A student at the University of Granada (UGR) has designed software that adapts current medical technology to analyze the interior of sculptures. It’s a tool to see the interior without damaging wood carvings, and it has been designed for the restoration and conservation of the sculptural heritage.
Francisco Javier Melero, professor of Languages and Computer Systems at the University of Granada and director of the project, says that the new software simplifies medical technology and adapts it to the needs of restorers working with wood carvings.
The software, called 3DCurator, has a specialized viewfinder that uses computed tomography in the field of restoration and conservation of sculptural heritage. It adapts the medical CT to restoration and it displays the 3-D image of the carving with which it is going to work.
Replacing the traditional X-rays for this system allows restorers to examine the interior of a statue without the problem of overlapping information presented by older techniques, and reveals its internal structure, the age of the wood from which it was made, and possible additions.
“The software that carries out this task has been simplified in order to allow any restorer to easily use it. You can even customize some functions, and it allows the restorers to use the latest medical technology used to study pathologies and apply it to constructive techniques of wood sculptures,” says professor Melero.
This system, which can be downloaded for free from www.3dcurator.es, visualizes the hidden information of a carving, verifies if it contains metallic elements, identifies problems of xylophages like termites and the tunnel they make, and detects new plasters or polychrome paintings added later, especially on the original finishes.
The main developer of 3DCurator was Francisco Javier Bolívar, who stressed that the tool will mean a notable breakthrough in the field of conservation and restoration of cultural assets and the analysis of works of art by experts in Art History.
Professor Melero explains that this new tool has already been used to examine two sculptures owned by the University of Granada: the statues of San Juan Evangelista, from the 16th century, and an Immaculate from the 17th century, which can be virtually examined at the Virtual Heritage Site Of the Andalusian Universities (patrimonio3d.ugr.es/).
Perhaps the coolest thing about IBM’s 9th “Five Innovations that will Help Change our Lives within Five Years” predictions is that none of them sound like science fiction.
“With advances in artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, we aim to invent a new generation of scientific instruments that will make the complex invisible systems in our world today visible over the next five years,” said Dario Gil, vice president of science & solutions at IBM Research in a statement.
Among the five areas IBM sees as being key in the next five years include artificial intelligence, hyperimaging and small sensors. Specifically, according to IBM:
1. In five years, what we say and write will be used as indicators of our mental health and physical wellbeing. Patterns in our speech and writing analyzed by new cognitive systems will provide tell-tale signs of early-stage mental and neurological diseases that can help doctors and patients better predict, monitor and track these diseases. At IBM, scientists are using transcripts and audio inputs from psychiatric interviews, coupled with machine learning techniques, to find patterns in speech to help clinicians accurately predict and monitor psychosis, schizophrenia, mania and depression.
Today, it only takes about 300 words to help clinicians predict the probability of psychosis in a user. Cognitive computers can analyze a patient’s speech or written words to look for tell-tale indicators found in language, including meaning, syntax and intonation. Combing the results of these measurements with those from wearables devices and imaging systems (MRIs and EEGs) can paint a more complete picture of the individual for health professionals to better identify, understand and treat the underlying disease.
2. In five years, new imaging devices using hyperimaging technology and AI will help us see broadly beyond the domain of visible light by combining multiple bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to reveal valuable insights or potential dangers that would otherwise be unknown or hidden from view. Most importantly, these devices will be portable, affordable and accessible, so superhero vision can be part of our everyday experiences.
A view of the invisible or vaguely visible physical phenomena all around us could help make road and traffic conditions clearer for drivers and self-driving cars. For example, using millimeter wave imaging, a camera and other sensors, hyperimaging technology could help a car see through fog or rain, detect hazardous and hard-to-see road conditions such as black ice, or tell us if there is some object up ahead and its distance and size. Embedded in our phones, these same technologies could take images of our food to show its nutritional value or whether it’s safe to eat. A hyperimage of a pharmaceutical drug or a bank check could tell us what’s fraudulent and what’s not.
3. In the next five years, new medical labs on a chip will serve as nanotechnology health detectives– tracing invisible clues in our bodily fluids and letting us know immediately if we have reason to see a doctor. The goal is to shrink down to a single silicon chip all of the processes necessary to analyze a disease that would normally be carried out in a full-scale biochemistry lab.
The lab-on-a-chip technology could ultimately be packaged in a convenient handheld device to let people quickly and regularly measure the presence of biomarkers found in small amounts of bodily fluids, sending this information streaming into the cloud from the convenience of their home. There it could be combined with data from other IoT-enabled devices, like sleep monitors and smart watches, and analyzed by AI systems for insights. When taken together, this data set will give us an in-depth view of our health and alert us to the first signs of trouble, helping to stop disease before it progresses.
4. In five years, new, affordable sensing technologies deployed near natural gas extraction wells, around storage facilities, and along distribution pipelines will enable the industry to pinpoint invisible leaks in real-time. Networks of IoT sensors wirelessly connected to the cloud will provide continuous monitoring of the vast natural gas infrastructure, allowing leaks to be found in a matter of minutes instead of weeks, reducing pollution and waste and the likelihood of catastrophic events. Scientists at IBM are working with natural gas producers such as Southwestern Energy to explore the development of an intelligent methane monitoring system and as part of the ARPA-E Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) program.
5. In five years, we will use machine-learning algorithms and software to help us organize the information about the physical world to help bring the vast and complex data gathered by billions of devices within the range of our vision and understanding. We call this a “macroscope” – but unlike the microscope to see the very small, or the telescope that can see far away, it is a system of software and algorithms to bring all of Earth’s complex data together to analyze it for meaning.
By aggregating, organizing and analyzing data on climate, soil conditions, water levels and their relationship to irrigation practices, for example, a new generation of farmers will have insights that help them determine the right crop choices, where to plant them and how to produce optimal yields while conserving precious water supplies. Beyond our own planet, macroscope technologies could handle, for example, the complicated indexing and correlation of various layers and volumes of data collected by telescopes to predict asteroid collisions with one another and learn more about their composition.
IBM has had some success with its “five in five” predictions in the past. For example, in 2012 it predicted computers will have a sense of smell. IBM says “sniffing” technology is already in use at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working to preserve and protect priceless works of art by monitoring fluctuations in temperature, relative humidity, and other environmental conditions. “And this same technology is also being used in the agricultural industry to monitor soil conditions, allowing farmers to better schedule irrigation and fertilization schedules, saving water and improving crop yield,” IBM said.
In 2009 it had an expectation that buildings will sense and respond like living organisms. IBM said it is working with The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to develop and install advanced smart building technology in 50 of the federal government’s highest energy-consuming buildings. “Part of GSA’s larger smart building strategy, this initiative connects building management systems to a central cloud-based platform, improving efficiency and saving up to $15 million in taxpayer dollars annually. IBM is also helping the second largest school district in the U.S. become one of the greenest and most sustainable by making energy conservation and cost savings as easy as sending a text message,” IBM stated.
Apple and Samsung have been slowly sucking the air out of the smartphone market for some time now. With Samsung taking the mantle of the leading Android handset maker and aiding in Google’s mobile operating system expansion, Apple is scooping up the ever-coveted profit margin measurement, there is arguably little left for other hardware manufacturers to attain in the space.
In a see-saw battle of smartphone titans, Samsung managed to snatch a bit of profit from Apple’s usually secure margins as iPhone numbers slipped and Galaxy phone sales rose last quarter. According to a report from ZDNet, backed by analyst’s findings, Samsung’s climb over Apple may only represent a pyrrhic victory as the bottom line for all smartphone manufacturers is in a state of disruptive flux that is wreaking havoc on the industry’s ability to sustain profit margins as a whole.
Given the ramp of Chinese OEM smartphone volumes and particularly strong 2015 smartphone market share gains for Huawei, we note our industry profit analysis excludes a large portion of this group of OEMs gaining an increasing share of the smartphone market profits due to the lack of available and comparable profit metrics. While this likely overstates Apple’s profits, we note some leading smartphone OEMs in China are growing global market share through aggressive pricing strategies limiting near-term profit levels. Inside the Greater China region, the share has shifted to Chinese OEMs as well. In fact, in Q2/C15 Apple was number 1 vendor of smartphones in China, and we now believe in Q2/C16 Apple fell to the number 5 vendor behind Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, and VIVO.”
Thanks to some aggressive movement by OEM’s chasing short-term viability behind device pricing, anyone who isn’t Samsung or Apple is seeing a quick boon in sales. The unfortunate dark side to this trend is that pricing wars may be speeding up the commoditization of the hardware without buying OEM’s time to develop retention saving services and offerings. While even industry titans face increased pressure from pricing wars, Apple can rely (for a time) on its software, services, and terrestrial hardware offerings to indenture brand loyalty and adoption; Samsung can do the same to a lesser extent.
However, the OPPO’s, LG’s, Xiaomi’s, and Motorola’s of the world are left hammering increasingly thin profit margins without time to build a hardware or software ecosystem that helps feed the company’s shrinking bottom line.
Where is Microsoft in all of this?
Perhaps, exactly where many will be as the market continue to shake out, waiting on the sideline for the starting player to get injured. Microsoft’s departure of the consumer facing smartphone market was and still is heavy felt for long time users of Windows phones, but judging by the numbers may have been an inevitability.
smartphone profit share
With the old question of who will help cultivate the smartphone industry becoming all but a drawn conclusion, the next question becomes, why continue to participate? How do companies that rely on an ecosystem of apps, software, and services they do not control, justify competing in a dwindling profit margin game?
Siri is on the iPhone, iPad and even the Apple TV, but it’s nowhere to be seen on the Mac. Meanwhile, Microsoft already has Cortana in Windows (and has done since Windows 8.1) and Chrome has Google Now. We get that Apple may want to keep it as an iOS exclusive, but Siri makes a lot of sense on the Mac where we could use it to compose messages, look up information and browse websites just by asking for them.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Faster Spotlight searching
We like what Apple has done to Spotlight in OS X El Capitan, but we frequently have problems with it. Often it fails to return items, and occasionally it doesn’t return the apps we’re looking for. Apple should take a break from introducing new features in Spotlight next year, and polish it till it shines once again.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: iCloud Drive on an external drive
It’s great that Apple now offers 200GB of storage for just £2.49 per month, but iCloud Drive now takes up most of the space on Macs with smaller hard drives. It’d be great if we could move iCloud Drive to an external drive, so we had all the files stored locally without taking up all the space on our hard drive.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Bring back the Save As shortcut
We’re still not sure why Apple replaced Save-As (Command-Shift-S) with Duplicate in its iWork apps, but we think Apple should rethink the approach. Whatever new approach to file saving they had planned hasn’t gained wider industry traction, and it’s just confusing to everybody who knows the Command-Shift-S is Save As.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Sort out automation once and for all
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Health app for OS X
Health is a great app for iOS and Apple Watch, and we think it’d be nice to see it come across to OS X. Being able to keep an eye on your health stats from the desktop would help Health become a much more versatile tool.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: System-wide OS X Dark Mode
Dark Mode for the Dock and Menu bar is nice, but we’d love to see it integrated System Wide and adjust the whole appearance of OS X. There was a rumour of a Dark Mode reskin called Marble at one point, and we’d love to see a darker, edgier OS X appear in 2016.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Dedicated Music App for OS X
There’s no getting away from the fact that iTunes is a big, bloated mess of an app. We’d love to see Apple break iTunes up into a series of smaller apps (as it is in iOS). Top of our list would be a dedicated Music app, with deep integration with Apple Music. But we’d also love to see separate Podcasts and iTunes Store apps.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: Clock App for OS X
Wouldn’t it be great if OS X had a proper Clock app, with all the functionality of the Clock app in iOS. The widget is fine, but a dedicated app with Alarm, Stopwatch and Timer functionality for OS X would come in handy.
OS X 10.12 wishlist: iCloud Time Machine
You can backup your iOS devices to the cloud, but what about OS X? With cloud storage prices falling, we think it’s high time Apple brought cloud backup directly into OS X. You might have to pay extra for the solution, but it’d be a much better system than backing up Macs to external drives.