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Interactive drone app lets you capture aerial shots like a pro

stanford  ca  usa  may 26  2013 ...

Quadcoptors have introduced a new visual language in filmmaking. These four-rotor UAVs, when equipped with a high definition camera, fly out and capture shots of sweeping landscapes, football matches and even active volcanoes. But drone cinematography of this kind, for the most part, has been a manual and challenging process. It takes an expert, sometimes two, to fly a drone and steer the camera to capture artistic shots at the same time. A team of computer graphics PhD students at Stanford University recognized this camera control problem. They spent the last two years building an app that allows even a novice to design and execute aerial shots like a pro.

“Camera control is a classic problem in computer graphics,” Mike Roberts, co-creator of the app told Engadget. “If you want to generate an image of a virtual environment using a computer…you need to decide where to position the virtual camera.” It’s a decision that plagued the animation industry for decades. But over the years, it was made easier with intuitive tools that allow animators to choose the viewpoints that would help create the computer-generated shots.

The Stanford team’s interactive tool follows that premise. It allows users to control the motion of a camera in a virtual setting to capture a desired frame. It lets you pre-plan a shot right down to the twists, turns and timings before the aircraft even takes off. You start by picking keyframes and assigning camera orientations at specific times based on a 3D preview of the camera shot and a 2D map of the route. The tool then uses your input to map a feasible trajectory for the drone between the chosen frames. While it charts a plan, it also keeps track of the physical limitations of the quadrotor so that it doesn’t crash to the ground.

Unlike existing flight planning tools, where the user has no way of knowing what the final shot might look like, this hands-free app lets you preview your shot in Google Earth’s virtual environment to tweak it or hit capture. When you choose the latter, the app commands the quadrotor to follow the planned trajectory autonomously. “The real video footage is faithful to the virtual preview shown in our app,” says Roberts. “The workflow is similar to how an animator at Pixar might set up a camera path for an animated movie.”

With the FAA regulations shifting in favor of commercial drones for movie and TV productions this year, drones are expected to replace the bulk and expense of helicopters that have long been employed for aerial settings. This new app could make that replacement a lot easier. “There are a hundred problems that our app doesn’t solve,” says Roberts. “But for the domain of pre-scripted aerial cinematography, we’ve made a step forward. You can use our app to express yourself and you don’t have to know how to fly a drone to do it.”


Bet you can’t tell whether or not the girl in this picture is real

This is either the school portrait of a teenage girl named Saya or it’s the single best photorealistic CGI rendering I’ve come across to date. Honestly, I couldn’t figure it out at first glance (or even second). What do you think? Vote in our poll or just skip on down to see more photos. Answers below!

Is the young lady in this image a real person or a computer generated image

These are, shockingly, CGI. They’re the work of the uncannily talented duo of Teruyuki and Yuki Ishikawa. The husband and wife team work as freelance 3D artists in Tokyo and, according to Spoon and Tomago, plan to have Saya star in a film they are self-producing. Per the artists, the hardest part was creating her supple, realistically-textured skin — her hair, however, didn’t turn out as well as they’d hoped.

Via: Boing Boing

Source: Teluka


The Wirecutter’s best deals: a standing desk, compact printer and more

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at

You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.

Mpow Streambot Y Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Street Price: $35; MSRP: $57; Deal Price: $28 with code ABYREJAV

Enter code ABYREJAV at checkout and you’ll snag the lowest price we’ve seen for this product. It beats out the last deal by $4.

The Mpow Streambot Y is our FM transmitter pick in our guide on the best Bluetooth kits for car stereos. Nick Guy and Karissa Bell wrote, “While it’ll work for voice calls, this FM transmitter is best suited for music streaming. The design allows you to see which station you’re tuned to and manually (but easily) find a new one if necessary.”

Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk

Street Price: $650; MSRP: $750; Deal Price: $600

Despite it being listed as a sale on their site, this is more of a price drop. We’ve been told that it’s likely to stay at this price barring any supply chain issues. The last time we checked, the price was hovering around $650, so a drop to $600 gives you some extra cash to spend on desk accessories.

The Jarvis Bamboo Desk is our pick for best standing desk. Mark Lukach and Nathan Edwards said, “It has a sturdy, reliable frame with a great motor; a huge height range to accommodate even the very tall; a controller with four height presets; and an array of functional, unpretentious accessories.

He added, “It has a seven-year warranty and ships quickly, and you can buy the frame by itself—it adjusts to work with desktops of many different sizes. It’s not perfect, and there are nicer standing desks, but they’re a lot more expensive.”

Brother HL-L2340DW Compact Laser Printer

Street Price: $86; MSRP: $140; Deal Price: $75

This is a few bucks shy of our lowest deal ever on this printer, but it’s still a good price for anyone with Amazon Prime. Before this drop, Amazon had already lowered the price from $90 to $86. This deal is also available at Newegg, but shipping there costs $1. If you need a scanner, the Brother HL-L2380DW is also currently on sale for $100 (from $130).

The Brother HL-L2340DW is our top pick for the best cheap printer. Liam McCabe writes, “All the crucial features you should expect from a document printer in 2014 are here: wireless networking, auto duplexing, and support for important mobile printing standards. Text is crisp, and print speed is as fast as you’d ever need in a home office.”

Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The


Skype gets shareable conversation links for easy invites

Need to invite someone to join a Skype session? Well, that task just got a lot easier. The video-chatting app added a new feature that lets you invite folks to join a conversation with a shareable link. All you have to do is nab the URL, send it to the person and they can click it to join. What’s more, the invitee doesn’t need a Skype account to do so. Clicking on a shared link can employ Skype on the web as a guest, but it’ll still offer access to messaging and both video and voice calls. If you’re familiar with sharing links to Dropbox or OneDrive files, you have an idea of how this works. It sounds like a simple addition, but it’s sure to save time, and allow people who aren’t using the app to easily participate as needed.

Source: Skype


YouTube Gaming update lets users livestream gameplay

It seems like Google’s been hard at work behind the scenes, as they today announced an updated version of their YouTube Gaming app. This comes after the initial announcement of the release of YouTube Gaming, an Android and iOS app that allows anyone to record their screen and livestream it to prospective viewers.

The update, released today, highlights the livestreaming capabilities that is now available to users to publicly use. The app is available for download in both the US and UK, and comes with a host of several new options and features:

(Excerpt from Official YouTube Blog)

  • More easily see when there are live streams for games in your collection
  • Easier video bookmarking with Watch Later
  • Improved performance and a redesigned watch page on
  • Better search navigation on iOS by remembering your previous searches
  • Import existing subscriptions anytime from YouTube via Settings

Who doesn’t love a good stream of Clash?

You can download the Android version here, and the iOS version here.

This may also mean that we at AndroidGuys might have a few videos lined up for you. What suggestions do you have? Let us know in the comments! And stay tuned, of course…

Source: Official YouTube Blog


The post YouTube Gaming update lets users livestream gameplay appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Did Google charge you for your Nexus 5X yet?


Reports from multiple users and media outlets are indicating that Google is preparing to ship Nexus 5X orders from the Google Store. Select orders are now “Pending” and some people are noticing that Google has charged their bank accounts.

As for my own order of the Nexus 5X, it remains in the “Processing” stage by the Google Store. My bank account, though, has been moving it on and off of a “Pending Transaction” for the last two days.

What’s your order’s status?

Come comment on this article: Did Google charge you for your Nexus 5X yet?


You can now buy the Home Monitoring Kit from the Samsung-owned SmartThings


The latest wave of SmartThings products is finally available for you to purchase. The Samsung-owned company announced today that its new Home Monitoring Kit is available from retailers online and throughout the United States. SmartThings says that the Home Monitoring Kit makes it possible to monitor, control, and secure your home from just about anywhere. Paired with the SmartThings apps, you view the status of your home and receive actionable alerts on your mobile device.

Here’s what the Home Monitoring Kit includes:

  • The new SmartThings Hub to connect smart sensors, lights, locks, cameras, and more
  • Two Multipurpose Sensors to monitor whether doors, windows, cabinets, or your garage are open or closed
  • A Motion Sensor to monitor movement in your home
  • An Outlet to control lights, electronics, and small appliances


 SmartThings app running on Samsung hardware

You can purchase the Home Monitoring Kit for $249 from Best Buy, Amazon, Sears, and Samsung. Select stores will also offer the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro, too.

Source: SmartThings

Come comment on this article: You can now buy the Home Monitoring Kit from the Samsung-owned SmartThings


How to set a mobile data limit on your Android phone


Smartphones are evolving at a rapid rate and as they do, we’re consuming a lot more internet based content on the move. While carriers have aimed to increase inclusive mobile data limits, some people still have low data allowances, so how can your stop your phone from going over and ending up with a large bill?

Most Android smartphones come with a data usage section that also allows you to specify a limit to the amount of mobile data your smartphone can use. While the exact location of this in the settings menu will vary according to which phone you’re using, the option should be present on most smartphones running Android 4.4.2 KitKat or later.

Here’s how to set a mobile data limit on your Android phone:

For the guide below, you’ll need to know how much data your plan comes with each month and what day your allowance refreshes each month. It’s worth noting that your carrier may measure data usage differently and the information displayed on your phone should be used as a guide only.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Data Usage.
  2. Toggle the Set Mobile Data Limit
    • If the date listed beneath this is different to the day your allowance refreshes, tap on this and select Change Cycle.
    • Then set the correct day your allowances refresh.
  3. On the graph, you’ll now have two lines; one that specifies a limit to your data and the other, which lets you set a warning.
    • Drag the top line (the limit) up or down until you reach your data limit. Although you can set a limit equal to your allowance, we’d recommend setting it slightly lower, in case your carrier measures data usage differently.
    • You can also drag the lower of the two lines (the warning) up or down to set a limit and we’d recommend putting at around 75% percent of your data allowance. E.g. if you have 4GB data each month, the warning should be 3GB. This is a really useful tool to help ensure you don’t go over.

There you have it, a quick and easy way to set a mobile data limit on any Android phone. If you’ve got other tips, let us know in the comments below!


Bell Canada slammed with hefty fine for posting fake Play Store reviews

Bell logo Shutterstock

Canadian telecom company Bell has been fined a hefty $1.25 million CAD (~$970K USD) by Canada’s Competition Bureau for posting fake application reviews on the App Store and Google Play Store. Apparently, a handful of Bell employees were encouraged to post positive reviews and ratings of the MyBell Mobile and Virgin My Account apps in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, without mentioning that they worked for Bell. The ratings have since been removed by the Canadian company, but Canada’s Competition Bureau decided that the damage was already done.

But how did Bell get caught? The company’s rogue behavior was first discovered by Scott Stratten, who was already well aware of the applications’ poor ratings in the app stores. Then out of the blue, the apps began rising in the ranks thanks to the 5-star reviews, and Stratten got curious. After doing some digging on LinkedIn, he discovered that the majority of the reviews were made by Marketing Managers, IT Executives and Project Managers from Bell.

In a statement, Paolo Pasquini, director of communications and social media for Bell, told The Globe and Mail:

The postings were the result of an overzealous effort on the part of our service team to highlight the app. It’s certainly not Bell’s practice to encourage employees to rate our products, and we’re sending a clear message out to the team to that effect.

Aside from the fine, Bell has agreed to “enhance and maintain it’s corporate compliance program,” with a specific focus on prohibiting the rating of its own applications. Bell will also host and sponsor a workshop to promote and discuss “Canadians’ trust in the digital economy,” which will include talks on the integrity of online reviews.

TELUS_logoRelated: Telus and Bell facing lawsuits for rounding up customer voice minutes4


YouTube Gaming updates with mobile game capture and live broadcasting for Android devices

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Have you spent countless hours watching video streams of people playing console and PC games and thinking “Man, I could do that, but I play mobile games.” Well, your chance to be the mobile gaming king of the world is at your finger tips with YouTube Gaming. The latest update that started rolling out yesterday, gives would be mobile gaming stars the tools needed to live broadcast their gaming sessions, expressions and vocal thoughts directly from the app.

Mobile Capture, as it is called, lets you record your sessions for sharing or editing later, or go straight live for other to watch while you play. You can turn on your selfie cam and on lookers can watch your reactions as well as get play by play through your devices mic. The function does require your device to be on Android Lollipop or higher, but I have seen some comments on the Play Store of devices like the N7 and Droid Turbo having issues.

What’s New

A winner is you! New features:
• Mobile Capture! Live stream or record your mobile games. Host your stream with your selfie cam and record your commentary with your phone’s microphone. (Lollipop and higher)
• Faster discovery of live streams for games in your collection
• Support your favorite creators with Fan Funding (just tap “$” and choose your tip)
• Easy video bookmarking with Watch Later
• Import existing subscriptions from YouTube via Settings
• Performance improvements and bug fixes
I caught some other info at 9to5Google today about Sponsorship’s that are in beta testing right now apparently. It sounds a bit different that the Fan Funding that is mentioned in the changelog. Sponsorship’s are apparently a $3.99 subscription that will remove ads and give sponsors various extra perks like live chat badges and things. I’ll keep checking in on how that is playing out as more information is available.

The post YouTube Gaming updates with mobile game capture and live broadcasting for Android devices appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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