Thursday, December 27, 2007

Panasonic Starts Sample Shipments of World's Thinnest, 9.5 mm Height, Blu-ray Disc Drives


Fukuoka, Japan, Dec 27, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - Panasonic Communications Co., Ltd. today announced that the company has started shipping samples of the world's thinnest* (9.5 mm height) internal Blu-ray Disc (BD) drives to personal computer manufacturers.

Since Panasonic introduced the industry's first 12.7 mm high internal DVD Super Multi Drive in 2003, it has continued to pioneer optical disc drive technology by making the drive's profile even thinner, to 9.5 mm and then to 7.0 mm. The company has achieved these breakthroughs by producing key devices in-house and is leading the industry in providing the benefits of Blu-ray discs.

Now available to PC manufacturers, the new sample 9.5 mm high BD drives, were accomplished by combining Panasonic's own technologies such as the low-profile, 2-lens actuator and spherical aberration compensation mechanism and an optimized optical design for CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc laser.

Due to the increasing need for data volume on personal computers and the gaining popularity of high definition digital images, the demand for Blu-ray discs and BD drives is rapidly rising. Panasonic believes the world's thinnest BD drive ideally meets these consumer trends as it also provides a high added value for notebook PCs that are also becoming thinner and lighter. Panasonic continues to bring out innovative disc drives through steady improvements in their performance and features.

Even with its 9.5 mm high thin profile, the new BD drive features double speed reading and writing for both write-once BD-R and rewritable BD-RE discs. This feature was facilitated through perfecting technologies such as improved light usage efficiency, high-speed recording waveform and broader bandwidth of the light-receiving element.

The product is also capable of reading and writing on BD-R DL (dual layer/50GB) and BD-RE DL discs and will be compatible with future organic pigment-type BDs.

The new drive is also compatible with three types of optical discs (BD, DVD, CD). It supports reading and writing on four types of BD media (BD-R, BD-RE, BD-R DL, BD-RE DL) and reading of BD-ROMs. In addition, it is capable of reading and writing on seven types of CD/DVD media (DVD-RAM, DVD-R, +R, DVD-RW, +RW, CD-R, CD-RW) and reading of DVD-ROMs and CD-ROMs. Thus, the new drive provides a DVD Super Multi Drive function plus Blu-ray Disc support. Further, it is capable of 8x writing on DVD-R/+Rs, making the handling of DVDs fast and easy.

The samples will be exhibited at the 2008 International CES, the world's largest consumer electronics show, to be held from January 7, 2008 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the United States.

* As a sample of internal Blu-ray Disc drive for PCs. The dimensions are 9.5 mm (H) x 128 mm (W) x 127 mm (D).Fukuoka, Japan, Dec 27, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - Panasonic Communications Co., Ltd. today announced that the company has started shipping samples of the world's thinnest* (9.5 mm height) internal Blu-ray Disc (BD) drives to personal computer manufacturers.

Since Panasonic introduced the industry's first 12.7 mm high internal DVD Super Multi Drive in 2003, it has continued to pioneer optical disc drive technology by making the drive's profile even thinner, to 9.5 mm and then to 7.0 mm. The company has achieved these breakthroughs by producing key devices in-house and is leading the industry in providing the benefits of Blu-ray discs.

Now available to PC manufacturers, the new sample 9.5 mm high BD drives, were accomplished by combining Panasonic's own technologies such as the low-profile, 2-lens actuator and spherical aberration compensation mechanism and an optimized optical design for CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc laser.

Due to the increasing need for data volume on personal computers and the gaining popularity of high definition digital images, the demand for Blu-ray discs and BD drives is rapidly rising. Panasonic believes the world's thinnest BD drive ideally meets these consumer trends as it also provides a high added value for notebook PCs that are also becoming thinner and lighter. Panasonic continues to bring out innovative disc drives through steady improvements in their performance and features.

Even with its 9.5 mm high thin profile, the new BD drive features double speed reading and writing for both write-once BD-R and rewritable BD-RE discs. This feature was facilitated through perfecting technologies such as improved light usage efficiency, high-speed recording waveform and broader bandwidth of the light-receiving element.

The product is also capable of reading and writing on BD-R DL (dual layer/50GB) and BD-RE DL discs and will be compatible with future organic pigment-type BDs.

The new drive is also compatible with three types of optical discs (BD, DVD, CD). It supports reading and writing on four types of BD media (BD-R, BD-RE, BD-R DL, BD-RE DL) and reading of BD-ROMs. In addition, it is capable of reading and writing on seven types of CD/DVD media (DVD-RAM, DVD-R, +R, DVD-RW, +RW, CD-R, CD-RW) and reading of DVD-ROMs and CD-ROMs. Thus, the new drive provides a DVD Super Multi Drive function plus Blu-ray Disc support. Further, it is capable of 8x writing on DVD-R/+Rs, making the handling of DVDs fast and easy.

The samples will be exhibited at the 2008 International CES, the world's largest consumer electronics show, to be held from January 7, 2008 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the United States.

* As a sample of internal Blu-ray Disc drive for PCs. The dimensions are 9.5 mm (H) x 128 mm (W) x 127 mm (D).

JCNNetwork.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New phone device allows you to 'speak' through your ear

TOKYO — A Japanese company Tuesday unveiled a new device that will allow people "speak" through their ear so they can use their mobile telephones in noisy places. The device — named "e-Mimi-kun" (good ear boy) — doubles as an earphone and a microphone by detecting air vibrations inside the ear, developer NS-ELEX Co said.

The earpiece and an accompanying device can be connected to a mobile phone, or wirelessly to a Bluetooth handset, so that users no longer have to cover their mouths when speaking in a loud environment, the company said. Exterior noise is reduced six-fold by the earpiece, it said, while a chip developed by Sanyo Electric for the accompanying device reduces sound levels ten-fold, it added. NS-ELEX believes the product would be useful for people working in places such as factories, restaurants and amusement parks.

JapanToday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Muscle cell therapy repairs damaged heart

OSAKA--A medical team at Osaka University Hospital has succeeded in restoring function to the heart of a patient with severe cardiac disease using muscle cells taken from one of the patient's thighs, it has been learned.

The male patient in his 50s, who had been waiting for a heart transplant, is now able to walk unaided, and will leave the hospital in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, on Thursday, according to the hospital.

It is the first time in the world that a patient waiting for an organ transplant has been successfully treated using their own cells.

"The treatment can be a good alternative to heart transplants," said Yoshiki Sawa, director of the Medical Center for Translational Research at the hospital.

In the treatment, the team first removed about 10 grams of muscle tissue from the patient's thigh. From the muscle tissue, it then extracted myoblast cells, which are the main building block of muscle fibers. The team cultivated the cells and formed them into sheets about four centimeters wide. They then wrapped the diseased heart with three layers of the myoblast sheets.

The treatment was approved in July 2006 by the hospital's ethics committee as part of clinical research into dilated cardiomyopathy--a disease in which the heart becomes swollen and unable to pump blood efficiently.

The male patient began suffering from the disease around 2004, and was hospitalized in January 2006. Despite being fitted with a pacemaker the following month, he continued to suffer serious symptoms.

The patient registered with the Japan Organ Transplant Network in August 2006, and had been waiting for a heart transplant.

The medical team took the myoblast cells from the patient at the end of March this year, and then spent two months creating 25 myoblast sheets. At the end of May, the team attached the sheets to the patient's heart, mainly around the organ's left ventricle, which is key to circulation.

After the treatment, the patient's heart functions, including pulse rate and quantity of blood pumped, all improved rapidly. On Sept. 5, or 98 days after the treatment, it became possible to remove the pacemaker. According to the hospital, the man's heart functions have almost fully recovered, and he is able to lead a normal daily life.

"The myoblast sheets were not transformed into heart muscle, but they apparently released substances that assist the functioning of weakened heart muscles. We'd like to conduct further research on the treatment so we can apply the method to other cardiac diseases and to some children's conditions," Sawa said.

Yomiuri.co.jp

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Honda Develops Intelligence Technologies Enabling Multiple ASIMO Robots to Work Together in Coordination



Tokyo, Japan, Dec 11, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has further advanced intelligence technologies enabling its advanced humanoid robot ASIMO to act autonomously and perform uninterrupted service to office guests.

Honda developed an intelligence technology that enhances smooth movement by enabling ASIMO to choose between stepping back and yielding the right-of-way or continuing to walk based on the predicted movement of oncoming people. Honda also developed a new intelligence technology related to ASIMO's ability to perform tasks such as carrying a tray and pushing a cart. In addition, a newly added function enables ASIMO to automatically charge its battery when its remaining battery level falls below a certain level. Furthermore, a new comprehensive system was developed so that multiple ASIMOs can share tasks by adjusting to the situation and work together in coordination to provide uninterrupted service. For example, if one ASIMO is idled while recharging, other ASIMO robots will step in and perform assigned tasks.

Honda will begin test operations of two ASIMOs equipped with these newly developed technologies December 12, at the second floor lobby of Honda's Aoyama headquarters.

Since introducing an all-new ASIMO in 2005, with more advanced physical and intelligence capabilities, Honda has focused its R&D efforts more on the area of intelligence technologies. The newly developed technologies, which enable ASIMO to operate in an environment with people and other ASIMOs, bring Honda one step closer to the development of a humanoid robot that can be put to practical use in a real world environment requiring coexistence with people.

1. New function to work together

In situations where more than one ASIMO works together, information regarding the current status of each ASIMO will be shared constantly among the multiple networked ASIMOs in order to share tasks in the most efficient manner. More precisely, first, the distance between the current position of each ASIMO and the site where each task needs to be performed will be calculated. Then, taking remaining battery levels into consideration, the most time efficient way to share tasks among the multiple ASIMOs will be determined. Based on this decision, each ASIMO autonomously performs its assigned tasks.

2. New function to avoid oncoming people

ASIMO identifies oncoming people through its eye camera, calculates traveling direction and speed, predicts forthcoming movements of oncoming people, and chooses the most appropriate path so that it will not block the movement of others. When there is not enough space, ASIMO will step back and yield the right-of-way.

3. New autonomous battery charging function

A new battery charging station was developed for ASIMO's autonomous recharging. When the remaining battery level falls below a certain level, ASIMO will automatically identify and walk to the closest available battery charging station and re-charge while standing.

Honda will continue its efforts to further advance intelligence technologies with the goal to develop a robot which can be truly useful in a real world environment where coexistence with people is required.

Test operations of ASIMO's ability to guide visitors and deliver refreshments will be carried out at Honda's Aoyama Headquarters from 3:00pm to 5:00pm weekdays between December 12, 2007 and January 31, 2008. (except the winter holidays from December 29, 2007 to January 8, 2008.)

JCNNetwork.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sanyo to create low-cost solar cells

OSAKA — Sanyo Electric Co said Wednesday it will open a lab inside its Gifu Prefecture semiconductor plant in April to develop next-generation, thin-film solar cells requiring a very small amount of silicon.

By utilizing the company's semiconductor expertise, the lab, named Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center, will be used to create solar cells whose power generation costs are comparable to regular home utility rates, according to the Osaka-based manufacturer.

JapanToday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Toshiba develops new weather radar

TOKYO — Toshiba Corp on Friday announced that it has developed and delivered the world's first operational weather radar system that replaces electron tubes in the transmitter with a high-power semiconductor module. The new radar is only one sixth the size of conventional equipment but offers comparable output power, along with improved waveband efficiency and enhanced features.

The first unit of the new system has been installed at the Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center at Nagoya University. The Nagoya radar operates in the 9GHz frequency band (X-band) and is the first solid-state weather radar to go into practical operation.

While the new weather radar is much more compact and offers much higher performance than conventional systems, it maintains the same level of output power by adopting a combination of gallium nitride (GaN) power field effect transistors (FET) and pulse compression technology, which strengthens peak output power.

Implementation of fully digital data processing suppresses the spurious level, allowing the frequency separation required for interference suppression to be shortened to one fourth. This contributes to efficient use of crowded radio frequencies.


The new radar reinforces performance by adding innovative features: dual polarization observation enhances the precision of rainfall estimation by capturing the shape and size of raindrops and cloud; clear-air turbulence observation detects very low levels of signal scattering, enabling to observe air conditions including wind speed even in clear weather — a very difficult task for most weather radars.

The new system has a modular structure for the antenna, transmitter and received signal processor, which supports more flexible physical system layout depending on the installation site and operation. As the new radar does not use electron tubes, which have to be periodically replaced and disposed of, it reduces environmental loads, meeting Toshiba's goal of maximizing the eco-efficiency of its products and systems.

JapanToday.





Saturday, December 01, 2007

NEC claims world's fastest MRAM

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Japan's NEC Corp. Friday (Nov. 30) claimed that it has developed the world's fastest MRAM.

NEC's new ''SRAM-compatible, MRAM'' can operate at 250-MHz. The MRAM has a memory capacity of 1-megabit. Incorporating a memory cell with two transistors, one magnetic tunnel junction, and a newly-developed circuit scheme, the new design achieves an operation speed of 250-MHz.

That's twice as fast as current MRAMs on the market, according to NEC. Tests carried out using an internal signal-monitoring circuit demonstrated data output time of 3.7 nanoseconds from a 250-MHz clock edge.

NEC has been actively carrying out MRAM research since 2000. MRAM is a next-generation memory technology. It realizes fast operation speeds, nonvolatility and unlimited write endurance.

Verification at the SRAM speed level proves that the newly-developed MRAM could be embedded in system LSIs as SRAM substitutes in the future.


EEtimes.