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While Google has been working towards perfecting visual search for a while now (note the similar images option in image search), it is reportedly in the final stages of acquiring an e-commerce firm called Like.com that specializes in the technology, for approximately $100 million.

Munjal Shah, the CEO and co-founder of Like.com, declined to comment on the matter. Like.com has received large investments in the past from numerous venture capital firms, and made its name in the industry with its novel approach to online apparel shopping, using visual search and adaptive technology to help its customers find suitable fashion purchases. If the reports turn out to be true, look forward to better search (and better mobile search) from the search giant, affecting relevancy more beyond the image result level.

Courtesy –

Thinkdigit.com

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Eager to try Android on your netbook? Well, now you can.

Zoom

Before Google announced the Chrome OS, many of us were more than looking forward to seeing how the company’s Android operating system would run on netbooks. However, when Google dropped its Chrome OS bomb, we were left wondering about the fate of Android on netbooks. After all, the Chrome OS is being designed for netbooks. What would be the point of Android on anything but phones once the Chrome OS becomes available next year?

With the help of LiveAndroid you don’t have to wait to try it out. LiveAndroid has been around for a while now. Originally launched in May, LiveCD allows you to run the Android OS on x86 platforms without actually installing the software. Up until now this was only useful to those with netbooks that actually have an optical drive. However, the folks at LiveAndroid last week announced a LiveUSB version, especially handy for those of you with netbooks or notebooks that don’t have a disc drive.

Anyone willing to give this a shot? Let us know how you get on if you do! You can download the iso file from LiveAndroid’s Google Code-hosted project page

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Indian Government has instructed the Department of Telecommunication to send notices to RIM, Skype, and Google to grant access to all communications that take place over their networks. Within 15 days, each of these companies will be required to open all the data, so that it can be read by the security and intelligence agencies. Else…..

It looks like we might join the Chinese and lay traditional marigold garlands on Google India Headquarters as the Government might ban these companies if they fail to comply. Although, taking into account the recent terrorist attacks, the Government’s stance is justified to an extent. However, we feel that such negotiations must take place in the background. On the other hand, once in hands of Government officials, it wouldn’t be surprising if one can get all your mail and data for a bunch of green notes. None of these companies has responded to the notices as of yet.

Better start cleaning your Inbox to be on the safe side !

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For the last few months, we’ve seen all the major internet browsers compete for features and updates, even while the market share policies and discussions were held at bay from the tech-world. We were happy watching Mozilla and Opera having a stable hold, Safari moving upwards, and Chrome building its market share as well as version number to sync with the others.

Despite having the largest bite in the web browser market share pie, IE has been subjected to a gradual and constant fall for the last couple of years while the other browsers steadily gained on it. But it seems much has changed in last two months, and the Big Blue e wasn’t resting this summer-vacation! If we go with the statistics, it shows us Internet Explorer having a potential growth of approximately 0.5% from May to June. That’s not all; the graph also shows Firefox losing half as much what IE gained, and Opera giving room of rest of the percentage to IE.

What could this possibly mean to the IT world? Is IE again slowly taking over the internet behind everyone’s eyes, or is it just that the other browsers aren’t compelling enough any more for the users? Is it because of the feature convergence that IE is coming with each of its major version releases to match with the other giants? Or, possibly it is just a failure of Firefox that it couldn’t hold on to its market when even Safari and newest player Chrome are climbing upwards?

Yes, it’s true that IE9 is coming with loads of improvements and potential to reorder many calculations, but that couldn’t be a possible reason to boost up the usage share of its previous versions. If features were the reason, then IE6 hardly stands any chance to take a sip in this battle of titans. Is Firefox losing its appeal? Well, that may further increase the usage of Chrome etc. but the users who do away with Firefox very rarely take IE as a replacement for good.

There may be some other explanations, some of which may seem meaningful, others not; we will present you with this analysis which, of course, does not render the discrepancy as a freak of nature, but a regular phenomenon that comes upon us periodically. Let us explain how…

If you take another look at the browser market share figure of 2009, a similar result extracts out of it too. The IE market share increases in the months of May and June (and then decreases again). We have produced the result for 2009, but if you are curious, you can research on it for the years before this and would see nearly the same result. So at least we know, this anomaly is just a routine occurrence; now we’ll take a look at the possible reason…

With April, a new fiscal year begins. It’s a fact that every organization tries to reorganize at this period of time, and so do their IT departments. With this in hand, we can assume most of the office PCs get their OSes reinstalled or freshly formatted, of which most are Windows. Unlike Europe, without having the browser ballot screen (even that is only for Windows 7), the rest of the world is bound to have Internet Explorer pre-installed in their systems. European organizations who still haven’t switched to Windows 7 yet, are left with no other choice than kick off the Blue e to connect to internet for the very first time.

Believe it or not, most of the organizations still prefer to use Windows XP as their operating system of choice and IE6 as the primary browser. Despite its primitiveness, the fact that IE6 is still being used is because its limitations are treated as the advantage in the official sector, where advanced web page rendering, HTML5, streaming video, and web 2.0 features are neither needed not intended to be used by the employees. So, an IT administrator is free from applying advanced website filtering and firewall rule settings, making it easier to manage the network. At first it may seem to make the organizational network insecure, but the administrator can now put that effort to manage the network gateway system to keep the bad guys off the network. So as it works out quite well, most of the organizations stay with this solution in hand.

Now, you won’t wonder why even IE6 is having a usage boost, would you? Because, even if you want to download Firefox, you need to start by opening Internet Explorer, eventually increasing the overall usage at this particular time of the year. Microsoft can only turn the game a bit when IE9 comes out, but till then, it’ll just have to settle for steadily declines and periodical rises in browser usage shares…

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FASHION crime it may be, but a multicoloured dayglo glove could bringMinority Report-style computing to your home PC.

Interest in so-called gesture-based computingMovie Camera has been stoked by the forthcoming launch of gaming systems from Microsoft and SonyMovie Camera that will track the movements of players’ bodies and replicate them on screen. But an off-the-shelf system that can follow delicate hand movements in three dimensions to manipulate virtual objects remains tantalisingly beyond reach.

The problem with systems such as Microsoft’s Project Natal for the Xbox is that they do not focus on the detailed movement of hands, limiting the degree to which players can manipulate virtual objects, says Javier Romero, a computer-vision researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Arm movements can be captured but more subtle pinches or twists of the wrists may be missed.

Until now, capturing detail required expensive motion-capture systems like those used for Hollywood’s special-effects fests. These utilise markers placed around the body, or sensor-studded data gloves in which flexible sensors detect joint movements. “Really accurate gloves cost up to $20,000 and are a little unwieldy to wear,” says Robert Wang, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Wang has developed a system that could bring gesture-based computing to the masses and it requires nothing more than a pair of multicoloured latex gloves, a webcam and a laptop .

Hands where I can see them (Image: CSAIL)

The key to the system is the gloves, each of which is comprised of 20 patches of 10 different colours – the maximum number a typical webcam can effectively distinguish between. The patches are arranged to maintain the best possible separation of colours. For example, the fingertips and the palm, which would frequently collide in natural hand gestures, are coloured differently.

The upshot is that when a webcam is used to track a glove-clad hand, the system can identify each finger’s location and distinguish between the front and the back of the hand. “It makes the computer’s life easier,” says Wang.

Once the system has calculated the position of the hand, it searches a database containing 100,000 images of gloved hands in a variety of positions. “If you have more images than that it slows the computer down, and if you have fewer then you don’t provide an adequate representation of all the positions the hand can be in,” Wang explains.

Once it finds a match it displays it on screen. The process is repeated several times per second, enabling the system to recreate gestures in real time.

Wang presented some early-stage research at last year’s SIGGRAPH meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. “Back then it only worked in windowless rooms and took half an hour to calibrate,” says Wang. Now it can be calibrated in 3 seconds, he says.

Wang has already shown that the system can correctly replicate most of the letters of the American Sign Language alphabet, although those that require rapid motion (J and Z) or involve the thumb (E, M, N, S and T) have yet to be perfected.

The gloves are so cheap to make – costing about a dollar – that they could bring gesture-based computing to a wider audience, says Douglas Lanman, an expert in human-computer interaction at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. But if it’s going to have truly widespread appeal, it will need to lose the gloves. “Wearing a glove is an inconvenience,” he says. “Markerless motion-capture is where I think the field is moving, and where the larger commercial market will be.”

Last month, at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Anchorage, Alaska, Romero and his colleague Danica Kragicdemonstrated how markerless motion-capture may be possible. Their system also uses a webcam and a database of hand positions to recreate an on-screen version, but attempts to pick out a bare hand in a stream of video from a webcam by detecting flesh colours. If you reach down and pick up a ball, say, the program will aim to find a matching image in its database of the positions the had adopts as it reaches down and picks up a spherical object.

Identifying a hand using skin colour is far more difficult than picking out a multicoloured glove. Even once a hand is detected, it is a massive challenge to accurately identify its position – especially if it is holding something, says Kragic. “The object blocks out parts of the hand, preventing the computer from knowing what the hidden bit is doing.”

To tackle the problem, Romero and Kragic created a reference database containing images of hands picking up 33 different objects, such as a ball or a cylinder. They then set up a webcam, which captured 10 frames per second, and tested their system’s capabilities by filming people grasping a cup, a ball or a pair of pliers. The database had images of a hand picking up a ball, but nothing for a cup or pliers. The system successfully created virtual representation of a hand grabbing a ball, and came as close as it could to the cup by displaying a hand grasping a cylinder. It came up empty with the pliers.

These are exciting results nonetheless, says Romero, because they show that the system can not only reconstruct the gestures of empty hands, but can also generalise when dealing with some unknown objects. The shape of the pliers, and the grasp used to pick them up were too different from anything in the database for the system to find a match, but by expanding the reference database it should be possible to overcome that, he says.

To make identification faster, Romero has incorporated an algorithm to rule out unlikely hand positions based on previous estimates of hand pose. For example, if the last hand position was a hand stretched out with splayed fingers, the algorithm rules out database images of hands that are clenched into a fist. While this helps the system operate in real time, it creates problems of its own: if the hand moves very fast, it can indeed “jump” from being splayed out to being clenched. In this situation, Romero’s set-up struggles because that algorithm will rule out the correct pose.

Romero claims the system is already attracting interest from makers of prosthetics, who want to improve their understanding about how people grip objects.

It will also, of course, interest game makers, says Takaaki Shiratori of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

COURTESY: http://www.newscientist.com

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Christian Kandlbauer mind-controlled arm prosthesis

A mind-controlled robotic arm is bringing new independence to an Austrian man who lost his arms, even allowing him to drive a car, the arm’s maker announced earlier this week. Christian Kandlbauer passed his driving test “with flying colors” using a mind-controlled arm prosthesis. Created by the German firm Otto Bock HealthCare, the arm has allowed 23-year-old Christian Kandlbauer to pass a driving test with flying colors, giving him the freedom to drive the seven kilometers to and from work each day without assistance. The device is the first mind-controlled arm prosthesis in Europe. After a high-voltage electrical accident struck Kandlbauer back in 2005, both his arms had to be amputated. His right arm has since been replaced by a myoelectric DynamicArm, which now operates the steering wheel when he drives his specially equipped Subaru Impreza, modified for him by Paravan. Taking the place of his left arm, however, is the new, seven-jointed prosthetic arm, which he controls in real time using just his thoughts. He now operates that arm to control the direction indicator lights, horn and all other safety-related devices of his vehicle.

Targeted Muscle Reinnervation

The prosthesis is based on targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR), a process by which four key arm nerves are systematically relocated to the surgically segmented chest musculature. Once reinnervation is complete — it can take several months — the surface of the chest forms an interface to the patient’s brain. Electric nerve impulses coming from this region can actually be sampled and processed by surface electrodes, according to Otto Bock. Now, powerful micro-controllers in the prosthesis calculate the motor commands underlying the impulses in real time and generate the equivalent control commands for the arm. For Kandlbauer, who works in a garage, it’s been a dream come true. He obtained his driver’s license in October and has been traveling back and forth to work in his own vehicle ever since.

‘An Important Extension’

“What’s remarkable about the Otto Bock prosthetic technology is the way they have re-engineered the nervous system to make the prosthesis more useful,” James Cavuoto, editor of Neurotech Reports, told TechNewsWorld. “Innovative strategies like this will likely grow the market for motor prostheses in the years ahead,” Cavuoto added. Indeed, following 10 years of pioneering work in TMR, “it is exciting to see this promising new source of command signals being applied to commercial, clinical prostheses,” agreed Gerald Loeb, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California. It’s not clear whether it’s truly a case of “mind-control,” however, “particularly because other researchers have been working — with much less success — on reading out command signals directly from the brain, where the term seems more appropriate,” Loeb told  Nevertheless, TMR is “an important extension of the original concept of myoelectric control because it enables users to operate multiple degrees of freedom in a way that is much more natural and intuitive than has been possible before,” he explained. “That sort of command capability is essential to take advantage of the much more sophisticated mechatronic hands and arms that are being developed by several research and commercial groups, including Otto Bock,” Loeb added.

A High-Tech Index Finger

Otto Bock is also working on a “high-tech index finger” for Kandlbauer that can sense temperature, identify rough and smooth surfaces and feel the strength of a handshake. “Micro-sensors that record the temperature, gripping strength and surface characteristics of the object being gripped are integrated into the tip of the index finger on the prosthetic hand,” explained Hubert Egger, head of the mind-controlled arm project. Currently, however, the prosthesis with sensory perception is only a prototype. It will likely take another four years of development before Kandlbauer can use it on a day-to-day basis, Otto Bock said.

COURTESY:www.technewsworld.com

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4G also called as Fourth-Generation Communications System, is a term used to describe the next step in wireless communications. A 4G system can provide a comprehensive IP solution where voice, data and streamed multimedia can be provided to users on an “Anytime, Anywhere” basis. The data transfer rates are also much higher than previous generations.

3g-to-4g14G is the latest phenomenon to metamorphose the cellular superhighway, soon to succeed its predecessors 3G and 2G.G stands for the generation in mobile technology that have come of age maturing down the line over 20 to 30 years. The first generation mobile technology were based on analog telecommunication standards. 2G technology evolved in 1990s, introducing digital circuit switched transmission and SMS text messaging. This was followed by a big leap in the form of 3G, aka IMT-2000 that marked the major advances in mobile technology including efficient data handling enabling video calls, accessing websites in oiginal format and much more. For 3G what better example can you have if not iPhone 3G. 4G system is anticipated to revolutionize the functioning of communication networks with comprehensive and secure IP based solution facilitating voice, data and streamed multimedia Anytime, Anywhere and with much higher data transfer rates than its predecessors.

4G- Blueprint of Goals

4G mobile is under the process of being established according to the set standards. It’s features are more of a blueprint based on goals rather than requirements.  Let’s take a snap of the goals set for 4G

  • Faster data transfer rates
  • Enhanced security measures than its predecessors
  • Reducing blips in transmission when a device is moved from one networks coverage to another
  • 4G mobile networks should also use a network based on the IP address system that is used for Internet

One World One device: Global roaming in 4G

4g-technology

The fourth generation would completely transform the mobile phone networks, in to end to end IP based networks, couple this with the arrival of IPv6.  With a unique IP address for all devices in the world, it would initialize full IP based communications from a mobile device right from the core of web.

It would truly harmonize global roaming, super high speed connectivity and transparent end user performance on every mobile communications deice in the world.

Once on the stage is set, 4G would offer 100 Mbps to roaming mobile device globally and around 1 Gbps to a stationary device. Clearly, this could have wider implications including overwhelming wireless performances like enhanced video conferencing, streaming panoramic video and much more.

The giant leap would require a massive infrastructural makeover in the phone networks – multiplying the traffic load on the internet as a whole. 4G needs swifter backbones and oceanic links for a smooth run. For paralleling things, think of 1 billion 100mb nodes attached to a network over night.

Who’s using 4G?

There are two major systems in U.S, which are using the 4G mobile technology  – WiMax, backed by Clearwire and Long Term Evolution or LTE. WiMax’s majority owner is Sprint Nextel. They had started testing services in Baltimore in 2008 and waiting to expand their coverage over 80 cities by the end of 2010.

Long Term Evolution is backed by Verizon. According to cnet, Verizon has completed initial 4G wireless test, but not available for widespread use until 2012.

WiLAN and 4G Network technologies have signed a U.S $ 31 million purchase order as a part of 5 year supply agreement to build a fourth generation cellular network throughout US

Well, 3G is yet to reach its zenith and 4G couldn’t be an overnight phenomenon. In such a situation we can just keep our fingers crossed. There’s an air of speculation that suggest the fourth G would take on the mobile world by 2010. For the time you can just wait and watch our updates.

The main objectives of 4G are:
1)4G will be a fully IP-based integrated system.

2)This will be capable of providing 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s speeds both indoors and outdoors.

3)It can provide premium quality and high security.

4)4G offer all types of services at an affordable cost.

4G is developed to provide high quality of service (QoS) and rate requirements set by forthcoming applications such as wireless broadband access, Multimedia Messaging, Video Chat, Mobile TV, High definition TV content, DVB, minimal service like voice and data, and other streaming services.

4G technology allow high-quality smooth video transmission. It will enable fast downloading of full-length songs or music pieces in real time.

The business and popularity of 4Gmobiles is predicted to be very vast. On an average, by 2009, this 4Gmobile market will be over $400B and it will dominate the wireless communications, and its converged system will replace most conventional wireless infrastructure.

Data Rates For 4G:

The downloading speed for mobile Internet connections is from 9.6 kbit/s for 2G cellular at present. However, in actual use the data rates are usually slower, especially in crowded areas, or when there is congestion in network.

4G mobile data transmission rates are planned to be up to 20 megabits per second which means that it will be about 10-20 times faster than standard ASDL services.

In terms of connection seeds, 4G will be about 200 times faster than present 2G mobile data rates, and about 10 times faster than 3G broadband mobile. 3G data rates are currently 2Mbit/sec, which is very fast compared to 2G’s 9.6Kbit/sec.

Source:wise Geek4G technology

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Moore’s Law states that :

“The number of transistors and resistors on a chip doubles every 18 months.”

(So in effect the processing power increases )

The current Scenario :

For long Nvidia and Intel have been debating on their varying perspectives and visions on the future of multi-core computing technology. It appears that Nvidia’s VP,  Bill Dally, has stood his stance against the principles of ‘Moore’s law’ stating that, “Moore’s Law is dead”. However, it is to be noted that ‘Moore’s Law’ is arguably the base of Intel’s multi-core architecture and the technology employed in fabricating its processor chips. Looks like Intel’s relentless pursuit in adopting Moore’s vision and the fact that AMD’s principles are also guided by this doctrine brings up a whole new equation in this battle of world’s leading chipmakers.

Mr. Dally is reported to have reiterated his stance by stating that parallel computing remains the hub of Nvidia’s GPU architecture and that dual, quad- and hex-core solutions are inefficient. He further adds that, building multi-core GPU’s is like “trying to build an airplane by putting wings on a train,” and that “only ground-up parallel solutions designed for energy efficiency will bring back the golden age of doubling performance every two years”. While all these ideas and visions sound impressive, Nvidia has a long road ahead in accomplishing both energy efficiency and high performance together as a landmark milestone.

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A playable … logo? That’s exactly what web giant Google has today, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man‘s Japanese release. The doodle (Google’s term for its event and holiday-specific logos) is accessible on its main page and is a full 255-level game complete with a 256th level “kill screen,” just like the original coin-operated one.

Also if u click the insert coin button near the search box of the doodle you can enter in two player mode and the second player can use the wasd keys to play !
The interactive doodle — a first for Google — is the brainchild of senior user experience designer Marcin Wichary, whose earliest exposure to Pac-Man came at age five while traveling across his native Poland with his father, a game technician, to repair arcade machines. Wichary worked with Google doodler (yes, it’s a real job) Ryan Germick to create the finished design.

It can get a little annoying after a while, especially if you have a habit of visiting Google frequently !

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