Adobe’s “Enhance Details” promises higher res, fewer artifacts

Enhance!” The latest changes in Camera Raw & Lightroom promise to improve the foundational step in raw processing:

The composite red, green, and blue value of every pixel in a digital photo is created through a process is called demosaicing.

Enhance Details uses an extensively trained convolutional neural net (CNN) to optimize for maximum image quality. We trained a neural network to demosaic raw images using problematic examples […] As a result, Enhance Details will deliver stunning results including higher resolution and more accurate rendering of edges and details, with fewer artifacts like false colors and moiré patterns. […]

We calculate that Enhance Details can give you up to 30% higher resolution on both Bayer and X-Trans raw files using Siemens Star resolution charts.

Hmm—I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the resolution claim, at least based on the results shown (which depict an appreciable but not earth-shattering change). Having said that, I haven’t put the tech to the test, but I look forward to doing so.

For more info check out the related help doc plus some deep nerdery on how it all works.

AR walking nav is starting to arrive in Google Maps

I’m really pleased to see that augmented reality navigation has gone into testing with Google Maps users:

On the Google AI Blog, the team gives some insights into the cool tech at work:

We’re experimenting with a way to solve this problem using a technique we call global localization, which combines Visual Positioning Service (VPS), Street View, and machine learning to more accurately identify position and orientation. […]

VPS determines the location of a device based on imagery rather than GPS signals. VPS first creates a map by taking a series of images which have a known location and analyzing them for key visual features, such as the outline of buildings or bridges, to create a large scale and fast searchable index of those visual features. To localize the device, VPS compares the features in imagery from the phone to those in the VPS index. However, the accuracy of localization through VPS is greatly affected by the quality of the both the imagery and the location associated with it. And that poses another question—where does one find an extensive source of high-quality global imagery?

Read on for the full story.

Google has built… Lego-scanning radar?

No, for real. The Verge writes,

What does the computer interface of the future look like? One bet from Google is that it will involve invisible interfaces you can tweak and twiddle in mid-air. This is what the company is exploring via Project Soli, an experimental hardware program which uses miniature radar to detect movement, and which recently won approval from the FCC for further study.

But yes… Legos. See what you can make of this:

[YouTube]

AR: Gambeezy lands on Pixel!

This is America… augmented by Childish Gambino on Pixel:

NewImage

The Childish Gambino Playmoji pack features unique moves that map to three different songs: “Redbone,” “Summertime Magic,” and “This is America.” Pixel users can start playing with them today using the camera on their Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

And with some help from my team:

He even reacts to your facial expressions in real time thanks to machine learning—try smiling or frowning in selfie mode and see how he responds.

Enjoy!

The amazing Google Live Transcribe is here

Having watched my teammate Dimitri use Live Transcribe in meetings for the past year, I’m super excited to see it arrive:

[It’s] a free Android service that makes conversations more accessible through real-time captioning, supporting over 70 languages and more than 80% of the world’s population.

Here’s a deeper look into how it works.

Paul Thurrott writes,

Given my experience with my deaf son, who uses cochlear implants, lip-reading, and sign language to communicate with others, I can tell you that these apps—unlike certain misguided Microsoft accessibility efforts, like Cortana screeching during Windows Setup—address real-world problems that impact many, many people. And that they are, thus, both well-intentioned and truly useful. Bravo, Google.

[YouTube]

New microdrones can lift 40x their body weight

As we know of velociraptors, things tend to go awesome once creatures learn how to open doors. The Verge writes,

The key to the design is the use of interchangeable adhesives on the drone’s base: microspines for digging into rough materials like stucco, carpet, or rubble, and ridged silicone (inspired by the morphology of gecko feet) for grabbing onto glass. Both microspines and silicone ridges only cling to surfaces in one direction, meaning they can be easily detached. With these in place, the micro-drones can pull well above their 100-gram weight, exerting 40 newtons of force or enough to lift four kilograms (about eight pounds).

Google+ going away has no impact on your Google Photos library

Just to confirm, as various friends have been asking:

Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

So after Google+ shuts down April 2, everything you see at photos.google.com will be safe & sound. As for stuff not in your Photos library:

  • If you’ve shared an image on G+, that shared copy will be deleted. You can see all of those images in the Album Archive page.
  • You can download your content before the April shutdown.

Hope this helps. If anything is unclear, please let me know!