Three color sensors for iPhone would make an incredible camera

photo

Apple invents 3-sensor iPhone camera with light splitting cube for accurate colors, low-light performance
[Via AppleInsider]

An Apple patent published on Tuesday details a miniaturized iPhone camera system that employs a light-splitting cube to parse incoming rays into three color components, each of which are captured by separate sensors.

[More]

High end digital cameras have always had three detectors, one for each color after splitting the light beam into red, green and blue. This essentially tripples the information content and makes for much crisper  pictures with less noise.

This is actually an old approach. Color separation photography was used a lot when color films were very expensive but black and white were not. And BW film had much higher resolution than color. 

So, they would make 3 separate pictures on black and white negatives using 3 different colored filters. Getting very high resolution negatives quickly.

Then back in the lab, they would recreate the original by shining colored light through each negative in succession. The final result would be a full color picture.

At a much higher resolution than any color negative was capable of.

This is also used for archival purposes because color dyes will fade but not black and white. So you can take a set of color separation negatives that are decades old and recreate a photo that looks like new.

Something similar is done in Apple’s patent, although it happens digitally. By using 3 detectors, they can greatly enhance resolution. There are also all sorts of photo enhancements that can then be done.

This could be very cool.

Getting into College is about to get disrupted.

ACET in Ateneo de Davao University High School 2012 

What We’re Missing In Measuring Who’s Ready For College
[Via FiveThirtyEightFiveThirtyEight | Features]

Who’s ready for college? At first blush, not a lot of us. By most measures, far less than half of those taking college entrance exams could tread water at our nation’s colleges and universities.

That’s not too surprising. College enrollment rates are higher than completion rates, suggesting that while the draw of a post-secondary degree is strong and growing, something goes awry once a student kicks off her college career.

At the same time, the pressure is on to send even more students to college, with President Obama challenging the nation to reclaim the title of being the country with the highest percentage of adults who have a post-secondary degree by 2020. The Lumina Foundation, an influential nonprofit that supports efforts to increase the number of college graduates in the U.S., is committed to raising the portion of the U.S. workforce that has a post-secondary degree to 60 percent by 2025. Today that figure hovers at 42 percent for those age 25 and over, according U.S. Census data released this year.

A more educated workforce would be a great boon to the economy: Scholars say more employees would earn higher wages, which leads to more taxes being collected and fewer Americans grappling with the challenges of poverty, among other benefits.

[More]

The process of getting into college is being disrupted. It is no longer simply  following a well-defined process (ie take a test, write an essay, get good grades). The world is changing too rapidly for the assembly line approaches that worked well for most of the last century.

So what will work? A couple of things I read indicate the possibilities.

Change the entire learning process. Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. Yet it is completely revamping some of its curriculum. It recognizes that the analytical, siloed approaches used before – where an hour of math is followed by an hour of chemistry is followed by an hour of English, all cut off from any connection to the real world – cannot cut it in an increasingly complex world.

So they are going to examine what they call “phenomena”, topics that require synthesis of a lot of information.

Now this is only being done with students who already know the basics. It is for high school level students. But its high collaborative approach, coupled with the need to looking at a complex system rather than its parts, could be a great start.

But how do you measure success here? We know what a good test score is based on a specific subject. How do we tell what is happening here?

Perhaps with this novel way to get around taking a test to prove you are college-worthy: ace a college level class.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, allow students to take college level courses from anywhere. They require similar rigor and siscipline as actually attending the class. 

They allow students to determine whether they are ready for that level of education, without huge expenses. Admission might actually be based on being able to do well in college level classes, rather than have a well-connected or rich parent

Here, we see that a 15 year old boy in Mongolia did so well in a class that he was admitted to MIT. Instead of spending a lot of money recruiting people without knowing if they could get the work done, what if colleges used their online classes to help admission?

We shall see.

This is how replicators may really work

WATCH: New 3D printer births fully-formed objects out of molten plastic – 
[Via ScienceAlert]

You know that scene in Terminator 2 when the new Terminator T-1000 model rises creepily out of a pool of metallic liquid? Well, now a new, super-fast 3D printer kinda does the same thing, but with any type of object you design. 

The new technology is known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production, or CLIP, and you can see it in action in the video above, sped up to seven times its normal speed. But despite that, you can still see how incredibly fast the 3D printer is – in fact, the researchers behind the device claim it’s 25 to 100 times faster than anything else on the market. This is because, instead of buliding up an object using layer upon layer of material, CLIP actually grows an object from just one pool of molten resin.

Developed by researchers at a new company called Carbon3D, the printer was announced on Monday at the TED2015 conference, coinciding with a paper published in Science. And we don’t even really want to call it a 3D printer because it’s really, really different to anything we’ve seen before.

[More]

The videos are mesmerizing. hope this really takes off.

Some NASA data Ted Cruz does not want us to see

nasa heat map via NASA

NASA: Earth Tops Hottest 12 Months On Record Again, Thanks To Warm February
[Via ThinkProgress]

NASAGISS_Feb_2015

There had never been as hot a 12-month period in NASA’s database as February 2014–January 2015. But that turned out to be a very short-lived record.

NASA reported this weekend that last month was the second-hottest February on record, which now makes March 2014–February 2015 the hottest 12 months on record. This is using a 12-month moving average, so we can “see the march of temperature change over time,” rather than just once every calendar year.

[More]

Thr top illustration shows the temperature above or below the average, from around the globe, based on NASA satellite data.

It is in the 90s today in LA. We will see more of this as long as politicians refuse to even acknowledge the existence of climate change and the causes for it.

And this is why Ted Cruz wants NASA to stop working on climate change. It keeps coming up with data that shows just how bad things are. He seems to feel if there is no data, then things won’t be so bad.

He obviously has read 1984. Ignorance is Strength. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery.

California may not have any water after next year, due to the continuing drought. Water for farms, water for food and water for people. Gone.

But then NASA is behind that data also. 

The inability of well educated politicians (Cruz is a Harvard Law graduate) to acknowledge science, while fully embracing fantasy, will be the doom of America.

Cruz is a smart man doing harmful things. Ignorance gives him tremendous political power. 

But it hurts us all. Not knowing, not understanding, refusing to examine. Those are the traits that lead to collapse, not growth,

Humanity may never recover. We could fix this, with less economic impact than doing nothing. 

But ideologues may well doom millions to starvation and death, while still destroying jobs and the economy.

It is a race, between the willful idiocy of leaders like Ted Cruz that will bring humanity down, and the willful idealism of leaders like Elon Musk that will raise humanity up.

Most days I feel the latter will win but today, I am worried about the increasing irrationality of the willfully ignorant.

Apple’s ResearchKit changes everything

apple 

Over 10K participants sign up for Stanford medical trial after ResearchKit debut
[Via AppleInsider]

The number of participants in a Stanford University cardiovascular study conducted using Apple’s new ResearchKit medical research platform ballooned to more than 10,000 overnight, researchers say, after the trial was featured on stage during Apple’s “Spring Forward” event earlier this week.

[More]

10,000 people in one day signed up for the trial. It would have taken over a year to do that the ‘analog’ way.

I do not expect this to become standard but it opens up some real possibilities.

In which I speculate what Apple and Tesla might do together.

Zipcar parking 

Apple shareholders are asking Tim Cook to buy Tesla – 
[Via Business Insider]

Shareholders have a big plan for Apple: They want it to buy electric-car company Tesla.

At Apple’s shareholder meeting, one shareholder told CEO Tim Cook, “I’d like to see you guys buy Tesla,” according to Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw.

Cook’s response: “We don’t really have a relationship with Tesla. I’d love Tesla to pick up CarPlay. Was that a good way to avoid the question?”

Then a second shareholder said to Cook: “I think there is something about you two companies.”

Cook’s response: “Let me think if there’s another way to do a non-answer.”

[More]

Kinda fun to think about but that is such a Wall Street thing to do.  I bet Apple, Tesla, Cook and Musk have something more interesting. I hope so.

My thinking is a small electric car for urban driving (A new version of the ZipCar but with Tesla underpinnings.) They are put in tons of dedicated lots all over major cities where they are charged by Solar City panels. Anyone with Apple Pay can simply walk up and drive one off.

Considering the theft of Zipcars using fraudlent magnetic strip cards, this could be very disruptive.

A hybrid bus costs almost $750,000. If Tesla-Apple could make a dedicated car for $10,000, a city could get 75 of them.

Of course, there would need to be some real study here to see if the impact on overall traffic was good or bad. Fewer buses might be bad. But these might work much more like ad hoc cabs, which might be good as overall car ownership might go down.


Apple may have performed some wild alchemy on gold

 Pocket Watch

Is Apple’s real watch innovation a gold case that’s as tough as steel?
[Via Ars Technica]

There’s a long piece over at the Financial Times today about Jony Ive and Apple’s watch plans. The author, Nick Foulkes, is obviously not a techie, but he does know a thing or two about watches, and the article is worth a read if you have a horological bent.

The article does contain some interesting tidbits. For example, Foulkes tells us that “Ive explains how the molecules in Apple gold are closer together, making it twice as hard as standard gold.” This claim was greeted in the office by more than a little bemusement. Gold is a metal! Has Apple finally left a reality-based existence behind it?

Perhaps the company is not entirely crazy, though. In June 2014, Apple filed a patent, issued in December 2014, for a “Method and apparatus for forming a gold metal matrix composite.” Metal matrix composites allow manufacturers to develop complex metal components in a similar way to 3D printing with polymers, and from the looks of this patent, Apple may be using this approach for the Apple Watch’s case.

[More]

Using new technologies to create a gold watch that is harder than 18kt would be a great way to disrupt the watch industry.

It looks like they blend the gold with a ceramic powder, compress it into a die and then heat it up to create the composite.

We shal see.

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