In the study and search for life in the universe, astrobiologists are inundated with tremendous amount of images from other planets, i.e. data overload.
Recently, Patrick McGuire (Freie Universität, Berlin) and his astrobiology team of researchers from Malta, Spain and the United States, created the ‘Cyborg Astrobiologist’ which is a “novel, hybrid part-human, part-machine visual system” that uses a simple mobile phone camera” to help crunch the data/ images and facilitate the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
At McGuire et al’s field test in West Virginia, USA, the Astrobiology phone-camera system sends images wirelessly by Bluetooth communications to a nearby laptop computer to automatically build an image libary with examples of different terrain for the image compression analysis.
- The phone-camera for McGuire et al’s field test was a Samsung SGH A767 with 1280×960 RGB color images.
- The laptop was a Dell Inspiron 9300.
The Cyborg Astrobiologist’s image-compression system involves the following key functions: