Sunday, June 17, 2007

Multimedia Linux device

BS Reporter / Mumbai June 14, 2007

It's an MP3 player, FM radio, video and photo display device, an e-book reader and a sound recorder – all bundled in one.

What more, it's a Linux-based personal computer ready for web, email and office use. Touted as the Swiss army knife of handheld gadgets, Wizpy, has now been launched in India by Japan-based Turbolinux.

The nifty tool which is a multimedia media player that contains a PC-bootable version of the Linux operating system is priced at Rs 11,995.

“This palm sized mobile device enables the user to have their own personal computer environment through which they can access documents, e-mails and the internet, keeping their data secure and confidential,” said Deepak Wassan, president, Turbolinux.

Pegged as a ‘PC 2.0’ product, Turbolinux has partnered with eSys Technologies and online portal cafegadgets in for distribution in India. “Early adopters who are curious about using Linux but either don't want to or can't install the operating system are our target customers,” he said.

Bouyed by its success in universities of Vietnam, the company is aiming to gain foothold in the education sector moving on to the corporate sector before targeting the home users.

The pocket-sized device, that can play audio and video files, is really a Linux carrot of sorts, allowing users to store a complete Linux desktop in its memory. “You can plug the Wizpy into a PC's USB port and boot up the Linux system with all its user settings, passwords, bookmarks, etc,” added Wassan.

Turbolinux will ship 50,000 units of Wizpy to India by the end of this fiscal and also plans to introduce products in the middleware and applications areas.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wireless energy transfer turns on bulb at MIT, eliminating batteries next?

By R. Colin Johnson

Courtesy of EE Times

PORTLAND, Ore. — Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated the wireless powering of a light bulb for the first time. They achieved the feat using a technique dubbed WiTricity, which employs magnetically coupled resonance between matched antennas.

MIT assistant professor Marin Soljacic, inventor of the technique, described it at the American Institute of Physics' Industrial Physics Forum last fall. His MIT team now has demonstrated the concept by remotely powering a 60-watt bulb from a distance of six feet.

The key to the technique is its use of nonradiative magnetic coupling. "Two same-frequency resonant objects will tend to couple with each other strongly, while only interacting weakly with off-resonant environmental objects," said Soljacic. "That's the physics principle enabling nonradiative wireless energy transfer."

Today magnetic coupling is used over short distances to recharge batteries such as in electric toothbrushes, but it requires that the device under charge be located very near the induction coils, since the energy of the magnetic field falls off very quickly with distance. In conventional magnetic induction, the distance can only be increased by increasing the power of the magnetic field.

WiTricity, on the other hand, uses matched resonant antennas that enable the magnetic coupling to take place over distances of several feet, without boosting the power of the magnetic field. Other groups have demonstrated radio-frequency wireless power transfers over longer distances, but only for micro- to milliwatts.

The demonstration setup consisted of matched copper coils about three feet in diameter, with the transmitting coil attached to a power source operating in the meghahertz range. The receiving coil resonated within the nonradiative magnetic field, oscillating at the same frequency, thereby efficiently using magnetic induction to illuminate the bulb.

The resonant antennas remain coupled even when objects are placed between them, as Soljacic showed during the light bulb demonstration by positioning his entire design team between the sending and receiving antennas. The light bulb continued to be illuminated despite the obstacles.

Without the resonance enabled by the matched antennas, the team claims, 1 million times more energy would have to be pumped into the transmitting coil to enable conventional, nonresonant magnetic induction.

Next the team wants to demonstrate powering a laptop computer wirelessly, by designing computer room antennas that would match an antenna coil to be built into the base of the laptop. The team not only believes it will be able to supply enough power to keep the laptop's batteries recharged but predicts it will be able to eliminate the battery altogether by directly supplying power to the laptop.

Funding the research were the Army Research Office, MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Soljacic's team members were professors Peter Fisher and John Joannopoulos (who is ISN's director) and students Andre Kurs, Aristeidis Karalis and Robert Moffatt.