Friday, 15 March 2013

When it comes to HDTV placement, you’ve generally faced with two options – a stand for sitting the TV in an entertainment unit or on a table, or a wall mount. With its 2013 Philips DesignLine, TP Vision is offering a third option – simply leaning the TV against a wall. When it comes to a modern minimalist look, the new Philips DesignLine takes the cake, with no visible frame or stand, it looks like nothing more than a square sheet of glass.

The Philips DesignLine TV comes from TP Vision, an Amsterdam-based joint venture between TPV Technology and Royal Philips Electronics that was established in April 2012 to develop, manufacture and market Philips branded TVs in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and selected countries in Asia-Pacific.
Coming in 46- and 55-inch screen sizes, the Philips DesignLine series sees an LCD display sitting behind the front glass sheet. The TV itself features a 1400 Hz Perfect Motion Rate and active 3D technology for Full HD 3D. It is powered by a dual-core processor powering Philips’ Perfect Pixel HD engine and boasts Micro Dimming and Local Contrast, suggesting LED backlighting.
The TVs also pack Smart TV capabilities, with built-in Wi-Fi and a remote control with pointing capability and built-in keyboard. The Wi-Fi also allows wireless streaming to and from notebooks, tablets and smartphones using the Philips MyRemote app, Wi-Fi Miracast and SimplyShare. They can also be upgraded to allow broadcast content to be streamed from a master TV to a secondary TV in the house. Philips’ Ambilight 3-sided XL is also on board, projecting colored light matching the onscreen content onto the wall above and to either side of the TV.
But it’s the unconventional styling of the TV that is likely to draw attention – even when the TV is off. Below the black of the lifeless screen, the glass is covered in a gradient black finish that changes from opaque black to transparent where the glass meets the floor.
Our only reservations are the lack of any discernible rubber stops or something similar on the bottom edge of the glass, so users may want to invest in some kind of grip – or carve a groove in the floor – to stop it sliding forward. And although the backward slant of the TV is only slight, we’d guess the viewing angle of the TV might also take some getting used to and has the potential to attract reflections from overhead lighting.
The 2013 Philips DesignLine TVs will be available in Europe and Russia in the second quarter of 2013 at an as yet undisclosed price.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Of the various effects that a stroke can have on a person, one of the most common is paralysis of one side of the body – needless to say, this has a severe impact on the victim’s ability to walk. Treatment often consists of therapists retraining the person’s body by repeatedly lifting their legs, guiding them through a proper walking pattern. The EU-funded CORBYS project aims to make such therapy easier for everyone involved by using a powered orthosis to move the patient’s legs in response to feedback from their brain.
Currently still in development, the robotic CORBYS device consists of a wheeled platform, at the front of which is a sort of exoskeleton that attaches to the patient’s legs. A pivoting attachment at the waist of that orthosis links it with the rest of the platform, but allows the patient to turn easily.
In the first phase of treatment, however, patients wouldn’t use the platform. Instead, they would have sensors placed on key points of their body, then walk on a treadmill. After observing their stroke-altered gait, a therapist would step in and manually guide their legs through a corrected walking pattern. Feedback from the sensors would be used to create a computer model of that target gait.
That model would be uploaded into the CORBYS platform, which would then use its powered orthosis to guide the patient through the proper movements, once they were “strapped in.” The patient would be free to walk around as they wished, the platform moving, turning, starting and stopping along with them, correcting their gait at the same time. As with other therapeutic exoskeletons, it wouldn’t force the patient to walk even if they didn’t want to, but would instead respond to their self-initiated movements.
The platform would incorporate several physiological sensors, including an EEG (electroencephalography) cap. Using these, the system software would be able to keep track of parameters such as heart rate, body temperature, muscle activity, and stress levels. That data would let the system know how the patient was responding to the treatment, and fine-tune it if needed – if the patient were getting particularly stressed at having to move one leg in a certain direction, for instance, the platform would temporarily ease up on that aspect of the training.
As the treatment progressed and the patient’s gait improved, the therapist could set the platform to more advanced modes, which would take the patient closer to ultimately being able to walk normally again.
Eleven research institutes in six countries are involved in the project, which is headed by Germany’s University of Bremen. The platform is expected to completed in a year, at which point human trials in Germany and Slovenia will begin. Similar systems already in use include the Lokomat and theWalkbot.
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