Technology News Digest #2



There’s too much tech news to keep up with yourself — so let us do it for you!

The new Top Ten Today-Tech digest provides a brief look at only the most interesting or important items of the week.

This weeks headlines include:
Robots on Patrol
Intel, Samsung back faster wireless connectivity
No hands required: type your thoughts
Police test networked guns
Motorola will find your phone
Pilot-free helicopter fights wildfires
Wearable dialysis device for kidney patients
You can read the full free briefing here.



PhotoTime automatically tags and groups photos



The developers at Orbeus claim their free PhotoTime app will give you a photographic memory — sort of.

“The human brain is an amazing thing,” they say. “But computers have definitely got us beat in memory and indexing” Two crucial skills for managing your photos in the age of digital photography, in which an estimated 880 billion photos are taken every year. A few hundred (or thousand) of those will probably be yours. That’s a lot for one human brain to process.”

Orbeus says it detects race, emotion, age, and gender, and automatically groups the same faces to label friends and family. Its scene recognition determines the context and settings of images and , automatically generates and tags searchable keywords.

PhotoTime then automatically organizes, sorts and tags all your photos. It “integrates with your iPhone Camera Roll, social networks and cloud services to automatically organize, sort and tag your photos. Instead of struggling to remember (or guess-and-checking) where you’ve stored a specific photo, then scrolling through every image in that album until you find it… you can simply type the name of the person, place, location or concept you’re looking for, and voilà!”

There’s a demonstration video here.

And there’s more information here.

Sony stabilizes full-frame mirrorless camera

sony 5-axis

sony 5-axis

Sony updated its A7 mirrorless camera, saying it now offers the first full-frame ILC with a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system.

The 5-axis system compensates for yaw, pitch, roll, and vertical and horizontal motion, and Sony says it will yield 4.5 stops of stabilization correction. As the Imaging Resource notes, Olympus first debuted a 5-axis system — and with Sony’s investment in Olympus, it could be using similar technology.

The A7 II has the same 24-megapixel sensor as its predecessor, but with a 30 percent faster focus speed and 1.5x better tracking. It is currently official only in Japan.

: On 11/26, Sony widely announced the camera, and will ship it in the US mid-December for $1700.

Google advances image recognition

google image pizza

google image pizza

I don’t know about you, but now I want pizza.

On its Research Blog, scientists at Google who are “building a natural description of images” report they’ve improved the automatic accurate description of a complex scene.

“People can summarize a complex scene in a few words without thinking twice,” they write. “It’s much more difficult for computers. But we’ve just gotten a bit closer — we’ve developed a machine-learning system that can automatically produce captions to accurately describe images the first time it sees them.”

How? By merging “recent computer vision and language models into a single jointly trained system, taking an image and directly producing a human readable sequence of words to describe it.”

The researchers add that the system could “eventually help visually impaired people understand pictures, provide alternate text for images in parts of the world where mobile connections are slow, and make it easier for everyone to search on Google for images.”

The full report is here.


This Week’s Tech News

3d moon

3d moon

Are you interested in more than just photography news — but you don’t exactly have time to study all the tech news blogs?

We’ve got you covered! Check out the Top Ten Today–Tech service, which provides a summary of recent technology news… While covering only the truly important or innovative announcements.

Among this week’s items are:

1. “Print” a base on the Moon

2. 3D-printed guns made practical with new bullet design

3. President Obama backs Net Neutrality

4. Internet service sent via Satellite

5. Robot scallops to swim in your blood

Read the rest here.

Sony sensor speeds phone’s focus

sony sensor

sony sensor

Dedicated cameras snap shots faster than phones thanks to specialized autofocus functions — but Sony seeks to close that gap a little with a new image sensor that also has phase-detection AF.

The 21-megapixel Exmor RS IMX230 is the first CMOS image sensor for smartphones equipped with an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function, Sony says, “to achieve excellent focus tracking of fast-moving subjects.”

It will also yield improved high dynamic range (HDR) function, with high-resolution still images and 4K video recording.

“These features fulfill the growing needs in smartphone photography for high-speed autofocus and clear, high-quality capture of bright and dark areas even in backlit scenes,” the company says.

The sensor will ship in April 2015.

There are more details here.

Wrist-mounted flying camera wins Intel prize money

nexie wrist drone

nexie wrist drone

The Nixie got a lot of coverage this Summer when it debuted on Kickstarter — and it took another step closer to commercial feasibility with an award from Intel.

Basically a wearable quadcopter drone that rests on your wrist before launching to take your selfie, the Nixie won the $500,000 grand prize in Intel’s “Make It Wearable” competition, reports.

There’s a demo video here.


First photo from a Comet

comet photo

comet photo

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe landed its rover — and the Philae lander sent back the first photo captured on a comet.

Philae bounced on arrival, and is now grounded about a kilometer from the intended target — but hey, after 10 years and traveling previously unimaginable distances all around the inner solar system, that ain’t bad.

The two-image mosaic, from the lander’s CIVA camera of seven micro-cameras in a ring, also shows one of the lander’s three feet in the foreground.

The ESA’s Rosetta blog is here.

It features this great simulation of the entire mission.

Flying cam captures 4k

dji 4k cam copter

dji 4k cam copter

Remember when remote-controlled planes and copters only had VGA-res cameras? It wasn’t that long ago, was it? Today handheld- and tripod-mounted 4k cameras are hardly mainstream — but DJI’s latest drone has a 12-megapixel sensor for full 4k video, as well as Raw stills.

“Everything is better in 4K,” DJI says, which “gives you the power to make every shot a masterpiece.”

dji 4k cam

The Inspire 1 remote-controlled quadcopter has a 3-axis gimble on the bottom to stabilize the camera, the lens of which has 9 elements in 9 groups including an aspherical element, the company says, “producing extreme clarity.”

Also, a real-time feed from the Inspire 1’s camera is displayed in 720p HD on your mobile device, “giving you a perfect view of what the camera sees to frame your shots.” DJI says its Lightbridge technology can now transmit the video feed from up to 2km away.

The cam-copter will sell for $2,899.


Samsung: 16 simultaneous sensors capture a gigapixel of 3D

cnet samsung beyond cam

cnet samsung beyond cam

At a developer conference, Samsung debuted a virtual reality-capturing camera

“Project Beyond” will take 3D footage for use with the company’s Gear VR headset. The puck-sized gadget has 16 high-definition cameras, and captures a gigapixel per second. Samsung says it uses “stereoscopic interleaved capture and 3D-aware stitching technology to capture the scene just like the human eye, but in a form factor that is extremely compact.”

Samsung adds that the system is not yet a product, but they are showing “the first operational version of the device, and just a taste of what the final system we are working on will be capable of.”

There’s a demonstration video here.

CNet and TechCrunch have more.