QF Industry Watch
Microsoft will be supporting a number of new high-speed digital transfer methods in the next version of Windows. The new methods will make use of a number of existing broadcast infrastructures--such as cable, digital satellite, and the Internet MBONE (multicast backbone) to broadcast multimedia content at higher speeds than currently available over the Internet. The broadcast concept, in which a large number of clients receive the same data at the same time (similar to ordinary TV) will help to relieve the bandwidth bottleneck that currently plagues Internet servers; unfortunately, it won't allow the click-and-go convenience that Web surfers have come to expect.
For 20 years, the Japanese have virtually monopolized all aspects of electronic imaging technology with their CCD image sensors. But new image-sensor technology licensed to a California company may soon change that.
NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a new image-sensor technology called active pixel sensors (APS) and has licensed it to Photobit, a camera-development company founded in 1995. The company claims that APS image sensors have significant advantages over the Japanese-built CCD image sensors now used in almost all camcorders, digital cameras, and scanners. These advantages include lower cost, lower power consumption, electronic zoom, pan and tilt functions, and easier miniaturization for products that use APS.
Photobit plans to release its first APS product, a color imaging chip, in the first quarter of 1997. The chip will have digital output and on-chip image command, control, auto-exposure, shuttering, and other camera features.