Reading lips for languages

Lip-reading computers can recognize different languages
“Researchers at the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia conducted statistical modeling of the lip motions of 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers. The languages tested included English, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Polish and Russian, and the system was able to identify with very high degree of accuracy which language was spoken by an individual speaker. “This is an exciting advance in automatic lip-reading technology and the first scientific confirmation of something we already intuitively suspected -­ that when people speak different languages, they use different mouth shapes in different sequences,” said Professor Cox who, along with PhD student Jake Newman, led the team.”
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Gizmag

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Photo mapping

Mapping the World’s Photos: Extensive Flickr Photo Analysis
“For instance, their findings show that the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, which opened in May 2006, is more popular than many other well-known tourist sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Reichstag in Berlin and the Washington Monument in the US capital. Interesting visualizations include diagrams for Manhattan and the San Francisco Bay area that illustrate the movement of photographers by plotting the geolocated coordinates of sequences of images taken by the same user, sorted by time, for which consecutive photos were no more than 30 minutes apart. “The figures are striking in the amount of detail they reveal about these cities. For example, one can clearly see the grid structure of the Manhattan streets, caused by users traveling and taking photos along them. The Brooklyn Bridge, in the lower center of the figure, is clearly visible, as are the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges just to the north. One can even see the route of the ferries that take tourists from Lower Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty
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information aesthetics

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Pop-up buttons

Touch Screens with Pop-up Buttons
“The screens are covered in semitransparent latex, which sits on top of an acrylic plate with shaped holes and an air chamber connected to a pump. When the pump is off, the screen is flat; when it’s switched on, the latex forms concave or convex features around the cutouts, depending on negative or positive pressure. To illuminate the screens and give them multitouch capabilities, the researchers use projectors, infrared light, and cameras positioned below the surface. The projectors cast images onto the screens while the cameras sense infrared light scattered by fingers at the surface.”
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Technology Review

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Using video for stills

Megan Fox Esquire Cover Shot In Video, Not Stills
“Rather than click and endless series of stills, photographer Greg Williams shot the cover with the 4K Red ONE video camera. Fox essentially acted out a scene for 10 minutes, the best moment of which will appear on the June 2009 cover. (Not to be wasteful of Megan Fox footage, the video will also be uploaded to Esquire’s site, of course.) It’s fascinating that as digital cameras evolve, so will the roles of photographers, models and publications. I can’t see traditional photography ever dying, but whether photos will always be captured in photographs is another question.”
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Gizmodo

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Holographic storage getting real

G.E.’s Breakthrough Can Put 100 DVDs on a Disc
“In G.E.’s approach, the holograms are scattered across a disc in a way that is similar to the formats used in today’s CDs, conventional DVDs and Blu-ray discs. So a player that could read microholographic storage discs could also read CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. But holographic discs, with the technology G.E. has attained, could hold 500 gigabytes of data. Blu-ray is available in 25-gigabyte and 50-gigabyte discs, and a standard DVD holds 5 gigabytes.”
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NYTimes.com

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Flu spotting

Tracking Internet Chatter Helps Spot Swine Flu Outbreak
“Veratect, a Seattle-based biosurveillance startup, claims they alerted the Centers for Disease Control to the situation in Mexico — where health officials suspect swine flu has killed up to 149 people — on April 16, before even the Mexican health authorities declared a problem. How’d they get ahead of the outbreak? By monitoring and analyzing the flow of social media traffic along with more official reports, the company’s CEO said. “We started picking up the early indicators of social disruption, whether it shows up on blogs or Twitter,” said Bob Hart, the CEO of Veratect. “We can pick up the first indicators of behavioral changes”
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Wired Science

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Faster, brighter ePaper

A New E-Paper Competitor
“In their pixels, the researchers use aluminum layers that reflect light and carbon black ink for a deep black color. First, a polymer layer is patterned with wells that contain the black ink. An aluminum film is deposited on the polymer and topped with an indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrode layer. A voltage applied across the aluminum and the ITO electrode pulls the ink out of the well and spreads it over the entire pixel area. The pixels are as small as 100 micrometers wide, giving the display a resolution of 300 dots per inch. This is higher than many e-readers on the market, Heikenfeld says. Putting red, green, and blue color filters on top of each pixel would create color displays.”
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Technology Review

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