Facebook’s New 360 Degree Cameras a Breakthrough in VR World

Last year, Facebook unveiled Surround 360, a 360-degree camera that is able to capture footage in 3D and then render it online through specially designed software. To add more to this lineup of products, the company on April 19, 2017, introduced two new 360-degree cameras – the x24, with 24 cameras, and x6, with six cameras. The difference between the first product unveiled and the latest products announced is that the latter can shoot in six degrees of freedom, which comes with the promise of making the 360-degree footage more immersive than before.

Facebook Plans to License Designs to Commercial Partners

Facebook doesn’t have any plans to sell these two cameras directly to consumers. Instead, the company is looking for a select group of commercial partners who will do its job and release the product later this year. The versions we are seeing on the internet were prototyped in Facebook’s on-site hardware lab, Area 404, using off-the-shelf components. While the x6 prototype was entirely home-made, the x24 was made in partnership with FLIR.

One celebrated thing about these products is that the camera is smart enough to recreate what the view looks like from various angles. Another pleasing aspect of videos created with six degrees of freedom is that each pixel is in 3D and has depth. This is a cutting-edge technology for VR content creators, and it unfolds tremendous prospects in visual effects editing. With x24 and x6, Facebook plans to have a stronghold in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality; or as the company calls it “Act 2”.

iPhone 8: Will Apple Relocate its Fingerprint Reader?

While Andy Hargreaves form Pacific Crest Securities said earlier this week that Apple may ditch the fingerprint reader completely on account of the difficulty in supply chain headwinds, judging by the recently leaked schematic picture of iPhone 8, Apple is likely to place the fingerprint reader at the back of the phone instead. Apparently Apple has taken many efforts to find a way to embed the fingerprint reader into Samsung’s OLED displays.

Camera Module may have Augmented Reality Functions in New iPhone 8

The camera module too seems to have been modified, with added AR (Augmented Reality) functions. The phone seems to have dual camera module and may sit vertically on the back of the phone. Although not sure about Apple’s plans for AR, it is expected that the camera will require new sensors. The leaked schematic photo of the iPhone 8 has been published by Sonny Dickson, a blogger who has been known to publish accurate details about previous iPhones in the past.

Arrival of iPhone 8 could be Delayed

According to Hargreaves, the arrival of iPhone 8 could be delayed but customers can expect two new iPhones. However, these two new iPhones may not have some of the more advanced features of the iPhone 8. The delay in the arrival of the phone is likely due to an issue with a key piece of technology, which Apple and its manufacturing partners are struggling to resolve. Hence, Apple could either delay the arrival of the phone or ditch the tech issue.

Can Google’s Revamped Google Earth Fortify its Presence in Tourism?

Google has recently introduced its newest version of Google Earth, a software combining topographic maps, satellite imagery, and 3D cities. The new update for Google Earth will be shortly made available for Android and web, announced Google. The new update will feature Knowledge cards and guided tours, apart from its signature “I’m feeling lucky” button”.

Voyager, a novel route planner that aids in the planning of fastest routes for travelling to multiple locations, is a key feature of the new version. Presently featuring around 50 stories, this showcase of engaging stories is developed in collaboration with some of the most prominent scientists, non-profits, and storytellers.

For instance, Natural Treasures is a tour by BBC Earth that can take us to a number of natural habitats across the globe such as jungles and mountains, where one can experience the wonders of wildlife. Hosting a tour to Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Jane Goodall discusses the conservation efforts and chimpanzee research initiated by her team. Not only Sesame Street, but also NASA has been working on Google Earth.

Travel-related Products by Google might Witness More Demand

Moreover, the ‘I’m feeling lucky” button featuring on Google Earth is not without a purpose. A database containing at least 20,000 different locations across the world which are worth visiting are curated. These can be universally famous tourist attractions or the lesser explored scenic paradises, among several other places. On reaching the desirable spot, the ‘Knowledge Card’ feature gives additional information about that particular place.

Although this feature is fascinating in itself, more importantly, it can instill travel inspiration and help people figure out which place they would like to visit. This might ramp up Google’s position in the travel-related products and services market, where a plethora of solutions such as Google Trips, Google Flights, and Google Destinations are likely to gain popularity.

Algorithm Designed to Help Curb Terror Attacks and Hate Crimes

With random terror attacks and other forms of hate crimes on the rise worldwide, authorities are hard pressed to find a solution to save innocent lives. While police and secret service agencies are continuously upping monitoring, scientists have come up with another solution. They have devised a method to keep a tab on the movements of hundreds of individuals at the same time and uncover suspicious behavior.

What differentiates the software from others so far and how does it work?

The research developed by Mubarak Shah and Afshin Dehghan and to be published in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, leverages a mathematical function to study five factors that will aid in finding out where a person will go next. The software registers appearance, neighbor motion, target motion, spatial proximity, and grouping to find out how an individual will move around in a crowd and even predict their likely actions.

The developers of the algorithm studied nine crowd videos, in which the number of people ranged from 57 to 747. The program’s effectiveness in tracking every person was between 67% and 99%. The program is still being tested before it can be launched in the market. Once it happens, it shall hopefully go a long way in thwarting untoward incidents in crowded places.

So far, computer-based studies have only been able to monitor one person at a time in recorded videos and mostly rely on appearance. The latest algorithm, however, is slated to change all that by enabling surveying the entire crowd at a time.