Sharp boldly goes after Star Trek

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 1994, 12:00am

DEVOTEES of Star Trek will be familiar with the teleport system which transferred Captain Kirk, Mr Spock and the rest of the crew from one place to another, instantly.

Last week Sharp Corporation showed off its own 'teleport' system in Hong Kong - although it has been formally launched only in Japan so far - which uses a modem connected to a ViewCam video camera to send and receive real-time full colour images over a telephone line.

The presentation was held at the Sharp Dealers Convention '94at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Most attention was focused on the third-generation ViewCam with its modem link-up, and the pen computer 'Zaurus' personal digital assistant (PDA) - also only available so far in Japan - which can be fitted to a modem and used as a facsimile machine.

'Very soon digital cellular phones will be equipped with such ViewCam or Pen-comm features, and can be used as a complete terminal of multipurpose personal equipment, so called PDA,' Mr Kazuo Sasaki, managing director of Sharp's local-based firm, Sharp-Roxy (HK) Ltd, told the convention.

The original ViewCam - using a large liquid crystal colour monitor and 180 degree swivelling handle - revolutionised videocamera use and left competitors rushing to provide similar features back in 1992.

Its easy-use record and playback, using the LCD monitor, and additional use as a conventional television- when connected to a special tuner pack - proved a big hit worldwide.

The new ViewCam Teleport has been launched along with three new ViewCam models.

Video images can be transmitted and received in just a few seconds, by connecting up the new ViewCams to the Teleport modem linked to the phone.

Two people on other sides of the world can look at each other, or at the same image together in a conversation in real time.

The system uses ordinary phone lines without modification, including the need for any new wiring.

Users can exchange still video images in full colour, including people and objects placed in front of the camera, just like conventional videophones, plus scenes already recorded on videotape.

It also allows video tele-conferencing away from the office in remote locations.

When someone is away from home, it can make video still image recordings and telephone voice recordings.

The new ViewCam models are 30 per cent smaller in size with enhanced features and performanceincluding 16-times digital zoom, when compared with the eight-time zoom or earlier models.

An instant electronic zoom makes it possible to double the size of a close-up image.

The four-inch liquid crystal display monitor now has just one per cent reflectivity, compared with the 2.4 per cent in previous models, making images easier to see.