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RS IdeaWerk 3D printer

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RS Components has released the RS IdeaWerk 3D printer, which is claimed to cost 30 per cent less than other 3D printers in its class.

Targeting a wide range of users including electronics and mechanical engineers involved in design, prototyping and research and development, as well as enthusiasts and those in education, the new RS IdeaWerk 3D printer augments the growing range of rapid-prototyping machines now available from RS. The portfolio includes 3D printers from 3D Systems, MakerBot, BEEVERYCREATIVE and RepRapPro.

The new RS IdeaWerk employs the highly popular FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) technology and offers high-level specifications including a build volume of 150 x 150 x 140mm and a minimum layer thickness resolution of 0.18mm. The single-head system accepts 1.75mm-diameter PLA filament materials with many different colours, also available from RS.

The use of environmentally friendly PLA material means no toxicity or chemical pollution or unpleasant smells, making it highly suitable for use in the home as well as in the industrial environment. In addition, the machine’s very low print noise makes it ideal for use in the office, home or classroom.

Designed to handle the toughest print jobs and offering a robust and sturdy construction, the RS IdeaWerk is easy to assemble and use and also lightweight enough to be portable. The machine has dimensions of 211(L) x 403(W) x 298mm(H) and weighs only 7.5kg.

The RS IdeaWerk 3D printer is very easy to use and can be used in either online or offline mode, i.e. with or without a PC with connectivity via SD Card or USB. The printer is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OSs including XP, Vista, 7 and 8/8.1, with no additional software or accessories necessary.

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Big bites from Apple

Apple’s announcement advanced medical features on its new Apple Watch and a more affordable iPhone were the biggest bites from its annual product launch, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Apple’s annual early-September event kicked off with a small advance that could make a big difference: the next iteration of the Apple Watch, Series 4, with the first consumer-facing ECG monitor approved by authorities. While the overall design remains similar to its predecessors, the screen is around 30% larger than the previous version, thanks to a smaller bezel. This resulted in new categories, namely 40mm and 44mm instead of 38mm and 42mm. However, Apple Watch bands from previous generations still work with the new Apple Watch. The screen is also rounded at the corners of the display, instead of being a square display inside rounded glass. Despite all the improvements, it still weighs around 30 grams without the watch band. 

The introduction of the first consumer-facing wrist ECG (electrocardiogram) is revolutionary in the wearable space and reaffirms the Apple Watch as a device for the health conscious. The Apple Watch underwent a full internal and external redesign. Internally, the digital crown has been redesigned to be more “clicky”, with haptic feedback, and features a metal tip for use in an ECG measurement. An ECG can be taken when the user completes a circuit by placing the opposite hand’s finger on the metal tip of the digital crown. This is helpful for those who need to know when they are experiencing atrial fibrillation, an irregular beating of the heart. Fall detection has also been implemented, where a user must tap “I’m fine” after a fall, slip or trip. If the Apple Watch is still for a minute after a fall, emergency contacts are notified with a fall message and location.

Next up, the iPhone line was given an update instead of an upgrade with the iPhone XS. Last year broke the 8-year “major iPhone version followed by an S version” cycle. Apple opted to skip what would have been the iPhone 7S and released the iPhone 8. Apple also released the iPhone X for its tenth anniversary of releasing iPhones. This year, the S cycle is back. The iPhone XS sends the message that Apple is not currently concerned with cosmetic features and would rather focus on making its flagship smartphones better internally. 

The iPhone XS was released in 2 tiers, namely the 5.8″ iPhone XS and the 6.5″ iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS Max is what we know as the “Plus” range, which features a screen that’s almost an inch bigger diagonally than the iPhone XS and holds the same Super Retina Display specification, around 450 pixels per inch. Internally, the iPhone XS Max is no different from the iPhone XS apart from a larger battery.

Apple’s A12 bionic chip is not the first 7-nanometre chip to be announced in a smartphone (that was Huawei) but will be the first to reach the market. The incredible aspect of the 7nm chip is that it houses 6.9 billion transistors, which allow for 5 trillion operations to be run per second. In addition to this, a Neural Engine allocates all the processes where they fit best, either to the CPU, the GPU or processes quickly itself. This speeds the iPhone XS up by 30% compared to the iPhone X – if you are able to notice such things.

Talking pf which, thanks to the better processor, Face ID performs a lot faster. The neural engine can separate hair from the backgrounds of portrait photos. The XS also has wider stereo sound, thanks to a slight internal speaker readjustment. The screen has been optimised for Dolby Vision and HDR10 which work with the OLED screen to provide vibrant colours and distinct on-screen graphics. 

Apple left a surprise for the end of its keynote when CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPhone XR. This iPhone looks and feels like an iPhone XS at first glance, but has been stripped of some features. 

It’s interesting that Apple is not repeating its iPhone 5C mistakes with this iPhone. It uses the A12 Bionic, the same processor in the XS line, which means that the cheaper iPhone performs exactly the same as the most expensive one. The XR has an edge-to-edge display with Face ID, like the iPhone XS, but has an LCD screen instead of OLED. This would have reduced Apple’s cost per unitsubstantially. On the back, the XR sports a single camera instead of the dual camera setup in the iPhone XS. However, the iPhone XR can still do portrait mode photos, thanks to the A12 Bionic. 

Overall, it may seem as if the Apple Watch stole the show, but Apple no doubt hopes the iPhone XR will convince the market it is an affordable iPhone.

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IFA: New smartphones and TVs from Hisense

At the recently held IFA in Berlin, Hisense introduced three new smartphones and three TVs.

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Hisense provided the following information:

Phones

Among the phones unveiled at the event was the new Hisense A6, which comes equipped with two screens – one in the front and one in the back. The front screen features a bright and 6.01 inch FHD+ AMOLED display, while the one on the back has a 5.61 inch HD+ e-ink display with eye-care front light – ideal for reading e-books and performing tasks that do not need a colour display, like energy efficient internet browsing. The phone also combines a 12MP rear camera with a 16MP front camera for serious selfie fun.

Elegantly designed with 3D glass on the back and curved on four sides for a comfortable grip, the Hisense Infinity H12 Pro has an 84 inch X-Infinity Display and a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2280. It is also decked out with a dual camera, offering 12MP and 5MP rear cameras as well as a 20MP front camera with multiple shooting modes including night, indoor, snow, smiling face and panorama modes. For security, the phone can be unlocked using fingerprint identification and Face Unlock.

With a 6.19 inch HD+ X-Infinity Display, for maximum comfort while watching series or playing games on the go, the Hisense Infinity H12 is also the ideal phone for amateur photographers thanks to its dual camera with a 12MP Big Pixel and a secondary 5MP sensor. Other features include 4GB RAM and 32GB ROM which can be extended with MicroSD cards with a capacity of up to 128GB.

TVs

Visitors to IFA Berlin got to see Hisense’s new 75 inch U9D TV.  Its 4K Quantum Dot Display, which is divided into over 5,000 local dimming zones, combined with premium backlighting (Prime Array Backlight), produces exquisite images with very deep black and bright white for an exceptional viewing experience. The U9D also has a contrast ratio of 150,000:1 and a luminance of 2,500 nits to deliver brilliant and colourful images with high-contrast that almost seem real.

Equally as impressive is the U8A which, with its Elite Backlight technology, delivers brilliant contrast values and images in a wide colour spectrum. The frameless and super slim TV also features a 4K-Quantum Dot-Display with a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Hisense introduced three of its new 4K Laser-TV models at IFA Berlin which give customers a home cinema experience thanks to their massive screens that range from 80 to 100 inches. These connect wirelessly to a console that receives, processes and displays broadcast signals via an integrated TV tuner and delivers streaming content thanks to its Smart TV platform. These TVs can be used in all lighting conditions and offer an image brightness of up to 3,000 lumens.

All of the TVs feature a smart VIDAA U user interface that can be easily personalised – giving viewers extra fast access to their preferred TV station or films from their favourite streaming service.  It also comes with a remote control for easy use.

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