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No. 363, December 1999

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American Companies in Japan


An eight-month collaboration between METACREATIONS CORP. and MINOLTA CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 21) has yielded a portable image-capture device that the partners say will dramatically cut the time and the cost of creating photorealistic 3D images. The Minolta 3D 1500 combines the Japanese company's Minolta Dimage EX digital camera with the Carpinteria, California firm's MetaFlash 3D technology, which resides between the camera body and the lens unit. The Minolta 3D 1500, which already is shipping, is expected to find a market among developers of Web sites and on-line merchandise catalogs, among other buyers.

Apparently determined to cover all price points in the digital camera market, EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s subsidiary introduced a product for beginners that lists for $475. The DC80 has a 330,000-pixel CCD (charge-coupled device), but software included in the package can boost the resolution to 800,000 pixels. The price also includes computer-connection cables so that people who want to attach photos to e-mails or upload them to the Web can do so.

OPTICAL PRODUCTS DEVELOPMENT CORP. named SAMMY CORP. to distribute its line of virtual-reality-interface 3D projection systems. Retail advertising displays and trade show presentations are among the primary uses for the Elmira, New York firm's VOLUMATRIX VX-360, VX-24 and VX-50 products since they project an object's image in full 3D. In addition to these applications, Tokyo-headquartered Sammy hopes to develop a market for OPD's products in the amusement park area.

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