Prometheus – A geek’s perspective

Ok, I had nothing better do on Sunday morning, so I saw Prometheus. Read my review for ManipalBlog here. As from any movie, I had taken back a lot of stuff from it-not the usual ones though.

First, I have to address the origins issue. Yes, this movie delves deeply into existential bullshit. The basic thread this movie is weaved about, is the questioning of human existence, its origins. There were few scenes in the movie which did do justice to these tones- a few subtleties.There was this one moment- I paraphrase Noomi Rapace : ..and what if we know who made us? We will then want to know who made them.  There isn’t really an end to it, is there? I mean, finding the purpose of your existence and your creation is one thing. What then? Will the quest for the purpose of your creator begin? Does this really stop somewhere? Or is it a circle?  It is in my belief that the very questioning of our existence is what keeps us going. Once we find an answer to that, either our journey ends there and life is doomed, or it is but a beginning of another quest. It is weird that the very thing we are seeking is sustained by the act of seeking it.

Moving on, there are a lot of casual assumptions the movie has made. To most people, they are trivial and don’t even matter. But to an engineer like me, well. Coming to the point – Continue reading “Prometheus – A geek’s perspective”

My Predica(mera)ment- How to really judge your phone camera

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For those who own a camera phones, at least once you would have cribbed about the suckiness of your phone camera, though it has quite reasonable “Mp’s”. Especially when you roam around with a friend who owns an i-Phone, with a camera of the same megapixels, you can’t help but notice the vast difference in the quality of images!

Photo taken from Droid
 This made me really curious (apart from making me envious), I wanted get around this damn thing, know what was the problem. That too being a person who claims to love photography, I naively chose my phone camera based on the no of mega pixels it clicks. Today, I learnt, why I shouldn’t have done so.
Cameras are way more complex than a Megapixel rating. The MP rating just tells you how many mega pixels the camera captures in an image. But what it doesn’t tell you is how accurately each pixel is sampled. This is determined by the quality and size of the camera sensors. Ultimately (and unfortunately, for me)  this is what determines the quality of an image. 
Photo taken from the i-Phone 4
Besides this, you might also want to look for proper focus. This is another major factor, without which you can’t capture clear images eventhough you try hard and focus manually.
For example, consider these two images taken from the Droid 2 and the i-phone 4 (these are not my friend’s and my cameras but for authentic results, these pictures were pimped from Google Images) The two pictures were taken under the same lighting conditions, and to a large extent the same focus:

The result as you can see is the Droid phone not able to capture as much light as the i-Phone, coupled with its inability to focus inaccurately.But anyways remember the saying: “The best camera is the one that’s with you”, but in case you forget, at least remember to check out the Flickr camera page, it might come of some help.

>The world IS flat!

>Ever wondered why the freshmen of colleges are drilled to death by a subject called engineering drawing? Ever wondered why in the age of google sketch-up’s people have to sit and draw perfect grids with lines of 4 different darknesses?!

Blame it on us. No! Its not an intentional folly we are to be shamed of, what I mean is, blame it on the perception of the human eye, since the days of yore. If we humans had not been able to see in three dimensions, the world would have been something else ( a circle for starters).Coming to think of it, we do not really see in three dimensions at all! Our eye obtains a two dimensional picture, and then based on our daily experiences of distances, the brain does the math. That is, figures out that if an object diminishes by this size, it is this far away. And when you have been doing something all your life, it dies hard, for instance:

Try picturing this in 2D.
Means, picture the entire thing as a set of inclined/horizontal/vertical lines. There should be no cube staring out at you. Tough! This is because of the conditioning. Our eye has been perceiving a cube- a 3D object as a set of lines shown here- a 2D object. This happens ALL the time. So when we actually see a 2D object with the above kind of orientation, all we can think of is a cube.And engineering drawing is all about creating the perfect set of patterns which invokes the brain to conjure up the actual three dimensional object.Talk about man having problems because of not seeing things the way they are, gee.

>The Invisibility cloak- lets throw some light on it

>Yeah, you heard that right. Imagine an Invisibility Cloak (for starters, a cloak that conceals you and renders you truly invisible) becoming a reality. Out of the world, ain’t it. Fortunately the scientific community is working its arse off to make it a reality. And good news is, the future isn’t that bleak. Guess J.K.Rowling and Ignotus Peverell won’t be disappointed after all.

         Obviously, there’s more than one way of making it happen. One of them ( If you have seen G.I.Joe-Rise of the Cobra) is to capture the image of objects behind you and project it in front of you, which will actually camouflage you pretty well.This is called optical camouflage.To elaborate:
1.The digital camera captures the image behind the person wearing that cloak.
2.The image is processed and enhanced and projected in such a way that this actually appears to bounce off the cloak and VOLA!
                     The other, more interesting way is this: Imagine you throw, ok rather drop a stone over a lake. The water eventually covers the stone and makes it invisible, though the stone is actually a tad bit inside the water.Even better analogy : when you dip a tea bag slowly inside tea.Get it? Since this involves a much complex area of physics, I’m not going into much details. But the funda is, we actually need light to see objects. So, what if we can bend it around objects, instead of allowing it to get reflected by objects. What if we can use a material which instead of scattering radiation in all directions (which is what conventionally happens), can make the incident wave smoothly pass through the cloak without any deflections! Luckily enough, we can. These materials are called ‘meta-materials’. These are artificial materials which are composed of a man-made matrix of tiny metal wires and loops.They would look something like this. Amazingly. meta-materials can create a space where no electromagnetic waves can propagate , somewhat creating the water-stone effect.Somewhat like this! Awesome, right?  Apparently, scientists have demonstrated this effect using microwaves, and are now working to create this effect in the visible spectrum. 
  Aand if THAT happens, you can GET YOUR OWN INVISIBILITY CLOAK!
p.s.: for detailed references click here.

>All about Sixth Sense- technically speaking

>I wanted to write about this for quite some time now. The Sixth Sense Technology. We all have five senses for the perception of the objects around us, but in most cases the decisions we make are not done with these natural five senses, but from information and data which we acquire. This Sixth Sense thing is a device you can wear, with which you can computerise your body movements, by that I mean the movements of your hands are interpreted as gestures that instruct project oriented interfaces. If you din’t get what I meant so far, picture this: remember we actually used to use two fingers of each of our hands and act as if  we were clicking a photo? This could actually happen! It would look something like this. Think about it!
 And thats not it, you can draw on walls , and dial phone numbers on your hand. Aand, you can project maps on walls, and lots more. Great.Now this entire thing consists of a pocket projector (which you hang around your neck, these are the future ornaments people) , a mirror and a camera. The man behind the Sixth Sense Technlogy, is the man you saw in the pictures- Pranav Mistry. Amazing how in a world of Counterstrike and COD where people are trying hard to bring reality into the virtual world, someone could actually think of the opposite. You can check out Mistry’s amazing video here!