Monday, 10 September 2012

STMicroelectronics Enables “The Next Step” in precision 3D location sensing

STMicroelectronics a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, the world’s top MEMS manufacturer, and the leading supplier of MEMS sensors for consumer and portable applications, has introduced a new pressure sensor that allows mobile phones and other portable devices to calculate their vertical elevation relative to sea-level with very high accuracy. This means that the mobile device will know not only on which floor of a building it is located, but almost on which step of the staircase.
Accurate location of mobile devices will be the key enabler for many emerging Location-Based Services (LBS), which are widely expected to be the next wave of “killer applications” in the mobile world. The challenge is to provide the means of identifying the location of the mobile device in three dimensions in a way that meets a variety of conflicting constraints including spatial resolution, reliability, physical size, robustness, and cost.
For the horizontal part of the location (latitude and longitude), the universally adopted solution is GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), which allows the horizontal position of the device to be calculated to within a meter in optimum conditions where the device can receive signals from four or more satellites. ST has already demonstrated a solution for indoor navigation developed in conjunction with CSR that can locate devices horizontally and vertically, even in the absence of any satellite signals.
For the third dimension (vertical elevation), atmospheric pressure can provide greater resolution than GNSS - especially when fewer than four satellite signals are visible - as pressure drops steadily with increased elevation. ST’s new pressure sensor can accurately measure air pressure from 260 millibars, which is the typical air pressure at a height of around 10 km (about 1,500 m higher than the summit of Mount Everest) to 1,260 millibars, which is the typical air pressure at 1,800 m below sea-level, about half the depth of the deepest mine ever dug.

Housed in a tiny 3x3mm package and offering low voltage operation and ultra-low power consumption, the new device is ideal for use in smart phones, sports watches, and other portable equipment, as well as in weather stations and automotive and industrial applications. The LPS331AP has already been adopted for use in Samsung’s latest and most advanced smartphone.
ST’s LPS331AP pressure-sensing device is fabricated using a proprietary MEMS technology, called “VENSENS”, that allows the pressure sensor to be fabricated on a monolithic silicon chip. Manufacturing the device in this way eliminates wafer-to-wafer bonding and maximizes reliability. The sensing element in the LPS331AP is based on a flexible silicon membrane formed above an air cavity with a controlled gap and defined internal pressure.

The membrane is very small compared to traditional silicon micro-machined membranes and is protected from breakage by built-in mechanical stoppers. A piezoresistor, a tiny structure whose electrical resistance varies as the membrane flexes in response to changes in the external pressure, is embedded in the membrane and the change in resistance is monitored, thermally compensated, and converted to a digital pressure value that can be read by the equipment’s host processor using the industry-standard I2C or SPI interfaces.

Friday, 9 September 2011


JCopia is a software product that enables remotely connected Internet devices to discover services and share information without the need for human configuration and management.

With JCopia, remotely connected Internet devices such as set-top boxes, internet modems, wireless modules or appliances can autonomously configure, update and load themselves with the right software and services. These devices act as Jini Clients and are able to dynamically update their Operating Systems, Java™ Virtual Machines, configuration, and the digital services they provide to the user.

Embedded processors running JCopia can offer and consume Java-based services. The service can be anything offered by a computational, networked device, including access to a network, a driver, an application or graphical user interface.

In the case of a set-top box or appliance brought into the home, these devices can auto deploy, find a network, download initial services such as digital content or an intelligent meter. Automatic updates are managed by JCopia that can load, swap and discard services or applications autonomously and efficiently. Aside from future proofing the device, the user has the benefit of a more capable device without having to be involved with the on-going configuration and management,

JCopia operates in the following environments:

OS/Framework: Linux 2.6.27

JVM: Sun JDK 1.5.0

Processors: AMD Turion 64, AMD Athion

Memory Usage: Between 100-200kb depending on garbage collection algorithm.

System Requirements: Minimum of Java 1.2 compliant JVM and .5MB free RAM


Manufactured by Digeus Inc., a young & dynamic software company based in Albany, New York and a fast emerging service provider to individuals & business houses, Snapit is a one-click software that runs on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/XP/2000/2003/Vista. You would also need Microsoft Framework 2.0 which can be downloaded online.
One of the key attractions of the program is that it is easy to learn and easy to use. Just click the program with the mouse, click your print screen (Prt Scr) button, select with mouse the image you want to capture on your screen. This automatically copies the image to your clipboard and all you need to do is just paste the image on a Microsoft word Document by pressing Ctrl V. Alternatively, you can create a new image file or open an existing image file with PhotoShop and paste the image by pressing Ctrl V. The first method is suitable for text writers whereas the second method particularly suitable for graphic designers. After that you can save the image by exercising the save as option from the menu displayed on right clucking the mouse on the Snapit Icon
The most powerful feature of Snapit is that you can switch to the auto save option in the menu properties. This way the image captured on your clipboard will be automatically saved to the selected folder with selected image type. Your job ends with just selecting the image with the mouse and you are spared the trouble to manually save the captured image. Just click the Print Screen Button, Select the Image and you are done!
One of the "best things" in Computer Software, Snapit stands out as a software that is not only easy to learn and use but also one that saves the user a lot of precious time. So, next time you decide to capture an image on your computer, skip the whole procedure of cropping & saving... just SNAP IT!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Tablet PC Vs Laptop

In a bid to challenge the rival computer maker Apple's iPad, Chinese firm Lenovo, has launched its own version of a tablet PC - Lepad. The launch comes on the back of increasing popularity of tablet PC's, and the experts estimate that sales of tablet PCs might touch 2.5 million in 2011 in China. The device which would initially be only sold in China has state of the art features, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 10.1-inch screen and is based on the Android 2.2 operating system. A cost comparison with iPad puts it at a higher price ($532) thanthat of Apple's lowest model ($440) currently beingsold in China. Analysts feel that Apple's current global share of 83% might decline to 73%, with companies like Samsung and Lenovo increasing presence in the product segment.

In India, premier software and hardware company HCL Info-systems also launched their tablet PC today. The product called ME tablet is powered by an Android operating system (OS). The product would hit the stores by the end of the month, and its variants would be priced between Rs. 14,990 and Rs. 32,990
Advantages of the tablet PC

  • It is lighter than most laptops
  • The tablet PC can be laid flat on the working surface whereas the laptop screen needs to be kept vertical and might block the view of the person in front.
  • The tablet PCs take their basic input with the help of a special pen. In case of sketches and drawings, it is easier to fine-tune the input better with a pen than with a mouse or a touchpad.
Disadvantages of the tablet PC

  • The screen size of the tablet PC too small in comparison with a laptop. The maximum size the tablet PC screen can go up to is 14.1'.
  • It does not have an inbuilt optical drive, though it can connected to externally.
  • The technology with the special pen is too delicate and is damage prone
  • Tablet PCs are costlier than laptops in general

    Simple rules to overcome data deluge


    We seem to be living in a digital world these days. Almost every bit of information we access these days is stored in some kind of digital form and accessed electronically. This has given rise to two fundamental questions

    • Will our data be there when we need it?
    • Who is going to preserve this data?

    Dr. Fran Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, provides a guide for surviving this problem that has become known as the data deluge. Managing this deluge and preserving whats important is what Berman refers to as the greatest challenge of the Information Age. The amount of digital data is immense and as per industry reports by 2011, our digital universe will be 10 times the size it was in 2006 - and almost half of this universe will not have a permanent home as the amount of digital information outstrips storage space!
    Berman explores key trends and issues associated with preserving digital data, and whats required to keep it manageable, accessible, available, and secure. However, she warns that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for data stewardship and preservation. Cross-sector economic partnerships is the need of the day, says Berman. She adds that the solution is to take a comprehensive and coordinated approach to data cyberinfrastructure and treat the problem holistically, creating strategies that make sense from a technical, policy, regulatory, economic, security, and community perspective.

    Berman prescribes a to-do list.

    • Make a plan.
    • Create an explicit strategy for stewardship and preservation for your data, from its inception to the end of its lifetime;
    • Explicitly consider what that lifetime may be.
    • Be aware of data costs and include them in your overall IT budget.
    • Ensure that all costs are factored in, including hardware, software, expert support, and time.
    • Determine whether it is more cost-effective to regenerate some of your information rather than preserve it over a long period.
    • Associate metadata with your data.
    • Metadata is needed to be able to find and use your data immediately and for years to come.
    • Identify relevant standards for data/metadata content and format, following them to ensure the data can be used by others.
    • Make multiple copies of valuable data.
    • Store some of them off-site and in different systems.
    • Plan for the transition of digital data to new storage media ahead of time.
    • Include budgetary planning for new storage and software technologies, file format migrations, and time.
    • Migration must be an ongoing process. Migrate data to new technologies before your storage media becomes obsolete.
    • Plan for transitions in data stewardship. If the data will eventually be turned over to a formal repository, institution, or other custodial environment, ensure it meets the requirements of the new environment and that the new steward indeed agrees to take it on.
    • Determine the level of trust required when choosing how to archive data.
    • Tailor for preservation and access to the expected use. Gene-sequence data used daily by hundreds of thousands of researchers worldwide may need a different preservation and access infrastructure from, for example, digital photos viewed occasionally by family members.
    • Pay attention to security. Be aware of what you must do to maintain the integrity of your data.
    • Know the regulations. Know whether copyright, or other policies and/or regulations are relevant to your data, ensuring your approach to stewardship and publication is compliant.

    Source - Science Daily

    Tiny Videos System helps you check video piracy

    In this age of video sharing among users and with the rising popularity of video sharing websites like YouTube, video piracy, have become a serious concern for many internet users.

    Piracy traditionally refers to acts intentionally committed for financial gain, though more recently, copyright holders have described online copyright infringement, particularly in relation to peer-to-peer file sharing networks, as "piracy. Copyright holders frequently refer to copyright infringement as "theft". In law copyright infringement does not refer to actual theft, but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder without authorization.

    However, according to Alex Karpenko a computer engineering student from the University of Toronto the above problems can substantially resolved.He has created a framework that can improve the efficiency of such video sharing websites and cut down on copyright infringement. According to him, this system is extremely beneficial for users because it can help them quickly and easily find the specific videos they are looking for and it is also useful for copyright holders because it can identify video clips that violate copyright laws.

    The Tiny Videos system as it is called, is a one of a kind system that allows extremely high volumes of video data to be compressed and then searched based on content. The system can recognize and find duplicate video segments and then properly label them.

    It is beneficial both for users as it helps them to quickly and easily find the specific videos they're looking for, and also for copyright holders because it can identify video clips that violate copyright laws. .

    The system, which was tested using a massive sample of 50,000 videos, has several practical applications. For example, when someone uploads a video to YouTube, they may not label that video properly, which can make it difficult for other users to find it in a search. The Tiny Videos system searches uploaded videos for generic characteristics and not labels and assigns them a more useful label or tag so users can find videos easily. The ability of Tiny Videos system to quickly search for specific content with large video collections, also helps it to quickly identify videos that violate copyright infringement and alert copyright holders. The Tiny Videos system can also help users find similar or related coverage. For example, the system could help them identify coverage of the same political event that was aired on CNN, the BBC and CBC

    Thursday, 11 August 2011

    New approach eliminates software deadlocks

    Software deadlocks are the Catch-22s of the computer world. These common bugs can freeze the machine when different parts of a program end up in an endless cycle of waiting for one another as they access shared data.
    The University of Michigan researchers developed a new way around this problem with a controller that can anticipate and prevent situations that might cause deadlock.Their controller is called Gadara. It's a plug-in that operates using feedback techniques similar to those that give us cruise control in cars and thermostats in heating systems."This is a totally different approach to what people had done before for deadlock. Previously, engineers would try to identify potential deadlocks through testing or program analysis and then go back and rewrite the program. The bug fixes were manual, and not automatic. Gadara automates the process," said Stéphane Lafortune, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Gadara developer."Every time you find a problem today you need the original programmer to solve it. The goal of Gadara is to allow anyone with our tool to solve the problem," says Yin Wang who works with Lafortune
    Deadlock is becoming a more pressing concern as multicore chips grow in complexity and software performs an increasing number of tasks simultaneously. The bug shows up often in parallel programs that use shared data.
    Gadara works by analyzing a program to find potential deadlocks, and then inserting control logic into the program. The control logic ensures that the program cannot deadlock. Gadara uses a unique combination of discrete control theory and compiler technology, said Lafortune, whose primary work focuses on discrete control theory. The control theory provides the logic that allows Gadara to use feedback to prevent software deadlocks.The compiler technology, which was developed by Scott Mahlke, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, enables Gadara to operate on real-world applications. Compilers translate programs written in high-level programming languages in executable code.

    Source - Science Daily

    New image processing system can detect moods

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? This is precisely what Dr. Prabir Bhattacharya and his computer team are trying to find out. He and Concordia graduate student Abu Sayeed Sohail are in the process of developing a computer image processing system that seeks to detect and classify facial expressions of human beings.
    Coming as a boon to visual artists and graphic designers the subtle emotions The aim of the image processing system is to take photos of individuals, potentially in areas of high traffic where security is a primary concern, such as an airport to study and analyse their facial expressions.The theory is that, if one could take random photos of the crowd and process them fast enough, then there is the potential to identify those individuals who might be problematic and pose a threat to the security concerns in that area
    Interestingly, the facial expressions of a human being do not actually involve the entire face, but rather specific sets of muscles under the face near the eyes, nose and mouth. Bhattacharya and Sohail's system measures 15 key points on the face and then compares these measures against images of identifiable facial expressions. Although there is great variety in human facial expression across individuals (and this variety increases manifold with differing cultures) the pair has identified seven basic expressions that seem to be relatively universal and can be used as a standard.
    The results of their research to date were recently published by Verlag Dr. Müller in Classification of Human Facial Express Facial Expression: A Prospective Application of Image Processing and Machine Learning.

    Virtual faces created with emotions, moods and personality

    A team of researchers from the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) has developed a computer model that enables the generation of faces which for the first time display emotions and moods according to personality traits.
    According to Diana Arellano (Computer and Artificial Intelligence Graphics and Vision Unit, UIB) the aim of this work has been to design a model that reveals a person's moods and displays them on a virtual face. "In the same 3-D space we have integrated personality, emotions and moods, which had previously been dealt with separately", Arellano explained.
    The researcher pointed out that emotions (such as fear, joy or surprise) are almost instantaneous mood alterations, in contrast to emotional states (such as boredom or anxiety) which are more long-lasting, or personality, which normally lasts someone's entire life. The designers have followed the theories of Albert Mehrabian to draw up the model, based on the five personality traits established by this American psychologist: extraversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness. According to Arellano, every personality can be considered an emotional state by default. An introverted and neurotic personality is therefore related to an anxious emotional state. The points of the face that define these emotions can be determined mathematically, and the algorithms developed by computer experts can be used to obtain different facial expressions "quickly and easily". The system makes it possible to display basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise) and intermediate situations.
    The results of the method have been assessed objectively (through an automatic recognizer which identified 82% of the expressions generated) and subjectively, through a survey carried out among a group of 75 university students. The students successfully recognised 86% of the emotions and 73% of the emotional states shown on the computer.
    Even so, the researchers have detected that some emotions, such as fear and surprise, are difficult to tell apart, with context helping to differentiate between the two. The team is already working in this line and prepared a virtual storyteller which enriches the narration, using its face to express the emotions generated by the story told.
    Arellano also points out that the display of emotions not only depends on the facial expression, but also the existence of various other factors such as gestures, voice or head movements which also help to correctly interpret an emotion, since personality has an obvious effect on them.
    The researchers believe that this model could be applied in both educational environments (virtual tutors and presenters with personality traits) and in video game characters or interactive stories that have their own emotional motor.

    Human approach to computer processing

    A more human approach to processing raw data could change the way that computers deal with information, according to academics at The University of Nottingham.
    Researchers in the School of Computer Science at the University's Malaysia Campus are exploring ‘granular computing' — a computer paradigm that looks at groups or sets of information, called information granules, rather than the high level of detail at which data is currently processed.
    By looking at data in this way, new patterns and relationships emerge — which could potentially give us access to new types of computer modelling in a range of fields, including process control and optimisation, resource scheduling and bioinformatics.
    The concept of a granular approach to computing is inspired by our own human thought processes, according to Professor Andrzej Bargiela, Director of Computer Science at Malaysia Campus.
    "Creating abstractions from detailed information is essential to human knowledge, interaction and reasoning," said Professor Bargiela. "The human brain filters the flood of information and distils knowledge subconsciously."

    It is thought that the granular computing approach to information processing may capture this essential characteristic of human information processing and offer a breakthrough in dealing with the crisis of ‘information overload' in a broad spectrum of application domains. Several PhD projects supervised by Professor Bargiela test this hypothesis in the context of varied applications, including urban traffic monitoring and control, job scheduling, timetabling and protein classification. Other applications that will be explored in the near future include environmental modelling and assessment of potential of under-utilised crops in agriculture.