Tech Talk: Holodecks, XBox First Movie Premiere

AMD believes Star Trek holodecks are within reach, and the XBox gets its first Movie Premiere.

AMD: “Star Trek holodecks within reach”

About 15 years ago, I used to work for AMD – it was a great company to work for, and good thing about being “the other processor” company in the face of the behemoth Intel, was that we had a swagger that they lacked, and weren’t afraid to push the envelope a little further to grab attention. Few may remember that it was AMD who beat Intel to the world’s first GHz processor (the 1st Gen Athlon), gave The Saint a low-power processor that he could use in his Nokia Communicator phone, and most importantly, made it possible for the like of Dell to offer us, the general public, affordable computers.

So I immediately homed in on the news that AMD had got Star Trek’s Levar Burton (lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge in TNG) on-board at their latest PR stunt, speaking at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco this week.

In essence, the message was this, “We’ve gone from the flip-phone as a result of the [Star Trek] Communicator. We’ve got the Bluetooth ear device as a result of Lieutenant Uhura’s communication device. My goodness, on the Enterprise we carried pads, and now we have got tablet computers. So why not a holodeck today?”

It’s been 25 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the holodeck, a deck aboard the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D that could transform itself into any environment. AMD postulate that in a decade or two, that sci-fi fantasy could be real.

One signficant roadblock is the high computational requirement for the 360-degree imaging, directional audio, natural user interface, contextual computing, and so on that would be required to create a room that could continually change itself. AMD believe they have the building blocks to crack that in its heterogenous system architecture (HSA). A member of the HSA Foundation along with others such as ARM, TI, LG, Qualcomm, etc, AMD is working towards CPUs, GPUs, and specialized accelerators sharing and working with data residing in the same shared memory architecture.

As a firm believer in Moore’s Law (halving the cost, doubling the processing power roughly every 18-24 months), I don’t want to poor scorn on my old employer’s processing extrapolations, but I can’t help feeling that this bit of PR has missed the obvious… optics. Sadly, like 3D films and manned space travel, holographic technology has not quite moved at the same pace as our expectations. In truth, most of our limited experiences of holographic technology, are more “projection” than 3D holograms. So I’ll firm consign this claim to the file marked ‘Warp Drives, Transporters, Tractor Beams & others.’ If you’re going to wheel on a face from Trek lore, then I would confine it to tri-corders, medical diagnostics, and Federation badges with cellphones & GPS built into them…

XBox First Movie Premiere

Adam Hamdy, co-director of movie ‘Pulp’, has signed a deal to write and direct ‘Anomaly’, a science fiction thriller, for Los Angeles-based production firm Alexander Content and UK-based Dare Productions. Anomaly will become the first ever film to premiere on the Xbox platform. ‘Pulp’ itself, has recently been acquired by Microsoft. An original science fiction thriller, Anomaly tells the story of Tom Richards, a young man who wakes up in hospital after a terrible auto accident, and his quest to discover the truth about what really happened to him.

With casting set to begin shortly and principal photography scheduled for a September, 2013 start , the financing for Anomaly has been structured and secured by UK-based Smith and Williamson.  Anomaly is being executive produced by Syndicate Works principal Pat Nelson and Adam Hamdy.

Source: The Register, IMDB
GS Reporter: SilverFox

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