Intel/Microsoft tablets to cost $599 to $899

January 16, 2012

An exercise in pointlessness

Wintel-based tablet PCs may see their prices go as high as US$599-899 due to Intel and Microsoft both being unwilling to drop their related hardware and software quotes, and as a result, it could push consumers from wanting to purchase the devices, according to sources from notebook vendors.

As for Intel and Microsoft, the sources pointed out that Intel and Microsoft are also struggling since if Microsoft drops its Windows 8 and Intel drops its Clover Trail-W prices, although the strategy could help raise Wintel-based tablet PC’s market share, it could also seriously damage pricing in the PC market and bring down their gross margin performance.

As for notebook vendors, if Intel does not reduce its Clover Trail-W platform prices, the vendors are likely to choose ARM solutions from Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instrument’s (TI’s) for their upcoming Windows 8 tablet PC to reduce their costs.

Despite Google recently releasing an updated version of its Android 4.0 that has made several improvements to help attract players such as Asustek Computer, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics to launch quad-core tablet PCs based on it, as Apple is already set to launch its next-generation iPad in March, non-Apple players are unlikely to win any advantages, the sources noted.

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