Robot scans ancient manuscript in 3-D

From Wired: Robot Scans Ancient Manuscript in 3-D.

After a thousand years stuck on a dusty library shelf, the oldest copy of Homer’s Iliad is about to go into digital circulation.

A team of scholars traveled to a medieval library in Venice to create an ultra-precise 3-D copy of the ancient manuscript — complete with every wrinkle, rip and imperfection — using a laser scanner mounted on a robot arm.

A high-resolution, 3-D copy of the entire 645-page parchment book, plus a searchable transcription, will be made available online under a Creative Commons license.

The Venetus A is the oldest existing copy of Homer’s Iliad and the primary source for all modern editions of the poem. It lives in Venice at the ancient Public Library of St. Mark. It is easily damaged. Few people have seen it. The last photographic copy was made in 1901. [continue]

Hiding messages in plain sight

From the BBC: Hiding messages in plain sight.

A technology that can "hide" information in plain sight on printed images has begun to see the first commercial applications.

Japanese firm Fujitsu is pushing a technology that can encode data into a picture that is invisible to the human eye but can be decoded by a mobile phone with a camera.

The company believes the technology will have spin off implications for the publishing industry.

"The concept is to be able to link the printed page into the digital domain," said Mike Nelson, general manager for sales operations at Fujitsu Europe.

The technique stems from a 2,500-year-old practice called steganography, which saw the Greeks sending warnings of attacks on wooden tablets and then covering them in wax and tattooing messages on shaved heads that were then covered by the regrowth of hair. [continue]

Lenten message via hot medium – YouTube

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: Lenten message via hot medium — YouTube.

And you thought YouTube — the on-line video mall starring anybody — was just about teenagers lip-synching to Justin Timberlake.

Oh, ye of little faith.

One of the newest (and unlikeliest) faces to emerge on this new communications technology is a middle-aged churchman, talking about Lent.

His name: Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia. And his appearance on YouTube appears to be a first for any Catholic prelate.

"Dear friends in Christ," he says softly, dressed in a black cassock and gazing into the camera. "As we entered Lent on Ash Wednesday, the church encourages us as Catholics to practice fasting… ." (…)

And it has found an audience. By Friday afternoon – about 40 hours after the archdiocese posted his clip – he had 3,079 "hits," or views.

According to YouTube’s own tabulation, this made his the 16th most-watched English-language clip of the day and the eighth most-linked in the category of videos and blogs.

(I’ve removed the link to philly.com, as the article is no longer available on their website.)

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Nintendo surgeons more precise?

From Wired: Nintendo Surgeons More Precise?

If Dr. James Rosser Jr. had his way, every surgeon in America would have three indispensable tools on the operating room tray: a scalpel, sutures, and a video game controller.

Rosser looks like a football player and cracks jokes like a comic, but his job as a top surgeon and director of the Advanced Medical Technologies Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York is to find better ways to practice medicine. At the top of his list — video games. (…)

Surgeons who play video games three hours a week have 37 percent fewer errors and accomplish tasks 27 percent faster, he says [continue]

Your face, immortalized

From Wired: Your Face, Immortalized.

"You must have blinked. That’s probably why your eye is missing."

Bill Mongon is right. I did blink, and now there’s a gaping hole in my left eye socket.

Fortunately, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a digital touch-up.

Mongon’s company, Accurex, specializes in providing high-quality 3-D scans for industrial and archival purposes; if you need to create an accurate 3-D replica of a machine part or an archeological find, he’s the man to see. [continue]

Deaf to sign via video handsets

From the BBC: Deaf to sign via video handsets.

Deaf people could soon be using video mobiles to chat with their friends using sign language.

Video compression tools made by US researchers make it possible to send live pictures of people signing across low bandwidth mobile networks.

The system cuts down on the bandwidth needed by only sending data about which parts of each frame have changed.

The researchers are talking to mobile firms about how to get the technology in to the hands of deaf people. [continue]

Hiding messages in plain sight

From the BBC: Hiding messages in plain sight.

A technology that can "hide" information in plain sight on printed images has begun to see the first commercial applications.

Japanese firm Fujitsu is pushing a technology that can encode data into a picture that is invisible to the human eye but can be decoded by a mobile phone with a camera. (…)

The technique stems from a 2,500-year-old practice called steganography, which saw the Greeks sending warnings of attacks on wooden tablets and then covering them in wax and tattooing messages on shaved heads that were then covered by the regrowth of hair. [continue]

Electronic nurses

From physorg.com: Electronic nurses.

There is always plenty to do in a hospital, and more often than not, the staff is overworked. "This is where robots can be a real help," explains IAO scientist Thomas Schlegel, who is coordinating the new EU project IWARD. The abbreviation stands for ‘intelligent robot swarm for attendance, recognition, cleaning and delivery’. "These robots could take over a wide range of tasks: find the doctor, call the nurse, keep the sick-room clean, and show visitors the way. What is more, the mobile assistants can also tell when help is needed in a sick-room, for instance when a patient has suffered a fall. Then they can alert a nurse or an orderly."

Ten teams of researchers from Germany and seven other countries will collaborate on this project. They all met on Wednesday for the official project launch in Stuttgart. Over the next three years they plan to cooperate in developing a team of robots to support hospital staff. At the end of that period, the little fleet will be tested in hospitals. "What’s really new about these robots is their decentralized intelligence: Each one can act autonomously, but is also constantly in touch with its ‘colleagues’. This creates a swarm with abilities that far exceed those of each individual member," explains Schlegel. [continue]