Author Archives: Galiński Jan

Technology on a big screen

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This fall new Martin Scorsese’s film came out. “The Irishman” is said to be a great comeback to the most loved genre of Scorsese – dark, crime, mob story. Stars from movies like “Good fellas” including De Niro, Al Pacino or Pesci are also playing now. However one thing has drastically changed, they are really old.

Three main actors are now almost 80 years old. This is a huge problem because in a story they play characters that are much younger. That is why Scorsese needed the help of the artificial de-aging system.

Regular de-aging methods

There are several ways to make actors look younger or older. The most popular include makeup or stuntman. Also, there is a method of de-aging in post-production. However, it comes with many drawbacks. First of all, actors are supposed to wear big helmets or many small objects on their heads. It completely enables them to perform high-quality acting or to be in any way natural. Secondly, actors mostly don’t like working with this equipment and simply don’t agree to take part in a film. Main actors and Martin Scorsese didn’t want to work this way.

New approach

Pablo Helman from Industrial Light and Magic decided to help with “The Irishman” de-aging process. The goal was to come up with a new approach without helmets or tracking dots. After many attempts, they finally created a completely new method. Instead of one camera, they were using additional two to capture all possible data about the facial expressions of actors. This way the could create artificial image of an actor in various scenarios and including different lighting or camera movement. Next, they designed a special gear to use it in a practical way, due to enormous weight it was rather difficult. The whole structure was only 2 inches smaller than a regular width of a door. After that, each scene was recreated in special post-production program and this program de-aged actors. Most of the work was done with De Niro as the main character. Also, the program included AI algorithms to recognize the demanded age of an actor and character. Surprisingly not only was changed in actors. Second most import part of the body were hands. There are many scenes were we main characters smoking or showing something in a close-up. That is way hands needed to be de-aged too. In this way, actors almost didn’t feel any change at all and the effects were far better. However to proceed with this method it took much more time and effort than regular ones.

References:

https://www.wired.com/story/the-irishman-netflix-ilm-de-aging/#

Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’ gets its first trailer starring a digitally de-aged De Niro

De-aging the Irishman (updated)

https://nofilmschool.com/the-irishman-de-aging-behind-the-scenes

https://collider.com/the-irishman-de-aging-explained/

 

Bots in streetwear

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Streetwear is recently a big part of the culture in media. We all know brands like Supreme or Yeezy and have some friends that buy super expensive sneakers. However how fashion industry can be connected to technology or even programming?

The answer is pretty easy. Limited clothes or sneakers have their premiere data and hour on a website. From that time you can buy them online. The problem is even if you can afford them there are plenty of people that are willing to buy them too. Most often in seconds or a minute everything is sold out. Here comes a bot.

What is a bot?

Bot is a program or even small software that is made to behave as a human. It can create accounts, log and buy what we want. It smartly passes through all securities like CAPTCHA. The best part is that it works in seconds and is much faster and accurate than any person. What is more he can create numerous accounts and buy many more limited products than people can manually. Sometimes websites with really good anti-bot systems try to prevent from fake customers. Then bot is only available to add some products to your “shopping card” and you must finish your purchase on your own. Even then it enables to buy some really rare clothing.

From the streetwear brands perspective

Big brands with really hyped sneakers or other pieces of clothing have big problem with sneaker bots. Bots often lead to website crashes or errors. Most important they create inequality among customers. Very often sneakerheads and true customers can’t buy their “grails”, because of bots. Now when people realized that in resell market it is easy to make money they completely ignore any other aspect. In result old fans of brands are hurt and customers focused on reselling clothes are getting rich. This leads to a big discussion and many people are upset about it, because whole streetwear culture suffers.

How it works in practice?

Getting a bot is relatively easy. There are numerous sites like Aiobot where you just purchase your bot online legally. Then you need to describe what brand and specific items you want to purchase. You also specify the date of a release. When you finish completing all details like your address and card number, bot will be ready to work. It will wait to estimated date and buy what you described.

References:

https://www.aiobot.com

https://smartproxy.com/blog/what-is-a-sneaker-bot

Home

https://www.distilnetworks.com/glossary/term/sneaker-bot/

 

https://www.netacea.com/blog/what-are-sneaker-bots

 

Nike Shoe Bot

New approach to agriculture

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When we think about farms and big fields of plants, probably we imagine the countryside and enormous land. It’s a natural image of agriculture. We became sure about how growing plants look like and barely changed anything for hundreds of years. People only added new ways of taking care of plants but didn’t ever rethink the whole concept. However, it is possible that it will soon be history, due to completely new ways of farming.

Aerofarms is a completely modern approach to agriculture. It can change the way people develop and will be using space. No more big fields of plants, now we can grow them in buildings.

The main concept

How is it possible? Science and technology found a way to develop almost the same conditions as nature, but in an artificial way. Aerofarms are huge buildings with many levels. It’s like a big warehouse of IKEA, with many shelves, corridors and storage is from ground to the roof. It can be hard to imagine but there many layers of “ground” and special lamps that provide necessary conditions for plants. There is no soil and no natural sunlight, only substitutes. In this way, plants can be grown not only on one ground level but in many many more.
Furthermore, they can be stored inside buildings. However, it is not the best part. It is claimed that Aerofarms use 95% less water than classic field farms.

A mix of science and technology

This is all possible, because of the smart use of special led lamps and a new approach to the nutrition of plants. Scientists discovered new ways how to improve it and implemented it with technology. Also, special scientists monitor and collect data about all plants grown in Aerofarms to advance it even more. The special cloth used instead of soil is made of fully recycled materials. Lastly controlling every condition lead to almost none risk of any pests. In this way, we have an environmentally friendly and highly more efficient approach to farming.

 

Current situation

Now there are about four farms using this method. They are being controlled and tested. Many scientific surveys and tests are made in topics of health or taste of these plants. There are no negative sides of using this method of growing plants scientifically proved. If Aerofarms will replace classic way of farming we are going to have a big revolution. In a quick summary, it means less wasted water, more efficient agriculture, less usage of pesticides and much more land for nature not fields of plants.

References:

https://aerofarms.co

https://www.ft.com/content/cac48190-9d8a-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb

Quantum power

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We all heard about supercomputers that are bigger than some houses and make enormous calculations. Also term of artificial intelligence or machine learning is getting popular. Slowly we are living in a world driven by data and all actions are made by programs.

In order to make more advance operations and use more sophisticated technology we need something different than another bigger computer. Than comes quantum computer

What is a quantum computer?

Our computers work in regular way. They can store information as 1 or 0 states called bits. Simply it means that when we have more data we use more bits and so on. Quantum computer works differently. It stores memory in a superposition of classical states and the basic unit of it is called qubit. They are in an indeterminate state between 0 and 1. It allows to make calculations much faster and efficient, but it’s not the biggest advantage of a quantum computing. Every qubit is connected in some way to other qubits and effect on each other within one computer. It means that there is a much shorter way for information to get through, than in classical computers. It enables to extremely shorten the time needed for all sort of difficult operations. However due to it’s a different state, qubits can sometimes fail and have errors, so they need to be constantly checking each other. It is said that a quantum computer can make calculations that would take 10 thousand years of today’s most powerful computer to solve, in just a few minutes. It opens a way for science and technology to work in completely new fields with a new great power to use. It will be crucial in fields like space travel, machine learning or data science. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be used in every household instead of classic computer.

The first one

Just a few weeks ago it seems that we have a breakthrough point for this industry. Google claimed to create a first fully working quantum computer in the world. The processor that operates this computer is called Sycamore. It works with 53 qubits. When it would be expanded to 70 qubits the biggest computer in the world would need to be the size of a city to reach it’s power. IBM is also working on it’s own project with quantum computing, but it is the Google which is the first. We don’t know yet how to use it for something particular, but we it is powerful.

 

References

Quantum computing’s ‘Hello World’ moment

https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/learn/what-is-quantum-computing/

https://ai.google/research/teams/applied-science/quantum/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hands-on-with-googles-quantum-computer/

https://www.wired.com/story/why-googles-quantum-computing-victory-is-a-huge-deal-and-a-letdown/

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Are we going to have a flying future?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It may seem impossible, but the view of city full of flying drones, cars and other machines just like from Star Wars, is almost here.

Nowadays everyone is talking about electric or self-driving cars. However big companies are already planning flying ones. It is said that the revolution will start in five years, but we can see that it’s happening now.

From the beginning

Hermes by Spartaqs

It all starts with small steps and for this example with small flying objects. We all know drones and recognize stunning shots or movie clips, that were made by them. It wasn’t a way of transport, but still it was pretty fun to use. It’s already changed. Now drones are used in many different situations to deliver small things. You probably heard about Amazon’s Prime Air, but we have another example of project that is working here in Warsaw. Polish company Spartaqs created a drone called Hermes, which is especially designed to deliver blood for hospitals. It uses artificial intelligence to fly. Hospitals in Warsaw have already started using it and it works very efficient. It flies around 150 metres above the ground and easily gets to destination within minutes. Expanding this technology can lead to serious changes in transport. Small packages, medicines, clothes and many other may be delivered fast and without traffic jams. Possibly we will get rid of many cars and have delivery that is fast and eco-friendly.

 

Flying Uber

Almost all of us use Uber or other app for getting a ride. How about changing the rules of transport? Uber is planning to offer it’s customers a truly new experience. Not another more exclusive car, but flying machine. They suppose that the first “air rides” will start in few years. The machine, which will carry people, is called VTOL and is said to be electric and eco-friendly. There are numerous companies that are trying to come up with the best project, like Aurora or Embraer. It’s also a big challenge for infrastructure. They will have to prepare cities and suburbs for a small revolution. In this case there will be need for several small airports called “skyports” and other facilities. One of the biggest concerns will be law and agreements between company and governments. Uber claims that will overcome all problems and in maximum 4 years from now we will be flying around the cities. It can change the way we commute to work, school or come back from parties. Regarding how breathtaking such a flight can be, it will take only minutes to get anywhere.

 

How about your own “air-car”?

It would be great to have a flying Uber ride from time to time, but our own flying machine sounds really amazing. You might be surprised, but well known brands: Porsche and Boeing, are starting a new project. It seems that they not only want to create air-taxi’s, but also a special ones to buy for individuals. Undoubtably it will come with a really big price, but it is a big beginning of something completely new. Unfortunately they didn’t say any particular details so we probably need to wait a little longer. However if you are really motivated to fly around right know, you can check Pal-V company. They already created a machine that can be called flying car and you can buy it for your personal use.

Pre-design early idea of Porsche/Boeing car

It is hard to say exactly when, but our world of communication will change completely. This revolution is going on right now and it’s really fascinating. We are going to have drones delivering packages and our own flying machines. Hopefully it will mean a beginning of safe, eco-friendly and fast transport.

References:

https://www.uber.com/pl/pl/elevate/

https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/11/20909771/porsche-boeing-partnership-flying-cars-rich-people

http://spartaqs.com/en/

https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-Air/b?ie=UTF8&node=8037720011

https://www.pal-v.com

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/7/17091136/flying-car-pal-v-liberty-geneva-motor-show-2018

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