Perfecting digital imaging

first_imgComputer graphics and digital video lag behind reality; despite advances, the best software and video cameras cannot seem to get computer-generated images and digital film to look exactly the way our eyes expect them to.But Hanspeter Pfister and Todd Zickler, computer science faculty at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), are working to narrow the gap between “virtual” and “real” by asking the question: How do we see what we see?Between them, Pfister and Zickler are presenting three papers this week at SIGGRAPH 2013 (the acronym stands for for Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques), the 40th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.Realistic soapOne project led by Zickler, the William and Ami Kuan Danoff Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, tried to find better ways to mimic the appearance of a translucent object, such as a bar of soap. The paper elucidates how humans perceive and recognize real objects and how software can exploit the details of that process to make the most realistic computer-rendered images possible.“If I put a block of butter and a block of cheese in front of you, and they’re the same color, and you’re looking for something to put on your bread, you know which is which,” says Zickler. “The question is, how do you know that? What in the image is telling you something about the material?”His hope is to eventually understand these properties well enough to instruct a computer with a camera to identify the material an object is made of and how it should be handled — how much it weighs or how much pressure can be safely applied to it — the way humans do.Zickler’s co-authors were Ioannis Gkioulekas, a graduate student at SEAS; Bei Xiao and Edward H. Adelson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Shuang Zhao and Kavita Bala of Cornell University.For a full description of the three papers, visit the SEAS website. The Association for Computing Machinery SIGGRAPH conference continues through Friday in Anaheim, Calif. The three papers will be published in ACM Transactions on Graphics.last_img read more

World Cup: Fifa probe puts Ethiopia and Tunisia progress in doubt

first_imgEthiopia and Tunisia’s progress to the final round of African World Cup qualifying are in doubt as Fifa opened three probes into player eligibility.On Sunday, Ethiopia beat South Africa 2-1 in Addis Ababa to seemingly reach the African play-offs from.Tunisia believed they had gone through too but Fifa are considering an appeal from Equatorial Guinea, that would affect the points in Group B.Togo are also to be investigated with ramifications for Group IFifa rules state a guilty teams “will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match”.Ethiopia face accusations they fielded an ineligible player in the 2-1 win over Botswana on 8 June in Group A.If they are found guilty it would hand a lifeline back to 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. Should Ethiopia forfeit that victory against Botswana then South Africa would only be two points behind going into the final group matches in September.Those game see South Africa host Botswana, while Ethiopia travel to face Central African Republic.The president of the Ethiopian Football Federation, Sehilu Gebremariam, is still confident his side can progress.“This is shocking news – but the point is that we are still leading the group, we believe that we shall still qualify for the next stage,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.“We are scrutinizing the situation and we will give information to Fifa and to the public.” He said they would be consulting the coaching staff to get their views on the situation before reacting further.Football’s world governing body is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for the same reason.Tunisia’s progress is on hold as Equatorial Guinea allegedly fielded an ineligible player in their 4-3 defeat of island nation Cape Verde in March.Fifa says they recently ruled on that matter and that the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosts have appealed the decision.The Carthage Eagles drew 1-1 in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday to seemingly book their place in the play-offs, but a technical victory for Cape Verde would change the complexion of Group B. Should island nation Cape Verde receive the points from a match they originally lost it would lift the islanders up to nine points – just two behind the North Africans.Tunisia host Cape Verde on the final day of the current qualifying stage.Group I could also change as Fifa also look into whether Togo used an ineligible player in their 2-0 win over Cameroon on 9 June.The Indomitable Lions, who are six-time World Cup qualifiers, now stand to gain the three points should the Togolese be found guilty.Such a scenario would move Cameroon, who currently trail Group I leaders Libya by two points, a point clear in the table. The West Africans host Libya in what is both sides’ final encounter in September.last_img read more