Tag: camera

China Are Using Facial Recognition AI That Can Scan The Country’s Entire Population In A Second

Across China, facial-recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population is being put to use. In some cases, the technology can perform the task in just one second.

Sixteen cities, municipalities, and provinces are using a frighteningly fast surveillance system that has an accuracy rate of 99.8%, Global Times reported over the weekend.

The system is fast enough to scan China’s population in just one second, and it takes two seconds to scan the world’s population,” the Times reported, citing local Chinese newspaper Worker’s Daily.

The system is part of Skynet, a nationwide monitoring program launched in 2005 to increase the use and capabilities of surveillance cameras.




According to developers, this particular system works regardless of angle or lighting condition and over the last two years has led to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.

The use of facial-recognition technology is soaring in China where it is being used to increase efficiencies and improve policing.

Cameras are used to catch jaywalkers, find fugitives, track people’s regular hangouts, and even predict crime before it happens.

Currently, there are 170 million surveillance cameras in China and, by 2020, the country hopes to have 570 million — that’s nearly one camera for every two citizens.

Facial recognition technology is just a small part of the artificial intelligence industry that China wants to pioneer.

According to a report by CB Insights, five times as many AI patents were applied for in China than the US in 2017.

And, for the first time, China’s AI scene gained more investment than that of the US last year. Of every available dollar going to AI startups around the world, nearly half went to companies in China.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

The Hubble Telescope Camera Needs A Fix

One of the Hubble Space Telescope’s main instruments stopped working on 8 January because of an unspecified hardware problem, NASA says.

Engineers are unlikely to be able to fix the ageing telescope until the ongoing US government shutdown ends — whenever that might be.

Hubble’s mission operations are based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where most employees are on involuntary leave during the shutdown.

A few people who operate spacecraft that are actively flying, including Hubble, have been allowed to keep working.




But fixing the telescope, which is almost 30 years old, will almost certainly require additional government employees who are forbidden to work during the shutdown.

NASA has formed an investigative team, composed primarily of contractors and experts from its industry partners, to examine the technical troubles.

Federal law allows agencies to keep some personnel working during a shutdown if they are deemed necessary for protecting life and property.

It is not clear whether NASA will request an emergency exception to allow repairs to Hubble before the shutdown — now on its nineteenth day — ends.

Camera trouble

The instrument that broke is Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, one of its scientific workhorses.

The telescope has one other camera and two spectrographs that remain operational and will keep collecting data, NASA said in an 8 January announcement.

In October, Hubble stopped working entirely for three weeks after the failure of one of the gyroscopes that it uses to orient itself in space.

Engineers fixed the problem, but the rescue effort required input from experts from across NASA, including many who are currently furloughed.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, which runs Hubble’s science operations, remains open for now, using money it received from NASA before the shutdown started. But many of Hubble’s technical experts are based at Goddard, which is closed.

The shutdown, which affects roughly 75% of the government, is now in its third week with no end in sight.

If it persists until 12 January, it will break the record for longest shutdown, which was set by a 21-day event that began on 16 December 1995.

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Pass it on: New Scientists

This Camera Will Take a 1,000-Year Photo to Document Climate Change

It was important to make the camera durable, with minimal moving parts.

Climate change is arguably the most important challenge ever faced by our species, but the magnitude of the problem and timescales involved can make it difficult to conceptualize in human terms.

To this end, the self-described “experimental philosopher” and artist Jonathon Keats has designed a pinhole camera that will take a 1,000-year exposure of Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border of California and Nevada.

Keats, whose most recent project was a brain-controlled factory, hopes the cameras will help our descendants understand climate dynamics and help people envision their long-term impact on the environment today.

We are changing the planet on timescales of a 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 years and we’re completely incapable of psychologically appreciating the power that we have,” Keats told me on the phone.

They’re a means to have a sort of cognitive prosthesis, a mechanism for us to be able to see ourselves from that far-future perspective.”




Keats’ placed his Millennium Cameras at four locations around Lake Tahoe. Each camera is made of copper and is only 2.75 inches long and 2.25 inches in diameter. Inside the camera is a sheet of 24-karat gold pierced by a small hole.

As light passes through this small hole, it causes a reaction with the rose-colored pigment inside the camera, which causes the color to fade where the light is the brightest. This will slowly imprint an image on the pigment over the next 1,000 years.

According to Keats, the Millennium Cameras have been years in the making. They originated from a project Keats did in Berlin, in which dozens of cheap pinhole cameras were sold for a few dollars apiece and meant to document the way the city was changing.

These cameras would be placed in a location by their purchaser and left there for 100 years at which point they would be collected and the photos featured in a museum.

A pinhole camera placed in the landscape it will document for the next 1000 years.

Although pinhole cameras date back to the earliest days of photography, Keats had to specially adapt the design for his Millennium Cameras.

The 100 year cameras placed around Berlin created a picture on a paper-based emulsion and this was unlikely to withstand 1,000 years outside.

The problem is that photography has only been around since the mid-nineteenth century so there isn’t really any data available for how best to preserve images on this sort of timescale.

The millennium cameras are circular and made entirely of copper, except for the pinhole aperture which has been pierced through a piece of 24 carat gold.

According to Keats, the best data he could find on long-term image preservation was from studies done on renaissance paintings, many of which are well over 500 years old.

If a painting or photograph is left for too long in the light, it will begin to fade. The rate at which it fades depends on both the amount of light it is exposed to as well as the material the painting is made of.

A similar effect is at work in Keats’ Millenn20ial Cameras. The main difference is that the pinhole is projecting an image of whatever the camera is pointed at, so when the pigment inside the camera fades, it reproduces that image.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Olympics TV broadcast Camera Lenses Cost As Much As A Lamborghini

TV broadcast cameras that capture every minute of the Olympic Games use massive camera lenses, called box lenses, which cost more than $200,000.

Canon has more than 70 broadcast box lenses on site in PyeongChang, including some of the flagship UHD DIGISUPER 86, which you can buy on the open market for $222,980.

The camera weighs 59.5 pounds and is 10 inches wide and tall and 24 inches long.




The cameras are so heavy and expensive because they are filled with lots of glass lenses called “elements” which are used to refract and focus the light as it travels through the camera.

A DSLR camera on the market today has around 10 elements inside but the Canon broadcast camera has 30-40 elements.

The UHD DIGISUPER 86 can reach 86x zoom range while the typical DSLR reaches only 3x or 4x optical zoom.

Besides the glass, there are also plenty of electronics required to control the zoom and focus within the camera that gives it a price tag equivalent to a Lamborghini.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

This Behemoth Of A Scientific Instrument Was Launched Into Orbit So It Could Look Down On Earth To Monitor Its Climate

NCEI’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Climate Raw Data Record (C-RDR) is an intermediary product between the Raw Data Record (RDR) product and the many Sensor Data Record (SDR) products for the VIIRS instrument.

The VIIRS instrument is a key element of the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, which was launched in October 2011.

VIIRS collects data in 22 spectral channels, from visible to longwave infrared, at two different spatial resolutions: 375 m and 750 m at nadir.

The VIIRS C-RDR contains all the raw measurements from the VIIRS RDR collected into time series variables. This simplifies access to the data for reprocessing using alternative calibration and geolocation methods.

The VIIRS C-RDR also provides the coefficients and tables used by the NESDIS Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS) to convert the raw measurements to science units and calibrate them.




These data are all written to files using the Network Common Data Form 4 (netCDF-4) format, which is platform-independent, binary, hierarchical, and self-describing.

Each variable within a VIIRS C-RDR file is annotated with a description of the measurement, information about the source, and specifications of valid limits and fill values.

Each VIIRS C-RDR file also contains file-level metadata conforming to the Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata conventions, the Attribute Convention for Dataset Discovery (ACDD), and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) standards for Suomi NPP data products.

Metadata elements, such as granule IDs, which are found in Suomi NPP data product files, are also present in C-RDR files as an aid to understanding the provenance and processing history of the VIIRS C-RDR files.

A number of existing software applications (IDL, MATLAB, etc.) can easily read the variables contained within VIIRS C-RDR files.

Users can also easily access the file contents in their own applications by employing netCDF libraries that are available for FORTRAN, C, C++, Java, or Python.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

This Universal Zoom Lens Lets You Zoom Your Smartphone Cameras Up To 8x!

telephoto

The camera on your mobile device has all the power, megapixels, and quality you could want. The kicker is, unlike DSLR cameras, you’re stuck with the one lens.




With this handy accessory, however, you can add some telephoto excellence to your phone, tablet, or laptop. It has a 9° angle of view and an 8x zoom for added versatility.

It’s compatible with most smartphones and tablets, and has an easy clip design. Don’t miss this great deal.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

A Tactical 360° Ball Camera That Can Be Thrown Into Danger

A camera startup called Bounce Imaging has just launched the Explorer, a tactical 360° camera that looks like a black softball with lenses scattered across the surface.

The device is designed to help law enforcement scope out risky environments before entering them, capturing a spherical panorama to reveal hidden dangers.

On the outside of the Explorer is a thick rubber covering and six lenses pointed in different directions. There are also powerful 240W white LED lights that illuminate the scene and disorient potential attackers.

After being tossed into a location, the camera snaps several photos per second simultaneously with all six cameras. The images are then stitched together into a spherical panorama in the camera and beamed to an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet on the police officer.

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Pass it on: Popular Science