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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Magic or Technology -what do we call these?

I have always been amused by the flying broomstick, the invisibility cloak, floating images etc Yeah you are thinking exactly right I am a Harry Potter(HP) fan and J.K Rowling‘s too good (for HP fans)and for  non – HP fans you would be thinking -Oh! another HP fan. Well there isn’t much of the HP stuff I am going to write in this post so chill 🙂 .Being an Engineer and searching for new updates on R&D activities I came across the technologies which I thought worth mentioning in my blog as a record you know (and which are very close to so called MAGIC  and would have been called so  if we were living in the 17th century. ;-))and Who knows what is believed as magic today may be the technology of next century.

First one is about Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist’s new pair of “X-ray glasses”. So as the technology advances beware when someone opposite to you is wearing glasses J.Yeah I am talking about the “X-ray glasses” which can help the wearer know exactly what the person he/she is talking to is thinking. In the same manner, the glasses can also tell the wearer when he/she should stop talking to is thinking. The glasses have a built-in camera which monitors the other person’s facial expression and matches them up with 23 known features which convey emotions. It will then tell the individual via an earpiece and lights on the glasses what is going through the other person’s mind. In a traffic light-style system, a red light means negative, amber means modest interest, and green indicates that the other person is happy. The eyewear was originally developed for people suffering from autism who have genuine problems in interacting with others, but now the developers have seen wider applications of the glasses (well we can use this for spying purpose if one can get hold of one ;-)). The prototype works thanks to a camera the size of a grain of rice which is put into the frame and connected to a mini-computer, attached to the user’s body. The camera monitors how long and how often the 24 “feature points” appear on the subject’s face which are then analysed by a special software developed by the MIT team. This data is then compared with a bank of expressions and the computer tells the wearer what is going on via the earpiece and the traffic light-style system.

Second one is really cool. I mean have you ever imagined printing out a Bicycle out on your computer? Yeah I am talking about a BICYCLE. A team of British scientists announced a revolutionary technology that has enabled the world’s first fully working bicycle to be created simply by printing it out on a computer .The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Group in Bristol, Britain, made the bicycle. The bicycle, which is made of nylon is as strong as steel and the aluminium, but weighs 65 percent less. The scientists designed the bicycle on a computer and sent it to a printer, which placed layers of melted nylon powder on top of each other to build up the machine. In case of ordinary bicycles, individual components are made in different factories and assembled into one. The Airbike can be built to the rider’s specification; therefore, it requires no adjustment .It also requires no conventional maintenance. The 3D printing technology used here allows products to be made from a fine powder of nylon, carbon-reinforced plastics or metals such as titanium, steel or aluminium. The technology may be used in aerospace, motor industry and engineering. So are you ready to print your own model of bicycle? 🙂 My additions would be to control that computer using a remote control so that I get exactly a bicycle of my taste with my fingers 🙂 .Isn’t it something similar to magic what you say?

Before you go on ,I would like to ask you a question –

Have you seen the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead man’s chest? If yes ,then have you wondered how did the character Davy Jones have moving tentacles? Well, its all about motion capture you need to know.

Fedkiw's techniques helped Pirates of the Cari...

Davy Jones evolves

Motion capture makes possible scenes such as those in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” where the movements of actor Bill Nighy were translated into a digitally created Davy Jones with octopus-like tentacles forming his beard. Traditional motion capture techniques use cameras to meticulously record the movements of actors inside studios, enabling those movements to be translated into digital models. But by turning the cameras around — mounting almost two dozen, outward-facing cameras on the actors themselves — scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP), and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have shown that motion capture can occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas and outdoors. The wearable camera system makes it possible to reconstruct the relative and global motions of an actor thanks to a process called structure from motion (SfM). Takeo Kanade, a CMU professor of computer science and robotics and a pioneer in computer vision, developed SfM 20 years ago as a means of determining the three-dimensional structure of an object by analyzing the images from a camera as it moves around the object, or as the object moves past the camera. The quality of motion capture from body-mounted cameras does not yet match the fidelity of traditional motion capture, but will improve as the resolution of small video cameras continues to improve.The technique requires a significant amount of computational power; a minute of motion capture now can require an entire day to process. Future work will include efforts to find computational shortcuts, such as performing many of the steps simultaneously through parallel processing.

 Till then enjoy the due to release Movie using the motion capture technology-Mars needs Moms 🙂

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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Technology

 

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Sanskrit and Technology

I was just setting up my old books and files last week when I found a file full of paper cuttings I used to collect during my school days. You know what? I almost forgot about the existence of all these cuttings.:) Now when I see these it makes me think how I managed to collect a variety of articles depending on my that particular day’s interest. You must be thinking why I am telling all this .Well actually it is this particular article that made me post on subject like Sanskrit. It featured a so called ‘Silicon Village’ which is a little village Mattur in Karnataka’s Ghat  region ,may be the only place where people really speak Sanskrit. If you know any other place where Sanskrit is a spoken language do let me know.

While studying Sanskrit as one of the subjects till my 10th grade I did’nt have any idea about how deep and reputed this language must be. I just liked the shlokas and their messages  and of course it was the subject in which I could score easily .Personally,I don’t know why people end up taking French ,German or any other language as electives when we can opt for Sanskrit.

You know what  the 1985 spring issue of California-based quarterly featured a write up by an American called Rick Briggs on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sanskrit.Briggs ,who compared its grammer with that of the computer ,came to a startling conclusion :Sanskrit, which ceased to be a living tongue millennia ago,had such a logical meaning –structure that it could be a rich mining field for AI .Isn’t it amazing that people are really researching on Sanskrit.Well ,here it goes then most of  you must  be familiar with a programming technique called OOP(Object Oriented Programming) which is the basic of languages JAVA or C++ used by software developers.This OOP is very similar to Panini’s Sanskrit grammer.

Sanskrit is  a tough language to those  who have no idea about it.The word gachhami  means going which is much like gamanam that is related to movement.Both words come from the root class gam,from which a fluent Sanskrit speaker can dig up words for all kinds of movements and for things that move.From a few basic classes (root words),Sanskrit creates an endless chain of words –all linked to each other.The objects ,events and actions are all labelled depending on the root.Alright enough with the Sanskrit stuff.Now let me tell you about the village Mattur.

Mattur and its twin village Hosanahalli is situated few kilometres north of Shimoga town sandwiching a thin strip of the Tungabhadra.Sanskrit dominates the life of Mattur.Not only Sanskrit its the technological side of Mattur thats more interesting.Fifty to sixty software professionals from Mattur are placed in the different IT firms that made Bangalore the Silicon valley of India.Moreover there is a rural BPO-Shridam  that has set up operation in Mattur.The BPO,the brainchild of Mattur’s affluent techie migrants,employs 50 villagers at the moment.For Mr.Dhruv and his various associates setting up a rural BPO is merely the first step in stemming the flood of urban migration that is eroding   the very fabric if villages like Mattur.They have much bigger plans for the village which would make Mattur  a global village.It would be bizarre candidate not because the people of this  village speak Sanskrit and wear unstitched clothes while running software companies and techno-heavy development projects.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Technology

 

SHE

This was not the topic I’d have chosen for my first post but today’s newspaper report took me back.So that’s how I ended up writing such a post which shows activist’s part of me. 🙂

Nowadays (in India precisely) where people are discussing about reservation of women in Parliament,in certain groups,about women empowerment ,they being at par with men in various fields and etc.;Why is it so that we come across  such an article titled “Rural India a safer haven for girl child” in Newspaper.It was once said that issues like female foeticide,abandoning girl child and more of these incidents happen because of the illiteracy prevailing in our society.Now after reading this particular article I doubt illiteracy is the only reason I’d rather think it is more of one’s mindset or thinking basically.Here’s what World’s largest sample survey has confirmed (according to the newspaper article) that sex-selection test is more common among India’s educated urban populace than their rural counterparts.How come this be possible right?Unbelievable I mean people in Urban areas are more literate and in my opinion must not give rise to such a statistics wherein the SRB(i.e sex ratio at birth) in rural areas was significantly higher than that of urban areas.As the article says in Uttar Pradesh,rural SRB is 911 compared to 873 in Urban UP.What do you think?Is this what we expect from our Urban population?and according to Union health secretary Mr. K Chandramouli the survey confirms that when it comes to sex determination,doctor and patient go hand-in-hand.Patients have to undergo ultrasound for many other medical reasons and it is difficult to find if it is for sex determination.I hope  the government would think on this matter  and take steps like the Maharashtra state government’s initiative that the state may treat female foeticide as murder and book culprits under section of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).I felt this ‘May’ factor should be converted into ‘Will’.What do you say??

These are just my views no offence meant:)

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Women