Thursday, 28 May 2015

Lily - Throw-and-Shoot Camera Drone

PetaPixel reports: [edited]

Lily lets anyone capture cinematic aerial photos and videos without needing to do any piloting.

Using the Lily involves putting a tracking device on the subject you’d like Lily to follow, throwing the Lily into the air, after which Lily flies and shoots using GPS and computer vision to follow the tracking device at up to 25mph.

The drone itself is waterproof and floats, allowing you to safely land it in water if needed. Size-wise, it easily fits in a backpack and weighs less than an average laptop.

Onboard is a camera that can shoot 12 megapixel stills, 1080p HD video at 60fps, and 720p/120fps slow motion footage. The internal battery allows for 20 minutes of flight per charge.

The Lily will start shipping in February 2016 for the price of $999, but the company is currently taking pre-orders through its website for $499.


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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

LG 1mm OLED Display

Pocket Lint reports: [edited]

The OLED TV was shown as a proof of concept at a press event in Korea. The 55-inch TV was a meagre 0.97mm thick and weighed just 1.9kg.

By mounting a thin magnet to the wall the TV can be attached like a fridge magnet. To remove it you simply peel it off the wall. It also appears to be flexible making damaging it difficult and curving it easy.

LG Display plans to keep pushing OLED and will introduce a 99-inch OLED screen this summer.
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Thursday, 14 May 2015

QromaScan

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The QromaScan uses 12 LEDs to illuminate its interior. To start scanning you open the dedicated app on your phone and put the device onto the box with the camera facing downward. When the photo is in position below it, the camera on your smartphone is used to capture the image, using voice recognition to avoid camera shake.

Location and time can be added to the metadata of the resulting digital image using voice control. The same method can be used to tag people in an image, allowing for easy organisation of your pictures. Currently, this only works with iOS devices but an Android version is in the works as well.

The makers of the QromaScan have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance final development and mass production. Early birds can secure a QromaScan for $35 but a range of backing options are available. Shipping is expected for July 2015.
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Samsung NX1

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Samsung's 'enthusiast' mirrorless camera.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"One can almost imagine a group of Samsung engineers sitting in a conference room and having the spec sheets of every leading APS-C and four thirds camera dropped in front of them, along with a directive to outperform the whole lot."

"And to a certain extent they seem to have pulled it off. Canon 7D II for autofocus and frame rate? Check. Panasonic GH4 for video? Check. Sony sensors for dynamic range and ISO sensitivity? Check. The result is a camera loaded with features for both still photography and video, and which excels at both."

The company seems to have listened to users when designing the camera. Not only is it a well designed tool from a usability standpoint, but Samsung managed to pack it full of technical improvements that are hard to ignore, such as best in class image quality and best in class video quality.

We could probably justify giving the NX1 an award simply based on technological advancements and raising the bar for both image quality and video performance in its class. But those achievements are wrapped inside a well designed camera with a great user experience. Congratulations to the Samsung NX1 for winning our Gold Award.
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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Microsoft Office Lens for iOS and Android

c|net reports: [edited]

Office Lens, a scanning app that's been a hit on Windows Phone, is coming to iOS and Android. The free App allows users to take pictures of receipts, business cards, whiteboards, sticky notes and export them to OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking app, as well as Word, Powerpoint, PDF, Mail & Photo Library.

Office Lens automatically crops, enhances and cleans up images. It also enables users to search for key words in the images via optical character recognition.
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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Fuji X100T

Digital Photography Review has published a review of Fujifilm's large sensor prime compact.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The X100 was a breakthrough camera when it first appeared: making good on the large sensor, small camera idea first pursued by Sigma. It was a potentially great camera, riddled with quirks and inconsistencies. However, Fujifilm continued to develop the camera and the X100 today is much closer to being the classic that its looks imply."

"Whether it's the addition of Wi-Fi, the provision of 1/3rd stop increments on the aperture dial or the move to dedicated directional buttons, rather than the cheap-compact style wheel on the back of the camera, there are plenty of changes that make the camera better. Equally, the addition of an electronic shutter option and a greater degree of camera customisation make a big difference.

We've been really impressed with the image quality from the X100 series, the JPEG color is excellent and the F2 maximum aperture is wide enough to give a little bit of background blur at reasonable working distances, meaning you can get images that look distinct from most other small cameras.

There's nothing else on the market that offers the same combination of image quality and shooting experience, thanks to its direct controls and clever viewfinder.

Overall, it's a small but significant step forward for the series. It's a lovely camera, and well worth considering if you've never owned one of the series before, but it's not the 'rush out and buy one now' product that we keep hoping the X100 series will be.
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Friday, 27 March 2015

Using video games in job interviews

New Scientist reports: [edited]

Last week a company called Starfighter was launched. Its aim is to create games you can only master if you have a talent for programming, although those with a natural aptitude can learn as they play. If you do well in a game, the firm knows you are ripe for hiring.

Starfighter's games will have a story. "You'll pretend you're a spy for the day, for example," says Patrick McKenzie, Starfighter's CEO and co-founder. "The story might be to break into tech that's securing state secrets, but it's the same tech you'd use to secure a bank in the real world."

The assumption is that the players who are best at breaking into the software in the game will also be the best at securing it in the real world. Starfighter works with top players to place them in jobs fitting the skills they have demonstrated, if they want them.

Starfighter's games will be totally free, and while they won't have fancy graphics, they will be engaging to play just for fun. Starfighter isn't ready to talk about exactly which skills their games will test, but its founders have already built a game called Microcorruption. It imagines a scenario in which players must break into locked warehouses all over the world, each one stuffed with cash. A smartphone app controls each warehouse lock, and the players have to break in without knowing the code. Of 12224 players, just 182 passed the hardest level. The firm will get in touch with these elite players and help place them with one of their clients, who pay Starfighter a fee.
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