Saturday, June 13, 2009

Project NATAL

Microsoft has deiced to take on Wii’s challenge head on with project Natal. Conventional motion capture techniques, require users to carry motion sensors, or require users to stand in a prescribed areas surrounded by cameras. However, the amazing new technology does not require users to wear any sensors and if blogs and rumors are to be believed then there will be only a single camera. This is nothing short of a revolution in the world of motion capture technology since this is really cutting edge. Even brand new technology like the Sixth Sense Technology (see post below) which uses video capture techniques to translate gestures to commands is considered brand new.

Project Natal (wonder what’s with the name) still has a long way to go before it’s made available for consumers. The rumor floating around in blogs is that the console will be available next fall. It will be natural to assume that the console will be compatible with XboX 360. Microsoft has already launched a campaign to increase awareness and generate a buzz amongst gaming enthusiasts. To watch a live demo of the prototype click here.

It will be interesting what is Wii’s response to Microsoft’s challenge. However, for now it seems Microsoft may have a console winner in their hands.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Will “Binged” be the new “Googled”?

The short answer is not yet, but it’s definitely gone beyond being the “Yahoo-ed” it, if at all you ever “Yahoo-ed”.

Bing definitely impresses. From a Microsoft perspective it’s definitely got what it’s bargained for much quicker and a lot cheaper than what it had anticipated for. According to Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft was planning to have the second most popular search engine in 5yrs and one of the ways they were hoping to do this was by acquiring Yahoo for a whopping $40 Billion. Though it’s still early days, if early trends are anything to go by, Bing has already overtaken Yahoo by a huge margin (Bing has 16% as against Yahoo's 10%).

The features in Bing which stand out are:
- Auto spelling correction.
- Deep Links. If you search for UPS, along with the regular results you will also find, deep links such as "tracking", "Shipping", etc. It also displays the "Customer Contact" number. Very cool.
- Video Playback which is super cool. It play's videos when you just hover the mouse over the video search results.
- Applying AI to categorize searches which is what Bing has been referring to in it’s add, that it is a decision engine and not just a search engine.

- Bing has no toolbar
- No alternative to

Here are a site - where you can compare the results of the two search engines. I have been Bing for a week now, and comparing the results with Google and here is my verdict.
News related articles – Google wins.
Image Search – Bing wins
Video Search – Bing wins
Other Search results - It’s a toss up. Both give me what I am looking for.

However, Google seems to to be a tad faster.

At the end of the day, it’s us the users who are the winners because we finally have an alternative to Google.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


BumpTop is a really cool application created by Anand Agarwal and his team to covert your 2D Desktop to 3D. The laws of physics are applied to make your Desktop as real and cluttered as a work desktop or as organized as a library rack.

In addition to making your desktop standout, it also helps you connect to social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. The new version is said to have multi-touch feature. The downside is the newer version might require a high end graphics card.

A newer version has come out since this video has come out. Enjoy!! By the way, it will be available to the PC renegades (aka MAC users) soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sixth Sense Technology

Sixth Sense Technology is the brain child of Pranav Mistry. Pranav was working with Microsoft in Hyderabad India before heading to US to do his PhD at MIT.

Sixth Sense Technology uses three main components – A camera, a cell-phone and a projector. The user is able perform a plethora of incredible acts using the Sixth Sense Technology. The way these tasks are achieved can be broken down to the three main parts:

Part 1: The user wears colored caps. Gestures made via the fingers containing the caps are caught on camera and processed using Image Capturing and Visual Processing techniques to translate gestures into appropriate actions or commands. The camera also serves another purpose; to capture images of the object of interest.

Part 2: The video stream captured via the camera is then sent to the cell-phone which uses the power of cloud computing to garner relevant information.

Part 3: Projecting the processed information onto a screen using the projector.

The simplicity of the idea of harnessing existing technologies to create something so powerful is truly remarkable. The other amazing thing about the Sixth Sense Technology is the short time span, 5months, in which the project has made such tremendous progress.

Of course it will still be a while before the technology is refined and shaped into a form where it’s marketable, but it’s always exciting to have a glimpse into what the future holds for us.