You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:
“Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”
So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:
It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:
“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.
Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?
There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “
If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:
The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.
Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage
It’s really a piece of art with only 256 pixels space – it’s the remake of the Defender game you won’t be able to play in Full HD:
To be clear: This is not a joke – it’s an actual game… the size of:
I seriously don’t know why they are doing that – it’s not as if any material released previously came to any notice so far – but what the heck – Radiohead decided to put their current music video (which isn’t bad) and the raw data that was used to create it to the public using the Creative Commons license:
“The animation data used to make the video are licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license at Google Code. This means you are free to use the data to make your own video projects, as long as you abide by the CC license’s conditions. (To be clear, the song and its accompanying video are not under CC license; the data used to make the video are.)”
I am once again pleased to present the official Trailer for this years FIWAK. FIWAK is the annual outdoor-conference presented by FeM e.V.. This year these lectures are planned (german only):
- Openstreetmap-Workshop von Markus Brückner und Dominik Tritscher
- Technische Grundlagen DVB-T von Sebastian Schwarz
- Opensource Videobearbeitung von Florian Raschke
- FeM-Geschichte von Mario Holbe
- Vereinsinterne Kommunikation von Michael Bock
- Tanzworkshop mit Udo Pescheck
- Bewerbungstraining mit MLP
- Whiteboard-Technologien von Smart Systems
FIWAK takes place from 20. to 22. June 2008 in the forest around Elgersburg – a small town near Ilmenau. But now watch the trailer:
Video: FeM FIWAK 2008 Trailer
Source 1: FIWAK Homepage
Oh yeah. I talked about these kinds of electronic whiteboards for years – and now it seems that there is a cheap and really useful DIY solution created by Johnny Chung Lee(beside several other really useful and astounding DIY jobs)
“Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared (IR) light, you can track pens that have an IR led in the tip. By pointing a wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track upto 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.”
So you need:
- a Wiimote
- a selfmade Infrared-LED Pen that marks the trackable point
So namenlos (his blog) did his version of the Wii whiteboard and made a video of it:
Video: Wii Whiteboard
(due to music the license of this video is CC-BY-NC-SA)
Really impressive isn’t it? And you can do so much more with this Wiimote stuff. – Actually I am planning to get such a Wiimote and a Pen and try it myself.
Source 1: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
Source 2: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/268-Wii-Whiteboard.html
They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.
There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:
Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…
I told you, I would write about the things I am working on for the past months. And last week TechFest 2008 took place in Redmond/WA at Microsoft. Almost the whole team I am working with was there – I haven’t spoken to anybody yet personally but it seems to have gone well:
“Microsoft Research’s TechFest is an annual event that brings researchers from Microsoft’s labs around the world to Redmond to share their latest work with the product teams. Attendees will experience some of the freshest, most innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts. The event provides a forum in which product teams and researchers can discuss the incredible work occurring in the labs, thereby encouraging effective technology transfer into Microsoft products.”
fast forward to minute 24…one of the interesting bits starts right there!
Source 1: http://wm.microsoft.com/ms/research/events/TechFest2008/TF08Keynote.wmv
Source 2: http://research.microsoft.com/techfest/
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,cf5f2c46-60d2-4bb6-b58b-c50f5f3ce4d8.aspx
The last time I wrote about Singularity was in 2005 when the first news came up… and now:
For all those source code kids – the sourcecode of Singularity – the research operating system written by people at Microsoft Research completely in .NET is now available.
from the Microsoft Research Overview page:
“Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.
Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.
Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behavior and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.”
You can even watch a small movie about Singularity here:
Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/
Source 2: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=68302
Source 3: http://www.codeplex.com/singularity
You do realise that, despite that fact no mass media is talking about it, there are still robots around and on Mars doing research for the last years? Yeah you’re right: Spirit and Opportunity are still well and alive on Mars. There were several other missions and this newly released 9.9 Tbytes of data (adds up to 16.8 Tbytes) is just fantastic stuff.
See an avalanche on Mars:
“How much data was released? 2422 observations, making up 9.9 terabytes “in over 225,599 standard PDS and extras products” according to our database specialist. This was for data between orbit ranges 4400 and 6999, or between July 05, 2007 and January 23, 2008 (which is a lot of loops around the Red Planet!)
We have now released a total of 16.8 TB worth of data, or nearly 500,000 image products. Please check out the latest images on the HiRISE website on the “March 2008: New HiRISE Images Released to the Planetary Data System” page.”
Source 1: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/?p=147
Source 2: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_007338_2640
Source 3: http://pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/
Source 4: http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/
Source 5: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html
Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:
“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”
To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!
“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun ;-) are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.
Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”
One of the great good news in the last few days was the release of the brand new TrueCrypt 5 crypto-software.
I am using TrueCrypt for years now getting little and not so little container files mounted as drives and having the data warm and cosy encrypted on disk.
The long awaited features that were added in the brand new version are complete system – pre-boot authentification – drive encryption and OS X support.
Especially the system drive encryption is of particular interest for me. It’s a straight forward and completely painless solution to encrypt your complete machine and use it as if nothing was done at all.
The workflow is like this:
- Install TrueCrypt 5
- Fire up the TrueCrypt Volume Creation Wizard
- Select “Encrypt system drive” option
- It will do a test-run to make sure your machine can boot with the TrueCrypt Pre-Boot Authentification
- if everything worked out, TrueCrypt starts to encrypt your drive…
After that you’re set. On my brand-new machine the speed does not decrease noticeable – Even on my 4 year old machine I wouldn’t say that there is a slow-down at all.
FeM is in need of one… for more than two years now… maybe this will do the job? It’s bright, nerdy and cat-compatible (needed for keeping certain Mr. S’s out of the office)
When I first saw a review of “Microsoft Windows Home Server” I was impressed by several features. One that I never thought about is that little icon on each Home Server client that shows you the overall status of your home network:
This little icon can look like this, depending on the status:
As you can see – it’ll give you a clean and fast status by telling you that everything is okay on your network or that anything needs your, maybe immediate, attention.
I am administrating round about 12 Windows servers and I always looked for a clean and easy to use tool to monitor them. So I came up with a plan: Build my own tool.
Since I am extensivly using Windows Communication Foundation in the last weeks I was intrigued to try it on that matter. So I built a WCF selfhosting service that makes the eventlog of the machine it is running on available. Then I built a small client that fits nicely in your tray. I am not quite done yet but it’s a good start.
As you can see. There is the Host, running on the server and making all Eventlogs of this machine available. Then there is “SmallClient” – being exactly this: a small client for testing purposes only. And thirdly there’s the EventLogClient – giving you the full blown user interface…
This is how it looks when you add a server to the client:
And this is how it looks when you configure a filter:
I thought it would be nice to have this workflow:
configure/add the server and select the eventlog that you want to monitor
create and configure a filter that is matched upon the particular eventlog source
For the icons (see above) I used one of the icons from the Tango Icon Gallery as a starting point and added some color and stuff.
So why do I even talk about all this? I want YOU to take the code and use it…add more functionality…I am releasing the code(except the icons) under the BSD license. So you can do almost whatever you want with it – but I would love to hear about the things you’re doing with my code and idea.
You can download the sourcecode of my little project here. (200 Kbytes)
Source 1: Home Server Homepage
Source 2: http://tango.freedesktop.org/Tango_Icon_Gallery
Source 3: Sourcecode.
Uhh it seems that someone got hold of a power cord … and did a bad bad thing:
Everybody needs more than one job these days and so does FeM. One team at the Chaos Communication Camp 07 and one at the Hockenheimring, recording and live streaming the events.
You may ask what “Formula Student” is…:
“Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.
Formula Student challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The target audience is the non-professional Weekend-Racer, for which the racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and dependable. Additionally, the car’’s market value increases through other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and the use of readily available, standard purchase components.
The challenge the teams face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well constructed racecar and a sales plan that best matches these given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well their self-built racecars fare in their true environment.”
Overview map of the event
As soon as the Live-Streams are available I will keep you updated…
Source 1: http://www.formulastudent.de
As ususal here’s the schematic overview of the things behind the curtain:
Once again FeM is recording and live streaming a Chaos Computer Club event. The Chaos Communication Camp starts today and you can watch everything live:
“The Chaos Communication Camp is an international, five-day open-air event for hackers and associated life-forms. The Camp features two conference tracks with interesting lectures, a workshop-track and over 30 villages providing workshops and gettogethers covering a specific topic.”
Chaos Communication Camp 2007
The International Hacker Open Air Gathering
8|9|10|11|12th August 2007
Finowfurt near Berlin, Germany (Old Europe)
“You can participate! Bring your tent and join our villages. The Camp has everything you need: power, internet, food and fun. The 100.000 square meter areal features enough space to camp, cozy places to hang out and a nice pool and lake to swim and do nautic experiments.”
There are two lecture halls called “foo” and “bar”:
Live Stream (WMV) “foo”
Live Stream (WMV) “bar”
Of course like at every CCC event you can grab an up-to-date schedule called “Fahrplan” here. The only thing I did not mention yet is the FeM-Village Wiki page…oh well..done :-)
Source 1: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de
Source 2: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Streams
Source 3: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Fahrplan/
Source 4: http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/FeM_Village
I am currently involved in a very interesting project which utilizes a massive load of threads and in-memory data structures. The downside if this is of course: how on earth do I make that thread-safe?
Along the journey I stumbled upon Ralf Westphals thoughts and code on that matter. Ralf comprehensively writes about a technology called “Software Transactional Memory“. “What’s that?” you may ask. And here’s the answer provided by the wikipedia:
“In computer science, software transactional memory (STM) is a concurrency control mechanism analogous to database transactions for controlling access to shared memory in concurrent computing. It functions as an alternative to lock-based synchronization, and is typically implemented in a lock-free way. A transaction in this context is a piece of code that executes a series of reads and writes to shared memory. These reads and writes logically occur at a single instant in time; intermediate states are not visible to other (successful) transactions. The idea of providing hardware support for transactions originated in a 1986 paper and patent by Tom Knight. The idea was popularized by Maurice Herlihy and J. Eliot B. Moss. In 1995 Nir Shavit and Dan Touitou extended this idea to software-only transactional memory (STM). STM has recently been the focus of intense research and support for practical implementations is growing.”
It seems that this different approach to in-memory data management could a solution for most of the difficulties I and maybe you might have with thread safe programming. Even better: it make the code easier to read and is completely written in C#.
Since I am still in the evaluation phase if or if not to use the NSTM implementation, I will keep you posted on that matter in future updates.
Source 1: http://weblogs.asp.net/ralfw/archive/tags/Software+Transactional+Memory/default.aspx
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_transactional_memory
Source 3: http://www.codeplex.com/NetSTM
Oh well. Just after the 43 thousand Euro pile-of-metal arrived some of our office-technicians just thought: It’s tea time, we got a new toy, would that blend?
So they got the tea set and the digital camera out:
We don’t just think of our new hardware as the core equipment of a enormous network. We think of it… well… in a different way.
“OLE Coordinate System is trompe-l’oeil interactive software that enables characters to wander along blocks and staircases in impossible ways. While M.C. Escher is famous for his “trick of the eye” works, this piece enables users to create and experience their own Escher-esque worlds. Examples of such animation expressions are: character movements based on a 2D interpretation of attached blocks which are not contiguous in three-dimensional space; falling motions on a single plane, etc. You don’t have to do anything special to create “trick of the eye” images like these. The user just clicks to position the block, staircase or character and change the angle.”
For a better understanding, look at the pictures and the video:
Source: OLE Coordinate System
…on their journey to Mongolia…
“Ze Germans …are coming! We’re taking on the Mongol Rally 2007. 13.000 kilometers, 5 mountain ranges, 2 deserts, some of the worst roads in the world and all this in car most people wouldn’t trust to get them to the local shops.”
And as of today they are on the road doing the rally:
“If you read this after about 8am, then we are on the road and on our way to London. Thanks to Mirko, all our SMS Updates will also be posted here, so stay tuned! And for God’s sake, wish us luck!”
Source 1: http://www.mongolrally.de/
Source 2: http://mongolrally.theadventurists.com/
Today I had a talk about IP-TV in our local research network – a project I am involved in the past year. And since I did some of the legal and coding work (YAPS) I was the one who wanted to talk about it the most…
First here’s the slidedeck:
The talk was recorded and you can watch it as soon as the post-production team has finished working on it – I’ll keep you posted.
Source: Slidedeck as PDF
We finally had the time to get to the FIWAK 07. I made these pictures:
Source: FeM Blog
Namenlos wrote about how almost everything is held together at this years ISWI technically. Well he even draw something neat to look at and say “Look, that we did!”
“Die Audiostrecke wird mittels 6 Behringer Ultragain Pro-8 Digital ADA8000 aufgebaut. Diese Geräte nehmen 8 Kanäle Audio via XLR entgegen und setzen die auf eine ADAT-Verbindung über ein TOS-Link-Kabel um. Da die TOS-Links nur 10m weit gehen hängt an jedem Behringer ein ADAT-Extender, der das ganze gleich auf Glasfaser umsetzt. So kommt der Ton vom Studio zur Regie und zurück. Zusätzlich liegen noch 5 Strecken Video (so ein Fernsehsender ganz ohne Bild is ja auch nix.). Zum Abschluss verteilt in der Fischerhütte nochmal ein HP Procurve 2524 ein bischen Netz an die Surfterminals und die Leute vom ebenfalls dort beheimateten L.i.g.h.t. Projekt.”
And then deka came and created another drawing of the Live Streaming infrastructure:
Today FeM did one important part of the preparations for the ISWIsion TV and radio shows. More in a few days…
the ISWIsion Broadcast Center entrance
There’s something great going to happen this summer. After the great experience we had with the DVB-T TV Station of the Maintech guys at the 23c3 Achim decided that it would be great to have such a DVB-T TV Station for FeM e.V.. He went through the hassle of getting a license and organized the needed hardware. Today one of the important parts arrived… but first a teaser:
Yes! FeM is going to broadcast 24 hours a day from June 2nd to 10th the ISWISION and ISWIradio via DVB-T on channel 23 (490 Mhz). Today the antenna arrived… this thing is humongeous:
Achim wants me to shout out to the partners of this DVB-T FeM e.V. project: Maintech GmbH and SR-Systems. Consider that done.
If you want more information stay tuned on technology-ninja. In the meantime you can read the press feedback:
“Forschungsgemeinschaft elektronischer Medien e. V. veranstaltet erstmals Ereignisfernsehen
Anlässlich der traditionellen Internationalen Studentenwoche Ilmenau 2007 (ISWI 2007) wird die Forschungsgemeinschaft elektronische Medien e. V. vom 1. bis 10. Juni erstmals Ereignisfernsehen veranstalten. Im Stadtgebiet von Ilmenau wird das Programm als DVB-T-Signal (Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting – digitaler Fernsehempfang über Antenne) ausgestrahlt. Zu sehen sein werden Live-Sendungen aus der Fischerhütte in Ilmenau, Übertragungen von Veranstaltungen sowie eine Sendeschleife mit Veranstaltungshinweisen und Wiederholungen. Zusätzlich wird die DVB-T-Frequenz genutzt, um das Programm vom Ilmenauer Studentenfernsehfunk und von Radio hsf zu verbreiten.” (Press release, Thüringer Landesmedienanstalt)
Source 1: http://www.fem-dvb-t.de/index.html
Source 2: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/index.php?id=69
Source 3: http://www.maintech.de/
Source 4: http://www.sr-systems.de/
Source 5: http://www.tlm.de/tlm/aktuelles_service/presse/index.php?pm_id=272
It just seems like make is going to get some interesting pictures tomorrow:
“We’re using weather balloons to go up to approximately 100k feet armed with 4 cameras… 20 megapixels of camera! We’ll be taking shots every 7 seconds for two hours and measuring the temperature with the Make: controller and thermistors!
It took 16 people working on this, countless cases of mountain dew, lots of take-out food, and a lot of sleepless nights, and we intend to fly Sunday!
Cloud cover, snow, and mechanical failure may postpone the launch, but we’re ready to give it our best shot this weekend.
In this Make: Video Podcast, you’ll learn all the details of how to put a weather balloon up into space! The weather balloon will make it up to about 100,000 feet. That’s almost 20 miles up and more than twice the height of being in an airplane. It’s high enough that the sky is black and you can see the curvature of the earth.”
So be sure to check back if you’re interested.
I had this very same idea just a week ago and now someone has done it: A Raytracer written entirely in C# and running upon XNA.
“Ok, I’ve got most of what I want done on the Ray Tracing project — enough at least to publish some code and do some blogging. This first article describes the overall coding structure, and how to use the project. I’ll get into some of the more difficult aspects of ray tracing in future posts.”
It obviously doesn’t run on the 360 yet – so keep on watching this project. (due to some limitations on the 360 XNA Implementation I would also recommend waiting for the next run)
Oh well it’s no big deal really :-). The theory behind it was discoverd in 1851 and it proofs that the earth rotates under the pendulum. Uh, of course you can grab some more sophisticated theory insights here. So what’s up with that thing? It was voted to one of the ten best webcams on earth. Go and have a look.
Source: EarthCam.com Top Ten
Hurray! We got three brand new Canon XHA1 camcorder
The internet comes up with new ideas of information transformation and management every day. Yahoo now came up with a great idea of how the users could almost freely transform syndicateable data to anything they like.
Yahoo says this about it’s new baby:
“Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.”
If you ever wanted to connect NY Times articles to Flickr, you can do this and many other things now. You even get a decent editor:
(yes, that’s in a webbrowser…)
Go and give it a try.
“When your server farm is in the hundreds of thousands and you’re using cheap, off-the-shelf hard drives as your primary means of storage, you’ve probably good a pretty damned good data set for looking at the health and failure patterns of hard drives. Google studied a hundred thousand SATA and PATA drives with between 80 and 400GB storage and 5400 to 7200rpm, and while unfortunately they didn’t call out specific brands or models that had high failure rates, they did find a few interesting patterns in failing hard drives.”
Grab the pdf here.
“Microsoft Portrait is a research prototype for mobile video communication. It supports .NET Messenger Service, Session Initiation Protocol and Internet Locator Service on PCs, Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and Smartphone. It runs on local area networks, dialup networks and even wireless networks with bandwidths as low as 9.6 kilobits/second. Microsoft Portrait delivers portrait-like video if users are in low bandwidths and displays full-color video if users are in broadband. In low bandwidths, portrait video possesses clearer shape, smoother motion, shorter latency and much cheaper computational cost than do conventional video technologies. Microsoft Portrait pursues providing presence notification, chat/voice/video functions anytime, anywhere, on any device.”