Future Tech: Plus…drones and AI fight poaching & a ‘budget’ motion caption suit.
Simple hologram eyepiece could mean the end for bulky VR headsets
From Popular Mechanics:
Augmented reality and holographic vision has plenty of applications from working with disabilities to working on the space station. But Microsoft's Hololens is expensive and bulky, and more limited devices like Google Glass have failed outright. But perhaps if top notch hologram power can be squeezed into [smaller frames], the AR revolution will finally arrive. That seems to be what Microsoft is working on.
Researchers at the Washington-state computer giant caution that they're still in "early days on the journey toward this vision, and there isn't a clear route to solving all the optical challenges" of a hologram eyepiece. But they've been able to solve major hurdles to create sharply focused holograms that can be made by a projector small enough to fit on a traditional glasses frame.
Drones and AI join forces to fight poaching
Several organizations are already using drones to fight poaching, but the Lindbergh Foundation is taking it one step further. The environmental non-profit has joined forces with Neurala in order to use the company's deep learning neural network AI to boost the capabilities of the drones in its Air Shepherd program. Neurala taught its technology what elephants, rhinos and poachers look like, so it can accurately pinpoint and mark them in videos. It will now put the AI to work sifting through all the footage the foundation's drones beam back in real time, including infrared footage taken at night.
The AI's job is to pore over these videos and quickly identify the presence of poachers to prevent them from even reaching the animals' herds. It's the perfect addition to the Air Shepherd program that aims to use cutting edge software and drones to stop poaching in Africa.
A motion caption suit that doesn’t cost a fortune
Motion capture technology is the stuff of magic. I learned this firsthand when I put on a black onesie interspersed with sensors, waved my hands in the air, and watched a frog on the screen next to me do the same. Everything I did the frog did too, with the accuracy of my own shadow. Then Jakob Balslev, founder and CEO of motion capture suitmaker Rokoko, replaced the frog with an old man in a [tank top], who mirrored my behavior with a scowl on his face.
Motion capture this good usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is why it’s typically relegated to high-profile Hollywood studios and well-established game designers. It requires a suit, tons of cameras, studio space, and technicians to operate it. Rokoko’s Smartsuit Pro, on the contrary, puts the entire studio setup into one $2,500 suit. Balslev sees it as the start of the democratization of motion capture.
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