Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies brought back to the big screen the most successful movie musical of all time- the story of the 1950’s – Grease. Ted Mankiewicz, host of the television program TCM, in his introduction to the Grease Sing-A-Long that went with the movie event, invited the audience to experience again the story of teenage sweethearts played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. For those who ask for “Tell me more” and recognized the many hits songs in the movie, the fun in this out in public with a large group event, was the collective singing along in the theater. Grease boasted a world-famous soundtrack including “Greased Lightning’” “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “Beauty School Drop Out” most of which the audience had a good memory for the lyrics to sing along.
But Grease is not a concert film based on hit songs, it is also a love story and is filled with the dancing modernized but paying respect to the classic musicals of the Black & White film era. The film was an introduction to the world of singing and dancing for a new generation. As John Travolta explained in one of his interviews many years after the film was made, there was natural formula that actors in the 1950s that included singing and dancing. That is why he was able to quickly transition and continue to integrate acting, dancing and singing in his roles, in some memorable scenes as the batman dance with Uma Turner in Pulp Fiction.
It is interesting that Olivia Newton-John was an accomplished teenage singer prior to the film and that she first resisted to take a role in the movie. As she is an exceptionable singer who has her own show in Las Vegas, and until those days of filming the movie Grease, she was not that good of the dancer. The director who wanted her to play character of Sandy made things work. In the scene of vibrant, dynamic dance during the graduation event Sandy broke up with John for a moment and her side replaced some other female dancer.
Grease is fun to watch as the movie is like a glimpse of culture, fashion, hair style of 50s along with the singing-a-long with the stars. It was a full audience participation and group event, and experience that you cannot obtain on VOD at home or on a mobile device – somethings are meant for the collective energy of a group to enjoy, and a fun, light music filled film is one of them.
The Grease Sing-A-Long Deluxe Edition will be available on Digital HD later this summer, invite some friends over and try to recreate the theater experience on a small scale.
Great cast, brilliant dialog and lively scenes fill the new Paul Weitz film “Grandma”. Grandma Elle (played by Lily Tomlin) and her granddaughter Sage (played by Julia Garner) spend the day trying to collect some money for helping resolve an unexpected incident that Sage got into. Unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets while they go about solving their situation.
Paul’s Weitz new movie proves that a cinema still can be attractive based on the compiling story and dialog instead of just special effects. The story deals with women and social issues with a lightness that makes the audience laugh sometimes while highlighting the issue at hand, but always leaves the audience waiting for the next scene. Lily Tomlin is wonderful in the seasoned role of grandma. In complement is Julia Garner who is a raising star in her acting career, in the role of the granddaughter.
What I liked about the movie, is that it is taking you on the journey through the back door of the experience by telling you up front what is an issue but leading you through the unexpected alleys and uncovering the secrets of the human relationships that lead up to that experience.
The film opens August 28 at Century 9 and Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco; opens September 4 at Landmark Albany Twin in Albany, Century 16 in Pleasant Hill, Landmark Guild in Menlo Park, Cinema 7 in San Jose and Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
August 2015 – One of the major announcements at this year’s IDF was the availability and applications of the Realsense stereo 3D camera system in modules, tablets, and laptops. The technology was featured in a large section of the conference area and the display areas.
Targeting consumer applications, they were showing off the speed and accuracy of the technology with a couple of different exhibits. One was a 3D printing demonstration. It featured taking a 360 degree Stereo 3D photo of a person’s head, and then in real time transferring it to a 3D laser printer. The printer carved the image into a block of Lucite and producing an embedded 3D likeness of the person. The demonstration was so popular that they had to go to rotating time and call back system to get the images taken and printed. While the image capture is fast, under a couple of minutes, the laser printer averages about 20-25min per print which is what caused the queue for the demo.
One of the other heavily attended demo was a mirror with the integrated RealSense camera. The camera would take a 3D image of the person in front of the mirror. The mirror is actually a half mirrored display that can then superimpose jewelry on the person in the mirror. The system allows for the selection of earrings and necklaces on the people in the mirror. This system was very quick on setup – under 1 minute and very responsive to movement. The system is a prototype and had some challenges if there was more than 1 person in the view of the camera, but on the whole it worked well.
There were a number of other RealSense applications targeted at consumers being shown highlighting the measurement capabilities, depth & relative location capabilities, and virtual showroom/furniture capabilities. These have been shown in prior shows, and second generation software was the main display for these technology applications.
July 2015 – At the IMEC Technology Forum prior to the start of Semicon West 2015, President Luc Van Den Hove started his presentation with bringing the times when the servants were on service for rich people. They were “invisible” eyes and hands that were ready for any request. Today, the role of technology is to take that place. Just like the servants years ago nowadays technology has to learn how to become smarter and serve the needs of people better. The only difference he said, is that instead of creating a comfortable living for just a few people, technology can make many people on our planet happy and comfortable.
One of the groups that really see the changes in their standard of living by using technology in the form of electronics devices, are senior citizens. The market for wearables is going to reach $80B USD by 2020. A heavy focus of the market will be on that segment. It is important that the use of wearables fade into our life and be se seamlessly integrated, intuitive and minimally simple. IMEC’s advanced wearable solutions laid the foundations for the creation of intuitive environments. They are bridging the technology gaps in the platform of sensors by evolving them from being just smart to being intuitive. In concluding on the sensors, he stated that in order to serve properly, the sensors have to be: invisible, low cost, ultra-low power, manage multiple parameters and be accurate in normal operation. As an example Mr Van Den Hove described the use of wearables that have utilized IMEC technology as such: a textile-integrated health patch, an EEG platform that provides quality and comfort for users, the Samsung Simband with IMEC Sensing Technology and the Embracelet taking a role of a personal assistant for the elderly.
The presentation continued to show that the logical extension to the use of those technology will be heading in the direction of context-aware sensing & smart personalized algorithms. These will require seamless heterogeneous wireless connectivity that includes cloud communication that will be driving the evolution of higher data rates with short latency. This will create an infrastructure-centric communication environment that is supported by “zero” maintenance along with both data and connection safety and security. To help support this trend, IMEC has developed technology for software reconfigurable radios for 4G and 5G cellular use as well as radios for zigbee and smart metering WiFi sensors. The person-centric communication environment is evolving towards lower power data transfers that the resulting big data & analytics. As a side light at the presentation they showed advancement in the area of data and low power communication was the IMEC developed world’s lowest power BLE solution.
As we know happy people worry less. The presenter observed that technology does not solve some of the societal stress factors such as money, work or economy. Technology however, is definitely helpful to address and solve some of concerns related to health problems. Advance technology development for the investigation of cancer issues range from electronics for the separation and identification of cancer cells to combating metastatic cancer. IMEC is bridging the technology gaps required by the creation of high-throughput high-content cell screening. As an example they showed a solution developed with Nano-electronics that sorts 20 million cells/sec and classifies them in real time at the rate of 2000 images/sec. Transportation is another are that technology has put its footprint on, and is being used to address a holistic approach to the field. The Holy Grail, of course are autonomous cars that can operation in the cross paths of safety, comfort and efficiency. But autonomous driving would not be gaining momentum nor achieve ubiquitous use, without low-cost mass-produced radars. Technology is heading towards the production of high performance radars in a single CMOS chip. IMEC presented the world’s first high-resolution 79GHz CMOS radar module. Another step towards bridging the required technology gaps is the creation of new user interfaces. These include a 3D vision skin and the use of acoustic holograms. Searching into nature, researchers chose to mimic the view seen in the eye of a fly and combine it with echo-location. This has created a vision and ultrasound system integrated in flex 3D vision skin. The skin is composed of arrays of thin-film photodetectors & piezo-electric devices & with distributed control electronic.
Next part of the presentation of Mr Van Den Hove focused on sources and technology for renewable energy. Solar photovoltaic PV conversion outputs for silicon solar cells are currently efficient to rates below an average of 20%. For energy storage, solid-state Li-Ion batteries are required to be compact, safe, high power & have a high energy density. New technology is working on 3D solid-state batteries where the challenges are to create them to be fast, reliable and safe charging. The future that will use these technologies is being driven by smart cities heading towards the design and building of net zero-energy buildings. To help address this, IMEC has developed a solar cell that has a World-record efficiency of 22.5% with an N-pert silicon solar cell. Final food production was addressed as an area that will require a activity and high attention. IMEC has created solutions including compact hyperspectral imaging electronics and cameras that can be attached to the drones. These imaging solutions are being used in inspection of the food on the field to help increase yield from the crops.
At the North America Intersolar Conference that took place in San Francisco, LG Electronics announced the innovative solar system LG NeON2 that will be available in US in August 2015. The LG NeON 2 was already awarded last month with the Intersolar Europe Photovoltaic Award. It is equipped with their newly developed “Cello” technology. “Cello” stands for Cell Connection, Electrically, Low Loss, Low Stress and Optical Absorption Enhancement.
During the press conference David Cheng, Senior Product Manager identified four (4) big improvements that come with the LG NeON 2 technology: increased reliability, upgraded durability, enhanced performance and improved efficiency in space management. The innovative cello technology utilizes 12 connection wires instead of just 3 busbars, which was the technology used in the previous LG solar panels. The new wiring design allows the panels to utilize scatter light more effectively for better absorption, while reducing the electrical loss by spreading the current over 12 cell busbars. As a result, of the improved temperature handling and power distribution, the LG NeON 2 can generate more electricity on a sunny day and performs better on cloudy days than prior panels. Whereas conventional p-type silicon modules suffer from Light Induced Degradation, the NeON 2 modules use n-type silicon material and uses the Multi–Wire Busbar cells for increased performance and reliability. This combination allow the annual degradation to be reduced by a up to 2 percent the first year and not more than 0.6 percent per year in the following 24 years. In addition they re-manufactured the design to give it a reinforced frame. As a result LG has extended the product warranty up to a 12 full years.
In San Francisco LG presented the flagship NeON 2technolgy that is available as a 320W residential panel. This product is ideal for the homeowner who wants to maximize the energy production potential within a limited roof space. Along with the residential product they introduced the Mono X NeON 72, well suited for commercial applications. Two models of the Mono X NeON 72 are designed to deliver outputs of 360 and 365 watts, in 72 cell 77-inch by 39-inch panel. This new series builds on the success of LG’s award winning 60-cell Mono X NeON panel.