Toshiba's SpursEngine impressive in the flesh

Moments later, Toshiba's staff sat me down and applied far too much virtual makeup.

As promised last month when it was announced, Toshiba has been showing off its new, powerful SpursEngine processor at the CEATEC 2007 electronics show just outside Tokyo and we were there to take a look.

The new chip, which is based on the same Cell processor that can be found in the PlayStation 3, is currently on display powering several Qosmio notebook PCs on Toshiba's vast stand at the show.

Packs a punch

In each case, the 1.5GHz chip is being used as an augment to the normal laptop CPU to enable the machine to perform computation-intensive tasks it can normally only dream of.

Most obviously appealing is an image-manipulation application using Toshiba's Facemation software to alter captured video on the fly. Unsuspecting geeks at the demo suddenly found themselves given an on-screen beehive hairdo, full makeup or realistic facial tattoos.

The ultimate outlet of such processing power will be in department stores at makeup counters and in other areas where it's desirable to see quick, hassle-free image changes.

Development delay

That, however, may have to wait a while, as Toshiba spokesperson Hiroko Mochida admitted, "We don't have any partners developing such applications yet, nor is the SpursEngine Qosmio going to be commercialised."

Other demonstrations of the might of the SpursEngine included a video-enhancement method that Toshiba called 'Super Resolution' for upscaling standard video to HD TV and real-time acoustic capturing using an array of eight microphones.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.