Tag: video

Lie detecting software pretty much works

GavelResearchers at the University of Michigan claim that lie detecting software they developed is pretty efficient.

A prototype the scientists have built looks at peoples’ words and gestures and doesn’t need to be wired to a person.

The University of Michigan claims that the software was up to 75 percent accurate, using real word data.

The researchers said there are characteristics that show when people are fibbing. They tend to move their hands more, attempt to sound more certain and look their questioners in the eye in an attempt to convince them they’re telling the truth.

The software uses machine learning techniques trained on 120 video clips from coverage of actual trials. The videos include testimony from defendants and witnesses and then compared their results with trial verdicts.

Netflix has daft excuse for poor sign ups

netflix_3038088bInternet video streaming outfit Nexflx has come up with a truly daft reason for not adding as many subscribers as Wall Street expected.

Netflix said it only added 0.88 million U.S. subscribers in the third quarter ended September 30, compared with its forecast of 1.15 million.

The outfit blamed a move in the US to chip based cards. US credit and debit card companies have been shifting to chip-enabled cards ahead of the October 1 deadline.

Netflix claimed that the switch meant that many of the older cards on its file no longer worked as the companies gave new cards to their customers.

Chief Executive Reed Hastings made the claim in a letter to shareholders, but the statement was widely condemned.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter went on record saying it was the “just the dumbest thing I’ve heard”.

Other analysts thought that given that the cards have been around for a bit the statement created more questions than it answered.

Netflix increased the subscription rate for some new members earlier this month by $1.00 a month to $9.99 in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Internationally, Netflix added 2.74 million subscribers, compared with its projection of 2.40 million.

Netflix, which is also battling competition from streaming services such as Amazon.com Prime Video service and Hulu, has been aggressively building its overseas presence.

Netflix forecast adding about 1.65 million customers in the United States in the current quarter. It also said it expected to add about 3.50 million subscribers worldwide.

Canon makes 250 megapixel sensor

Canon logoJapanese giant Canon said its engineers have put together a 250 million pixel censor that’s smaller than a 35mm full frame censor.

The sensor is capable of seeing letters on the side of an aeroplane flying at 18 kilometres distance.

The censors pixel count is 19,580 x 12,700 pixels and has a read out speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second and can capture ultra high pixel video at five frames a second.

Videos taken using a camera with the sensor reached a level of resolution 125 times that of full HD video.

But you might not be able to buy a camera for a little while because the sensor is aimed at surveillance and crime prevention tools, high resolution measuring instruments, and industrial equipment.

Canon cam can film in the dark

Canon cameraImaging company Canon said it has introduced a video camera which can see in the dark, just about.

The ME20F-SH is aimed at specialist applications including capturing wildlife at night, deep sea exploration, astronomy and surveillance.

The camera can be installed in a semi-permanent location and be controlled remotely. But because it’s a specialist unit, it will only be available to certain of Canon’s partners.

The camera allows you to capture colour full HD video without the need for infrared illumination.

The machine has a 2.26 megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC DV4 processor – it includes Wide DR settings and Canon Log.

Canon did not say how much the lightweight device will cost.

Onlive dead as Sony kills off rival

Samurai_Warrior_ASC_2799Sony has a way of dealing with promising start-ups – it buys them out and shuts them down.

OnLive, one of the more promising video game startups in the industry, is shutting down after receiving an offer it could not refuse from Sony.

The US company, which offered gamers a groundbreaking new way to play games over the inter web, said yesterday that it’s selling its patents to Sony. OnLive’s service will be shut down after April 30.

Selling the patents means that no one else can copy the same idea and cause Sony a potential headache again.

OnLive wrote in a statement: “Following the termination of the company’s services and related products, OnLive will engage in an orderly wind-down of the company and cease operations.”.

Sony confirmed the deal and implied that it would be using the technology for its gamers.
OnLIve was founded more than a decade ago by Apple and Microsoft alum Steve Perlman, OnLive was built to offer customers a way to play visually sophisticated video games without having to own expensive computing hardware.

The way it worked was through a technology called “cloud gaming,” where gaming programs would run on powerful computers in a server, and the images would be broadcast over the Internet to a gamer playing on a tablet or computer, much in the same way Netflix streams videos to television sets.

OnLive struggled and in 2010, it went into bankruptcy, during which OnLive laid off much of its staff and effectively sold itself to investor Lauder Partners. The company relaunched, offering streaming technology for gamers who used Valve’s Steam online store, but otherwise it appeared to scale back its ambitions.

In 2012, OnLive had .75 million active users, some of whom paid $9.99 per month to access its game library of 250 titles on devices ranging from TVs and PCs to smartphones and tablets. OnLive also at one point sold access to newer titles outright at prices similar to retail.

OnLive wasn’t the only company offering streaming technology. Sony built a streaming service for its PlayStation family of gaming devices using technology it bought in 2012 from a company called Gaikai for $380 million. The PlayStation Now streaming service, as it’s now known, launched in January.

Sony faces similar problems to OnLive: cost and lack of interest from gamers. PlayStation Now allows for the streaming of only about 100 older games. The company has also priced its service higher than OnLive’s, at $20 a month or $45 for three months. Sony has declined to say how many gamers have signed up for its service.

Sony said its continued investment “is yet another proof point that demonstrates our commitment to changing the way gamers experience the world of PlayStation.”

North Korea propaganda video shows US city under attack

North Korea is apparently planning to conduct another nuclear test and the hermit kingdom is also stepping up its propaganda offensive against the west, namely the United States.

Its latest effort seems harmless enough, it’s a YouTube video which had gone viral for all the wrong reasons.

The video depicts a young Korean man dreaming of glorious future for the DPRK, which involves some sort of space shuttle orbiting the earth, a rocket launch followed by a US city in flames and a lot of other cheap 3D nonsense. Who ever came up with the video has a rather unusual taste in music, as the nuclear attack unfolds to the tune of “We are the world.”

Needless to say, the captions are unflattering and equally tasteless.

“Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing,” the man dreams. “It appears that the headquarters of evil, which has had a habit of using force and unilateralism and committing wars of aggression, is going up in flames it itself has ignited.”

It is all a bit disturbing even by North Korean standards. Luckily, the US is in good hands. The video was promptly yanked from YouTube after a complaint from Activision. The video features scenes of Manhattan in flames from “Call of Duty,” so it had to go.

Apparently, even a nuclear armed despotic regime with the fourth largest standing army in the world is no match for Big Content.

UN Telecommunications agency backs H.265

A UN telecommunications agency has announced that its members have agreed upon a new compression format that could dramatically cut the amount of internet bandwidth currently used by video files.

Dubbed H.265, the codec requires just half the amount of data needed by its predecessor, H.264 and could save the world’s networks from being clogged.

Of course the codec is already being used, the Geneva-based agency, which says videos encoded using the H.264 format currently account for two-fifths of web traffic.

Official endorsement by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) is seen as important to getting worldwide adoption for the standard.

The ITU said that the codec would pave the way for “the next wave of innovation,” such as faster movie downloads and higher-quality video streaming.

“HEVC will lead to a brand new era of innovation with video broadcasting, one that spans the entire communication technology spectrum, including Ultra HD (4K) TV and mobile devices,” said the ITU in a statement.

Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary, said in a statement that the old H264/ MPEG-4 standard had contributed much to the rapid expansion of today’s global video streaming ecosystem. He noted the broad adoption of H.264 among digital broadcasters, who chose to forgo using their own proprietary standards in favour of the open standard, something that helped to make codec incompatibility a thing of the past.

“The digital video industry is now reliant on the ITU setting a global benchmark for video codecs, and for this reason there is no doubt in my mind that H.265 will be as effective, if not more so, than the previous standard,” said Touré.

The ITU said that HEVC H265 is a reliable, flexible and robust codec, future-proofed and capable of supporting digital video broadcasting for the next decade. It added that the codec has been designed to incorporate advanced streaming resolutions and will be slowly phased in over the next couple of years, as services and high-end products begin to outgrow the limitations of current display and network technology. 

Anonymous plans busy new year

Any hopes that the loose hacker collective Anonymous would fade away after a series of high profile arrests last year were invalidated after the outfit posted a New Years message.

Anonymous issued a statement for the world to “Expect us 2013”. It statement came with a video which boasts of its campaigns and exploits carried out in 2012.

These included a temporary shutdown of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Universal Music, and the Motion Picture Association of America’s websites in protest of the US government’s indictment of the operators of popular file-hosting site MegaUpload.

The video also mentions Anonymous’ campaign against Syrian government websites because of that government’s alleged shutdown of the internet, along with Anonymous’ actions against the Israeli government in protest of government attacks on Gaza.

It is especially proud of the hack into the Westboro Baptist Church’s website, in response to plans by the controversial church to picket the funerals of those massacred at the elementary school in Newtown.

Operations which are listed in the video are only examples, there are far more and some of them still running, like Operation Syria, the video said.

However, the ironically named security outfit McAfee claimed that Anonymous was declining. When it listed its 2013 Threat Predictions last week it said that the hacker crew was very last year.

It claimed that since Anonymous had a lack of structure and organisation, too many false claims, and hacking for the simple joy of it has had an effect on the group’s reputation.

It believes that higher-level professional hacking groups may take up the slack, and promote a rise in military, religious, political, and “extreme” campaigns. 

US police repeatedly taser woman for trying to buy iPhones

A woman trying to buy multiple iPhones as Christmas presents at an Apple store was tasered repeatedly by police in the United States.

Xuajie Li, a 44 Chinese woman, who speaks little English, ran in to trouble when she became confused after staff at the Nashua, New Hampshire store refused to sell her more than two iPhones.

She decided to video other customers in the store who she believed were buying multiple handsets, prompting staff to ask her to leave. The police were called and asked to issue her with a no-trespass order.

When Li returned to the store a week later and once again tried to buy multiple iPhones, the police were again called to the scene. The authorities claimed she resisted arrest. and they were forced to taser her. From their perspective, WMUR reported, the arrest was “routine”.

Li’s daughter has said her mum didn’t understand what the police were talking about. She added that although the manager of the Apple store tried to speak to her, Li was lost in translation.

Onlookers captured the incident on a camera phone, which was broadcast on news channel WMUR.

Li can be seen writhing on the ground as the electricity of the taser causes her to scream.

She has been charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest, and will appear in court in January. 

Unmanned video surveillance uses 'detective' algorithm

A new algorithm for intelligent video surveillance could allow for greater accuracy by doing a bit of detective work, raising concerns over the future of automated surveillance by a privacy and civil liberties watchdog.

Researchers at MIT have developed a way to allow for instant analysis of surveillance footage that can help pick out specific individuals without the need for a human eye.

Surveillance networks often involve constant monitoring by humans to watch for individuals or events that could pose a risk.  

It is difficult for humans to monitor multiple screens for hours at a time, and traditional software aimed at analysing footage is unable to make intelligent use of tools.

Existing computer vision systems are slow and prone to mistakes, according to the researchers, and a method for immediately alerting staff to a real risk – and not a cat out on an evening stroll.

Camera based surveillance systems can already analyse a number of algorithms within a video feed, giving information skin detection, or background detection to sense when something is moving through a scene.

The algorithm-based system the researchers are working on uses contextual knowledge to decide which piece of analytical software is relevant in deciphering the importance of a moving object.

This could mean, for example, that in an airport setting, a skin detection software could then trigger a cross reference with a database to find a specific individual, before alerting staff to their presence.

In other settings an object moving in an unusual way could set an alarm, or too many objects or people in one scene.

Of course, there are concerns that, while the technology could lead to increased surveillance over innocent civilians.

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, believes ‘passive surveillance’ through automation could be used on a larger scale. 

“The main area of concern is how artificial intelligence can enable passive-surveillance such as CCTV to become a directed way of tracking individuals or certain characteristics irrelevant of whether someone is suspected of wrongdoing,”  Pickles said, speaking with TechEye.

“Existing surveillance infrastructure will take on an entirely new role as the front line of population screening, looking for pre-determined characteristics and behaviour.”

According to Pickles, while there could be efficiencies measured by certain metrics, handing power over to automated tools will have a knock on civil liberties.

“It’s far from clear that delegating more decisions to computers is going to improve security,” he said, “rather than swamping staff with false positives and infringing on the civil liberties of those who, through no fault of their own, trigger algorithms in some distant control room.”