Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Speaking of AI putting words in people’s mouths…

We’ll see whether Facebook reverses course & deletes this deepfake now that it involves Mark Zuckerberg:

Adobe & co. enable video manipulation through typing

There’s no way this can end badly—no way.

The Verge writes,

When someone edits a text transcript of the video, the software combines all this collected data — the phonemes, visemes, and 3D face model — to construct new footage that matches the text input. This is then pasted onto the source video to create the final result.

In tests in which the fake videos were shown to a group of 138 volunteers, some 60 percent of participants though the edits were real. That may sound quite low, but only 80 percent of that same group thought the original, unedited footage was also legitimate.

NewImage

See previous: “Audio Photoshopping” using Adobe VoCo:

[YouTube 1 & 2]

Give ’em a hand: Google Nest Hub Max recognizes hand movements & faces

For the last couple of years I’ve randomly observed colleagues waving at Frankenstein-looking circuit boards & displays. As with many odd things at Google, I’ve channeled Bob Dylan—”Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”—and moved right along.

Now some of the fruits of that labor are coming to light, as the new Nest Hub Max has been announced, complete with the ability to recognize gestures (e.g. to stop music or an alarm) and faces (to show you personalized info like your calendar). Dieter Bohn offers a nice overview here:

[YouTube

“Etch-A-Snap,” a Raspberry Pi-powered Etch A Sketch camera

Rad!

As PetaPixel explains,

The camera is powered by Raspberry Pi Zero. After a digital photo is captured, they’re processed down to a 240×144 pixel 1-bit black-and-white line drawing using Pillow and OpenCV. The drawing is then translated into plotter commands by creating a network graph representation with NetworkX. Those plotter commands are carried out by physically moving the Etch A Sketch wheels using two 5V stepper motors built into a custom 3D-printed frame Fitzpatrick created.

[YouTube]

The world’s largest airplane takes off

They finally made it! This 500,000-lb. beast is designed to carry rockets to 35,000ft., then drop-launch them into orbit.

In partnership with Scaled Composites, Stratolaunch successfully completed the first flight of the Stratolaunch aircraft. As part of this initial flight of the world’s largest aircraft, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities of the all-composite, duel-fuselage design. The airplane took off at 0658 PDT on April 13, 2019, from the Mojave Air & Space Port, and flew for 2.5 hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour and reaching altitudes of up to 17,000 feet. The plane landed safely amid cheers from the team that designed and built the plane.

[YouTube]

Google Wing begins drone deliveries in Australia

So, do falling burritos corkscrew to earth counterclockwise down there…? (Either way, I’m in.)

The team writes,

Today, we are excited to be launching our first air delivery service in North Canberra. Our service allows customers to order a range of items such as fresh food, hot coffee or over-the-counter chemist items on our mobile app, and have them delivered directly to their homes by drone in minutes.

The delivery service will initially be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin. We expect to gradually expand to more customers in Harrison and Gungahlin in the coming weeks and months.

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[YouTube]

How Google Earth builds 3D worlds (now including Sydney)

“Mowing your lawn with a plane” sounds like “Hunting geese with a rake” (I see you, weird old David Crosby!), but it’s a good metaphor for how aircraft traverse a region to generate data for Google Earth. I enjoyed this short peek behind the scenes:

Now Earth has added 3D imagery of Sydney, so I can fly the kids around where Margot & climbed the Harbour Bridge & ate kangaroo pizza (not simultaneously, I’m slightly sad to admit).

Coincidentally: The Daily Overview features a nice shot of Sydney.

[YouTube]