This video shows two interactive technologies recently developed for multimodal perception and healthcare support:
Multisense automatically tracks and analyzes in real-time facial expressions, body posture, acoustic features, linguistic patterns and higher-level behavior descriptors (e.g. attention, fidgeting). From these signals and behaviors, indicators of psychological distress are inferred to inform directly the healthcare provider or the virtual human.
SimSensei is a virtual human platform specifically designed for healthcare support and is based on the 10+ years of expertise at ICT with virtual human research and development. The platform enables an engaging face-to-face interaction where the virtual human automatically reacts to the perceived user state and intent, through its own speech and gestures.
I think I actually saw this in the cinema at the time. I’m a big fan – it’s not a great film but there’s enough really good stuff in it to make it a cult classic, and at the least you gotta say it’s pretty bizarre. I’ve probably written something about it before but I was listening to the soundtrack and thinking about that end sequences and how it ties everything up nicely at the end.
The thing to remember is that this was a Disney film – the first PG-rated Disney film ever – and it’s a movie about a crazy scientist and a zombie-crew moored at the edge of a Black Hole. That’s pretty dark as plotlines go and there’s not really much in here to lighten that.
It starts mysterious and foreboding and only gets darker as you find out what’s really been going on. I’m not going to go into it much because this isn’t a review it’s more just about that end sequence – it’s almost like they thought ‘blimey, what have we created here?’ – they take their dark story to it’s conclusion, down the Black Hole both physically and metaphysically I think it’s fair to say and so how do you end a film like that?
Well, by invoking Christian-themes I guess which is pretty wack if you ask me – Reinhardt goes to ‘hell’ along with Maximilian his alter-ego abomination and the ‘good guys’ fly down a long tunnel which looks a lot like a cathedral with an angel and they emerge at the other end flying toward a planet we are left to feel is some kind of salvation – a habitable world where they can begin again.
I remember seeing this as a child and thinking – wow, that’s pretty crazy and the themes weren’t lost on me even if I couldn’t articulate them.. so, I thought Reinhardt is in a world of fire along with the crew who have become ‘the damned’ and look as though they are fated to walk a landscape of lava and fire forever (pretty rough on them really as they hadn’t done anything except fallen victim to Reinhardt’s punishments) and the ‘nice people’ are going to heaven or a new planet flowing with milk and honey..
- that’s how it seemed anyways, I got the feeling that there was a sense of loss though – that they could never go back but also that there was some kind of benevolent ‘God’ who had seen fit to set them on course for this new planet as a way of rewarding them for their moral courage.
After all, how else were they going to end this movie? With the ship crushed like a can of soda and everyone smashed into atoms? – they didn’t really have anywhere else to go.. and this was a kids’ film!
One of the things I always disliked about Star Trek was the Enterprise which I think is a bit crap. It just always seemed like a throwback to the time when space was all ‘flying saucers’ and puts me in mind of some dude in a green, rubber suit dancing around with Kirk somewhere in the Californian desert.
Yeah, so it’s fair to say I’m not a Trekkie – it looked budget and cheesy and even when I was a child I knew that you couldn’t just go and land on some random planet, breathe the air and start talking to the natives in English.
So how do you remake a series like that? – well through the 80′s they brought it back in various ways – with the old crew, getting older and riffing a bit on that fact but again, none of them really grabbed me – even the Wrath of Khan for all it’s high praise I watched it recently and thought it was lame – Khan is supposedly a bad ass but in the end he’s undone by some weak, behind-you trick which defies logic.
Having ripped into Star Trek I did like Spock and the idea of his being from a purely logical race and I liked the idea of a sci-fi series that was about exploration even if the execution left a lot to be desired.
Anyway JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise in 2009 with all the flash and bang of modern action sci-fi but what really made it enjoyable were the characters and the dialogue which again is the selling-point of the new installment.
The writing is good and the jokes are funnier than one might expect – with cheeky jabs back at the conventions of the series and gags that reward a certain grown-up level of attention. There’s plenty of lazy Hollywood pandering too but you can forgive it when they’re also taking the piss out of themselves at the same time saying this is entertainment!
The plot is pretty complex in that needlessly-obtuse way that all action movies ‘have’ to have these days – good guys turning bad and darker motives being revealed and while you’ve got have conflict and moral dilemmas it feels to me that if you had a few minutes to actually ponder the intricacies of the plot you’d find yourself finding all sorts of holes..
..but there’s not really any time to think about these things as the movie gallops on at 500mph and there’s another massive action sequence with falling spaceships, warp-jumps or a huge chunk of the Enterprise getting blown away and members of the crew meeting horrific deaths in the vacuum of space to no-one’s particular concern or apparently much effect on the integrity of the ship.
The heroes make some big mistakes too but there never seems to be any real soul-searching from Kirk or Spock even after thousands and thousands of people get killed near the end as a result of their actions by the end of this movie. Perhaps I’m asking for too much – it’s entertaining sci-fi nonsense really lifted by a good script and some very funny moments that had me laughing.
Simon Pegg is still great but I’m still trying to figure out what the point was of that plotline that took up the first ten minutes of the film..
It was just eight minutes after sunrise, last week, and already there were four things in front of the Sun. The largest and most notable was Earth’s Moon, obscuring a big chunk of the Sun’s lower limb as it moved across the solar disk, as viewed from Fremantle, Australia. This was expected as the image was taken during a partial solar eclipse – an eclipse that left sunlight streaming around all sides of the Moon from some locations. Next, a band of clouds divided the Sun horizontally while showing interesting internal structure vertically. The third intervening body might be considered to be the Earth’s atmosphere, as it dimmed the Sun from its higher altitude brightness while density fluctuations caused the Sun’s edges to appear to shimmer. Although closest to the photographer, the least expected solar occulter was an airplane. Quite possibly, passengers on both sides of that airplane were contemplating the unusual view only visible out the eastern-facing windows.
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has broken out its trusty drill again, pulling samples from deep within a Red Planet rock for the second time ever.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover bored 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) into a rock dubbed “Cumberland” on Sunday (May 19), NASA officials said. The resulting powdered sample will be delivered to the robot’s onboard science instruments in the coming days.
Curiosity first used its drill to collect samples back in February, boring into a nearby rock called “John Klein.” That operation revealed that ancient Mars was likely capable of supporting microbial life — a groundbreaking discovery that the mission team wants to confirm.
Full story here.