Eastman Kodak Company today demonstrated technology that wirelessly transmits digital still images from the just-announced Kodak mc3 to a computer that displays them on screen. The Kodak mc3 is the first portable unit that combines digital video with virtually unlimited recording, with an MP3 player and a digital still camera. The radio frequency (RF) technology is viewed as a first step to the eventual wireless transmission of high-resolution digital still pictures and video.
Today’s demonstration of the prototype RF system involved transmitting VGA quality images captured by a Kodak mc3, to a laptop in seconds. Currently images from digital cameras are transmitted to computers and other devices via cables or memory card readers.
“This demonstration is really just a peek at what Kodak is exploring with wireless especially RF technology,” said Willy Shih, president of Kodak’s Digital and Applied Imaging group. “We foresee a time when merely walking into your home will allow you to automatically beam all the images from your digital camera, to multiple devices. The pictures could go to your computer for manipulation, a television for easy viewing, a printer for prints and a ‘smart’ picture frame for continuous enjoyment. With wireless Internet access, your pictures could be transmitted directly to Internet picture storage and printing services, or simply emailed to friends and family.”
Providing a simple way to retrieve images from digital cameras has been a goal of Kodak’s Digital and Applied Imaging’s Advanced Development Center in Rochester, N.Y., for some time. Researchers there are working on a low-cost, low-power, high-speed, compact radio transceiver capable of supporting multimedia and imaging applications. The Kodak approach can download the contents of a 32 MB memory card in about 14 seconds, compared to about 6 minutes using Bluetooth, the current WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) standard. The transceiver measures only about a square inch, has a range of about 150 feet.
Kodak is active in establishing industry standards for High Rate Personal Area Networks. In collaboration with Cisco and Motorola, the company initiated the formation of an IEEE standards group (IEEE 802.15.3) to establish industry standards for low-cost high-speed wireless transmission systems for imaging applications.
“Wireless transmission has the potential to revolutionize the way we use and share our pictures,” said Shih. “You could take pictures, request prints, or email photos to friends anywhere, anytime. You could take a picture of the family at the Grand Canyon and immediately send it to friends back home, and you’d never run out of camera memory because your pictures would automatically be stored online. The possibilities are almost limitless.”