Festo and its biological inspiration

Many companies around the world are fascinated with natural selection, because there is no wider range of inspiration for technology than the nature itself. Machines, robots and software are being designed with a strong background in biological elements. It is not coincidence that terms like mouse, virus or bug are common in the thecnological field.

Festo is a german company whose main goal is to design and build actuators for the automation industry. They are one of the biggest in this field. However, the german engineering is challenging through Festo again, and the innovation lovers in the company created the Festo Bionic Lab, where they have a complete freedom to experiment with their creativity. What have they done? A field entirely made of biological immitation. Their creations may  deceive your eyes at first sight, but oh boy! They have nailed it. Let’s check their main robots (my favorites), just for you to have an idea what I’m talking about…

The Airacuda was the first project, released in 2006, and the big challenge was to create a system that could really be an underwater robot, behaving and moving as a real fish. It still seems quite “robotic” with no emphasis in its out-looks, but the engineering behind such an underwater systems has been a true innovation copying the fish.

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Build your own 3D Scanner!

Yes, it is possible and you can do it. Actually you don’t have to be a total expert in programming or Maths. Yes yes, you have to know some good stuff, but being a nerd or a genius is not the point.

Gabriel Taubin, an Argentinian Mathematician researching in Brown University is in charge of this project and made it available for everyone, so if you have 3D Computer Vision as your hobby, then this is the perfect start. As I said, you don’t have to be an expert but you need to go deep into it and it will be totally amazing, I promise. Just have a look to the website:

BYO3S

The final results would be amazing and they provide every kind of tool that you may need. It seems that the used methods vary, but that’s just extra fun. I really encourage you to try it, because it’s cheap, fun and totally useful.

The following video is NOT of the project, but it shows you how accessible is to build your own 3D scanner.

But don’t forget the Kinect, boy!

The infinite monkey cage

Science and Comedy have been always connected everywhere because for radical and revolutionary ideas, it is needed a bit of humor and consideration. Both are groundbreaking and quite entertaining if you are in the proper mood.

However only few have had the balls to mix them, play around with them and success with it. One of them is the case of The infinite monkey cage, a comedy series produced by the BBC, where physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince discuss about the relevant topics in Science, such as the origin of life, Probability, Sound, Chemistry, etc.

Before the only science and rational debates mixed with comedy that worth watch were the ones of Bill Maher in his show, where in a round table he discusses different topics of the daily American lifestyle with many personalities. And it was good, politics, religion, science and other disciplines were part of this round table. However, the truly scientific point of view was some times missing due to… well… Bill Maher, although a really good and critical personality, has no scientific background.

This time TIMC offers us Profr. Brian Cox, a guy with an awesome personality and a complete understanding of “the stuff called Science”, and Robin Ince, the acid debater that pulls the attention of the public.

You can check them in the Apple Store if you wanna download their Podcasts, I highly recommend them to those who wanna embrace Knowledge and Reason in a funny way. Otherwise, you can also visit their channel in the BBC podcast website.

Long life TIMC!

My first day in Computer Vision

A new semester in the Uni has begun and in this second week I am already feeling the first pressured tasks. No probs, this time planning and hard work will be a constant besides a good health caring and exercise. Perhaps less Internet Facebook is what I need.

This semester I will struggle a bit with two very interesting courses: 3D Computer Vision and Image Understanding in English and German, respectively. Before I had “Machine Learning Method for Computer Vision Applications” in the same responsible chair but it was so few application and had other courses to attend that required more attention, so I couldn’t experience more in it. That’s gonna change in this semester.

Both courses are held by two very experienced professors. 3D CV is taught by Nassir Navab, whose experience in research is impressive, winning international awards and being a top recognized researcher in the world. He is going to be my lecturer in this Semester. He already began giving some introductory class showing the great advantages of 3D Computer Vision and, most of all, its applications. I was hypnotized, it was great and that’s why now I’m willing to share everything I learn and find in Internet about this matter. It’s really cool and exciting for me.

The second lecturer is Carsten Steger, who’s in charge of the class “Bildverstehen” (Image Understanding) that, as you may suppose, is in German. He is another experienced guy but his field is not in the Universities, it is the industry. He gives solution to real-life problems and that experience is shared in his class. My first impression of him is really good, he’s an open guy with a relaxed style and a very good idea of what he is talking about, besides he can truly explain himself.

Both good professors, both great courses, and an excellent semester to start experimenting with the sources of the student life. From now on you will probably see more often some posts related to Computer Vision, my new bitch (and vice versa).

But we will start with Computer Vision Online, the largest website about CV out there, I think. They offer the newest stuff about CV and its applications, besides some other curiosities and interesting sources, where you can find books, software and even you might find a suitable job for you if you are really into Computer Vision. There are tons of positions in many Universities and Labs. I recommend you to check it out!

And finally I share this video from the chair of Computer Aided Medical Procedures & Augmented Reality (CAMPAR) in the TUM, where the researchers just adapted a Kinect sensor and started to track a guy’s body to virtually visualize it as in a magic mirror. Watch it!

¡Ahí se ven!