Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CVPR brain dump, part 2 of n

I couldn't stay away!! Again, in reverse chronological order starting with the Amazon mixer I just got back from.


I remember watching these kids TV shows about factories and how certain things were made (e.g. Mister Rogers at the Crayon Factory) and thinking, a) there are a lot of weird crazy processes behind these crayons and other things my kid self interacts with and b) it's someone's job to be involved with all of that. Many people's jobs, even, to invent it, build it, manage it, whatever. I wondered if I would have some wacky, behind-the-scenes, "make the world go round" job when I grew up.

faster amazon deliveries
I got a glimpse of being able to have that (if I wanted, which I'm not sure I do) while talking to people from the new computer vision research lab at Amazon. Their focus is on using cameras and computer smarts to track everything and enhance the warehouse and fulfillment stuff -- the physical back-end of Amazon retail services. I think it's going to have a big impact. It might be kinda subtle at first with our Amazon packages arriving ever so slightly quicker in ever sleeker packaging, but then bam, one day we'll have everything we need all the time like in Wallace and Gromit when Wallace gets tipped out of bed into his clothes for the day. And we'll just drink Soylent all the time. And then we'll be in space and living on other planets and that level of automation will help us focus on other things, like mining resources from the environment and setting up Amazon warehouses on Mars.

automagical dressing+coffee robot/alarm contraption

Apps and Demos

I should know this already, given the amount of traction I've gotten from Sketch-a-bit, but nothing beats a slick, simple demo. I need a kick in the pants to go make some short and sweet (and self-contained) apps of things rattling around my brain. Something(s) that I can pull out to either show off an idea in a tangible way, explain what kind of work I do, or just inspire conversation. Some nice examples of other apps from the last few days:
  • This face tracker was running on a nice, big display at the far end of the posters. It also just worked really, really well. I want to use it in my stuff.
  • I got to poke at some new Photosynths, which have a very nice feel to them.
  • Someone was playing around with these Microsoft cliplet/cinemagraph/blink things on a windows phone and made this one of me:
These things are fun! They're nice to play with! They are delightful. They stick in my brain. It's also making me aware of demos and apps (including my own) that that just feel like they're "missing something." I think that missing "something" is usually feedback to show that you made a difference or created something new (and hopefully shareable).

Art (and Photosynth 2)

A couple days ago now I saw a talk on Photosynth 2, basically a sneak peek of the TED talk Blaise just gave in Scotland. The new synths have nice 3D and parallax effects. They've also tried to make them easier to capture and navigate with a touch screen. Their exact nature shall be revealed to the internet soon enough. I mainly wanted to comment on how they (Blaise et al) are (and have been) treating them as new artistic mediums. I caught a glimpse of Photosynth person emailing other Photosynth person a synth of their recent hiking adventure, of a place that suited the medium really well. And then the synth itself is this neat artifact that can be appreciated independently. I kinda felt that way about PhotoCity models, so it's nice to see it validated in this more corporate world.

The Blink/Cinemagraph thing has a similar new-form-of-artistic-expression feel. It's cool. I want to create more things like that. To create the opportunities for new types of creative expression, actually, rather than the cinemagraphs themselves... You're getting all artsy-fartsy around the edges, Microsoft!

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