Do you realize that when you snap a picture of the last rays of the Sun, that light took about 8 min 20 sec to travel the 150 million Km or so from the Sun to Earth and to eventually expose your camera’s image sensor? And that’s with light travelling at 299,792,458 m/s (or 186,000 miles per second), which is pretty fast!
So, even though there’s nothing that can travel faster than light (except, if I understand correctly, the initial expansion of the universe itself), when you consider the vast scale of the universe, light seems to travel relatively slowly.
To illustrate how slow light travels in relation to the vast size of the universe, Alphonse Swinehart created a real-time animation that shows the hypothetical journey of a photon of light as it travels from the sun across a portion of the solar system. It gives you a small inkling of how vast the solar system, and the universe, really is.
We knew that an octopus is a pretty smart creature, now we know that it is also curious and not afraid to interact with whatever we put before it, even a waterproof Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 digital camera.
The camera is attached to the aquarium, facing the onlookers and, as the octopus slides a tentacle into the shutter slot and pushes down, a picture of the onlookers is captured.
The first rig did not survive the octopus’ curiosity, ending up with a smashed rig and camera. Nor did rigs number two to six. Eventually, rig #7 (or is it #8) survives. Not sure if the pictures the octopus took were wirelessly transferred to a large screen as they were being taken. I don’t believe the TX30 has Wi-Fi. Now, that would have been cool! Quick, somebody do that!
The bright minds at the MIT Media Lab are working on a miniature nail-mounted wireless track pad. Talk about the ultimate wearable device! By scratching with your finger, you can “unobtrusively” operate digital devices — such as the new Apple Watch — at meetings without your boss being all the wiser. [I guess the commercial version should also allow you to tap a text message to your friend without anyone noticing.] A prototype of the device, called NailO, will be presented next week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction conference in Seoul, South Korea.
The track pad uses the same kind of sensing on the iPhone’s touch screen, capacitive sensing, which enables a thin, nonactive layer to be sandwiched between the user’s finger and the underlying sensors. According to one of the paper’s lead author, Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, the commercial version of the device (which was inspired by the colorful stickers that some women apply to their nails) would have a detachable membrane on its surface so that users can coordinate it with their outfits. To guard against inadvertent activation and deactivation, the device requires that your finger contacts the surface for about two to three seconds before it activates or deactivates.
For the technology to work in such a small package, the researchers had to pack the capacitive sensors, a half a millimeter thick battery, and three separate chips — a microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio chip, and a capacitive-sensing chip — into a space no larger than a thumbnail. The most challenging part (as Apple found out the hard way with the iPhone) was to find a way to “put the antenna far enough away from the chips so that it doesn’t interfere with them.”
One practical application that we believe will certainly become very popular is scrolling on a tablet while both hands are occupied with another task, e.g. preparing a dish while following the instructions on the screen. Hint to researchers: need to make the device waterproof also.
The coworker sitting besides you who seems to be scratching her long, beautifully painted fingernails? She’s actually reading and scrolling through her text messages.
And for us, photogs, remote-controlled shots are literally just a fingertip away.
And, while the prototype shows only a thumbnail-mounted trackpad, there is no reason why super users would not have all ten finger nails equipped with track pads connected to different devices. Add a gyroscope, GPS and location sensors — and, instead of scratching the track pad, you could be swiping with your hands and/or fingers in the air to scroll screens, play a virtual orchestra, a virtual guitar, etc. It’s such a small step… but the future practical applications using this technology are endless.
The famed Abbey Road Studios — used by the Beatles to record some of their best-known songs — has teamed up with Google to create an interactive virtual tour of the studios, courtesy of Google Street View technology. Now you can step into the same halls and recording studios where the “Fab Four” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) used what then were innovative recording techniques to produce some of their finest material.
The virtual tour consists of 150 360-degree panoramic images with superimposed pictures of the singers. Navigate your way thru the three studios, listen in to recording sessions and view archive photos.
Get creative with your GoPro Hero 3 and DJI Phantom II drone, mix in a little post processing green screen magic, et voià, here’s a whimsical video about Superman returning a lost GoPro to its rightful owner. Just for fun, Superman decides to turn the GoPro on and attach it to his head.
Renowned bird photographer Arthur Morris demonstrates the techniques, settings and gear he uses to capture beautiful photos of birds in flight. The setting is the Bosque del Apache in New Mexico early mornings until bright daylight. He shares the exposures he uses to freeze action as well as to depict blur, to photograph silhouettes, the use of the histogram, AI Servo AF, tripod and tele-extenders.
Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. We have never been able to directly observe both of these aspects of light at the same time: we either see it as a stream of particles or as a wave, but never both at the same time. However, scientists at EPFL have now succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior of light.
Fabrizio Carbone and his research team at EPFL used electrons to visualize a “fingerprint of the wave-nature of light.” The experiment is explained in the following video:
It’s not everyday that you get to capture an amazing lenticular cloud but that’s just what photographer Nuno Serrão did while shooting the rare angular conjunction of Mars and Venus below a crescent moon. The dramatic scene was illuminated from the bottom by the setting Sun.
Biometrics researcher Jan Krisller has claimed that he isolated German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s fingerprint from high resolution photos taken during a public appearance. He demonstrated using a photo of himself with palms facing the camera, extracted the fingerprints and verified that he could use them to log onto his computer using TouchID.
In the video below [in german], the part about using fingerprints extracted from a photo starts at the 24:48 mark.
The above video also shows another technique used by the Chaos Computer Club to create a fake latex finger from a fingerprint left on glass or a smartphone screen. The part talking about the process they used starts at the 32:00 mark.
A digital camera has many fewer moving parts than a film camera. There’s no need to wind up the film, advance it or rewind it back into the cartridge. So, there’s no film advance lever or rewind knob. What about the dedicated Shutter Speed Dial and Aperture Ring we see on some of the more popular digital cameras? It’s all electronics, controlled by the microchip at the heart of all of our modern electronics. That microchip also converts and processes all the analog data captured onto the image sensor into digital form, performs noise reduction, etc. So, here’s a look at a microchip (although it’s an “old” one), real close.
You may be an expert in cameras, having used film and all, but to those kids, you (and I) are… ancient! This video is fun to watch but also dates everyone who understands the funny moments.
As technology rolls on, our kids will look back and wonder why cameras ever had mirrors inside, used a memory card and pictures were not instantly accessible everywhere using any device. Why did pictures come out blurred? What is post-processing and why did so-called professionals need to use it to produce images others could not — even when they used the same expensive cameras? And why couldn’t everybody take action-freezing, color perfect, focused anywhere, detail splitting pictures in the blink of an eye?
Those kids in the video who are laughing at us? It’ll be pay-back time soon enough for them when their kids will laugh at them old folks. Just you wait.
If you have ever been curious how optical image stabilization and the silent wave motor work on a lens, here’s an interesting promo video that gives some insight of the many mechanical technology (Vibration Reduction, Silent Wave Motor, rounded diaphragm, the lens barrel mechanism) and optical technology that go to make a NIKKOR lens.