Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Single light wave flashes out from fibre laser

Super-short light pulses marks a milestone in optical technology (Image: Kim Steele/Getty)

A long-elusive goal of physics has been reached – producing a pulse of light so short that it contains just a single oscillation of a light wave.
The flashes are almost as short as a light pulse can be, according to the laws of physics. The new super-short pulses could used as flashguns to sense very small, very fast events such as a single photon interacting with a single electron, says Alfred Leitenstorfer of the University of Konstanz in Germany. A single-cycle pulse packs in energy more densely than a pulse containing more wave peaks and troughs.
They could also show the way to boosting data transmission through fibre-optic cables, by shrinking the minimum amount of light needed to encode a single digital 1 or 0.
Leitenstorfer's group shunned the crystalline lasers typically used by physicists looking to make super-short light pulses and used optical-fibre lasers and wavelengths of light like those standard in telecommunications.....

Monday, 21 December 2009

Project Natal's Critical Flaw Is Lag?

When Matt and I demoed Project Natal at E3, we were both pretty impressed. But there was one tiny quirk that we both noticed: lag.
I say "quirk" because it wasn't some sort of painful, game-ending problem. But when steering with a virtual wheel during the Burnout demo, both of us noted that the controls weren't quite laser-responsive. Yes, the system was accurate, but an ever-so-slight delay to the movement caused us to question whether it could be used for hardcore gaming apps.
Now, Jon Burton, director of Traveller's Tales (makers of all those LEGO titles), has confirmed that "Lag on the input and lack of physical buttons is really going to restrict the kind of games that can be done [for Project Natal]."
Burton believes that Sony's very different motion controller (which blew us away in terms of response and sub-millimeter accuracy) holds more promise.
From what I can tell at this stage, not having used Sony's controller yet, I do think that Sony will succeed where Microsoft fails—aiming in an FPS will probably work better on the motion-controlled PS3 than it will a 360 with Natal. But I still think Natal has a lot of promise beyond motion control alone, namely that you could use a standard 360 controller AND Natal to have a camera track your head while an analog stick aims the gun.
Burton's comment is just more confirmation that Sony is making the ultimate Wiimote and Microsoft, for better or worse, is banking on the ultimate EyeToy. Meanwhile, I can only expect Nintendo to complete this ouroboros by licensing the current 360 controller along with Halo franchise rights. [Play via Maxconsole]

New PS3 Ads Celebrate the Simple Pleasure of Beheading an Inlaw

If this PS3 ad were a bit more honest, it might read, "Destroy 7000 enemies along with your relationship with your wife."

By Mexican ad agency Diagonal, this new series of posters are part of Sony's latest, slightly less esoteric branding initiative for the PS3 in which the console actually does things rather than, I dunno, whatever we call this (NSFW) or even this.

I'm not sure the ads are completely clear to those who don't know the PS3's function set to begin with, and frankly, I prefer watching 30 seconds of art to a spokesperson listing a product's merits. But then again, I'm not a Sony shareholder.

Titan Robot @ Gitex Tech Week in Dubai

For people afraid of the impending machine takeover, this demonstration won’t be helping their sleep any. This things moves around the crowd autonomously while interacting and singing little musical numbers. My question is why do they have to make it look so evil.