Updated: 8/1/05; 9:09:11 AM.
ology dot org -- Eric Tilton's weblog and photo journal

Sunday, July 31, 2005

I spent the afternoon in the Animation Festival and the Emerging Technologies exhibit. In other words: disneyland for geeks.

There was a lot of VR and AR (augmented reality) stuff in ETech area. My favorite was a virtual canoeing setup, although I also tried the hang-gliding over Rio de Janeiro. They were cool, but also confirmed my suspicion that VR works better when the feedback is immediate and multi-sensory. The canoe worked better because there was some serious force-feedback when you hit the water, plus a splashing sound. Still, it had a few problems. At first, I thought the splashing was me scraping the bottom -- the calibration between where I expected water level to be and where it actually was was off. Also, the splashing was too quiet. Finally, the paddle contraption had Ts at the end that the wires connected to. I saw the Ts and connected them with the blades of the paddle, but in fact, they were 90° off from where I expected them to be, since the Ts had to parallel to the ground.

I also attended a course this morning on computational photography, where I finally got an intuitive sense for how HDR (high dynamic range) photos are generated from multiple images. HDR basically means, make a picture that kind of looks like what the human eye sees, not what a camera sees. So if you're in a dark room looking out a sunlit street, the camera can only expose for the interior (in which case the street is totally washed out) or the street (in which case the interior is murky or black). An HDR image preserves the detail across the whole dynamic range, kind of like how the eyeball does.

The short version is that it's possible to derive an intensity gradient from an image, and to integrate that same gradient back into the original image. So, you derive the gradient, and attenuate any big jumps in it, and then re-integrate. Basically. I think. Pretty cool.

P.S. Nerd alert: we finally switched from AT&T to Cingular, and I got the unlimited Bluetooth Internet connectivity on my phone. So I'm posting this from laptop via the phone. The bandwidth totally sucks, but it works. Whoooo!  4:47:48 PM  (comments []  

I'm in LA for the week, for SIGGRAPH. Some initial thoughts:

Good Karma

A very nice but flustered lady with young child in tow asked me if I'd mind switching seats from window to aisle on the airplane. I didn't. Then she confides that, while the flight attendants directed her to this seat so that she and her child could sit together, that the seat might in fact be over-spoken for because of a late arrival as she was getting ready to board.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, two more people showed up looking to sit in our now 5-person strong three seat row. After a little bit of traffic management, the flight attendant came over. He surveyed the scene, and asked, "OK, who's been the nicest so far?" I was kind of entertained by the way he said, and grinned at him -- apparently he took this as a sign, and pointed up front. "Take seat 3F."

Whoooo -- first class!

Police State

Downtown LA is weirdly sterile. I swear to god that every tenth car I saw on this Sunday morning, walking to the conference, was a cop car or cop motorcycle. Literally every corner had a cop bike parked on it. Maybe it's a sign that I'm a trouble maker, but this did not make me feel safe.

Also, the bad karma to yesterday's good karma: in an eight-block walk through downtown LA, the only place I found that might sell me fast, crappy breakfast for a cheap price was... closed. Civilization? Pif.

Bad Taste

The very first presentation I'm sitting in is using... PowerPoint. /sigh  9:04:15 AM  (comments []  

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Last update: 8/1/05; 9:09:11 AM.