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Computers

BPG image format offers JPEG quality at half the file size

French programmer Fabrice Bellard has come up with a graphics file format he believes can "replace the JPEG image format." Bellard’s BPG (Better Portable Graphics) format boasts a compelling quality advantage over JPG, particularly when images are heavily compressed. Take a look through the gallery to see a few comparison shots – the left hand side of each image shows the JPEG compressed format, the right side shows BPG at a similar file size.Read More

Digital Cameras

Handheld HeatWave device produces 3D thermal maps in real-time

Thermal imaging has proven itself to be a useful adjunct to physical testing in areas including engineering, health, and agriculture. Until now, however, conventional 3D thermal imaging use has largely been restricted due to the specialized technical knowledge required to operate it and interpret the results. To address this, Australia's CSIRO has developed a prototype tool called HeatWave that is a lightweight, high-resolution 3D scanner that is claimed to be not only easy to carry, but easy to use as well.Read More

Space

Planet says "cheese" for NASA's Earth Day "Global Selfie"

NASA has created a "Global Selfie" photomosaic comprised of over 36,000 individual photographs taken on or around April 22, 2014, also known as Earth Day. After several weeks spent sorting through the more than 50,000 images submitted – some of them were presumably not suitable for a family audience – the end result is a 3.2-gigapixel image that users can scan and zoom to view the individual photos.Read More

Science

Facial recognition is in (the reflection of) the eye of the beholder

The worst has happened. You receive an emailed kidnap demand with a picture of your loved one in dire straits. You contact the authorities, and in a flash (relatively speaking), they have identified the kidnapper and possibly some accomplices, and are well on their way toward recovering the victim. How did this happen? By identifying the faces of the kidnappers caught in the reflection of your loved one's eyes. Read More

Military

Taking a peek at the Royal Navy's next nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub

As part of an update to Parliament on the progress of the Trident replacement program, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released a concept image of the Royal Navy’s next ballistic nuclear missile submarine. This coincides with the awarding of two contracts to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines for £47 million (US$76 million) and £32 million (US$60 million) to begin preliminary design work on the nuclear-powered submarines, currently called the Successor class, which are intended to replace the Navy’s aging fleet of of Vanguard-class boats by 2028. Read More

3D Printing

Shapify uses a Kinect to let users create a 3D Mini-Me from home

To make a three-dimensional color statue of yourself, you could grab a chunk of marble and enlist the services of a sculptor and a painter, or you could take the simple approach and use a 3D scanner and a 3D full-spectrum multicolor printer. Since the first option is expensive and time-consuming and very few of us have access to the equipment for the second, Shapify has launched a service that lets users scan themselves at home, using a Kinect.Read More

Science

“Mini Lisa” demonstrates potential of nanomanufacturing technique

Arguably the world’s most famous painting, da Vinci's Mona Lisa has now been copied onto the world’s smallest canvas at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Associate Professor Jennifer Curtis' "Mini Lisa" is one-third the width of a human hair, with details as small as one-eighth of a micron. Mini Lisa demonstrates the flexibility of a new nanolithography technique that can vary the surface concentration of molecules on very small portions of a substrate.Read More

Space

Curiosity's panorama of Mars is worth a billion pixels

On Wednesday, NASA unveiled a rather large postcard sent back from Mars by the Curiosity rover. It’s in the form a panoramic image packing more than one billion pixels that was stitched together from 896 images. NASA sees the gigapixel image as a way for “armchair explorers” to take a close-up look at the Red Planet by means of an interactive webpage. Read More

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