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Microsoft Patent Describes a Persistence of Vision Augmented Reality Display

Microsoft has filed a patent for a new type of mixed-reality head-mounted display (HMD) called a Persistence of Vision Augmented Reality Display. The display uses movable screens to simulate a 360 degree field of view. These screens can rotate back and forth, spin around a user's head, or spin in front of the user's eyes. The device isn't guaranteed to ever see the light of day, but hopefully some of the ideas make it into other products.

Microsoft's patent FIG. 4A below illustrates a movement based display device with a movable member configured to rotate about a user's head; FIG. 4B illustrates a movement based display device with a movable member configured to reciprocate in front of user's eyes; FIG. 4C illustrates a movement based display device with movable members configured to spin in front of the user's eyes

Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 3:17 PM (CDT)

NVIDIA Ending Driver Support for 3D Vision, Mobile Kepler-Series GeForce GPUs

NVIDIA has published two new support entries revealing the fate of its 3D Vision technology and Kepler notebook GPUs. After Release 418 in April 2019, GeForce Game Ready Drivers will no longer support NVIDIA 3D Vision. ("Those looking to utilize 3D Vision can remain on a Release 418 driver.") Critical security updates for mobile Kepler-series GPUs will also cease by April 2020.

Game Ready Driver upgrades, including performance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes, will be available for systems utilizing mobile Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing-series GPUs for notebooks, effective April 2019. Critical security updates will be available on systems utilizing mobile Kepler-series GPUs through April 2020. Game Ready Driver upgrades will continue to be available for desktop Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, Volta, and Turing-series GPUs.

Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 10:10 AM (CDT)

Highlights of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Presentation at Mobile World Conference

CNET has released a highlights video of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 presentation at the Mobile World Conference. The video shows some of the forward thinking solutions that Microsoft engineers have been working on for years to make working with holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

Microsoft says the new and improved HoloLens 2 makes manipulating holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:51 PM (CST)

Comcast Sets Default Xfinity Mobile PIN to 0000 and Fraudsters Jump for Joy

According to the Washington Post, Comcast extolled the advantages of setting the default PIN on Xfinity Mobile phone service accounts to 0000 as a convenience for its customers. "Comcast's help site for switching carriers suggests this is to make things easier: 'We don't require you to create an account PIN, so you don't need to provide that information to your new carrier.'" Comcast's policy combined with information garnered from past non-Comcast data breaches made life much easier for hackers and identity theft fraudsters. Xfinity Mobile customer Larry Whitted detailed his experience of someone hijacking his phone number, porting it to a new account on another network, and committing identity fraud. The unscrupulous thief added Samsung Pay to the new account and Whitted's credit card. Then he used it to buy a computer from an Apple Store. Other Xfinity Mobile customers have reported the same issues. Comcast says it is working on a PIN-based solution.

After I contacted Comcast, it said it was making a fix. "We're aware of a very small number of customers impacted by this issue, but even having one customer impacted by this is one too many," a spokeswoman said in a statement. New measures that make it harder to steal phone numbers took effect shortly before I published this column. Comcast said it is also "working aggressively towards a PIN-based solution." Comcast said a fraudster still needs several pieces of customer information to port a number, including the obscure Xfinity Mobile account number that it usually requires a password to access. "We believe this has only affected customers whose passwords might have been included in previous, non-Comcast related breaches," the spokeswoman said.

Posted by cageymaru March 01, 2019 1:19 PM (CST)

Patent Suggests Future AMD GPUs Could Support Variable Rate Shading

Twitter user 0x22h spotted a patent suggesting that AMD could introduce Variable Rate Shading in their future GPUs. Nvidia's Turing architecture already supports VRS, which AMD's patent succinctly describes as "a technique for performing rasterization and pixel shading with decoupled resolution..." In other words, different parts of a scene could natively be rendered at different resolutions. Such a technique would be particularly useful with high resolution, high density displays, where rendering the whole scene at 4K might not be necessary, and it could give future consoles a higher-quality alternative to rendering games at non-native resolutions. Theoretically, it could also provide an easier way for developers to support foveated rendering in traditional displays and VR headsets that support eye tracking, and PCGamesN mentions that Nvidia already intends to use VRS for motion adaptive shading.

Nvidia's Turing GPUs, found in both the high-end RTX 2080 Ti and the lower-caste GTX 1660 Ti, uses two key algorithms to take advantage of VRS - motion adaptive shading and content adaptive shading. The use of motion adaptive shading is most obvious when applied to something like a racing game, or something like Grand Theft Auto, where there is a huge amount of motion. Things in the middle of the screen, such as the car or character, which aren't be subject to a lot of relative motion will be rendered in full. Everything else that is moving rapidly can then be rendered at a lower rate as they don't need the same level of detail. Our eyes can't perceive the pixel quality difference when they're flying past at speed anyway.

Posted by alphaatlas March 01, 2019 8:38 AM (CST)

GeForce GTX 1660 TI Analyzed

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 TI is out, and one of out favorite Scottish YouTubers has already posted an analysis of the new GPU, along with some notes about the rest of the Turing lineup. Among other things, he points out that the GTX 1660's 284mm^2 die is relatively small compared to the massive RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 TI dies. But the 1660 TI GPU is also significantly larger and faster than the GTX 1060, yet consumes almost the same amount of power under load, indicating that Nvidia have significantly improved Turing's power efficiency compared to Pascal in spite of the seemingly meager process advantage. Check out the full analysis below:
Posted by alphaatlas February 28, 2019 8:55 AM (CST)

The GTX 1660 is Rumored to Launch in Mid March

The Taiwanese news outlet DigiTimes claims that the Nvidia will launch the mid-range GTX 1660 graphics card on March 15, at a price point of $229. This more or less lines up with the latest info from our own industry sources, who claim the 1660 will launch on March 14 at that same price point. Meanwhile, DigiTimes also expects the GTX 1650 to launch on April 15th at the US $179 price point. We can't verify that particular claim yet, but the latest rumor from Videocardz indicated that the GTX 1650 would launch "next month" in late March.

With the launch of the four products bearing high price-performance ratios, Nvidia is apparently seeking to refocus its graphics card business on the medium- and low-end market in the first half of 2019 to prevent its profits from falling further and drive AMD's share in the market down to under 25% or even 20%, industry sources commented. The drastic shrinkage in demand for crypto mining graphic cards seen since the second quarter of 2018 prompted Nvidia to fast reduce its inventory in the following months, minimizing the impact on profitability. For the fiscal quarter from November 2018 to January 2019, Nvidia's revenues plunged 24% on year and 31% on quarter to US$2.205 billion, and its profits for the quarter plunged 54% sequentially and 49% on year to US$567 million.

Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 10:22 AM (CST)

Intel Teases a "Hybrid" Mobile SoC

At CES 2019, Intel previewed their upcoming "Lakefield" SoC. Unlike Intel's previous mobile designs, Lakefield uses Intel's Foveros 3D stacking technology to integrate various IPs and system memory into a diminutive 12mm x 12mm package, and mixes 4 10nm Atom cores with a single 10nm Sunny Cove core. Unfortunately, Intel didn't specify how, or if, all the logical blocks are separated at the time. My take from CES was that the small Atom Cores, the big Sunny Cove core, and the various I/O blocks would all share the same 10nm die, but the wording in Intel's latest promo video makes that assumption more ambiguous, and manufacturing different logical blocks on different processes like AMD does for their 7nm Epyc CPUs is certainly something Intel is capable of. Either way, Lakefield is likely a window into the future of Intel CPU designs, and I fully expect the chipmaker to eventually take the same "modular" approach in higher end end desktop and server CPUs. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip, and check out the latest promo video below:

This hybrid CPU architecture enables combining different pieces of IP that might have previously been discrete into a single product with a smaller motherboard footprint, which allows OEMs more flexibility for thin and light form factor design. Lakefield is expected to be in production this year.

Posted by alphaatlas February 26, 2019 9:37 AM (CST)

AMD Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 Drivers Add Support for AMD Ryzen Mobile APU's

Senior Director of AMD Software Strategy Terry Makedon has announced that Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 is out and it adds support for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 series of drivers give up to 17% average performance gains in eSports titles with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. The drivers also give up to 10% average performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics must perform a driver upgrade to AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 to retain functionality of Radeon FreeSync on Radeon FreeSync enabled system configurations. Here is the FAQ for AMD Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics and the driver support page. The drivers add support for Dirt Rally 2 and Radeon RX Vega 64 owners can experience up to 3% performance gains in the rally racing simulator. Fixed issues include: Battlefield V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived. Fan speeds may remain elevated for longer periods than expected when using Tuning Control Auto Overclock or manual fan curve in Radeon WattMan on AMD Radeon VII. ReLive wireless VR may experience an application crash or hang during extended periods of play. Zero RPM will correctly disable in Radeon WattMan on available system configurations when manual fan curve is enabled. A loss of video may be intermittently experienced when launching a fullscreen player application with Radeon FreeSync enabled.

Known Issues: Mouse lag or system slowdown is observed for extended periods of time with two or more displays connected and one display switched off. Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed. Some Mobile or Hybrid Graphics system configurations may intermittently experience green flicker when moving the mouse over YouTube videos in Chrome web browser. A work around if this occurs is to disable hardware acceleration. Radeon WattMan settings changes may intermittently not apply on AMD Radeon VII. Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

Posted by cageymaru February 25, 2019 7:42 PM (CST)

Man Gets RFID Chip Implant Live at Mobile World Congress

Edgar Pons wanted to get a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip implanted under his skin so that he can use it to unlock his door at home. He decided to get it done live onstage at the Mobile World Congress. "It is super, for me, very useful, because I have an automatic house," he said, adding he was further motivated by the fact he could "withdraw it very easily, simply making a little cut and pressing it". Alex Rodriguez Vitello, a physicist and engineer at Barcelona-based tech company Alpha, said, "The chip is the size of a grain of sand or two and it's covered in a material that is biocompatible so our body doesn't degrade it over time."

During the presentation at the Mobile World Congress, organized by Spanish bank Sabadell, a man named Pau who had already been fitted with a chip, made a payment by placing his smartphone over the skin covering the chip. "(What) we have been seeing now is what the future of payments could be," said Anna Puigoriol, a financial services manager at Sabadell.

Posted by cageymaru February 25, 2019 2:44 PM (CST)

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mega Benchmark: 34% Faster than GTX 1060 6G at 1440p

Hardware Unboxed’s latest mega benchmark pits the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti against 33 games at 1440p. Steve found the 1660 Ti performing 34% faster on average compared to the GTX 1060 6G, with significant differences in titles such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Rainbow Six Siege, and Apex Legends. While the GPU performed similarly to the GTX 1070 ("same performance"), it was 14% slower on average than the RTX 2060 and 8% slower on average than the Radeon RX Vega 56.
Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 6:00 PM (CST)

Huawei Announces the $2,600 Foldable Mate X Smartphone: It Folds Outwards!

Samsung, hold my beer: Huawei has unveiled its own vision for the foldable smartphone, the Mate X. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, Huawei’s contraption folds out on itself: "its display wraps around the outer sides of the handset when it is in a folded state." Keeping the 8-inch, 2480 x 2200 AMOLED panel and pieces together is a patented hinge with over 100 components, the "Falcon Hinge." It also supports 5G and incorporates a 4,500mAh battery.

When unfolded, it's not one uniform slab -- it's a 5.4 mm (0.21 in) thick tablet with an 11 mm (0.43 in) bulging strip located in the rightmost part of its back. It works sort of like a handle, giving you more meat to hold on to, and also houses the phone's triple camera sensor. When it folds, the "back" display meets with the bulge to make for a uniform shape all around, giving you an 11 mm (0.43 in) thick handset.

Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 10:30 AM (CST)