I think that if Skynet would have a name today, it would be called Boston Dynamics. :p
If you don’t know this company already (famous for its BigDog), they are genius ! Forget about all those crappy stupid robots that says “hi” and do some weird dance ! Those of Boston Dynamics are totally different and really creepy ! The beginning of the end as most people would say. No seriously, there work is awesome and you should check it out.
Before becoming Boston Dynamics, they were “The Leg Laboratory” (leglab). That was between 1980-1995, more than 15 years ago !!
BigDog is probably, as today, the most famous and most advanced robot from Boston Dynamics !
It is a 4 legs mule robot measuring 90 cm long and 76 cm tall and weight 108 Kg. It got a bunch of different sensors also gyroscope and a LIDAR with stereo vision system
BigDog can run at 6 Km and climb hills up to 35° ! all that by carrying an 154 Kg of stuff. And because it wasn’t enough, it could run for 20 Km without stopping or re-fueling (yes it does use fuel) (UPDATE video March 2010)
Finally it was about time!!!! now I’m might get an iphone !
Adobe now makes it possible to create applications for the Apple iPhone using the Adobe Flash Platform. You heard right: We’re really excited to bring this new capability to Flash designers and developers—the ability to target the iPhone with ActionScript 3 projects. You will be able to test this functionality in the forthcoming beta release of Adobe Flash Professional CS5 on Adobe Labs.
Flash Professional CS5 will enable you to build applications for iPhone and iPod touch using ActionScript 3. These applications can be delivered to iPhone and iPod touch users through the Apple App Store.*
vSwarm is an online free RenderFarm based on distributed calculation for 3d rendering (as today for Blender and LuxRender, but more to comes).
What is Distributed Calculation ?
The idea behind it is really simple : sharing the CPU & Memory power of your computer which you are not being used. Everything is based on the priority of task (normal, low, … ).
For instance, if you are using Photoshop which runs as “normal priority” and use 70% of your CPU, then there is still 30% unused which another software with “low priority” could take advantage of. Meaning the software running with “normal priority” will be able to request any amount of CPU power it needs at any time while the “low priority” software will only take what is left !
That’s why this kind of Distributed Calculation will not slow down your computer ever !
Understanding vSwarm :
vSwarm is separated on two parts “Sharing CPU” and “Submitting Jobs“. You can do just one of those or both or them. If you are only submitting jobs, of course there is a catch! By “Sharing CPU” you can get a better“vSwarm Priority” Level. The vSwarm Priority Level let your submitted jobs being doing faster or even before other people that has a higher Priority Level (the goal is to be in the first one).
So it is recommended to Share your CPU as much as you can. Plus think about it, more CPU are shared, faster the job gets done. And as I said earlier, it is not going ot slow down your computer so why not doing it ?
After you have register on vSwarm, you will be able to download the Client and install it.
Everything is pretty simple! For it’s first run vSwarm Client will ask for your login & password. You’ll also able to choose some setting as the priority (low or normal as mention above – I recommend low if you don’t want to slow down your computer), how many CPU it could use and how much memory.
All you have to do then is to click on “Start Working”. The client will download job from vSwarm server, process the job and then upload the result back to the server ! Voilà, nothing more.
By running the Client you will process job of others which as been submitted or even yours
vSwarm Web Control Center :
On this webpage you will be able to :
Manage Files (file to render, render,…)
Managing your computer which are sharing CPU
Check your statistics (vSwarm Priority, # of rendering time, # of CPU used time, … )
To submit a job, you will first have to upload the files, for instance your .blend file if you are using blender.
You can upload files directly on the Control centeror even by FTP
At this time, vSwarm still in early stage of Alpha, and doesn’t support much renderer. So hopefuly many will come soon. But beside that it is really super simple to use, and I like the idea behind it “more you’ll give, more you’ll get in return”
For me the downside for now is that the Virtual Machine used by the client to render the scene are not encrypted yet, so rendering scene which are case to NDA could be an issue. But I think they are working on that as well.
Usually people like CG Artists, Video Game Players, Programmers, … have really powerful computer and most of the time this power is not even used at half of its potential which is somehow energy wasted (icore 7 only to check your e-mail online is pretty sick ). So this could be a great solution to use the power of your computer for good. Plus as I understand, the vSwarm team is thinking about a buisness model in future where people sharing CPU would get paid ! another good reason to do it ! GO FOR IT JOIN !!!
NB : Many other services online is working on the same principle oriented more for science and medical research. I’ll talk about it in another post
One of my favorite website is the TED Talk, there is so much information there on so many different topics.
It is now translatedto several language. So while watching you can select some of the available subtitles.
Intresting article about Microsoft Project Natal via Pixelsumo .
“Microsoft bought 3DV Systems. I instantly thought they were going to use this camera and their own sdk after seeing the demos, however Eurogamer reports:
“Aaron Greenberg was even more direct. Asked whether Natal was derived from 3DV technology, he told Eurogamer: ‘No, we built this in house.’”
“Kim admitted ‘it’s a combination of partners and our own software’,…’ ”
There are rumors that Microsoft are working with & licensing patents from Prime Sense, another Israel company like 3DV …..
It happens to me several times to share a Youtube link with friends and tell them “hey check out this video at 2min25, there is something really nice!”. It’s a bit pain in the ass though, most of the time they don’t even go straight to the right time.
Today I found a nice tip that let you start the video at the second you want. all you have to do is add #t=numberOfSecond at the end of the Youtube Video URL!
For instance, let’s say I want to show you one of my shots on my Reel which is at 15sec :
I got the chance to have in my city one of the theater showing a sneak peak of Avatar by James Cameron (director of Titanic). First I must say, I really like the universe of Avatar, and I think it is really beautiful !
The show happens to be in Stereo 3d with polarized glasses. I’ve pretty much seen all the movies that came out since this new wave of 3d movies, and in my opinion the one which work the best was “Up” by Disney. After watching this Avatar 3d Sneak Peak, I’m a bit disappointed and would stick to my thought with “Up”.
Don’t give me wrong, James Cameron and his team did a great work on the stereo part, and some shots are really stunning, but in another hand I would say that most of the actions scenes I’ve seen so far are kind of messy and blurry :(.
What I liked in Disney “Up” was that the 3d was there only to give more depth to the picture, you could almost forget you had glasses on, or even that you are watching a 3d stereoscopic movie in a way that it was discreet and so comfortable for your eyes. They did master it without a doubt ! Some Avatar’s scenes are like that though, but on those 15 minutes, when it was about big action sequences, it looks like “hey check out the big 3D effect !!! wooowww you got a tree in your face !!”…. Come On !!! We got it now !
So to resume my thoughts, I don’t think Avatar will master the 3D Stereo quality of Disney’s Up, but still, it’s going to be beautiful and I can’t wait until December 18th for the movie to come out.