Sign & Digital were celebrating their 25th anniversary this year at the Birmingham NEC and although advances have been made in the realms of printing and sign, there was a decrease of what we at Paragon believe will be the future. Unlike last year, the digital signage on offer was severely lacking, with only a few examples of how powerful this medium truly is.
SIS Digital quite literally displayed the largest form of signage, with their outdoor advertisement boards that use LED technology. Pop Digital’s content management system was exhibited on an array of Android based tablets with a variety of fixtures that would be ideal for the retail industry. Grandstands may still primarily supply roll ups and stands but they are one of the only companies here today that have realised the possibilities of tablets. Their robust designs for stands fit for iPad and other touchscreen products take into account anti-theft bracket, whilst attaching additional displays via print.
Perhaps digital signage is still a bit too far out of many businesses’ budgets or maybe the print industry is afraid of their digital evolution taking over. What was slightly bizarre was the great use of digital signage to promote the print being exhibited. Either way, we’re sure there will be an influx for next year’s.
With what is probably the most anticipated gadget of the century, Google has added yet another feature to the technological attire that is likely to push it even further. A lightweight, monochrome laser projector has been mounted on one side of the glasses and a camera on the other, to create a projection that can be beamed onto any surface, including the user’s palm.
Its touch capabilities mean you can transform your hand or another surface, into a keyboard or controls for a game you’re playing on the Google device. With some similarities to the Microsoft Kinect game, the further developments to this technology mean that despite head or hand movements, whilst say walking, the interface will stay centred, creating a smooth journey.
LG electronics will be the first manufacturer to offer curved OLED on the public market, with the screens going on sale in South Korea next month. OLED technology allowed the screens to possess a thinner and more flexible form, which we touched on previously.
Despite both LG and Samsung exhibiting their curved OLEDs at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, LG have taken the lead with their 55inch screen that will sell at the equivalent to £8,725. The curvature of the television is said to create an Imax-like experience and eliminates screen-edge distortion and creates deeper blacks.
It may only be a concept for now but this car is bound to catch people in its headlights. Car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz will be showcasing their latest vehicle, the Concept GLA, at the Shanghai auto show over the coming week, which uses projectors as headlights. The front headlamps laser sourced projectors which have the capability of displaying media from formats such as smart phones, a hard drive or from the net.
There are also two cameras in the front roof rail which can capture 3D images, which can then be used externally on another device, so you can bring your journey to life.
Although the first thing we thought of when seeing this was a personal drive in cinema, Mercedes believe this technology could help road safety by projecting symbols for direction or warnings onto the road to give other users a heads-up.
Check out the video to see the car in action.
A tall building in Sao Paulo, Brazil has transformed into an enormous game of retro classic Tetris. The passers-by on the street were able to play on the extra-large monitor (300m2) via iPads, whilst the coloured blocks were projected onto the building’s surface with 100,000 LED lamps. A version of the Space Raiders game was also available and attracted a lot of attention from tourists and residents alike. The project, coined “Play!” by its digital artists, was available for two weeks in the city, an extended period than what was expected, due to the success.
We’ve all gotten used to the idea of pinching, sliding and prodding our touchscreen devices but we’d never expect to actually pick up a piece of the action. MIT’s Media Lab has created the option with an elasticated touchscreen that lets you experience “2.5D”, a dimension that has not been mentioned in the technology world before. The prototype, which has been named Obake, looks to bring even more touch to the touchscreen — using actuators, depth cameras, a projector, and a silicone screen to make pinch-to-zoom and other gestures a 3D reality.
The silicon display is supposed to mimic the fluidity of water whilst still allowing the gestures to create geometric shapes. Due to the large set up needed to create this dimension, it’s unlikely we will see this on the next smart phone, but it is likely to become a create concept for 3D displays in tourist attractions and educational purposes.
Check out the video below to see the set up behind the magic and see the “screen” in action.
You can always count on technology to move faster than we can handle and just as we thought we were getting the hang of what 4K is all about, the upgrade has already begun to stir interest.
With 4K technology only just becoming included in specs for most visual equipment, it’s surprising to think that experts are already talking about doubling such a high quality resolution but 8K has been predicted to be in regular use by 2020.
By regular of course, we don’t mean all your living rooms will be filled with such high definition, as the screen would need to be huge. Otherwise known as Ultra HD, 4K refers to a resolution of around 4,000 pixels in width and 2,000 high, creating a size equivalent to four HD screens. The amount of content available is still lacking and therefore some films that have been shot digitally do not reach their full potential on the screen.
The 7680×4320 resolution expected of 8K has already been achieved in certain technology, such as JVC’s E-shift projection which doubles the resolution from a 4K device and has been used recently in flight simulators. As this evolution in resolution proves, it’s vital to future proof your system as the modern age is no longer an era where old and new technology can integrate with ease. Due to its larger need of bandwidth, use fibre optic cabling to allow for this expansions and look out for scalers and players upgrading (for example, Sony have already realised a BluRay player than can upscale to 4K).
To future proof your system, use 4K now and use fibre optic cabling (HDCP over fibre optic is still being worked on) to allow for larger bandwidth in the future. Content for 4K is currently very slim, so compatibility is currently a slight issue with content having to be scaled down for say, a BluRay player. Large format displays are bound to appreciate this advancement with 8K having the capabilities of stretching across say, an outdoor surface 300 feet wide. Although it may seem like something too far in the future, it’s likely manufacturers will start to embrace the Ultra HD tendencies, so we thought we’d give you the heads up.
A chart showing the differences between resolutions.
This may be the third NEC Showcase; however it is also apparently the largest with almost 1,000 visitors and this year we were one of them. The O2 arena was crowded as suppliers, partners and techies passed through the darkened maze, augmenting the bright future of technology. The arena was conveniently separated into nine zones: DOOH; Education; Professional Office; 3D and Leisure; Innovation; Colour; Healthcare; Transport and Retail, keeping the visitors on their toes with what there was to see.
NEC’s big name partners such as Intel, Smart and U-Touch amongst others were displaying throughout the zones, with eye catchers of the day including Wonderworks 3D ‘Pepper Ghost’ holographic display to welcome guests at the entrance. Another large display was a dome projection of the night sky, however not all products were lucky enough to have the space to show off, due to such popularity this year.
After attending the showcase, it’s just more proof that audio-visual is getting closer to world domination, especially seeing as the Transport and Retail zones were only debuting this year and are still full of innovation. There is so much to cover, so keep an eye out for particular products that caught our attention on the blog.
WELCOME TO OUR WORLD
Find out more about our unique approach to all aspects of audio visual.