Product News

Does Goodyear Know About This?

by / February 28, 1999
Oh, the connectivity! Blimps are not solely for Superbowl stadium shots anymore. A new, smaller, computerized version can relay signals, allowing one to do computing from anywhere. It can be equipped with digital camera, laptop, and wireless modem for remote surveillance that's mobile, if not inconspicuous.

You can even float a remote-controlled blimp through your office, living room, or wherever you would want a yard-long digital balloon hanging around. It is safe and easy to fly, no experience

or pilot's license required. The blimp can hover, make turns and float from room to room.

Consisting of a 38-inch refillable metalloid nylon balloon, twin fan/receiver propulsion system and two-channel hand-held 27MHz transmitter, the blimp is propelled by two independently controlled micromotors. The engine is powered by a 3-volt lithium cell. The range is 200 feet.

Additional information is available by contacting DragonFly at 306/955-9907.

Premio Telesto 2

Telesto2 features a powerful Intel Celeron processor 300A for superior computing. The complete system, with keyboard, mouse, monitor and Windows 98, meets all the Net specifications.

It features 32MB of RAM, 3.2GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM, and built-in 16-bit sound card and video card. Its built-in network card meets all the Net PC specifications. Additional information is available by contacting Premio Computer Inc. at 800/677-6477.

Crimebusting Alliance

Several law enforcement agencies in Utah are using a new computer program, Alliance, that eliminates jurisdictional boundaries for criminals and facilitates cooperation and communication between neighboring law enforcement agencies.

When an agency wants to search another agency's database, a query is sent to a broker, which receives the query and routes it to the appropriate agency or agencies. The broker then collects the search results and sends them back to the requesting agency. Additional information is available by contacting Spillman Technologies Inc. at 435/753-1610.

Light at the End of the Presentation

MultiSync LT100 is an ultra-light projector that offers image brightness in excess of 1,000 ANSI lumens and an optional PC Card Viewer for self-contained presentations solutions.

Internal PC Card Viewer lets users create multimedia presentations and store them to a standard PCMCIA PC Card with 4MB memory capacity.

With its built-in audio capabilities, the MultiSync is an ideal presentation tool for use with DVD players, VCRs and any other video source. It measures 10 inches by 13.4 inches by 5.8 inches and weighs about 10 pounds. Additional information is available by contacting NEC Technologies at 800/NEC-INFO.

Of Pictures and Pixels

In the 19th century, the process of producing and reproducing images was mechanized and industrialized, and there was an explosion of images used in various new ways. Today, the ability to represent reality is moving from chemical processes to digital reproduction.

Much of the convenience of digital cameras comes from the fact that film isn't used. Instead, a light-sensitive computer chip captures images, eliminating film and developing costs. Additionally, digital images are fast. Converting an image to digital data, compressing it, and storing it as bits of information in internal or removable memory takes five or 10 seconds.

Light sensors capture images primarily using either a charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS). Most cameras use CCDs, but CMOS chips are easier to make and require less power. However, they often don't deliver the same image quality as CCDs. Eastman Kodak and Motorola are working together to develop an advanced CMOS imager technology.

"Advanced CMOS imagers will be mainly for high-volume, low-cost digital cameras, enabling the design of smaller, lighter cameras with longer battery life," said Jeffery Peters, general manager and vice president of Kodak's Digital and Applied Imaging Microelectronics Group.

Government agencies and companies are using digital cameras for identification, ID badges, presentations, newsletters, Web sites and information dissemination. In fact, digital cameras have become well-integrated into many government agencies such as social services and law enforcement. Digital cameras have proven a very useful tool for investigators when time plays a critical role. Photos of a fugitive or a missing child can be digitized and distributed by e-mail, fax and online. Images can be transmitted to a central station, other officers in the field or used to quickly obtain search warrants. Where consultation is needed, crime-scene images can be transmitted to experts.

Some cameras can transfer the images directly into a printer. Digital images are usually higher quality than other types. In an enlarged image, there is far less distortion than with traditional films.

Software lets the user manipulate or edit the images to improve the appearance and attach them to documents, or for posting on a Web page.

Some cameras feature built-in microphones for recording sound, and most have video-out ports to copy images to a VCR.

Most digital cameras include a liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitor to view or edit images. The LCD also acts as a display to help establish camera settings and scroll-through menu options. Image resolution is improving steadily as prices drop.

The resolution of an image refers to its sharpness and clarity and is determined by the number of pixels an image contains. The higher the resolution, the clearer the image. Today, many cameras have an image resolution of 1024x768 pixels or better. Megapixel cameras, with at least 1 million pixels, are surfacing at less than $700.

If the digital camera manufacturers continue to drop prices and raise quality, these cameras may find their way into every government agency office with a PC. The "Barbie Digital Camera," for a peculiar example, will take and store four digital photos at a time, and costs less than $70. And how often does government equipment come in bright pink?

If you have a comment about a product or service you are using -- or have a suggestion for a product news item -- please e-mail Kaveh Ghaemian at or fax 916/932-1470 with the details. Include your phone number for verification and note whether we may publish your comments.