NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Fantastic Sand Dunes Of Mars

Space exploration is a fascinating subject which encompasses a wide selection of avenues which include the search for other life forms to new discoveries both concerning known and also unknown distant plants. NASA has recently released images from the Curiosity Mars rover which show a fantastic selection of images of Sand Dunes from the red planet.

Below is a selection of images of Sand Dunes which have been both snapped and also transmitted back by Curiosity, it conveys an extremely steep surface where “cascading sand has sculpted very different textures”  Researchers are implementing the rover with the aim of examining examples of the Bagnold Dunes, “this is a band of dark sand dunes lining the northwestern flank of Mt. Sharp”. 

The Curiosity rover “conveys the downwind side of a dune at around about 13 feet high within the Bagnold Dunes field on Mars”. Below is an image which really does capture both the steepness and also the varying textures, The mission’s dune-investigation campaign is designed to increase understanding about how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth”

Below is another incredible image, the Curiosity rover has been stationed on Mars since August 2012 and had managed to reach the base of Mount Sharp in 2014. This image was also taken from the “telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this reveals fine details of the downwind face of Namib Dune. Sand on this face of the dark dune has cascaded down a slope of about 26 to 28 degrees”.

 

It’s certainly impressive and what space discoveries are all about, it also makes you wonder what else will be found within the near future, perhaps there really is life on Mars, if not, the advancement within this area of tech will make it a possibility of deeper and more detailed space exploration.

Japan Display Conveys Prototype 8K Screen Within a 17-inch LCD

Recent years have seen a substantial improvement of resolution within screens at a price point which has dropped significantly, from average consumer availability of 1080p Televisions to the new breed of 4K sets which are pushed to market at a decent price compared to previous developments. But as we all know, 4k is not good enough, we want even higher res, well some of us, for me, computer games and films benefit from the increased detail level, but I am sceptical when the time comes to implement a higher detail level for day-to-day TV.

Another disadvantage is in the form of a gigantic screen which is needed for 4K or even 8k viewing, well, maybe not considering a company by the name of “Japan Display” have announced plans for a 17.3 inch 8K screen. According to the prototype specs, this innovation runs at a smooth yet fast response rate of 120Hz with resolution stats of 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H) pixels. The display itself is a familiar Liquid Crystal Display (LCS) module and is “based on low temperature poly silicon (LTPS) technology with true 8K pixels (RGB stripe arrangement), thus realizing high-definition (510ppi) images”

The compact yet powerful nature of the screen holds potential uses which include implementations within the medical environment and also fun aspects that include game and video image production. Below is a display image of the likely vision of the product and also full details of the prototype specs.

Display Mode LTPS TFT, transmissive IPS mode
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3-inch (43.9cm)
Resolution format 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H)
Pixel density 510ppi
Luminance 500cd/m2
Contrast ratio 2000:1
Viewing angle >176degree(CR>100:1)
Frame rate 120Hz

The display will be exhibited at the “NHK/JEITA booth on October 7 – 10, 2015 during CEATEC JAPAN 2015 held at Makuhari Messe, Japan, in collaboration with NHK”.

One can only wait for further details of this exciting innovation in display technology, although, god only knows as to the price point which JDI have in mind, hopefully it will be reasonable, wait!, who am I kidding, you would probably need to sell a kidney for one of those. Sounds funny now, but remember those reports which circulated in 2012 which stated that a Chinese student sold an organ for an iPad, so no one do that.

Thank you j-display for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of sunetfon       

Wandering Around a Rendered USS Enterprise In Unreal Engine 4

Technology has provided a platform for many fan made creations which have risen to prominence over the years, from intricately detailed worlds in Minecraft to imaginative landscapes which have garnered a huge following. Star Trek is one such Sci Fi phenomenon which has certainly given rise to its fair share of individually constructed projects, well, a talented individual has taken his obsession for the famous Enterprise to a whole new creative level.

The project in question is by the name of “The Enterprise Construction Project” and is the brain child of an extremely creative 3D artist by the name of “Jason”. His target goal is to construct all 42 decks of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D in the Unreal Game Engine 4”  Below is the video which, as you can see is both lovingly and exquisitely rendered, so much so that the artist states the following,

Creating all of them will be a daunting task. I have compiled a large archive of reference from production drawings, set blueprints, official blueprints, and of course meticulous screen captures of the HD Blu-ray versions of the episodes.”

It’s astonishing to imagine the lengths which have been planned to obtain such an extensive reference list of materials with the aim of replicating the finer details.

https://youtu.be/uK9ijZeHWjI

Below is two screenshots of the level of detail which have been conveyed within this model, the luminosity of the planet/star and the fluid movement of the Asteroids capture the imagination of the viewer.

It is certainly impressive considering one person has achieved this level of detail, the textures and visual representations are immersive and according to the website, Jason’s main objective is to ” create the entirety of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D in the Unreal Game Engine. The Enterprise would serve first and foremost as a virtual museum. Every deck and room can be explored” Other potential phases include a “populated ship containing Federation citizens and Starfleet” and also “Different Planetary Systems.”

It’s a fascinating and fabulous project which has the potential for wider exposure within many outlets while keeping fans entertained.

Thank you roadtovr and enterprise3dproject for providing us with this information.

Take A Gander At the Worlds First Ultra HD Player

The explosion of online HD and 4K downloaded content has rendered the typical DVD and Blu-Ray player in many respects obsolete, Samsung hope not and they have unveiled the world’s first Ultra HD player at the IFA show in Berlin.

So, what does this player have to offer? The image detail is rather impressive and offers four times the resolution of Blu-ray and 64 times as many colours. There is no detail on price, but I would have thought it would have to be competitive and comparable in relation to other tech for it to be successful. The player also has a curved design which integrates with its brand of TVs and it also includes a number of UHD streaming services. Below is an image to convey the new player, as you can see, they look stylish to a point.

Samsung has also announced that its new 4K Televisions will be the first to upgrade to the new standard HDMI 2.0a, this is essential to be able to receive the information from the Ultra HD players.

It will be interesting to see how this player is received by early adopters of this tech, are consumers interested in buying a standalone player instead of an all in one piece of tech i.e. computers. Other info includes Fox studios who are committed to releasing a cache of upcoming movies in Ultra HD, which includes Fantastic Four, Maze Runner, Kingsman: The Secret Service and more.

Samsung hopes to launch this player in the first half of 2016.

Thank you engadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of pc world

Gorgeous New GTA Mod In The Pipeline Offers Fantastic Visuals

GTA Mods are fantastic in offering players a creative, dynamic and detailed adventures with which to explore using the full powerful potential of PC gaming. This time around a new work in progress mod by the name of the Toddyhancer by Martin Bergman conveys stunning visuals which will certainly please fans of the series.

Below is a video which illustrates the very much rough test mod in action, as you can see, it’s still needs tweaking and improving considering there looks to be lighting issues which have been picked up by users.  The detail within the scenery and vehicles looks fantastic, it certainly pushes the feeling of immersion to a whole new level.

Below is another viewpoint of the mod in the form of a screenshot, Mods are known for taking a while to fine tune and creator Martin Bergman recommends that players “not go crazy” with this mod, yep, good luck with that.  He has also noted that “Its just Reshade Shaders, ENB series, simple tweaks and some tonemapping with class!”  The Mod will also in all probability won’t be compatible with GTA V Online, this is due to developer Rockstar who have taken a hard-line with modding where online use is concerned.  This is a shame as creativity should be encouraged not demonized.  

Mods are a fantastic way for fans and creative minds to recreate visuals that glossy company promotions fail to deliver.  We as gamers are told within the latest advert that these graphics will blow your shocks off, only to notice in the bottom right hand corner a sentence in size 2 font which states “these visuals are not representative of in-game footage” Do you know what really grinds my gears? the let down when you carefully place the disc into the drive only to be disappointed, I have never been let down with any title in the GTA series, but some games turn out be, well, just awful.

Hopefully this project will develop into something with even more visual eye candy.

Thank you extremetech for providing us with this information.

AMD Says Nvidia Sabotaged Witcher 3 Performance

There was an internet war  earlier this week as gaming fans decided that, once again, Nvidia’s GameWorks technology was messing with the performance of its games on AMD hardware.

At first it was the racing game, Project Cars that attracted the attention of the vast Reddit community, with people stating that the game is built on a version of PhysX that doesn’t work on AMD hardware.

In response, AMD’s corporate VP of alliances Roy Taylor responded with a tweet, saying “Thank for supporting/ wanting an open and fair PC gaming industry.”This was  followed by a Reddit reply from Nvidia’s GameWorks director Rev Lebaredian, saying that “PhysX within Project Cars does not offload any computation to the GPU on any platform, including NVIDIA. I’m not sure how the OP came to the conclusion that it does, but this has never been claimed by the developer or us; nor is there any technical proof offered in this thread that shows this is the case.”

With complaints flowing in, Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios joined the ongoing battle, and proceeded to place the blame for the game’s issues squarely on AMD. “We’ve provided AMD with 20 keys for game testing as they work on the driver side,” said Ian Bell. “But you only have to look at the lesser hardware in the consoles to see how optimised we are on AMD based chips.”

Whilst AMD seems to have made up with Slightly Mad Studios, the company is facing yet another supposedly GameWorks-related struggle with CD Projekt Red’s fresh release The Witcher 3. The game makes use of several GameWorks technologies, one of  which adds tens of thousands of tessellated hair strands to characters, dramatically decreases frame rate performance on AMD graphics cards, sometimes by as much as 50 percent.

A developer from the company stated :

“Many of you have asked us if AMD Radeon GPUs would be able to run NVIDIA’s HairWorks technology—the answer is yes! However, unsatisfactory performance may be experienced, as the code of this feature cannot be optimized for AMD products. Radeon users are encouraged to disable NVIDIA HairWorks if the performance is below expectations.”

AMD make it sound that Nvidia isn’t willing to share the source code for its proprietary graphics APIs like HairWorks and HBAO+. Without that source code, AMD can’t optimize its drivers for Nvidia’s tech. Nvidia responded to the claims and refused to go along with the argument that access to source code would solve AMD’s problems.

You can disable the HairWorks feature to return your frame rate, but obviously, you will lose some of the phenomenal detail.

Thank You to arstechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of GameSpot

Sony Receives Four IF Design Awards for 2015, One of Them for the Xperia Z3

Sony Mobile seems to have gained four IF Design Awards for 2015. The awards were given out to Sony’s Xperia Z2, the SmartWatch 3, LifeLong app and the Xperia Z3.

Sony’s Xperia Z2 appears to have been appreciated for its rounded corners and light weight, making the slate easy to handle. Another key feature for its awards was the minimum number of components used, the water and dust proofing, as well as attention to detail, receiving the IF Design Award 2015, Discipline Product – Gold.

“It is particularly difficult to stand out with a product like a tablet – but exactly this was achieved with the extremely flat Xperia Z2. The rounded edges and the ultra-light weight (only 439 grams) make the Z2 particularly easy to handle. The amount of components has been reduced to a minimum; details such as the connection of frame and back are excellently executed – furthermore, the Z2 is water and dust proof. The result is an honest, outstanding device.”-IF Design Jury

Sony also received IF Design Awards last year for its Xperia Z Ultra phablet, Sony SmartWatch 2, Sony Xperia C, Bluetooth Handset SBH52, and Xperia Z1 Compact.

Thank you PhoneArena for providing us with this information

Sony Announces Specs for Project Morpheus VR Headset

With all the buzz regarding Virtual Reality gear, Oculus Rift seems to take the prime stag, having released a lot of information, plans and what consumers would expect from it once it will be released as a final product. However, there is still Sony’s Project Morpheus to take into account, but given that nothing but rumours were heard about it, focus was still on the Oculus Rift. That is, up until now.

Sony apparently has officially announced some of its VR headset specs, teasing fans with what should they expect when the manufacturer’s headset finally hits the market. The manufacturer apparently points to a 5″ panel, boasting a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, 60 frames per second and a field of view of up to 100°, though most likely it will be 90° as a start.

However, considering that the headset will most likely be used for the PlayStation 4, things don’t quite add up. The majority of games for the next-gen consoles are not even playable on full HD, yet alone at a frequency as high as 60 Hz. Not to mention the FOV, which most likely will require a lot of processing power in order to render.

Anton Mikhailov, an engineer from the Magic Lab in the PlayStation R&D could shed some light on this problem with the following statement:

“Frame rate and latency should have really high priority, much more so than […] now when you make a game, you can sort of say, ‘Oh, I’m going to choose to do a 30fps game because it’s more cinematic,’ or whatever, or, ‘I’m going to cram more graphics into it. In VR, it’s not really a choice. You have to go at least 60, preferably higher. It’s kind of a new bar. There are new rules you should obey as a developer. Frame rate and latency are really, really important. […] There is definitely a graphical limit that you can’t go lower than”.

From the following statement, it seems that game developers are required to focus more on frame rate and smooth gameplay rather than detail. The question is whether virtual reality at the expense of stunning detail would really be worth it.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown