Hyperlapse: smooth first-person action time lapse videos

Monday, 11. August 2014 11:54 | Author:

Some really cool technology in the making: take a helmet cam, go running, climbing, whatever action you’d like to film, and this software will reconstruct a smooth time lapse based on some clever algorithms!

We present a method for converting first-person videos, for example, captured with a helmet camera during activities such as rock climbing or bicycling, into hyperlapse videos: time-lapse videos with a smoothly moving camera.

At high speed-up rates, simple frame sub-sampling coupled with existing video stabilization methods does not work, because the erratic camera shake present in first-person videos is amplified by the speed-up.

Our algorithm first reconstructs the 3D input camera path as well as dense, per-frame proxy geometries. We then optimize a novel camera path for the output video (shown in red) that is smooth and passes near the input cameras while ensuring that the virtual camera looks in directions that can be rendered well from the input.

Next, we compute geometric proxies for each input frame. These allow us to render the frames from the novel viewpoints on the optimized path.

Finally, we generate the novel smoothed, time-lapse video by rendering, stitching, and blending appropriately selected source frames for each output frame. We present a number of results for challenging videos that cannot be processed using traditional techniques.

And this is HOW it works:

Source: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hyperlapse/

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Russian Gang Amasses Over a Billion Internet Passwords

Wednesday, 6. August 2014 9:22 | Author:

A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.

The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names, and small Internet sites. Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.

Hold Security would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable. At the request of The New York Times, a security expert not affiliated with Hold Security analyzed the database of stolen credentials and confirmed it was authentic. Another computer crime expert who had reviewed the data, but was not allowed to discuss it publicly, said some big companies were aware that their records were among the stolen information.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/technology/russian-gang-said-to-amass-more-than-a-billion-stolen-internet-credentials.html?smid=tw-share&_r=4

Category:Software, Technology | Comments (2)

Inventor Develops Synthetic “Leaf” That Produces Oxygen

Wednesday, 6. August 2014 9:21 | Author:

Julian Melchiorri, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, claims to have developed a silk leaf that could create oxygen for space travel as well as make the air nicer here on Earth. The leaf was developed in conjunction with a silk lab from Tufts University

The leaf is created from a matrix of protein extracted from silk and chloroplasts, the organelle that allows plants and algae to perform photosynthesis. When provided with light and water, the synthetic leaf allegedly acts just like a real leaf and produces oxygen.

“It’s very light, low energy-consuming,” he explains. “It’s completely biological and my idea was to use the efficiency of nature in a man-made environment. I created some lighting out of this material, using the light to illuminate the house but at the same time to create oxygen for us.”

Malchiorri isn’t content to just think of a few small fixtures within the house as the only use for this product. His dreams for Silk Leaf are out of this world.

“NASA is researching different ways to produce oxygen for long-distance space journeys to let us live in space,” he continued. “This material could allow us to explore space much further than we can now.”

In addition to meeting the breathing demands of astronauts and the first colonists of Mars and beyond, the material could be used on the facades of buildings and inside ventilation systems in order to generate fresh oxygen.

Check out this video:

The “first man-made biological leaf” could enable humans to colonise space from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/inventor-develops-synthetic-leaf-produces-oxygen#veIGETekmYcthCLf.99

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Reconstructing missing audio from visual vibrations in video

Tuesday, 5. August 2014 9:27 | Author:

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. The researchers will present their findings in a paper at this year’s Siggraph, the premier computer graphics conference.

“When sound hits an object, it causes the object to vibrate,” says Abe Davis, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and first author on the new paper. “The motion of this vibration creates a very subtle visual signal that’s usually invisible to the naked eye. People didn’t realize that this information was there.”

Joining Davis on the Siggraph paper are Frédo Durand and Bill Freeman, both MIT professors of computer science and engineering; Neal Wadhwa, a graduate student in Freeman’s group; Michael Rubinstein of Microsoft Research, who did his PhD with Freeman; and Gautham Mysore of Adobe Research.

Reconstructing audio from video requires that the frequency of the video samples — the number of frames of video captured per second — be higher than the frequency of the audio signal. In some of their experiments, the researchers used a high-speed camera that captured 2,000 to 6,000 frames per second. That’s much faster than the 60 frames per second possible with some smartphones, but well below the frame rates of the best commercial high-speed cameras, which can top 100,000 frames per second.

In other experiments, however, they used an ordinary digital camera. Because of a quirk in the design of most cameras’ sensors, the researchers were able to infer information about high-frequency vibrations even from video recorded at a standard 60 frames per second. While this audio reconstruction wasn’t as faithful as it was with the high-speed camera, it may still be good enough to identify the gender of a speaker in a room; the number of speakers; and even, given accurate enough information about the acoustic properties of speakers’ voices, their identities.

The researchers’ technique has obvious applications in law enforcement and forensics, but Davis is more enthusiastic about the possibility of what he describes as a “new kind of imaging.”

“We’re recovering sounds from objects,” he says. “That gives us a lot of information about the sound that’s going on around the object, but it also gives us a lot of information about the object itself, because different objects are going to respond to sound in different ways.” In ongoing work, the researchers have begun trying to determine material and structural properties of objects from their visible response to short bursts of sound.

Source & full story: http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/algorithm-recovers-speech-from-vibrations-0804

Category:Audio production, Earth changes, Software | Comment (0)

Newly discovered: electric life forms that live on pure energy

Saturday, 19. July 2014 12:33 | Author:

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Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

That should not come as a complete surprise, says Kenneth Nealson at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. We know that life, when you boil it right down, is a flow of electrons: “You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them.” Our cells break down the sugars, and the electrons flow through them in a complex set of chemical reactions until they are passed on to electron-hungry oxygen.

In the process, cells make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. Moving electrons around is a key part of making ATP. “Life’s very clever,” says Nealson. “It figures out how to suck electrons out of everything we eat and keep them under control.” In most living things, the body packages the electrons up into molecules that can safely carry them through the cells until they are dumped on to oxygen.

“That’s the way we make all our energy and it’s the same for every organism on this planet,” says Nealson. “Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained. This is why when someone suffocates another person they are dead within minutes. You have stopped the supply of oxygen, so the electrons can no longer flow.”

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”

Source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25894-meet-the-electric-life-forms-that-live-on-pure-energy.html?full=true#.U8pWuPl_t8G

Category:Earth changes | Comment (0)

Dell now accepts Bitcoin

Saturday, 19. July 2014 12:25 | Author:

We’re Now Accepting Bitcoin on Dell.com

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Now you can buy digital with digital – starting today, we’re accepting bitcoin on Dell.com.

We’re piloting bitcoin, the world’s most widely used digital currency, as a purchase option on Dell.com for consumer and small business shoppers in the U.S. We’re excited to bring you the choice and flexibility this payment option offers and have partnered with Coinbase, a trusted and secure third party payment processor, to make this possible.

I’m excited to share in the coming days we’ll be offering a special Alienware promotion wherein customers can save 10 percent off a new Alienware system purchase (up to $150 limit) when checking out with bitcoin. Stay tuned to Dell.com/bitcoin for more information on this exciting offer.

When you are ready to make a purchase, simply add the items to your cart and choose Bitcoin as the payment method. Checkout our special video guide on Dell.com/bitcoin to see the bitcoin payment process in action.

We are moving more quickly to meet your needs. In fact, we were able to work with Coinbase to integrate bitcoin payment in just 14 days!

Sources: http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/direct2dell/b/direct2dell/archive/2014/07/18/we-re-now-accepting-bitcoin-on-dell-com.aspx

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/campaigns/bitcoin-marketing?c=us&l=en&s=corp

Category:BitCoin, Earth changes | Comment (0)

Artificial Intelligence wrote 2,7 million WikiPedia articles

Tuesday, 15. July 2014 9:12 | Author:

For This Author, 10,000 Wikipedia Articles Is a Good Day’s Work

Sverker Johansson

Sverker Johansson


FALUN, Sweden— Sverker Johansson could be the most prolific author you’ve never heard of.

Volunteering his time over the past seven years publishing to Wikipedia, the 53-year-old Swede can take credit for 2.7 million articles, or 8.5% of the entire collection, according to Wikimedia analytics, which measures the site’s traffic. His stats far outpace any other user, the group says.

He has been particularly prolific cataloging obscure animal species, including butterflies and beetles, and is proud of his work highlighting towns in the Philippines. About one-third of his entries are uploaded to the Swedish language version of Wikipedia, and the rest are composed in two versions of Filipino, one of which is his wife’s native tongue.

An administrator holding degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics, he says he has long been interested in “the origin of things, oh, everything.”

It isn’t uncommon, however, for Wikipedia purists to complain about his method. That is because the bulk of his entries have been created by a computer software program—known as a bot. Critics say bots crowd out the creativity only humans can generate.

Mr. Johansson’s program scrubs databases and other digital sources for information, and then packages it into an article. On a good day, he says his “Lsjbot” creates up to 10,000 new entries.

On Wikipedia, any registered user can create an entry. Mr. Johansson has to find a reliable database, create a template for a given subject and then launch his bot from his computer. The software program searches for information, then publishes it to Wikipedia.

Bots have long been used to author and edit entries on Wikipedia, and, more recently, an increasingly large amount of the site’s new content is written by bots. Their use is regulated by Wikipedia users called the “Bot Approvals Group.”

While Mr. Johansson works to achieve consensus approval for his project, he and his bot-loving peers expect to continue facing resistance. “There is a vocal minority who don’t like it,” he said during a recent speech on his work. Still, he soldiers on.

“I’m doing this to create absolute democracy online,” Mr. Johansson said recently while sitting in front of a computer at his office at Sweden’s Dalarna University.

Wikipedia, he reckons, should someday be able to tell people everything about everything. His bot, which took him months’ worth of programming to create, is a step toward achieving that goal sooner rather than later—even if the entries it creates are bare-boned “stubs” containing basic information.

Achim Raschka is one of the people who would like Mr. Johansson to change course. The 41-year-old German Wikipedia enthusiast can spend days writing an in-depth article about a single type of plant.

“I am against production of bot-generated stubs in general,” he said. He is particularly irked by Mr. Johansson’s Lsjbot, which prizes quantity over quality and is “not helping the readers and users of Wikipedia.”

Mr. Raschka says these items “only contain more or less correct taxonomic information, not what the animal looks like and other important things.”

Others have echoed his concerns on public chat forums, comparing Mr. Johansson to “rambot,” a bot used to add county and city articles in the U.S., that contain only the most rudimentary information.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-this-author-10-000-wikipedia-articles-is-a-good-days-work-1405305001

Category:Earth changes, Software | Comment (0)