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New ‘Markpainting’ Tech Fights Watermark Removal and Deepfakes

New 'Markpainting' Tech Fights Watermark Removal and Deepfakes

New 'Markpainting' Tech Fights Watermark Removal and Deepfakes 1

A team of researchers has put together a new initiative with an available open-source code to help better detect deepfakes that have been edited to remove watermarks with the goal of avoiding the spread of misinformation.

Inpainting — also known as “Content-Aware Fill” for Photoshop users — is a method that uses machine-learning models to reconstruct missing pieces of an image or to remove unwanted objects. Although it is generally used as a tool among creatives to “clean up” the image for a more fine-tuned result, this technology can also used for malicious intentions, such as removing watermarks, reconstructing the reality by removing people or certain objects in the photos, adding false information, and more.

This type of technology has greatly developed in recent years, with the notable example of NVIDIA’s AI-powered “Content-Aware Fill”, which goes a step further than Photoshop’s already advanced tools. Manipulating images with malicious intent can cause not only profit loss from image theft by removing watermarks or other visual copyright identifying factors, but it can also lead to the spread misinformation in the case of its ability to remove a person from a crime scene photo, scam people or businesses, even destabilize politics in a case earlier reported by PetaPixel.

To make inpainting abuse more difficult, a team of researchers — David Khachaturov, Ilia Shumailov, Yiren Zhao, Nicolas Papernot, and Ross Anderson — have put together an initiative, called “Markpainting,” as spotted by Light Blue Touchpaper. It is a novel tool that can be used as “a manipulation alarm that becomes visible in the event of inpainting.”

This tool, described in detail by the team’s paper, uses “adversarial machine-learning techniques to fool the inpainter into making its edits evident to the naked eye”, whereby the “image owner can modify their image in subtle ways which are not themselves very visible, but will sabotage any attempt to inpaint it by adding visible information determined in advance by the markpainter.”

This research, which is supported by CIFAR (through a Canada CIFAR AI Chair), EPSRCApple, Bosch Research Foundation, NSERC, and Microsoft, brings new ways for creators, companies, and agencies to better protect their digital assets in the future. Making watermarks less removable gives greater security and profit protection, while other images could be treated so that any future manipulation, such as object removal, becomes easier to detect.

The idea of manipulated image and video detection is not new; research and development in this area is ongoing, however, it is yet to be seen how and when this technology can catch up to successfully stop manipulation attempts.

The full research paper and the tests performed using this “Markpainting” technique can be found on the team’s research paper “Markpainting: Adversarial Machine Learning meets Inpainting.”

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Best Father’s Day Gifts: Tech Gear for Dad

A little girl playing with her father closing her eyes with her hands.

Even the dad who has everything can use an upgrade here or there. Finding the best Father’s Day gift for the gadget-loving dad means finding a present that either improves on something he already uses; a device he can easily integrate into his own systems, style, and daily regimes; or a tool that encourages a beloved hobby or pastime. 

There are no one-size-fits-all best Father’s Day gifts since every dad is unique, but it’s pretty safe to say that a shiny new toy will bring a smile to his face no matter what. Knowing your dad’s personal interests, tech comfort level, and home will go a long way toward narrowing down your options. So, if you’re looking for cool tech gifts for dad, here’s where to start. 

Father’s Day gifts for athletic dads

What could be better than Father’s Day gifts that make you both feel good? If the dad in your life is a fitness buff, get him a gift that encourages his activity. Athletic gear is a broad category with lots of options based on what kinds of pursuits your dad is into. There are accessories for runners, home-gym enhancements for the powerlifter, and even aquatic tech for those who prefer to take their workout off dry land. So the first thing you want to do is figure out what kind of gear makes the most sense. Beyond that, you want to make sure the gifts for dad you consider genuinely help him with his workouts and aren’t too complicated.

Best Father’s Day gifts for athletic dads: AmazFit T-Rex Pro Smartwatch

The AmazFit T-Rex Pro Smartwatch is the best gift for athletic dads.

Rugged Companion

An all-in-one partner for hikes and outdoor adventures. Amazfit

BUY NOW

The AmazFit T-Rex Pro Smartwatch is the perfect companion piece for the dad who likes to stay connected when he’s summiting a mountain. The smartwatch supports four global navigation satellite systems, a blood-oxygen saturation measurement system, a weather tracker, a compass, and a barometric altimeter—while being waterproof and handling incoming texts, calls, and schedules.

Tech gifts for control-freak dads

There’s nothing some dads like better than being the masters of their domains. Second only to that is the ability to have control over everything, while moving as little as possible. Thankfully, smart homes and devices are cool tech gifts for him that make that dream a tangible reality. Surprise dad with some domain upgrades that let him take the wheel and ensure that no one messes with the thermostats, leaves lights on, or tries to refrigerate the whole neighborhood by propping the fridge door open.

Best gifts for control-freak dads: Google Nest Thermostat

The Google Nest Thermostat is the best gift for control-freak dads

Cool and In Control

An energy-saving and convenient way to control home temps. Google

BUY NOW

The Google Nest Thermostat makes adjusting and maintaining room temperatures simple, and it saves money by being energy-efficient—two things that go great together if you’re a dad. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, the thermostat can be controlled via voice commands or smartphone, allowing him to set or adjust temperatures from anywhere.

Father’s Day gifts for dads who love their lawn

The lawn: It’s been the pride (and bane) of dads for generations. Maintaining lush green grass, manicured bushes, and orderly flowers can be a full-time job, but nothing makes some dads prouder than an enviable lawn. Dads can make do with tried-and-true methods, but they’re not likely to refuse some technological help that makes their job easier. So consider devices that reduce workload, headaches, and time when shopping for the best Father’s Day gifts for dad.

Best gifts for dads with a green thumb: Aeon Matrix Smart Sprinkler Controller

The Aeon Matrix Smart Sprinkler Controller is the best gift for dads with green thumbs.

Home Base

Maintain total control over all outdoor spaces with one system with the Aeon Matrix Smart Sprinkler. Aeon Matrix

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For dads who like to rule the roost, inside and out, the Aeon Smart Sprinkler Controller is a dream come true. More than a smart sprinkler system, this gift for dads with a green thumb also features external security cameras with alerts sent directly to his smartphone. The Aeon can also be set to monitor the weather, schedule “skip days” when it’ll be raining, and even show you optimal flow spots for drainage.

Cool tech gifts for sentimental dads

Even a present as traditional as a framed picture can qualify as a cool tech gift. The tech-savvy dad on your gift list will appreciate the combination of old and new. Digitizing old memories in the form of photos and videos is easy to do with the many storage and display devices available. Rather than just stashing cherished photos away, why not give dad a way to show them off with a digital picture frame?

Best gifts for sentimental dads: BSIMB Digital Picture Frame

The BSIMB Digital Picture Frame is the best gift for sentimental dads.

Memories on Loop

This modern frame displays vibrant digital photos. Bsimb

BUY NOW

This 10.1-inch black frame can display high-resolution images via smartphone and touchscreen. Not only can dad proudly display his favorite vacation shots, he can connect the frame to Twitter and Facebook to share photos online. An all-in-one happy memory station.

Tech gifts for audiophile dads

Delight a music-loving dad this Father’s Day by amping up his listening experience. He’d love a device to convert old music into digital files, intuitive and adaptable speakers that can be used literally anywhere, and of course headphones that deliver state-of-the-art sonic experience. Considering whether dad prefers listening to music as a one-on-one experience or likes to play house DJ for large groups will help you find the perfect cool gifts.

Best gifts for audiophile dads: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II is our Father's Day gifts pick for audiophile dads.

Block It All Out

These noise-cancelling headphones are comfortable too. Bose

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Bose is known for its top-of-the-line audio equipment, and the QuietComfort 35 II headphones are wireless for optimal versatility. They’re compatible with Bluetooth, are noise-cancelling, and can connect with Amazon Alexa for voice controls. A top-notch audio experience is guaranteed.

Father’s Day gifts for dads who are the life of the party

If your dad likes to entertain and enjoys a neat gadget, he can be the life of the party while indulging his love of shiny new things. Find one of the Father’s Day gifts for him to roll out at gatherings to impress friends, or an item he can stash in the kitchen so he can cultivate the mystique of being the perfect chef or bartender. Either way, give him a leg up with a gift that can help him play the perfect host time and time again.

Best gift for party dads: Perfect Drink PRO

The Perfect Drink Pro is our Father’s Day gifts pick for dads who like to entertain.

Smart Cocktails

Help dad pour the perfect drink every time. Perfect Company

BUY NOW

Take the guesswork out of making the perfect cocktail with the Perfect Drink PRO. As its name implies, this combination-smart-scale-and-app will help dad make any cocktail simple, easy, and quick. The scale pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth and the app features more than 400 recipes; real-time instructions help dad make a single serving or enough to quench a crowd.

Father’s Day gifts on a budget

If you’re looking for something unique for Father’s Day but aren’t in the position to spend a lot, you can still satisfy dad’s enthusiasm with a handy but inexpensive gift.

Best budget gifts for dads: HORUSDY Magnetic Wrist Band.

The HORUSDY Magnetic Wrist Band is the best budget gift for tech-obsessed dads.

Handy But Not Expensive

Give dad a gift he can use every day without emptying your wallet. HORUSDY

BUY NOW

Coming in at just under $10, the HORUSDY Magnetic Wrist Band is a simple wrist strap that allows the home improvement or tinkerer dad to keep tiny metal components close by without constantly dropping and losing them. It’s fun, functional, and won’t break the bank.

The final word on great Father’s Day gifts for tech dads

Father’s Day is an excuse to indulge the beloved dads in your family by giving them presents that enhance their favorite hobbies and interests. If the dad in question loves shiny new gadgets, you can find high-tech options for just about any interest, from music and food to outdoor life and lawn care. Just be sure to purchase cool tech gifts for dad that are simple, intuitive, and ready to use right out of the box—nothing takes the sheen off a new toy faster than needless hassle. 


Here’s another gift guide in case you decide to build your dad a Father’s Day gift.

Popular Photography wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: books for photographers, practical gifts, gifts for dads.

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DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 2

DxO has released version 4 of the Nik Collection photo editing plugins. It contains major improvements to the U Point technology, seamless interactions with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom through the leveraging of smart objects, as well as a new and improved set of Meta presets.

This update comes just a year after the launch of Version 3 with the focus this time on Viveza and Silver Efex.

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 3

The new Nik Collection 4 comes loaded with over 250 presets and an enhanced U Point technology for local adjustment controls. Along with these powerful updates comes an improved UI particularly notable with Nik Viveza and Nik Silver Efex. These two apps have been completely redesigned “to offer an optimal user experience, featuring a modern interface that is more beautiful and functional than ever.” The new interface makes it easier for users to directly access all available presets, filter by type or favorites, and identify tools through the new layout and palettes.

Improved U Point Technology

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 4

A long-time favorite user feature of this software suite has been the U Point tool for localized adjustments. This allows users to apply adjustments locally without the use of complicated masks, which can speed up the user’s workflow. With this update, it is now possible to incorporate control points into customized presets.

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 5

This means photographers can easily apply a similar style to multiple images while still preserving a specific area: users can choose to apply a specific color effect as well as a burred background to several portraits. The new U Point tool also includes a new color selectivity setting that provides the ability to regulate the saturation of a specific tone range. Editors can select the color they wish to edit, as well as the tolerance of similar color hues. Finally, the U Point tool has been updated to include fewer sliders, which DxO says makes it easier to view adjustments and rename them to optimize personal workflow experiences.

Meta Presets

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 6

With Nik Collection 4, there is a new type of filter that has been added for use in Adobe Photoshop called “Meta Presets.” These are actions that combine the filters and settings of several Nik Collection Plugins into one to apply to images quickly and easily. There are 10 included with this release that are available directly from within the Nik Selective Tool panel for Photoshop as seen in the screenshot above. While it is currently not possible to save your own Meta Presets, it is a feature that the dev team is working on for a future update.

Improved Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 7

The Last Edit function, which lets users re-apply the last preset they used in one of the Nik Collection plugins while using Adobe Photoshop, has been extended to include Adobe Lightroom Classic. In addition, the new Smart Copy and Paste feature lets users selectively re-apply the effect of a plugin to one or several images directly in Adobe Lightroom without having to launch the software suite’s interface.

Better Black and White Images

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 8

In an effort to help users create better black and white images, Nik Silver Efex has been updated to include a new tool called ClearView. First offered in DxO PhotoLab, the tool removes haze and enhances local contrast in a manner that isn’t as harsh as those found in the Dehaze tool within Lightroom when applied heavily. The technology allows editors to clean up haze in images while keeping the edges, details, and transitions looking natural.

More Presets

DxO Unveils NIK Collection 4: New Meta Presets, Improved U Point Tech 9

As mentioned above, this launch comes with over 250 professional presets including 10 for Viveza and 39 for Silver Efex that were developed by working professional photographers.

Pricing and Availability

The Nik Collection 4 is available now from the DxO website for $100 instead of the regular price of $149 — and $60 instead of $79 for those upgrading from the previous version — until June 30, 2021. A fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 4 is available on the DxO website here.

It is worth noting that at the time of this release, the Nik Collection 4 does not natively support the M1 version of Adobe Photoshop. The development team has told PetaPixel that this is on their radar and they hope to have an updated and fully compatible installer soon.

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Eerily Beautiful Photos Show How TV Tech Has Changed

Eerily Beautiful Photos Show How TV Tech Has Changed

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

A remarkable set of photos taken by Japan-based photographer Lee Chapman shows old, long-forgotten television sets in their original surroundings.

The eerily beautiful images were captured by Chapman over the last 10 years during explorations of abandoned houses, hotels, and schools buried deep in the Japanese countryside.

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

The pictures of places that once bustled with life are also a stark reminder of just how much television technology has changed over the decades, with old CRT (cathode-ray tube) sets having long ago given way to more advanced flat-screen models with increasingly advanced displays.

“Televisions remain an ever-present feature in the home and hotel room, but just like viewing habits, designs have changed enormously, and the TV sets are a nice reminder of just how dramatic those changes have been,” the photographer said.

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

Chapman, also an accomplished street photographer whose work has appeared in publications around the world, has a longtime fascination with “haikyo,” the Japanese word for “ruins,” and consequently often stumbles across various technologies that have fallen by the wayside.

“Finding personal items in an abandoned building is alway most affecting, but in some ways old tech can feel the same,” Chapman told Digital Trends. “Telephones previously used on a daily basis, and TVs around which people would’ve once gathered, not only give an indication of time but also make it easier to imagine the lives of those who once spent time there.”

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

To see Chapman’s full set of images of television sets from a bygone era — ancient Toshiba, Hitachi, and National models among them — be sure to view the post on his photo site.

Digital Trends interviewed Lee Chapman about his street photography work a few years back. You can check out the article here.

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Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech

Confirming a report from early March, Snap has officially announced its ambitious next-generation augmented reality (AR) Spectacles. They sound incredibly ambitous, but they also aren’t for sale.

The new, lightweight display glasses are made for creators and enables them to overlay what are called “Lenses” directly onto the world through immersive AR. The company says it is building a camera that “transforms how its community interacts with the world around them through access to contextual information and richer augmented reality experiences.” Given that Snapchat plays host to one of the most popular camera platforms with over 5 billion snaps created each day, the new Spectacles appear to be an ideal tool to work with and develop content for the AR.

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 10

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 11

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 12

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 13

Tapping into the sense of sight, touch, and sound, the Spectacles use dual 3D waveguide displays and a 26.3-degree field of view that allow them to overlay Lenses on the world in front of the wearer. Powered by a new Snap Spatial Engine, the company says that Lenses react quickly and appear accurately in the wearer’s field of view with only 15 milliseconds of motion to photon latency. The display also dynamically adjusts up to 2000 nits of brightness which allows the Spectacles to provide a solid AR experience both indoors and outside. The new 134-gram Specs also include two cameras, four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers, and a touchpad that allows for a multi-sensorial experience.

According to Snap, the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 powered AR Spectacles include a case that can charge the device up to three times that can juice the glasses for up to 30 minutes per charge. Snap does not specify how long it takes to recharge the specs once fully exhausted.

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 14

App Updates

Beginning later in the year, users will be able to share clips from YouTube and YouTube Music directly into Snapchat. Additionally, Snap has announced a new integration with Bumble that will allow users to send selfies with Snapchat Lenses from within the dating app.

Snap has also shared its recently announced effort for a more “inclusive” camera system through an overhaul on how its camera functions. The company worked with several noted directors of photography from the film industry to learn techniques they use to best capture actors with darker skin tones. Previously Snap’s lenses did not always work consistently for people with darker skin, with the use of its new Camera Kit, developers can make its camera more inclusive.

This inclusivity initiative mirrors the one announced by Google earlier this week.

Scan and Camera Shortcuts

“Scan” is a feature that enables Snapchatters to search through millions of Lenses by matching what is seen through the camera to the most relevant AR experiences on Snapchat. Snap is bringing the Scan button to the forefront, placing it on the main Camera screen of Snapchat. Screenshop will give shopping recommendations from hundreds of brands when Snapchatters Scan a friend’s outfit. Also, Allrecipes will recommend recipes based on ingredients seen through the Snapchat camera.

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 15

Scan will not only connects Snapchatters to Lenses seamlessly but will also offer suggestions for new ways to use the Snapchat camera with the addition of Camera Shortcuts. These are new combinations of creative tools that make it simple for users to creatively capture moments to share with friends. Camera Shortcuts suggest camera modes, Lenses, and soundtracks relevant to what is seen through the Snapchat camera, and begin rolling out today.

Lens Studio for AR Creators

Snap has also updated Lens Studio with advanced tools that empower creators to build even more robust, innovative Lenses across gaming, education, shopping, and more. This free application update adds the ability to refine the created Lenses over time. The application also features Connected Lenses, which will let friends interact together in real-time, whether located in the same room or across the world. Snap and the LEGO Group have already created the first Connected Lens to collaboratively build with LEGO bricks on Snapchat.

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 16

Lens Studio now offers 3D Body Mesh, Cloth Simulation, and a Visual Effects Editor, which make AR look and move more realistically, as well as allowing creators to build Lenses that understand more than 500 categories of objects. As these Lenses become more advanced, new Lens Analytics give creators the information they need to build even more engaging and retentive experiences. Anonymous and aggregated data offer detailed insights to help creators learn from their audiences and build better Lenses while protecting privacy.

AR Try-On and Business Solutions

The company has also added new AR try-on experiences with fashion partners. Through the use of 3D Body Mesh and voice-enabled controls, Snapchatters can now say what items they’re looking to browse and try them on in AR. “Prada is tapping into new gesture recognition capabilities that let shoppers signal to the camera when they want to try on another item.”

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 17

A new Creator Marketplace connects businesses with creators to build AR experiences, helping businesses elevate their presence on Snapchat by leveraging the expertise of the Lens Creator community.

Snap Launches Ambitious New AR Spectacles with Improved Camera Tech 18

While these glasses and the associated partnerships and experiences sound incredibly ambitious, Snap isn’t making the new Spectacles something that everyone can experience. The company says the AR Spectacles are “not for sale, they are for augmented reality creators to reimagine the way we communicate, live, and explore the world together through AR experiences built-in Lens Studio.”

As such, Augmented Reality Creators can apply to get a pair through a website from the company here. Businesses and creators can get started at ar.snap.com.

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Canon Patents IBIS-Powered AA Simulation Tech, Similar to Pentax

Canon Patents IBIS-Powered AA Simulation Tech, Similar to Pentax

Canon Patents IBIS-Powered AA Simulation Tech, Similar to Pentax 19

Canon has applied for a patent that would allow a camera to use its in-body-image-stabilization (IBIS) to approximate the effects of an anti-aliasing filter. The idea is similar to how sensor-shift multi-shot works, but in reverse.

The application — which was found by Northlight Images and shared by Canon Rumors — notes that Canon is proposing a way for the sensor to shift during image capture in such a way that it approximates how an anti-aliasing filter works.

As Northlight Images writes, the idea “uses fine movement of the sensor stabilization system to perform one of the jobs of the anti-alias filter for the AF system and address problems of sampling and spatial aliasing. A version for DPAF and contrast AF is discussed… The fine control of sensor positioning is also part of a multishot super-resolution solution, where a traditional AA filter might also get in the way.”

If this idea sounds familiar, it is because it is a technology that Pentax has been using in its cameras for several years, including the most recently announced K-3 Mark III. The video below shows how the technology works:

Basically, unlike sensor-shift high-resolution photo modes that use a camera’s image stabilizer to capture more data and compile a high-resolution image in-camera, this feature would quite literally do the opposite and move the sensor to effectively blur the image slightly and give the appearance of an anti-aliasing filter.

As Ricoh explains:

Based on original ideas and innovative technology, Pentax has developed the world’s first AA filter simulator, which reproduces the effects created by an optical AA filter. By applying microscopic vibrations to the CMOS sensor during exposure, the K-3 minimizes false color and moiré. You have a choice of three settings to obtain the desired effect: “TYPE 1” to attain the optimum balance between image resolution and moiré; “TYPE 2” to prioritize moiré compensation, and “OFF” to prioritize image resolution. Thanks to this innovative feature, the K-3 offers the benefits of two completely different cameras — the high-resolution images assured by an AA-filter-free model, and minimized false color and moiré assured by an AA-filter-equipped one. You can switch the AA filter effect on and off as you wish.

This feature is not magic, however, and has limitations. Using a camera’s image stabilizer on a pixel-level like this while shooting has some tradeoffs. For example, Ricoh states that the AA-filter effect is “more evident” when a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or slower is used, which dramatically reduces the feature’s usability in anything other than brightly lit conditions.

For those unfamiliar, anti-aliasing filters — also known as optical low-pass filters — were designed to deal with a situation where the spatial frequency of what a digital camera is trying to photograph was smaller than the pixel spacing on a sensor. This is most commonly found when taking photos and videos of tight patterns on fabrics or wide-angle shots of buildings where windows are particularly close together. The resulting visual discrepancy is referred to as moire, which is a French term that means “watered textile” and accurately describes what the visual effect looks like: wavy water. An optical low-pass filter was placed in front of the image sensor in a majority of digital cameras up until the last several years and would make the moire less noticeable or have it disappear entirely. The side effect, however, was a drop in perceived sharpness.

Canon Patents IBIS-Powered AA Simulation Tech, Similar to Pentax 20
Chart from Canon’s patent.

Pentax and now Canon are not the only companies that have tried to come up with ways to give photographers a way to turn the idea of an anti-aliasing filter on and off. Sony pioneered a digital low-pass filter technology into its RX1R Mark II camera.

“Splitting of incident light flux is controlled by varying voltage to the liquid crystal between low-pass filter one and low-pass filter two in order to activate, deactivate, and modify low-pass filter effect. LPF bracketing simplifies comparison of LPF effects,” the company writes.

Canon Patents IBIS-Powered AA Simulation Tech, Similar to Pentax 21

Because it was electrically controlled and responded nearly instantaneously, photographers could configure how it would work and even apply an “auto” mode to it. It’s unclear as to why this feature is only in a fixed lens camera and not found in any of Sony’s Alpha cameras, and that may be related to the fixed-lens nature of the RX1R Mark II.

Another reason it might not be in other cameras is the need for an optical low-pass filter is disappearing.

It used to be that anti-aliasing filters were quite common, but in the most recent releases by most manufacturers, it is not a feature that even makes it onto the public-facing specifications sheet. This is because as cameras grow in resolution and have smaller and smaller pixels, the incidence of moire even without an anti-aliasing filter has fallen dramatically. Basically, it has become less likely that the subjects photographers are taking pictures of have a spatial frequency that is smaller than the distance between pixels on modern sensors.

As a result, some may find it a bit odd to see Canon attempt to patent a technology to address a problem that has been shrinking in importance over the last few years. Additionally, since Pentax clearly already uses a similar technology, Canon’s patent has to obviously do something different in order to get around the fact a competitor has been using a similar idea in the market for almost a decade. You can read the full patent application here.

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Identify a Lost Dog with NOSEiD: Scan Snouts with Image-Detection Tech

Identify a Lost Dog with NOSEiD: Scan Snouts with Image-Detection Tech

Iams has launched a new app called NOSEiD that can scan dog noses and use them as unique identifiers in order to reconnect lost canines with owners. The app can connect dog snoots with an owner’s contact information, similar to how fingerprints can link to specific people.

The company launched the app to address America’s “lost pet problem.” Stating that even though every dog is irreplaceably unique, so are their noses. The compay says that nearly 10 million U.S. pets are lost every year and one in three pets will get lost at some point in their lifetimes. Additionally, only 3-5% of dogs have microchips, and so the company decided to come up with a new method: NOSEiD.

“The app helps you capture your dog’s unique nose print and guides you through what to do in case your buddy ever gets lost,” the company states. “It can even help people who have found your dog get in touch with you faster.”

NOSEiD is designed to work with any size and breed of dog, and scanning your dog’s — or a lost dog’s — nose works almost exactly like taking a picture, according to the company. Iams suggests finding a spot with plenty of light, ideally outdoors on a bright day, and making sure the dog is sitting or standing still and facing the camera in order to get a good scan.

The actual details of the nose scanning tech rely on the uniqueness of the wrinkles found on a dog’s snout. Iams seems confident that dog noses, or at least the wrinkles on the nose, are unique enough that false positives can be avoided. The app uses your phone’s camera to analyze and detect the depth, position, and orientation of a dog’s nose wrinkles the same way that scanners work on human fingertips. Iams says this tech can make a unique biometric record of any dog’s unique identity within its database.

Dog owners can register their pet on the app which includes taking a scan of a dog’s nose using what Iams describes as a “first-of-its-kind” nose-scanning tech according to People. It also asks owners to include photos and a physical description of the dog.

Iams says that anyone who finds the dog can use the app to scan its nose and then use the extra information to make sure the scan worked as intended and indeed identified the correct animal.

Identify a Lost Dog with NOSEiD: Scan Snouts with Image-Detection Tech 22

“Pets are irreplaceable family members, and with the NOSEiD app, we’re hoping to help keep more pets in their loving homes and out of shelters — taking another step toward our goal of ending pet homelessness,” Craig Neely, vice president of marketing at Mars Petcare — the parent company of Iams — said in a statement. “The app is designed to be a community resource, so whether someone has a dog or not, they’ll be able to join the NOSEiDcommunity to help reunite lost dogs with their families in their own neighborhood.”

At the time of publication, Iams had launched NOSEiD in Nashville, Tennessee and was actively preparing to expand to other markets. You can download the app on both the Apple App Store or Google Play.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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Ultrasonic Tech to Bring Virtual Shutter Button and Zoom Slider to Your Phone’s Camera

Ultrasonic Tech to Bring Virtual Shutter Button and Zoom Slider to Your Phone's Camera

Asus recently took top honors in a smartphone camera showdown, but the company is still pushing new grounds. An ultrasonic button technology from Sentons, and already implemented in an Asus phone, is poised to bring a virtual shutter button to smartphones next year.

With Sentons technology, smartphone manufacturers will be able to integrate nearly invisible buttons onto the sides of the device chassis making them even more svelt and seamless. The buttons can be used for an array of features like physical buttons on smartphones already do.

One example of this tech’s current implementation is in the Asus ROG Phone 3, which uses what the company calls “Air Triggers” that are specifically tailored to playing games in landscape orientation. The reason Asus uses the technology is to make the phone smooth and without protrusions that can be seen as ugly on the sides of devices.

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Asus ROG Phone 3

As demonstrated in this video, the tech is designed to work just as well as traditional physical buttons:

Sentons’ technology works by using ultrasonic sensors under the frame that are a significant advancement over other solutions aiming to tackle the virtual button space.

In an interview with Andy Boxall of Digital Trends, Sam Sheng, Sentons’ chief technology officer, explains why the technology is beneficial.

“We can use ultrasonics to turn any surface into a touch sensor. Carbon fiber, wood, pretty much any stiff material can turn into a touch sensor,” Sheng said. “It’s also the world’s first touch sensor that simultaneously sees force and position at the same time, so we not only see the X and Y axis of your finger, but we see the Z-axis, too, which tells it how hard you’re pushing.”

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Sentons wants to take the technology one step further with the introduction of the CameraBar, an ultrasonic bar that can be used to zoom in and out with a smartphone camera.

“It’s about creating an intuitive and simple camera experience,” Sheng told Digital Trends. “It can be a single or double solution [meaning a sensor could be placed at one or both ends of the chassis], so you can slide your finger to zoom, press down to focus lock, and press down harder to take the shot. In selfie camera mode, it turns into a ‘squeeze’ shutter.”

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It’s easy to disregard the idea of Sentons’ technology because of the poor implementation of similar ideas in other phones. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro, HTC U12+, and the “Active Edge” on the Google Pixel 3 all offer similar promises with underwhelming results. However, those who have experienced the Air Triggers on the Asus ROG will understand that what Sentons has done is actually unique and legitimately effective.

None of those other tech iterations use ultrasonics, so there are limitations. With Sentons’ virtual buttons, the tech will work regardless of if your hands are wet, if you are wearing gloves, if the phone is in a case, or if the device is fully submerged underwater.

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In the interview, Sheng is confident that the CameraBar, which can be programmed specifically by manufacturers and will be placed on the phone where your hands naturally want to rest, will successfully bring a quality zooming feature to smartphones when it will start to roll out in consumer devices early next year.

The entire interview with Sheng is worth a read, as what Sentons has accomplished appears particularly promising for those who desire more functionality in smartphones but don’t want the added burden of additional accessories or physical bulk.

(via Digital Trends)

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Peak Design Tech Pouch Now Available In 3 New Colour Options

Peak Design Tech Pouch Now Available In 3 New Colour Options

Peak Design Tech Pouch

Transcontinenta, who are the UK and Ireland distributor for Peak Design, has introduced 3 new colour options for the Peak Design Tech Pouch. 

The Peak Design Tech Pouch first launched alongside the Peak Design Travel bag line-up and they’re designed to help keep your Peak Design bag organised by grouping together items such as cables or travel essentials in one easy-to-reach place. The external zip pocket also has a cable entry for easy charging of smart devices and the 200D recycled nylon canvas lining is weatherproof.

The new colours are Midnight, Charcoal and Bone which are blue, grey and an off-white shade and they’re priced at £54.95 per pouch. 

 

 

 

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