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A "Lensless" Camera for Flat Phones?

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Caltech researchers claim to create a camera lacking one of the most basic components, the lens. Instead, the "lensless camera" uses what is dubbed an "ultra-thin optical phased array" (OPA).

Lensless cameraAccording to the researchers, the OPA does what lenses do-- manipulate incoming light-- computationally instead of optically. Whereas lenses bend incoming light to focus it on a piece of film or an optical sensor, the OPA uses an array of light receivers to add a tightly controlled time delay (or phase shift) to the light. This allows the camera to selectively "look" in different directions, and focus on different objects.

The principle is actually similar to the way phased communication arrays focus and steer radio waves in a particular direction, only in reverse.

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And the Buyer of the Toshiba Memory Unit is...

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Toshiba names a preferred bidder for the sale of its much wanted memory chip business-- a consortium bringing together the Japanese government and interests from the US and S. Korea.

Toshiba memoryThe group consists of the state-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) fund, the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) and US private equity firm Bain Capital. Also involved in financing are S. Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and the core banking unit of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. It promises to offer at least $18 billion, the minimum Toshiba is asking for the unit, and should automatically receive the Japanese government's seal of approval.

“Toshiba has determined that the consortium has presented the best proposal, not only in terms of valuation, but also in respect to certainty of closing, retention of employees, and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan,” a company statement reads.

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Hive Unveils Connected Camera

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British smart home vendor Hive is the next company to take on entry-level security with the Hive Camera, a product similar to the Nest Cam allowing users to monitor their home via companion mobile device app.

Hive CameraThe company allows for 24/7 HD streaming, and can be controlled and accessed via mobile app. It also features built-in two-way audio, motion sensor, audio detection, night vision and a wide viewing angle. Customers can have it record all movement and log time and date, which is stored locally before viewing on the app. It can also zoom in remotely and produce one of three sounds (police siren, dog bark or ringing alarm) when triggered by a user.

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The Lightning-Powered Conference Speaker

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Pioneer and Onkyo join forces to deliver the Rayz Rally-- a first Lightning-enabled speakerphone for use with the iPhone, turning it into a portable conference speaker.

Rayz RallyThe two companies claim the Rally is "loud enough to fill the boardroom." It uses the LightX platform from Avnera to minimise power drain, since it carries no in-built battery. For use, one simply needs to plug the Rally into the Lightning port, initiate calls from the device, and calls are automatically transferred to the Rally speaker.

"We worked closely with Pioneer on Rally to address the needs of today’s mobile consumers without compromising battery life, product size or performance," Avnera says. "This is made possible by the breakthrough innovations in audio, voice, speech and sensor circuits in Avnera's new LightX Platform that is the basis of Apple's second generation Lightning audio module technology."

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The Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Dock

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The next company to take on the Thunderbolt 3 docks is Kensington-- the SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is similar to other options on the market, with a variety of ports and 85W charging power.

Kensington dockThe SD5000T has a horizontal design, and offers dual Thunderbolt 3 ports for pass-through connections, DisplayPort, separate audio/out ports and a gigabit ethernet port. Also included are x1 USB-C (with 15W power) and x1 USB-A (with 2.1 amps fast charging) ports. The combination of DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 allows support for up to two 4K external displays.

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