A portable 'multimedia viewer' allows the realisation of an electronic 'newspaper' with added full motion video and sound, and points the way to a future fully interactive and highly personalised information source.
NewsPAD has demonstrated the application of emerging multimedia technologies in delivering an electronic alternative to traditional print newspapers. It uses the latest touchscreen technology for ease of operation and as a 'multimedia viewer', NewsPAD is powerful enough to render dynamically full motion video, still colour images, 'infographics' and animated information sequences, as well as conventional text and graphics. Providing readers with essentially a customisable multimedia newspaper with approximately the same portability as its traditional counterpart, NewsPAD also has added functionality, with a speaker and provision for a microphone and small colour video camera.
Although traditional newspapers are one of the few truly global mass-market products, they are essentially inefficient at delivering information - wastage is inherent as they have to cater to the different needs and tastes of a diverse readership. Electronic 'newspapers' have the advantage of allowing readers to choose only stories in areas that interest them, making the idea very popular and now that NewsPAD has shown the technological and economic feasibility, the market potential should be massive. They are also cost-effective, eliminating waste involved in printing and distribution and, by saving paper, are seen as a 'green' solution.
NewsPAD is approximately A4-sized. It has a 264 mm, high resolution (800 x 600 pixel), 32k colour SVGA (Super Video Graphics Array) active matrix LCD (liquid crystal display) panel and uses a Resistive Analogue Touch Screen for user input. Sound is in stereo at CD quality. The processing power is provided by a 35.9 MIPS, 40 MHz ARM 7500 embedded processor offering sub-microsecond response time. It has fully static operation for low power consumption, further reduced by a number of power management modes. System software and development tools include high level languages (C, C++ and debuggers); graphics rendering support covering outline anti-aliasing fonts, Bezier curve-based graphics and BITBLT (Bit Block Transfer) operation; and run-time support for Macromedia Director. It includes a number of I/O ports and interfaces and an Internet support pack is available.
The NewsPAD project aimed to develop prototypes and trial a multimedia-rich alternative to newspapers; the NewsPAD device itself is a technology demonstrator, designed to be ready for mass production. The long term aim is to provide context-sensitive and user-profile deterministic content streams coupled with thematic threading, allowing users to personalise fully the scope of their 'newspaper'.
e-mail (email removed)Tim Caspell Acorn RISC Technologies Acorn House 645 Newmarket Road Cambridge CB5 8PB UK
e-mail (email removed)
Research Area Open Microprocessor systems Initiative
Keywords : electronic newspapers; embedded processors; graphics rendering; multimedia user interface;
|Acorn RISC Technologies UK|
|Archimedes SA GR|
|Ediciones Primera Plana S.A. ES|
|Instut Catala de Tecnologia ES|
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