Archive for December 23rd, 2010

December 23, 2010

>New Single-Pixel Photo Camera Developed


Researchers from the UJI (Universitat Jaume I) Optics Research Group (GROC) in Castelló, Spain, have developed a new tool for the field of scientific imaging. A sensor of just one pixel can record high-quality images and distribute them securely, that is, without allowing unauthorised people access to information.In recent years, the world of image technologies has become a booming scientific field, mainly because of biomedical applications. Holographic microscopes, light-operated scissors, laser scalpels, and so on, have enabled the design of minimally invasive diagnosis and surgery techniques. In this context, one amazing possibility that researchers have recently demonstrated is that of capturing high-quality digital images with a sensor using just a single pixel. This technique, baptised by scientists as ‘ghost imaging’, is based on the sequential recording of the light intensity transmitted or reflected by an object illuminated by a sequence of noisy light beams. This noisy light is what we observe, for example, when we illuminate a piece of paper using a laser pointer.

The GROC researchers have successfully captured 2D object images (such as the UJI logo or the face of one of the maids of honour from the famous Las Meninas painting as reinterpreted by Picasso in 1957) using this amazing single-pixel camera. The key for the success lies in the use of a small 1-inch LCD screen, similar to that used in video projectors or those we have at home, but in miniature. Its properties or features can be modified using a computer in order to generate the necessary light beams.

Furthermore, the researchers from Castelló have demonstrated, for the first time and on a worldwide scale, the possibility of adapting the technique in such a way that it allows an image to be securely sent to a set of authorised users using a public distribution channel, such as the Internet. The information transmitted is a simple numerical sequence that allows the image to be retrieved, but only if one knows the hidden codes enabling the generation of the noise patterns with which the pubic access information has been created.

The first results of this study, which is still under way, were published in the first July issue of the journal Optics Letters, and a month later Nature Photonics, the main journal in optics, included a review of it in its September issue, in the section containing the most relevant articles published in the field.

The technology applied to the single-pixel camera had not yet been used for image encryption, but it is being studied now by several research groups — including GROC- to obtain images of biological tissues which, because of their unusual transparency or their location in the more internal parts of the body (some centimetres under surface mucus), are difficult to view using pixelated devices such as those of today’s digital cameras. Furthermore, the researchers point out that using this technique for image encryption will improve safety in image transmission, product authentication, or will simply hide information from undesired people, thus making it a highly efficient tool against data phishing.

Thanks to ScienceDaily

December 23, 2010

>World Largest iPhone appears in London


The big iPhone consist of 56 iPads. The giant iPhone made an appearance at St Pancras International Train Station, which is one of the busiest train stations in London. The actual reason of this big iPhone is to celebrate the launch of Lara Croft Guardian of Light. Few people among the first to see the giant iPhone also won their own iPad. The Lara Croft app is now available in App Store for £3.99 for iPhone, and £5.99 for iPad.
December 23, 2010

>Mozilla Firefox 4 Offers Streamlined Synch Setup


The beta offers easier account and new device setup for Firefox Sync and expanded support for 3D graphics.Applications developer Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 4 beta, the latest version of the company’s popular Web browsing application. The beta offers easier account and new device setup for Firefox Sync, expanded support for 3D graphics in the browser and a revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager, among other features. The streamlined Firefox Sync setup is designed to make it easier to bring Awesome bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across a user’s computers and smartphones. Based on user feedback, Mozilla also made it much easier to setup Firefox Sync while still securing Firefox data with the same encryption.
In addition, Firefox 4 beta now supports WebGL for most modern built-in graphics cards, which is designed to make it easier for developers to create interactive 3D games, vivid graphics and new visual experiences for the Web without the use of third-party plug-ins. WebGL is an open standard for accelerated 3D graphic rendering on the Web that enables developers to build applications that until now required a user to install plug-ins. The revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager is now available on Windows, Mac and Linux and now add-ons update automatically with the Firefox Add-Ons Manager. 
“Combined with our previous work to bring open HTML5 technologies for animation, video, and sound to the Web, developers can now create amazing experiences that are rendered directly in the browser, combining themselves with live data from the Internet,” wrote Mozilla’s Mike Beltzner. “We are working with the amazing community of add-ons developers to get the gallery of thousands of beneficial and fun add-ons ready to customize the features, look and functionality of Firefox 4 Beta.”
In October, Mozilla released its Firefox 4 beta 1 for Google’s Android and Nokia’s Maemo mobile platforms. It includes features familiar to users of Firefox’s desktop version, including Add-ons and the Awesome Bar, which displays frequently visited and bookmarked URLs. By tapping the Awesome Bar, users can access the Awesome Screen, which displays history, bookmarks and tabs.
December 23, 2010

>Researchers Train Software to Help Monitor Climate Change


A computer program that automatically analyzes mounds of satellite images and other data could help climate scientists keep track of complex, constantly changing environmental conditions, according to an international team of researchers.
“All of the data and information that is continually collected by satellites and sensors can cause tons of problems for scientists, who simply don’t have the time to analyze every pixel of every satellite image,” said James Wang, professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State. “Our goal has been to provide a tool that would create useful information or knowledge from this large pool of data..”
The program uses probability to analyze and extract environmental information from satellite images and sensor data about ocean structures like wakes, upwellings and cold and warm eddies, the researchers reported in the current issue of IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.
Researchers first built a database of ocean structures and then used the knowledge of human experts to train the program to recognize and identify changes in the ocean.
“We’re particularly interested in the analysis of mesoscale regional ocean structures in satellite images,” said Jose A. Piedra-Fernandez, a visiting professor in information sciences and technology at Penn State during the project and currently an assistant professor at the University of Almeria, Spain.
Researchers tested the technology on satellite images provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer of sections of oceans in the Iberian Atlantic, the Mediterranean coast and near the Canary Islands. The tests included 1,000 cases of real ocean features, including 472 upwellings, 119 cloudy upwellings, 180 wakes, 10 anticyclonic eddies, 40 cyclonic eddies and 180 misclassified regions.
The best combination of filter and classification method developed by the researchers accurately identified the ocean features more than 89 percent of the time.
“In almost all cases, the proposed methodology improves the accuracy rate and reduces the number of features necessary to get a good ocean structures classification,” Piedra-Fernandez said.
The researchers think that data on these oceanic features could offer clues on subtle changes in the temperature of the oceans and global climate conditions.
The system involves several steps, including adjusting for possible earth- and solar-based interference sources, separating ocean regions from land regions and extracting and identifying features from specific regions of ocean. In the feature selection process, the system filters the regions of the images by ranking strong and weak–or, relevant and irrelevant–relationships between the features, said Piedra-Fernandez. After the filtering process, the system can better identify and classify the upwellings, wakes and eddies.
Bayesian networks, which use probability to make decisions, are the preferred technology for classifying the features because they are easy to design and evaluate, said Piedra-Fernandez. Just as the presence of sniffles and a cough increases the probability that a doctor will diagnose that a patient is suffering from a cold, a Bayesian network can determine that the color or shading of certain pixels in an image indicates an upwelling, or other oceanic features studied by the researchers.
Because the design of the Bayesian system requires less data for learning than other probability-based decision systems, such as Markov networks, the Bayesian networks reduce the computational cost of the system, another key goal for the system’s design.
The team next plans to add more features, such as salinity and chlorophyll concentrations, and improve the accuracy of the image classification system.
Wang and Piedra-Fernandez worked with Manuel Canton-Garbin, professor of computing and artificial intelligence, University of Almeria, Spain.
This project was partially supported by Spain’s Ministry of Education and Science. Their ongoing research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s cyber-enabled discovery program.
Thanks to ScienceDaily