Monthly Archives: November 2017

Try Google’s “Mystery Animal” game (and why silly stuff like this matters)

Through your browser or Google Home, you can play a “20 Questions”-style game to guess the name of an animal.

Silly, right? But in “Voice Technology is an Opportunity to Make Weird Stuff,” creative technologist Nicole He explains yhy it’s time to experiment with voice, and she offers some technical tips on how to do it.

We’re in what I’m going to call The 1996 Web Design Era of voice technology. The web was created for something practical (sharing information between scientists), but it didn’t take very long for people to come up with strange and creative things to do with it.


[YouTube] [Via]

Orbital science: Drone spins me right ’round

Get vertigo a go-go as this drone pilot goes spinning in infinity:

Orbital drone movements are the ones with power to convert two-dimensional images into dancing focal layers escaping out of the frame. We wanted to further explore the technique, with high altitude long orbits, along with ones very close to the ground, we call them “Orbital drone-lapses”. These shots are a mix of automatic and manual flights. 

“The shots were done using both automatic and manual flights over the Folegandros island in Greece,” notes PetaPixel.



Photography: The beautifully dramatic microstructures of “Chemical Garden II”

I see echoes of The Upside Down in these beautiful macro videos (and still images) showing chemical processes unfolding:

When a piece of metal salt is dropped in the solution of sodium silicate, a membrane of insoluble metal silicate is formed. Due to the osmotic pressure, water enters the membrane and breaks it, generating more insoluble membranes. This cycle repeats and the salt grows into all kinds of interesting forms. This film recorded the osmotic growth of 6 salts inside sodium silicate solution. The growth is so life-like, no wonder Stéphane Leduc thought it might have something to do with the mechanism life over 100 years ago.


[Vimeo 1 and 2]

Google researchers unveil better panorama stitching

Mike Krainin & Ce Liu go into detail about how optical flow techniques are helping Google Street View produce panoramas that are not only freer of artifacts, but easier for machines to read (producing a better understanding of business names, hours, etc.):

I wonder whether these techniques might be useful to pano-stitching in apps like Photoshop & Lightroom. I’ve passed the info their way.



Demo: Adobe XD looks slick & powerful

Adobe’s ambitious XD app has recently added a raft of new features, and here Khoi Vinh shows a compelling demo of instantly-updating artwork & on-device prototypes. (If for some reason the demo isn’t already queued to the right spot, jump to 8:21.)

A hardware glitch forced Khoi to (figuratively) tap dance during the first portion, and he offered a detailed peek behind the curtain, describing the demo team’s relentless pre-game preparation—and its limits. It’s so nice to see people really giving a damn.