Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Large Scale Painting of Photographs by Interactive Optimization

 Interactive Optimization

Dartmouth Researcher Invents Smart Paint Spray

A Dartmouth researcher together with his colleagues has invented a smart paint spray which robotically reproduces photographs as significant murals. The computerized technique that spray paints a photo is not expected to issue a trend of giant graffiti, but can be utilised in digital fabrication, digital and visual arts, together with artistic stylization and other application. The findings had appeared in the journal Computer & Graphics and the project is in partnership between ETH Zurich, Disney Research Zurich, Dartmouth College and Columbia University. The spray can system is an innovative twist on computer aided painting that had been initiated in early 1960s and is well-studied topic among artists and scientist.

 Spray paint tends to be economical and easy to use making large-scale spray painted mural common in modern urban culture. However, it could be logistically and technically difficult for skilled artists in covering walls of buildings as well as other large surfaces. The researchers desired to create a method of helping non-artists in creating perfect reproductions of photographs as large-scale murals utilising spray painting and hence they developed a computer aided method which tends to use an ordinary paint can, tracking the position of the can related to the wall or canvas, recognizing what image it would want to paint.

Fast & Light-Weight/Two Webcams/QR Coded Cubes

As the person wave the pre-programmed spray can around the canvas, the system tends to automatically operate the spray on/off button to provide the specific image as spray painting. The prototype seems to be fast and light-weight and includes two webcams together with QR coded cubes for the purpose of tracking as well as a small actuation device for the spray can that is attached through a 3D printed mount. The paint commands are transmitted through radio directly connected to a servo-motor operating the spray nozzle.

On a close by computer, the real time process regulates the optimal amount of paint of the current colour to spray at the tracked location of the spray can. The outcome is that the painting portrays itself as the user waves the can around without the user needing to know the image beforehand.Owing to spray paint difficulty in obtaining permission foruniversity buildings, the researchers have tested the automated painting system on large sheets of paper gathered into mural-size paintings.

Permitting Unskilled Users – Creating Physical Piece of Art

Though this system seems to presently support only painting on flat surface, one possible advantage of the new technique over standard printing is that it could be usable on more complex curved painting surfaces. Co-author Wojciech Jarosz, assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth who was a senior research scientist earlier at Disney Research Zurich stated that computationally assisted painting methods are limited to the computer and in this research, it is shown that by combining computer graphics and computer vision techniques, they can bring such assistance technology to the physical world even for very traditional painting medium which has created an unconventional kind of digital fabrication.

Their assistive approach seems to be like a modern take on `paint by numbers’ for spray painting and most important was that they wanted to maintain the aesthetic aspects of physical spray painting and the physical experience of holding and waving a physical spray can while permitting unskilled users in creating physical piece of art.

Interactive Screens on Your Packages

Interactive Screens

Interacting with Electronic Screen on Packaging

Due to a revolutionary development by scientists at the University of Sheffield, consumers would now be interacting with an electronic screen on packaging in the near future instead of reading a label. The scientists have come up with a new kind of digital screen which could one day feature on the packages that could be delivered at home. For instance, one could tap on the display to check from where it came from.

The scientists hadworked together with technology company Novalia in creating new ways of displaying information on packaging a change which could revolutionise the packaging industry. This kind of technology could be utilised in greeting cards or products wherein customers could receive a simple message. Difficult development could comprise of a countdown timer on the side of the packet indicating when a timed product would be available like hair-dye, pregnancy test or home-baking, utilising a traffic light system.

 Published in the IEEE Journal of Display Technology, the team had explained how a screen could be fixed onto packaging to display information. Procedure involves in printing electronic tracks onto paper and fixing low-cost electronics and a polymer LED display to the paper using adhesive which tends to conduct electricity.

Designed & Constructed Touch-pad Keyboard on Paper

Scientists from the University of Sheffield and Novalia working together had designed and constructed a touch-pad keyboard on the paper which enabled a user to selectively drive the LEDs in the display. The research has been supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council- EPSRC and so far, the testing has been on paper though the process can probably be printed on other surfaces.

 The next step of the team is to develop completely flexible organic displays on plastic substrate which could then be fixed on the electronic tracks. The LED devices essentially should be low-cost and adequately flexible to be used on all packaging. Professor David Lidzey from the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy had stated that labels on packaging can become more innovative and enable customers to interact with and explore new products.

The use of displays or light emitting panels on packaging would also permit companies to communicate brand awareness in a sophisticated way.

Brand Awareness – One of the Probable Uses of these Displays

Chris Jones of Novalia had said that the paper-based packaging industry is worth billions of dollars and this innovative system that is developed with the University of Sheffield could provide the manufacturers with a means of gaining market share by being capable of distinguishing its products from competitors.

Tech firm Novalia had helped in with the development of the new smart labelling and the process it utilised in creating it involves printing electronic tracks on paper and using a conductive adhesive in fixing low-cost electronics and polymer LED on the top.

Amazon and John Lewis could utilise the tech in customising their parcels as well as in creating interactive adverts on their boxes. Chris Jones of Novalia has stated that `brand awareness seems to be one of the probable uses of these displays.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Huawei P9 Smartphone Uses Leica Camera Tech

Huawei P9

Android Smartphone P9 Unveiled by Huawei – Dual Camera Technology

An Android smartphone was unveiled by Huawei which tends to use dual-camera technology enabling owners to refocus photos after they are taken. The outcome of the feature is an association between the Chinese tech firm and German camera maker Leica which means the P9 has the potential of creating shallow depth-of-field shots which is more commonly connected with bigger lenses.

According to analysts, the innovation can help Huawei in promoting itself as a premium brand as well as expand its market share. According to the research firm IDC, it is said that in 2015, the Shenzhen based company had shipped over 106 million handsets, representing 44.3% growth, the previous year. It was the quickest rise in sales of any major brands, putting Huawei in the third place with regards to market share.

But Apple still sold over double the amount of phone and Samsung had sold more than three times the number. Ian Fogg from IHS Technology consultancy had commented that the camera seems to be one of the things that define a premium smartphone and there is yet plenty of scope in improving the quality of the photography. Besides this, there are things which one can do when two camera sensors are put on the back which one can’t do with a single sensor.

Superior Performance in Low-Light Situations

Instead of providing users with the ability of taking two different kinds of photos, as in the case with LG’s dual-camera G5 handset, the P9 tends to combine the data from both its rear sensors in creating its 12 megapixel shots. One tends to capture red, green and blue – RGB information regarding the view while the other is limited to collecting monochrome image data.

The firm states that on utilising both types, the phone tends to deliver improved contrast, offering superior performance in low-light situations. However, the standout feature is the skillto stimulate wide aperture photography which is the effect of enabling more lights in a lens to create a shallow-depth-of-field. A shallow depth-of-field tends to create striking photographs of a topic with an unclear background. Photo fanatics often tend to spend huge sums on digital single-lens reflex cameras – DSLRs and large lenses to create the look.

Files Exported in RAW File Format

The P9, unlike the larger cameras, tends to permit users in changing the part of the image they desire to be in sharp focus after they have pressed the shutter button. This is made possible by the element that the two lenses of the phone slightly capture different views and built-in software analyses the differences to assume depth information.

On the other hand, the files can be exported in the RAW file format for the purpose of editing on a PC and the ability is made available only in stills mode but cannot be used to refocus captured videos. Lytro had earlier made attempts at selling specialist cameras which offered a similar refocusing ability but had given up on the consumer market after admitting that the rise of smartphone photography, its appeal had been restricted.

Refocusing functions had also been offered by Nokia and HTC on some of their handsets though they had achieved the effect in a different way. An industry-watcher had stated that the tie-up with Leica should inspire possible buyers not to let goof the dual-camera facility of Huawei, as being a ploy.

Airbus Patents Radical Design With Wraparound Engines Along its Body


Airbus Patent – Replacement of Large Engines under Wing

Airbus has filed a patent which recommends the replacement of the large engines under the wing with multi-fan jet engines which wrap around the fuselage of the airplane. The design is said to scoop up air, pushing it over the exterior of the engine in order to provide extra thrust. However, the engine nacelles would be blocking the sky-high views that flyers tend to enjoy from the window seat.

The window seat is a sought after section on an airplane but the new design would now make it the least favourite place. The aircraft manufacturers seem to be working constantly in enhancing propulsive efficiency without the need of changing the design of the plane. The patent published on Espacenet reads - `in the aeronautical industry, the current trend in turbofan design is to increase the bypass ratio in order to improve fuel consumption through increased propulsive, efficiency and to reduce noise on ground.

In conventional turbofan engines, the pursuit of higher propulsive efficiency needs increasing the fan diameter in order to produce a higher by-pass mass flow at lower slipstream velocities’. Sources reports that some may state that several airliners tend to use jet engines though they essentially use the ones which look like jet engines and are actually just turbofans.

Quest for Powerful & Efficient Engines

The difference between the two is, a jet engine tends to use thrust of the exhaust in order to manoeuvre and this system seems to work amazingly in small fighter planes though to use it for a commercial airliner would need too much fuel. A turbofan engine tends to have a turbo jet engine as its centre and the thrusts seems to move the craft though it uses a huge fan on the front to scoop up air and push it over the outside engine to provide the extra thrust for the plane.

The quest for more powerful and efficient engines, according to Airbus has led to bigger and bigger turbofans which are quickly reaching the design limitations. Multi-fan engine can be fixed to the fuselage of the aircraft which will enable the fans to scoop up airflow, moving it over the engine and providing the plane with an extra thrust.

View Blocked by Engine Nacelles

But the drawback is that the flyers would not be in a position to catch the sites from the sky anymore since their view would be blocked by the engine nacelles. Airbus also intends proposing a design which would be replacing the huge fan with a group of smaller ones but this is not a new concept.

 The firm has additional details in the patent which have not been taken into account earlier. The patent states that `a multi-fan engine including a gas turbine engine, a casing and fans encased by geared rings that connect with the geared rings of an adjacent fan like the rotation of one fan rotates the other fans’.By applying the geared rings to individual fans, the amount of torque is controlled by adjusting linear actuators.

The design would tend to be lighter since the need for heavy gearboxes and shafts that generally sit adjacent to the fan will not be needed which will free up plenty of space. With the use of these components, the inspections and servicing of the fans would be more convenient.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Why Google Would Care About Making a Keyboard for the iPhone


Google Developing Software Keyboard on iPhone/iOS Devices

According to reports of Casey Newton, Google has been developing a software keyboard on the iPhone and other iOS devices but it is not known if the same has been released to consumers. Google has not made any comment on why the company is keen in making a keyboard for its arch-rivals.

Google tends to make several apps for the iPhone right from maps to its various Google Drive applications which feeds directly into well-known service that millions of users have already been using. As per Newton, the keyboard is said to serve an identical purpose by incorporating Google’s search engine directly in the keyboard which would be convenient for the many people who desire to use Google for searches.

Moreover it would also provide the company with another point of contact with the consumers. Google has been leading in the search game though it is changing considerably since people have begun utilising their phones to search instead of their computers. Google has been feeling the effect of it in some ways, for instance, mobile ads do not tend to cost much as desktops ads and delivers lower returns for Google.

Use of Apps – Increased Tremendously

Though the firm is not in trouble, with most of the $21.3 billion pulled in by way of revenue than its parent company Alphabet, reported last month, this shift seems to be a point of concern for Google. The other problem is that the use of app has increased tremendously, thereby decreasing the overall mobile searches.

As reported by Newton, people tend to turn to more apps, and seems to use search engines less. It is quite normal for some users to search for `Twitter’ or `Facebook’ instead of navigating directly to the site on a desktop. However if someone is on the phone, there is a possibility that they will only tap on the dedicated app instead of going through the mobile Web version of those sites.

The same is applicable for review sites like Yelp or travel sites like Expedia. Constructing search straight in the keyboard could help Google increase mobile searches by making a search greatly convenient. Newton’s report that Google has also been looking into incorporating other features like GIF as well as image searches would add more value to the program.

Search Button on Mobile Keyboard – Helpful

Apple began permitting third party keyboards on the iPhone from iOS 8 opening its user base to various other smaller companies that tend to make keyboards with features which Apple does not seem to offer in its stock of keyboard.

With the addition of new keyboard, users would have to do a bit in exploring their settings though several companies like Swype have informed a significant increase in users since the change in policies of Apple. Keyboard with built-in search feature would support Google in making money, since it is said that people do not use Google searches on their mobile as much as they tend to do on their desktop.

Without the search pages which tend to sell ads, Google would be losing money and as the mobile internet seems to get bigger and bigger, it could get worse. Sticking a search button on a mobile keyboard would be of great help.