- A children’s toy inspires a cheap, easy production method for high-tech diagnostic chips — microfluidic chips (with tiny liquid-filled channels) can cost $100k and more. Michelle Khine used the Shrinky Dinks childrens’ toy to make her own. “I thought if I could print out the [designs] at a certain resolution and then make them shrink, I could make channels the right size for microfluidics,” she says. (via BoingBoing)
- Complete Genomics publishes in Science on low-cost sequencing of 3 human genomes (press release) — The consumables cost for these three genomes sequenced on the proof-of-principle genomic DNA nanoarrays ranged from $8,005 for 87x coverage to $1,726 for 45x coverage for the samples described in this report. Drive that cost down! There’s a gold rush in biological discovery at the moment as we pick the low-hanging fruit of gross correlations between genome and physiome, but the science to reveal the workings of cause and effect is still in its infancy. We’re in the position of the 18th century natural philosophers who were playing with static electricity, oxygen, anaesthetics, and so on but who lacked today’s deeper insights into physical and chemical structure that explain the effects they were able to obtain. More data at this stage means more low-hanging fruit can be plucked, but the real power comes when we understand “how” and not just “what”. (via BoingBoing)
- Far From a Lab? Turn a Cellphone into a Microscope (NY Times) — for some tests, you can use a camphone instead of a microscope. In one prototype, a slide holding a finger prick of blood can be inserted over the phone’s camera sensor. The sensor detects the slide’s contents and sends the information wirelessly to a hospital or regional health center. For instance, the phones can detect the asymmetric shape of diseased blood cells or other abnormal cells, or note an increase of white blood cells, a sign of infection, he said.
- Augmented reality helps Marine mechanics carry out repair work (MIT TR) — A user wears a head-worn display, and the AR system provides assistance by showing 3-D arrows that point to a relevant component, text instructions, floating labels and warnings, and animated, 3-D models of the appropriate tools. An Android-powered G1 smart phone attached to the mechanic’s wrist provides touchscreen controls for cueing up the next sequence of instructions. [...] The mechanics using the AR system located and started repair tasks 56 percent faster, on average, than when wearing the untracked headset, and 47 percent faster than when using just a stationary computer screen.
ENTRIES TAGGED "augmented reality"
DIY Diagnostic Chips, Genetics on $5k a Genome, Cellphones as Diagnostic Microscopes, AR-Equipped Mechanics Do It Heads-Up
Much like the farm wife with her Sears catalog, consumers will be able to use simple AR applications to make more informed buying decisions. Some items are well-suited to commerce with AR, but others need image recognition and databases containing all the information a consumer might need. Expect retail outlets and brands that provide fast-moving consumer goods to be among those eager to exploit mobile AR for shopping.
There is a risk that talk about haptic interfaces and heads up displays for AR will seem like just hype, and certain industry participants fear that over promising and under-delivering could send AR in the same direction as Virtual Reality went a decade ago: into oblivion. That said, new ways of interacting with digital data on the real world are possible and not hype to those who work on them. To appreciate the full potential of new user interaction for AR, a test drive is valuable.
RFID remains an interesting option to supplement other tracking technologies for indoor applications and situations which are relatively tightly controlled (e.g., teaching/training, museums, entertainment venues, architecture and urban planning). Tracking for consumer AR applications in uncontrolled environments when all the user has is a camera phone remains a very, very challenging area of research and we should expect to continue seeing major developments in this field in the year ahead before it is gradually integrated into our everyday AR applications.
Involuntarily Opened Geodata, Sense Organ, Doc Vis, 3D Open Source Bodies
- Wikileaks Now Holds UK Postcode Database — the UK does not have open geodata in the way that we know it. A state-owned enterprise, Ordnance Survey, is responsible for maintaining all sorts of baseline data and they charge (through the nose) for that data. This is the release of 1,841,177 post codes, geographic boundaries, and more. Postcodes in the UK are far more useful than US ZIP codes–they identify a handful of houses, rather than a few thousand houses.
- My New Sense Organ — a strap with buzzers and a compass, so you always have physical reminder of orientation. For people like me who can get lost putting on pants in the morning, this would be a godsend. (via Slashdot)
- Saving is Obsolete — EtherPad adds a Wave-like replay feature to help you see the history of a document.
- Open Source 3D People — incredible software to design realistic 3D faces and bodies. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
Mobile Devices and AR: Besides employing the location of users (Wikitude), there are generally two ways to overlay data onto the real world: through markers ( (2D) bar codes) or through automatic object/image recognition algorithms (“markerless”). The Economist gives a good overview of the different mobile applications that are starting to emerge and lists a few areas where AR makes sense such as shopping (letting house-hunters which properties are for sale) and events (giving sports fans access to stats and player bios).
Copycrime, Die Music Industry Die, Open Government Data, Augmented Reality
- Second Degree Murder and Six Other Crimes Cheaper Than Pirating Music — I’m outraged that the Obama administration is supporting the RIAA on the case against Jammie Thomas, a single mother of four who has to pay them $1.92 million for downloading songs. That’s more expensive than murder and six other crimes… (via Br3nda)
- Bill Drummond Talk (MP3) — cofounder of the KLF gives 130 years of music industry history and explains why music’s future might depend on not recording it. (via Br3nda)
- NZ Government Recommends CC-BY — NZ all-of-Government licensing framework recommends CC. So far as copyright works are concerned, NZGOAL proposes that agencies apply the most liberal of the New Zealand Creative Commons law licences to those of their copyright works that are appropriate for release, unless there is a restriction which would prevent this. The most liberal Creative Commons licence is the Attribution (BY) licence. So far as non-copyright information is concerned, NZGOAL recommends the use of clear “no-known rights” statements, to provide certainty for people wishing to re-use that information..
- Augmented Reality: 5 Barriers to a Web That’s Everywhere (ReadWriteWeb) — great post with five areas that need to be addressed before we can move from “wow” to commonplace. Interoperability: Right now you cannot see information from the Wikitude AR environment if you’re looking through the Layar AR browser. This could be the coming of a new browser war just like that of the 1990s. It may not be obvious and it may not even be true that users have a right to view any layer of Augmented Reality through any Augmented Reality browser. Interoperability, standards and openness have been what has let the Web scale and flourish beyond the suffocating walled gardens of its early days. The same is true of telephones, railroads and countless other networked technologies. Logically then, a lack of interoperability between AR environments would be a tragedy of the same type as if the web had remained defined by the islands of AOL and Compuserve or Internet Explorer, forever. (A lack of data portability when it comes to Augmented Reality could cause substantial psychological distress!)