I'm a big fan of "German engineering"--that combined focus on power and precision that distinguishes the better automobiles designed or manufactured in Germany.
At Frankfurt's International Motor Show, BMW will be showing off two new hybrid cars intended to deliver the full promise of German engineering. This is no small thing because most hybrid cars to date have been lightly built and somewhat underpowered in order to improve fuel economy.
The two new BMWs are more like previous offerings from that company: big, solid cars with lots of power to maintain performance in spite of … Read more
In a corporate blog post this week, Microsoft Vice President Horacio Gutierrez promoted the idea of a "harmonized, global patent system," in which all the nations adopt common standards for processing and approving patent applications.
Properly done, patents approved in one country could become enforceable in other countries, as is the case with copyrights under the terms of the Berne Convention.
I really have no problem with harmonization if it is properly done, but I think it would be tremendously difficult to achieve good results. The reality of patent protection is radically different from that of copyrights because … Read more
For Release the 11th of August, AD 1909
Durant "Chevrolet" Expects 230 mpb in Town Jaunts
WARREN, Mich. - William Durant, chairman of the General Motors Company, announced to-day that his new "Chevrolet" gasoline automobile, named after famed racing-car driver Louis Chevrolet, will boast almost six times the fuel efficiency of a comparable horse-drawn carriage.
Durant attributed this remarkable figure to a … Read more
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Jerry Lewis' role in the development of "video assist" technology, the use of video technology to support film making (see "Jerry Lewis and the elusive Video Assist patent"). Lewis was credited as the inventor of video assist during the Academy Awards telecast in February, and more specifically, was said to hold a patent on the technology.
I looked for this patent because I thought it would be interesting to write about it here, but I didn't find it. After I contacted the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for help with the story, it looked too. The bottom line is that there is no such patent.
It turns out that video assist goes back to well before 1956, when Lewis claims to have invented it--as he did in a 2008 interview with Peter Bogdanovich.
Thanks to a commenter on my original post, plus some long discussions with Jim Songer, an engineer who made substantial contributions to video assist in the 1960s, I have tracked down what may be the earliest patents on video-assist technology.
But before I get into those patents, let me describe the elements of video assist technology in a little more detail.
First, video assist relates primarily to motion picture production. As the name suggests, the purpose of the video is to assist the production by allowing the director, actors, and other crew members to review what's being filmed. This can be done live, or if video recording is used, the video can be reviewed after the shot.
The ultimate implementation of video assist requires simultaneous film and video recording of the same scene with the greatest possible quality and convenience. Accordingly, both film and video recording should be accomplished with what amounts to one camera, which should meet all the other requirements for motion-picture principal photography, use the same viewfinder and all of the same controls, and work with the same lenses and lighting.
There can still be considerable value to a system that doesn't meet all these requirements. Indeed, the earliest video-assist systems were very simple.