Love a Dish? Take a Photo and MIT’s Pic2Recipe Artificial Intelligence Will Guess the Recipe.

Attention all Instagram Food Bloggers: Do not just snap beautiful food photos. Run the MIT Pic2Recipe Artificial Intelligence system that will not only predict the ingredients, but also suggest similar recipes.

Given a photo of a food item, Pic2Recipe can identify ingredients like flour, eggs, and butter — and then suggest several recipes that are similar to images from the “Recipe1M” database, a database of over 1 million recipes annotated with the ingredients used in a wide range of dishes.

How accurate is it all? (more…)

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Ultra-high-contrast digital sensing technique could put an end to “blown out” skies

The image sensor of a digital camera does not directly capture digital data. Instead, it captures light signal as analog data and then uses an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to convert the fluctuating voltages of the light analog signals into digital strings of ones and zeroes. If an incoming signal exceeds the voltage limit of the ADC, the ADC will cut it off (i.e., flatlines at the maximum voltage). This phenomenon is familiar as “saturation” in digital images — when, for instance, a sky that looks blue to the naked eye is captured by your camera as white; we then say that the sky has overexposed or “blown out.”

There are a number of tricks you can use to avoid blown-out skies — and thus capture back that blue sky: (more…)

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Visit the International Space Station via Google Street View

Google has made a small step into outer space with the help of an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In a blog post, astronaut Thomas Pesquet announced today that Google Street View for the ISS is now available. In fact, he has spent six months aboard the ISS as a flight engineer and his latest mission consisted of recording Street View imagery of every crook and cranny of the 15 connected modules of the ISS “to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space.

Imagine that! You don’t have to fear anynmore about getting lost on the ISS should you, by any chance, end up there. Perhaps as a tourist? Or, those who have been accepted as future astronauts could load up the app now and start scoping out the crew quarter and reserving their sleeping bunks.

Where will Google Street View go next? Will the next rover that NASA is sending to Mars have a Street View camera mounted on top? Or, better still, perhaps the next Mars probe will sport a Street View camera to record the voyage itself so astronauts on a future manned mission to the Red Planet might know what to expect along the way. And, mission accomplished, they might say, “OK, Google,” take us Home [in a really fast spaceship].

Did You Know? On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module onto the moon soil. At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong then spoke the famous words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”


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Contests Nikon

Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017: Three Winners Were Chosen and Other Winners are Expected to Be Announced on July 27

This is an update to the following blogs:

The following video presents Nikon Photo Contest Final Judge Movie(1min version):

Nikon recently announced the three winners of the Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017.

  • Other prizes are expected to be announced on July 27th.


Over 76,000 submissions from an all-time high of 170 countries and regions

Winners of the Nikon Photo Contest 2016-2017 Selected


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Can You Spot A Fake Photo?

In the age of fake news and alternative facts, could you spot a “fake” (or digitally altered) photo? According to a recent study in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, we detect a false image only 60 percent of the time. And even when we know that an image is false, we identify what is wrong with it only 45 percent of the time.

This means that, in our digital age where nearly anyone with a powerful, low-cost image editing software can create and share fake images, many of us will fall for the fakes and believe them to be real. Will there come a time when photos and videos will not be enough to prove guilt or innocence in a courtroom?

What about photo contests? Who can forget the number of controversies when The World Press Photo Contest disqualified entrants for digitally manipulating their photo entries?

Could you spot a fake photo? Take the test. (True to the test results, I scored a 6 out of 10.)


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We’ve All Been Busy: Google Glass 2.0 Enterprise Edition Announced

Google announced that “businesses have been getting hands-on with Glass Enterprise Edition (EE),” gaining double digit productivity in the process. Its website lists 33 companies that have been quietly using Google Glass EE for the past two years as a hands-free device, for their hands-on workers. Workers activate the right application (with a quick “OK Glass” command) to visualize the workflow. They can connect with other coworkers to seek their expertise or to share what they see in a live video stream so they can collaborate and troubleshoot in real-time. They can access training videos or images annotated with instructions. After the work is done, they can tick out a quality assurance checklist to ensure they have performed the task to the required standard.

Other applications help employees pick out customers’ orders without needing a paper checklist; allow doctors to document a patient’s condition during the visit; and improve wiring technicians’ productivity.

Google has no less than twelve “Glass Partners” that can develop custom end-to-end solutions for a company’s unique needs. In fact, you don’t purchase a Glass as much as you purchase a solution from one or more of the Glass Partners that uses Glass technology.

This is not the Google Glass of social media we saw years earlier. This version is strictly a workplace tool.

Too bad, because Glass for Consumers would have had a brillant future had Google allowed it to continue. It had — and still has — the potential of replacing all the Apple iPads since it basically allows a user to do the same thing (request and consume information) with the advantage of keeping it all hands-free. Who knows, maybe a killer app will yet launch this device into the stratosphere. If Google does not make a consumer version available, it runs the risk of making the same mistake that BlackBerry made with its “enterprise” branded smartphones while the Apple iPhones targeted the consumers first, then the consumers brought it into the enterprise. Watch out for the Apple Glass/Specs/Eye?

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One Tree, 365 Days

They say that, in life, when we look too closely at the one tree, we tend to miss the larger forest. We need to sometimes back off and get the big picture and a better perspective. But Bruno D’Amicis and Umberto Esposito ignored this advice and instead did just the contrary: they quite literally kept one tree in the forest under camera observation for 365 days. And what did the camera see? Not much happens unless you’re there to witness it. Here, in a 2:47 video, a year’s worth of activity is wonderfully depicted, including the big brown bear that shows up at around 2:00 to do what bears love to do when they meet a tree they like. Most other animals, though, seem to ignore the tree or sniff around it. One (wily?) red fox looked right at the camera (or so it seems).


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Just goes to prove that anyone, even a Google Street View Camera, can inadvertently take impressive landscape photos

Google Street View cameras travel the streets (and more) of the world, photographing whatever their lenses happen to be pointed at. The people driving the cars, bikes, boats or carrying the camera in a backpack don’t really stop to consider the best composition, light, etc. The cameras record what’s in front of them.

How many of those photos, pondered Machine Perception software engineers at Google Research, could be fostered to unsuspecting viewers as coming from professional landscape photographers? And, can they devise a Machine Learning (ML) algorithm to automatically select (from the hundreds of thousands of Google Street View photos) landscape photos which viewers would find impressive?

To explore how ML can learn subjective concepts, they devised an experimental deep-learning system for artistic content creation which automatically analysed about 40,000 landscape panoramas from Google Street View (from places like Alps, Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada; Big Sur in California and Yellowstone National Park in the USA) and searched for what it considered the best composition. It then post-processed the selected photos to create “an aesthetically pleasing image.” The results were placed before professional photographers who, during a “Turing-test”-like experiment, found some rather impressive photos, some even approaching professional quality. Since this is a learning algorithm, it relied on “trained aesthetic filters” to let it “learn” about good level of saturation, HDR detail and composition.

You can view a compilation of selected photos in this showcase. If you see a photo you like, click on it to bring out a nearby Street View panorama. Would you make the same decisions (of composition, light, exposure) if you were there holding the camera at that moment? There was a person (carrying a camera in a backpack or car, bike, boat) that pointed a Google Street View camera at the very scene you are looking at. Perhaps, they’ll need to be told to go out during the “golden hour?” Just kidding. The resuIts are pretty impressive, and will get even better as the machine learns, perhaps eventually taking better photos than our pros? Artificial Intelligence, you say?


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