Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3D TV: Latest Technology Innovation

Starting from the black & white dumb box type to now on the shelf latest razor slim HD & LED buzz, the idiot box has undergone a sharp & quick revolution in a short span of just 20 years! And may be its no longer an idiot, as in the near future it’ll be available in its new avatar with 3D-ready screen & may be with high-end intelligent processors. Quite fascinating!

So, what’s the next big thing in the TV viewing experience? What’s the next big wave for a monster change? In the 1st week of Oct’ 09, Sony has unveiled it’s 3D TV technology.  Apart from the tech. titans like Sony, Panasonic & Philips a US – based startup HDI is also in the race for this emerging technology.

How consumers experience will be changed?

It’ll be an IMAX like experience in the comfort of your living room. For sports lovers it’ll be a revolutionary development in TV viewing experience. He’ll feel as if he is enjoying all the actions seating in the stadium. The 3D TV technology will be achieved, primarily using Sony’s single lens camera capable of capturing 3D images. For sports lover it’s a great news as Sony’s European Research Lab show off a technology where 3 cameras will be used for recording the sports event. Later the images can be synthesized, stitched together  using software & broadcasted for the viewer in a real time scenario.

But the 3D TV technology is still in its baby phase. It requires special polarized glasses (specs) to view 3D images. I wonder how many of you’ll not hate to wear it before switching on your TV for your most awaited Indo-Pak cricket match?

Conclusion

So, you may feel a little disappointed. No need to. Why? Cause, Philips has already demonstrated their 3D TV sans special glasses. Others are also catching up. But unfortunately it seems there are still some technological hiccups before it’s available for mass consumption. Undoubtedly 3D TV is on it’s way to your living room and it’s a matter of a year or two before we can say good bye to our existing set.

Till then: Happy Channel Hopping~~~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trace mobile number location and operator in India

Most of the times when you miss a call from an anonymous number, the very 1st question which pops up in your mind is: Whose call was it? I had personally came across this situation several times & tried to Google it to find some info. But I never succeeded in tracking the number. But I always knew it’s possible. How?

Due to legal safeguards may be it’s not possible to search through the operator’s database to find the owner’s name, but it’s technically possible to find out the location & operator. I had muted an idea to collect the mobile number series i.e the 1st 5 digits (MSC code) & based on that I planned to develop a software which will provide you the Location as well as the Operator. For example, if your mobile number is 99896XXXXX, the 1st 5 digits i.e 99896 is known as MSC Code. This code will identify the Location or Circle & the operator name. I Googled through to find out the details of number series in different telecom circles in India. I found the relevant information of MSC codes here in Cellular Operators Association of India website. I had a plan to develop a Web Service preferably a WCF service (Windows Communication Foundation) which will return the Location/Circle & the Operator. This could have worked as follows:

1. Enter the 10 digit mobile number.
2. The client application will substring the 1st 5 digits of the mobile number.
3. These 5 digits (MSC Code) will be send to the WCF service (input of WCF service).
4. The service will return the location & operator name based on the input.
5. You have successfully tracked the mobile number location & operator.

Please Note, As far as tracking the location of mobile number is concerned, For 4 metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai) you’ll specifically get the corresponding city name, for others you have to content yourself with the name of the state.

I was sure this kind of web application wasn’t available on the internet till few months back. Un/fortunately, few days back while working on my project I came across 2 websites which provided the same info. I abandoned the project. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel again. You can visit any of the following URL’s to find the Location & Operator. Obviously this doesn’t solve your problem of knowing the mobile number owner before giving a call back but as they say something is better than nothing!

So, how was it? Any suggestions regarding any similar service which we can develop? Or like everyone else you believe everything is there in Google search?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Google Wave: The e-Mail Killer

Google-Wave-Logo What is the most hyped spectacular surprise from Google till date?
OR

What’s the biggest production launch from Google till date? Take a guess?

Chrome, Android, Earth, Orkut, Picasa, Blogger, Gmail, iGoogle, AdSense, AdWords or YouTube (acquired by Google in Nov 2006)?

Google Wave!

Right, if I heard Google Wave. I must say you are in the tech-wave & living on the tech-edge. The logo you see here is of Google Wave. Beautiful!

Update: Get a Google Wave Invite

What?

It is something which you may have imagined in your wild dreams! It’s something which is going to ‘kill’ the existing e-Mail protocol & if Google is to be believed it’s going to replace e-Mail as the dominant form of communication.

Today everybody is on e-Mail. Tomorrow everyone will be on Wave. Yes, on Google Wave.

Google wave is the next generation of Internet Communication, single communication model. Wiki defines Google Wave as a web-based service, computing platform, and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking. It has a strong collaborative and real-time focus supported by extensions that can provide, for example, robust spelling/grammar checking, automated translation between 40 languages, and numerous other extensions.

Underlying Technology

It is written in Java using OpenJDK & the web interface uses Google Web Toolkit. It’s still in Active Development but has been launched for review for 100,000 users on 30th Sept 2009. Later Google may release the source code as open source, So that other developers can contribute to the interface by developing extensions for it.

Product Features:

  • e-Mail
  • Instant messaging
  • Social networking
  • Wiki functionality
  • Automated translation between 40 languages (On the fly).
  • Robust Spelling/Grammar check
  • Real Time collaboration
  • Maps
  • Waves can be embedded in sites, blogs using Google Wave APIs .
  • Real time collaboration (you can see what someone else is typing, character by character)
  • Videos
  • Applications & Extensions
 Invitation to use Google Wave

The net savvy crowd is going crazy! Everyone wants an invitation to use Google Wave and be a part of the next communication revolution. There’s an absolute rush & chaos for Google Wave invitation. A few innovative entrepreneurs have already started making profit by selling it on eBay ($100/invitation or even more). Literally, 10000s of net surfers are begging for a Google wave invite!
To use Google Waves you must be invited by Google or from anyone who has got an invitation directly from Google. I am not sure but it seems Google is still sending invitations. If you remember, it’s almost like Gmail invitations in its early days.
Google's invitation will be extended to:
  • Developers who have been active in the developer preview we started back in June 2009
  • Select customers of Google Apps
  • The first users who signed up and offered to give feedback on wave.google.com
I am not eligible for the 1st one but I’ve applied & signed for an invitation using the 2nd & 3rd criteria.
You don’t have a Google Apps account, no need to worry, as anyone can easily sign-up using the 3rd criterion. Sign up here. May be the chances of getting an early invitation using this is remote still you can keep your fingers crossed. If you have a Google Apps account sign up here.

Google wave terminologies

Today you hear about twit, scrap, bots… Tomorrow you will hear a lot about:

Wave, Wavelet, Blip, gadgets, Robots, Embedded Wave, Document, Extension…etc

Yes, Robots is an interesting feature perhaps the most powerful feature of Google Wave. Robots are automated participant in a wave (specific thread of conversation). Robots can provide information from outside source as well as can check content & take specific action based on them. I am not sure but it seems like an automated assistant which can perform some mundane task for you. May be it will send an e-Mail based on some specific response. One example of a Robot is Stocky which pulls out stock prices to help you in decision making.
 
Conclusion
 
That was all about the glitz & glamour of Google Wave. But whatever we have discussed here are only one side of the story of Google Wave. Many users are quite skeptical & feel it has not lived up to the hype it has generated! They feel it’s unproductive to have so many features in a single application. Check here.
Anyway, That’s an ongoing debate. Just like Coke vs. Pepsi, Google vs. Microsoft, Ferrari vs. Lamborghini
 
Let’s not kill the innovation in our debate. Hats off to Google…
Happy GoWaving~~~~~

References:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Wave
Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/05/28/google-wave-guide/

Friday, October 2, 2009

Wireless Electricity: A Game-changing innovation

Electric-Plug-Diagram-Home What?

Wireless Electricity or Wireless Power or WiFi Electricity and sometimes WiTricity (ideally refers only to the products and proprietary technology of WiTricity Corporation) are different nomenclatures for the same technology. Have you heard about any of them? If yes, then I must say you are living on the edge rather the bleeding-edge of technology!

Innovation is the key differentiator between humans and rest of the living beings. We innovate much faster than any other living being on earth. Every moment in some corner of the world something new is created, something which may sound magical to our ears today. Till 20 years back, even the idea of mobile phone would have instilled a sense of wonder in mere mortals like us.

If we can transmit voice (sound energy) across the continent, why can't we transmit power (electric energy) in a similar fashion? Did something of this sort ever tickle your grey cells?

Like a magic, an innovation is initially hard to believe till it becomes a part of our daily life or till we feel it ourselves. Wireless electricity is one of the latest innovations which may significantly change the way electricity is consumed & may lead to a 'mature death' of disposable battery industry. Looks like a 9/11 for Duracells & Energizers! Cheers to Greenpeace activists.

Imagine Mobile phone, Laptop computer, TV, MP3 player and other electronic devices without any power cord and without any battery! You can power your gizmos without any physical connection. An uncluttered wire free home. Truly amazing! Isn't it?

When it started?

If you haven’t heard of it, you may assume it’s quite new. Right?

Wrong, as the baby step towards wireless electricity was initiated by the famous inventor Thomas Edison & physicist Nikola Tesla in late 19th century. But the credit for a giant leap for practical implementation of the theoretical concept goes to a team of researchers from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Prof. Marin Soljacic (pronounced Soul-ya-cheech). Based on his team’s work numerous companies have started to innovate on a bigger scale for a commercially viable wireless electrical technology. The most significant player among these companies, is the US firm WiTricity. As per a BBC report on 23rdJuly 2009, Eric Giler, CEO of Witricity, showed mobile phones and televisions charging wirelessly at the TED Global conference in Oxford.

As per CNN report of 2 September 2009, the technology used by WiTricity Corp. is known as 'Magnetically coupled resonance' and “it basically sends a magnetic field through the air at a specific frequency that an enabled phone or TV can pick up and turn back into electricity. It works kind of like sound. Think about how an opera singer can break a wine glass if he sings at just the right frequency”.

What was the ‘spark’ for innovation?

*The story starts one late night a few years ago, with Soljacic standing in his pajamas, staring at his cell phone on the kitchen counter. "It was probably the sixth time that month that I was awakened by my cell phone beeping to let me know that I had forgotten to charge it. It occurred to me that it would be so great if the thing took care of its own charging."

How it works?

How-Wireless-Electricity-Works

A white-board scheme of things is represented here in the image captioned "CIRCA 2014". A magnetic coil will be plugged into your mains (AC power) which will serve as a ‘Power Source’. One similar coil will be embedded into your gizmo which will serve as a ‘Capture Device’. As per WiTricity Corp’s technology, these coils are specially designed magnetic resonators capable of efficient electricity transfer via the magnetic near field. Based on this prototype, WiTricity Corp has also successfully demonstrated wireless powering of an LCD TV. You can find a better graphical & video explanation of the technology here.

How long will it take for the battery-less / power Cord-less gizmos?

The CNN report mentioned above quotes Eric Giler: "Five years from now, this will seem completely normal". Let's hope the team will get rid of the ubiquitous wires & batteries sooner.

Pros & Cons?

Pros:
Companies are manufacturing about 40 billion of batteries every year. A slow & steady Environmental hazard. Check.

Around the world, a huge amount of money is invested in building metallic infrastructure of wires for electricity transmission. In the long run, may be Wireless electricity will help in reducing this expense to a great extent.

Cons:

As with any system, there are some concerns regarding health hazards associated with the electomagnetic waves but CNN report quotes Giler to explain that the technology would produce magnetic fields that are "about the same density as the earth's magnetic field."

Let's keep our fingers crossed and wait for the moment when Nokia announces its first battery-less phone. The euphoria begins…

References:

*Excerpt used with e-Mail permission from MIT News Office, Dated: 30 Sep 2009.
MIT News:
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/wireless-0607.html
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/09/02/wireless.electricity/index.html
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8165928.stm
Inspiration for this post: Anil Kumar Bavisetty (colleague)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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