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2009. VOL.64 NO.6

  Special Reports

High-Quality Image Technologies

High-Quality Image Technologies Leading Evolution in Visual Systems
ODAKA Toshinori

Trends in High-Quality Imaging Technologies and Toshiba's Approach
In recent years, TV sets and PCs equipped with a large display have become widespread, and there is increasing demand for higher-quality images. In response to these circumstances, it is important to create new algorithms both for coding large-volume video contents efficiently, and for increasing subjective image quality before displaying them.
Toshiba has been developing a variety of high-quality imaging technologies such as effective compression methods, resolution enhancement methods, and methods for improved smoothness of motion and contrast of objects. We are making continuous efforts to improve performance, and to produce a synergistic effect for optimal performance by integrating each method and adjusting the parameters.

Video Coding Technologies toward Next-Generation Video Coding Standardization
CHUJOH Takeshi/ TANIZAWA Akiyuki/ WADA Naofumi
Many applications using H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding), a standard for transmitting large volumes of contents efficiently with smaller data volume, have been realized in recent years. On the other hand, there is a strong need for improvements in compression performance and new video coding technologies are also being developed toward the post-H.264/AVC era.
Toshiba has developed the adaptive quantization matrix selection (AQMS) method, the block-based adaptive loop filter (BALF), and the internal bit depth increase (IBDI) method as new technologies, and has been promoting proposal activities to the Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) of the International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) for next-generation video coding standardization. These technologies are expected to contribute to the next-generation standardization.

Multiframe Super-Resolution Technology Using Subpixel-Shifted Images
TAKESHIMA Hidenori/ KATO Nobuhiro/ KANEKO Toshimitsu
When playing standard-definition video contents such as DVDs on high-definition television (HDTV) sets and notebook PCs equipped with a large, high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), the quality of the magnified video images has been insufficient due to the performance limit of the conventional image upscalers based on linear filters. In recent years, expectations have been focused on a super-resolution technology to enhance the quality of magnified video images in the field of image processing. In practice, however, it is difficult to apply this technology to products because it requires very high computational complexity.
To overcome these problems, Toshiba has developed a one frame reconstruction-based super-resolution technology and incorporated it into the REGZATM series digital HDTVs and the QosmioTM series audiovisual (AV) notebook PCs in 2008. We have also been engaged in the research and development of a multiframe super-resolution technology using subpixel-shifted images toward practical applications for higher image quality.

FrameBoosterTM Technology to Improve Moving-Image Quality in LCD TVs
Liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs are attracting increasing attention from users in the era of digital broadcasting. Although the image quality of LCD TVs has been significantly improved by the development of various high-quality image-processing technologies, poor moving-image quality has been a well-known problem since the beginning of their development and the need to improve performance still exists.
Toshiba has developed FrameBooster technology to efficiently improve the quality of moving images and incorporated it into the REGZATM series digital LCD TVs. FrameBooster interpolates a new frame between two successive frames and can double the refresh rate of LCD TVs. Using this technology, a significant improvement in moving-image quality is realized that cannot be achieved by improving the response speed of the liquid crystals alone. In addition, the Meta BrainTM Premium high-quality image-processing engine optimizes the control of FrameBooster in every scene to improve the image quality.

ContrastMagicTM Technology to Optimize Image Brightness and Contrast
The use of digital video and still cameras has become widespread in a variety of conditions. However, it is not easy for the average user to obtain attractive images under poor lighting conditions, such as dark or backlit scenes, even when the scene appears attractive to the naked eye. Demand is therefore increasing for the ability to realize high-quality images under any conditions.
Toshiba has developed a technology called ContrastMagicTM that is applicable to both imaging and display systems. ContrastMagicTM optimizes the brightness and contrast of images using a retinex model on the basis of visual features and local adaptive tone mapping.

Automatic Image Quality Control Technology for TV Displays according to Viewing Conditions
ABE Hirotoshi
The required image quality for the display of a TV set differs according to the environment in which it is viewed. Conventionally, Toshiba has provided a function allowing selection of the image mode suited to the conditions of viewing. However, this function has been insufficient to optimize the level of image quality corresponding to the viewing conditions because it requires manual selection by the viewers.
To rectify this situation, we have developed an automatic mode selection function that enables viewers to watch TV with the optimal quality of image display under any viewing conditions. The brightness, color tone, and sharpness of the TV display are automatically adjusted by taking into consideration changes in ambient light conditions at various times such as sunrise, sunset, and during the daytime.

LED Backlight Dimming Technology to Realize LCDs with Ultra-High Contrast Ratio
BABA Masahiro/ NONAKA Ryosuke/ SANO Yuma
Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have been applied to various display products such as cellular phones and television sets in recent years, and demand has been increasing for improved image quality and power consumption. However, the contrast ratio of LCDs is lower than that of emissive displays such as plasma displays and cathode ray tubes.
To improve the contrast ratio, Toshiba has developed a light-emitting diode (LED) backlight dimming technology that can control backlight luminance according to the input images. The application of this technology to LCDs for cellular phones and television sets makes it possible to realize high image quality.

  Feature Articles

Combined Antenna Covering Cellular, GPS, and Wireless LAN Systems for Notebook PCs
HOTTA Hiroyuki/ TESHIMA Masao/ MIZOGUCHI Satoshi
With the wide dissemination of notebook PCs in recent years, wireless communication systems such as wireless LAN and Bluetooth® have come into widespread use for notebook PCs in various situations. There is growing demand for notebook PCs that can provide a comfortable wireless communication environment anywhere and anytime. However, as the number of wireless systems is increasing, it is becoming difficult to equip notebook PCs with numerous antennas in a limited space.
To solve this problem, Toshiba has developed a combined antenna that can cover the frequency bands of cellular, Global Positioning System (GPS), and wireless LAN systems and mounted it on notebook PC products. This antenna, based on a trapezoid monopole antenna with wideband characteristics that we have developed, has been modified to give it multiband capability. The combined antenna covers the frequency range from 1.5 GHz to 2.2 GHz, and its impedances maintain the proper characteristics for the respective systems.

Improvement of Rigidity and Impedance-Matching Technology of Printed Wiring Board in Notebook PCs
Users of mobile notebook PCs have many requirements including a thin profile, light weight, long battery life, high quality, shock durability, high security, and network connectivity at all times. To meet these requirements, Toshiba released the dynabookTM SS RX1 in June 2007.
We have newly developed the dynabookTM SS RX2, whose durability has been improved while maintaining the features of the RX1 such as a thin body, light weight, and long battery life. The rigidity of the printed wiring board (PWB), which is one of the basic components of a notebook PC, is about 40% greater in the RX2 than in the RX1. Moreover, the amount of PWB bowing at high temperature in the RX2 is about 50% lower than in the RX1. Impedance matching is also achieved by optimizing the specifications to maintain the functionality.

Metrology and Inspection Technologies for 32 nm-Generation Semiconductor Wafers
As the mass production of 32 nm-generation semiconductors will begin in the near future, metrology and inspection technologies have become even more critical to improve the production yield compared with previous generations, and solutions to the technical problems are becoming clear. To improve the production yield, not only the control of random defects but also the inspection and control of systematic defects have become increasingly important.
With the aim of realizing a systematic defect control system including both a defect inspection system and a post filtering system, Toshiba has been developing novel defect filtering technologies for systematic defects and a detection and control system for lithography-induced hot spots.

New Compact, Lightweight, and Resource-Saving SCiBTM Rechargeable Battery Pack for HEV Application
KOSUGI Shinichiro/ TAKAMI Norio/ HONDA Keizoh
Toshiba has developed the SCiBTM battery for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) application featuring high intrinsic safety with a slower reaction rate in the event of an internal short circuit. Furthermore, the SCiBTM exhibits a steep voltage gradient in the initial stage of the over-discharge or overcharge regions, allowing easy detection of unsafe states. It also has larger available energy with high input and output power capabilities over a wide state-of-charge (SOC) range.
Based on these features of the SCiBTM, we have developed and confirmed the effectiveness of a new SCiBTM battery pack for HEV application providing superior available energy density with high power capabilities, and incorporating protection circuit boards with a newly developed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

FA3100S Model 9500 Industrial Computer Equipped with Dual-Core Processor
MIMURA Akihiro/ GOTO Tatsuya
Customers' needs in the field of industrial computers have become diversified with the recent progress of personal computer technology, including not only high performance using high-end central processing units but also configurations in accordance with the purpose of use and installation site.
In response to these circumstances, Toshiba has developed and commercialized a new industrial computer, the FA3100S model 9500, equipped with a dual-core processor, the Intel® CoreTM2 Duo processor. This model is the flagship product of our desktop-type industrial computers, offering both high-speed processing performance and high scalability, in addition to the reliability and environmental resistance of our conventional products.

Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting System in Brazil
SAWADA Takeshi/ KANEKO Tomoaki/ YAJIMA Takenori
Digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB) was launched in Brazil in December 2007. The technology used is based on the Japanese DTTB standard with some modifications.
Toshiba has participated in promoting the Japanese standard in Brazil since the beginning of this project, and developed the encoder/multiplexer (ENC/MUX) system and studio-to-transmitter link/transmitter-to-transmitter link (STL/TTL) equipment and transmitter system as a package for the stations in major cities of Brazil. In this project, it has been necessary to overcome differences in the specifications of and customers' requirements for the DTTB system in Brazil compared with those in the Japanese system. The first broadcasting system for Sao Paulo was delivered in a short time with a cooperation of local receiver manufacturers.

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