Mummy visualization impresses in computer journal

Anders Ynnerman, professor of scientific visualization at Linköping University and director of Visualization Center C, together with colleagues from Linköping University, Interspectral AB, the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, and the British Museum, describes in the article the technology behind the visualization.

The Geberlein Man, who was mummified by natural processes, and the collaboration with the British Museum constitute the framework for the article, which focusses on the development of the technology used in the visualization table, which has received a great deal of attention.

“It was challenging to obtain sufficiently high performance of the visualization such that visitors can interact with the table in real-time, without experiencing delays. Further, the interaction must be both intuitive and informative,” says Anders Ynnerman.

Several thousand images of the mummy taken by computer tomography (CT) are stored in the table. In this case, 10,000 virtual slices through the complete mummy have been imaged, each one as thin as 0.3 mm. Rapid graphics processors can then create volumetric images, 3D images, in real-time to display what the visitors want to look at.

The degree of reflection and absorption of the X-rays by the mummy is recorded by the CT scanner and converted with the aid of a specially developed transfer function to different colours and degrees of transparency. Bone, for example, gives a signal that is converted to a light grey colour while soft tissue and metal objects give completely different signals that are represented by other colours or structures

“The table displays 60 images per second, which our brain interprets as continuous motion. Sixty times each second, virtual beams, one for each pixel on the screen, are projected through the dataset and a colour contribution for each is determined. We use the latest type of graphics processor, the type that is used in gaming computers,” says Patric Ljung, senior lecturer in immersive visualization at Linköping University.

This makes it possible for visitors to interact with the table. The desiccated skin of the mummy can be peeled away in the image and only the parts that consist of bone displayed. When this is done, it becomes clear that the Gebelein Man was killed by a stab through the shoulder.

The principles that have determined the design of the table are also described in the article. The design arose in close collaboration between the personnel at the museum and Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, working within the framework of Visualization Center C in Norrköping.

The design is minimalist and intuitive. The display table must be rapid, and no delay in the image can be tolerated. It must be able to withstand use by the six million visitors to the museum each year, and much emphasis has been placed on creating brief narrative texts with the aid of information points. Simple and self-explanatory icons have been used, and several favourable viewpoints and parameters have been preprogrammed in order to increase the table’s robustness.

“Allowing a broader public to visualize scientific phenomena and results makes it possible for them to act as researchers themselves. We allow visitors to investigate the same data that the researchers have used. This creates incredible possibilities for new ways to communicate knowledge, to stimulate interest, and to engage others. It’s an awesome experience — watching the next generation of young researchers be inspired by our technology,” says Anders Ynnerman.

Training computers to differentiate between people

This conundrum occurs in a wide range of environments from the bibliographic — which Anna Hernandez authored a specific study? — to the law enforcement — which Robert Jones is attempting to board an airplane flight?

Two computer scientists from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a Purdue University doctoral student have developed a novel-machine learning method to provide better solutions to this perplexing problem. They report that the new method is an improvement on currently existing approaches of name disambiguation because the IUPUI method works on streaming data that enables the identification of previously unencountered John Smiths, Maria Garcias, Wei Zhangs and Omar Alis.

Existing methods can disambiguate an individual only if the person’s records are present in machine-learning training data, whereas the new method can perform non-exhaustive classification so that it can detect the fact that a new record which appears in streaming data actually belongs to a fourth John Smith, even if the training data has records of only three different John Smiths. “Non-exhaustiveness” is a very important aspect for name disambiguation because training data can never be exhaustive, because it is impossible to include records of all living John Smiths.

“Bayesian Non-Exhaustive Classification — A Case Study: Online Name Disambiguation using Temporal Record Streams” by Baichuan Zhang, Murat Dundar and Mohammad al Hasan is published in Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management. Zhang is a Purdue graduate student. Dundar and Hasan are IUPUI associate professors of computer science and experts in machine learning.

“We looked at a problem applicable to scientific bibliographies using features like keywords, and co-authors, but our disambiguation work has many other real-life applications — in the security field, for example,” said Hasan, who led the study. “We can teach the computer to recognize names and disambiguate information accumulated from a variety of sources — Facebook, Twitter and blog posts, public records and other documents — by collecting features such as Facebook friends and keywords from people’s posts using the identical algorithm. Our proposed method is scalable and will be able to group records belonging to a unique person even if thousands of people have the same name, an extremely complicated task.

“Our innovative machine-learning model can perform name disambiguation in an online setting instantaneously and, importantly, in a non-exhaustive fashion,” Hasan said. ” Our method grows and changes when new persons appear, enabling us to recognize the ever-growing number of individuals whose records were not previously encountered. Also, some names are more common than others, so the number of individuals sharing that name grows faster than other names. While working in non-exhaustive setting, our model automatically detects such names and adjusts the model parameters accordingly.”

Machine learning employs algorithms — sets of steps — to train computers to classify records belonging to different classes. Algorithms are developed to review data, to learn patterns or features from the data, and to enable the computer to learn a model that encodes the relationship between patterns and classes so that future records can be correctly classified. In the new study, for a given name value, computers were “trained” by using records of different individuals with that name to build a model that distinguishes between individuals with that name, even individuals about whom information had not been included in the training data previously provided to the computer.

“Features” are bits of information with some degree of predictive power to define a specific individual. The researchers focused on three types of features:

  1. Relational or association features to reveal persons with whom an individual is associated: for example, relatives, friends, and colleagues
  2. Text features, such as keywords in documents: for example, repeated use of sports- culinary-, or terrorism-associated keywords
  3. Venue features: for example, institutions, memberships or events with which an individual is currently or was formerly associated

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation through CAREER awards to Hasan and Dundar in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The researchers hope to continue this line of inquiry, scaling up with the support of enhanced technologies, including distributed computing platforms.

Build Your Own Web-Interacting Robots

 Types of Web-Interacting Robots

What exactly can you do with a web-connected robot? As it turns out, quite a lot! This section covers some of the possibilities.

Sniffer

Sniffer robots search the Internet collecting keywords, and then their programming does something with that collected information. For example, some gumball machines dispense only if a certain keyword appears on Twitter. Some organizations have an LCD screen scrolling with recent keyword mentions.

One advantage of a sniffer system is that it can be controlled remotely with no need for additional hardware—merely a Twitter account. The downside is exactly the same—in that anyone can hijack your robot.

Autotweeter

Autotweeter robots send out a Twitter message (tweet) when certain events take place. The classic example is a kegbot that monitors and controls a beer keg. It dispenses beer and measures its temperature, accepts payment, and sends out a tweet when the keg pours a pint.

Recently Twitter changed the way it interacts with external devices, and some old methods of sending out tweets no longer work. However, as long as Twitter continues to be popular, there will be a way to interact with it.

Telepresence

As an introvert, I always dreamed of a robot that could go to family functions and school dances in my stead. I could sit back and direct the robot to roll around, with a camera and screen allowing me to interact with guests. One category of robots actually does that—telepresence bots.

At its simplest, a telepresence robot rolls around carrying an iPad or other tablet, with videoconferencing running on the computer. The home base could include a desktop PC that controls the robot remotely. Some clever hacks have piggybacked the control functionality on top of the videoconferencing feed—one bot creator used black-and-white cards to trigger a light sensor positioned at the corner of the screen.

Interactive

Some robots, like the gumball machine I mentioned in the sniffer section, are designed to be controlled remotely. Robot arms can be directed from websites, with webcams positioned to show what’s happening. A whole subcategory involves pet toys that let you play with your cat or dog from a remote location.

Some interactive bots are games, such as chessboards with players separated by miles; others are much simpler, the equivalent of robot soccer. Typically interactive robots (like a lot of robots I’ve described here) are designed for fun rather than to accomplish a serious task, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Home Automation

One category of serious web-connected robots is for home automation. Imagine being able to adjust your window blinds with your smartphone, or having a program that varies lighting schemes when you’re on vacation. These robots can send you data on the status of your alarm system, tell you whether your home’s furnace is running, and more.

This category also includes agricultural automation such as greenhouse controllers, which turn on fans and trigger water valves, measure temperature and soil moisture, and turn on grow lights as needed.

Sensor Net

One of the most intriguing aspects of all these devices connected across the Net is the possibility that you could have all of them measure the same thing and publish that data to the Web, giving you a real-time map of an area.

Sensor nets were established by amateurs during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011. These amateurs contended that government officials were too slow to release radiation numbers for the area, so they formed their own network of Geiger counters (shown in Figure 2) and published up-to-date counts online. You can learn more about the organization at Safecast.org.

Keep Your Web Surfing History Private

 Adjust Options in Settings to Keep Your Safari Web Surfing Private

When it comes to covering your web surfing tracks, before you start using Safari, you’ll want to adjust a handful of the options available from within Settings. To do this, from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad, tap the Settings option. Then scroll down within the main Settings menu and tap the iCloud option.

From the iCloud Control Panel menu within Settings (shown in Figure 1), turn off the virtual switches associated with Safari and Keychain. This will prevent your iPhone or iPad from remembering usernames, passwords, and credit card payment details related to the websites you visit.

It will also keep your device from syncing details pertaining to Safari’s saved Bookmarks, Reading List, Favorites, and History folders with other computers and iOS mobile devices that are linked to the same Apple ID/iCloud account. It’ll also disable Safari’s iCloud Tabs feature.

Using iCloud tabs, someone who is using your iMac (or MacBook), for example, could see exactly what websites you’re visiting, in real time, from your iPhone or iPad—if the computer is logged in to your Apple ID/iCloud account.

Next, return to the main Settings menu on your mobile device. This time, tap the Safari option (see Figure 2). From the Safari submenu within Settings, scroll down to the Privacy & Security heading and turn on the virtual switch associated with the Do Not Track option. This will prevent Safari from creating and updating a History folder, and storing information about webpages you access or view in the future.

Tap the Block Cookies option, and from the Block Cookies submenu, select the Never option, which will prevent Safari from storing any preferences related to websites you visit.

Return to the Safari submenu and then tap the Smart Search Field option. Turn off the virtual switches that are associated with the Search Engine Suggestions and Preload Top Hits options.

After you do this, if you or anyone else uses the Search field within Safari on your mobile device, listings for past web searches and details pertaining to websites you’ve previously visited will no longer be displayed.

These steps will prevent most people who might pick up your iPhone or iPad and use it to surf the web from discovering what you’ve done online in the past.

However, additional steps that can help cover your tracks include taping on the Clear History and Clear Cookies and Data options, which are also displayed as part of the Safari submenu within Settings.

Tapping the Clear History option will delete everything that’s currently stored within Safari’s History folder; the Clear Cookies and Data option will delete all data currently saved within the Cookies folder of Safari, including information that’s relevant to websites you’ve visited in the past.

Safari also has the ability to access (and potentially share) your current location as you’re using an iPhone or iPad. Safari, along with many social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc.) has the capability to access Location Services-related data.

To prevent this for Safari and other apps, from the main Settings menu, tap the Privacy option. Then, tap the Location Services option from the Privacy submenu.

From the Location Services submenu, you can leave the virtual switch associated with the main Location Services option turned on, but then scroll down and turn off the virtual switch associated with Safari, as well as any specific social media apps installed on your device.

In the future, if you access a website that requires your current location, you will need to enter it manually.

Activate the Passcode Lock Feature to Keep Unauthorized People from Using Your iPhone or iPad

Yet another thing you can do to prevent unauthorized people from accessing your iPhone or iPad is to turn on its Passcode Lock feature. To do this, from the main Settings menu, tap the General option and then tap the Passcode Lock option (see Figure 3).

From the Passcode Lock submenu, tap the Turn Passcode On option, and when prompted, select and then re-enter a four-digit passcode of your choosing.

Once activated, this four-digit passcode will be required any time the iPhone or iPad is turned on or awakes from Sleep mode. If you’re using an iPhone 5S, you have the option to activate the Touch ID sensor, so only recognized fingerprints (or the use of a four-digit passcode) will unlock the smartphone.

Instead of using a four-digit passcode, you can opt to use a longer alphanumeric password to keep people from accessing your iOS mobile device.

To use a password, from the General menu within Settings, tap the Passcode Lock option and then tap the Turn Passcode On option. Also from the Passcode Lock submenu, turn off the virtual switch that’s associated with the Simple Passcode feature and make sure the Require Passcode option is set to Immediately.

Keep Tabs on what Your Kids Are Doing Online with iOS Mobile Devices

As a parent, it’s a really good strategy to keep constant tabs on what your kids are doing with their Internet-enabled iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

To do this, not only should you make sure that the privacy measures for Safari that have been outlined thus far are not used, you should also activate the Restrictions option on the mobile device your child is using.

Depending on how the Restrictions options are set up, they will prevent users (aside from you and anyone else with the override passcode) from altering the device’s Settings, accessing certain types of online or purchasable content, installing or deleting apps, making in-app purchases, and using certain functionality built into the device.

To turn on Restrictions, launch Settings, and tap the General option. From the General menu within Settings, tap the Restrictions option. Located near the top of the Restrictions submenu is the Enable/Disable Restrictions option (see Figure 4). Tap it to turn on the master switch for this feature. You will be promoted to create and enter a four-digit passcode.

It is absolutely essential that you remember this passcode, or else you could wind up locking yourself, as well as your kids, out of the device or prevent various features and functions from being used in the future.

Also, make sure that your kids don’t discover this code. You might want to change the Restrictions passcode at random times in the future.

Once activated, you can decide specifically which features and functions someone other than you can access from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by turning on or off the virtual switches associated with Safari, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, Installing Apps, Deleting Apps, In-App Purchases, Siri, and AirDrop.

Adding a Pictures Publisher 2016

 Inserting Pictures

Pictures are a powerful way to communicate. They guide readers through a publication by catching their eye, creating interest, illustrating key ideas, and controlling the flow. Key concepts can be reinforced and clarified by using informative picture captions and relevant images.

Think about the last marketing piece you got in the mail. What initially drew enough of your interest to glance at it, rather than just tossing it into the recycle bin? Unless it’s an “everything is free” flyer, it was probably the illustrations. Bright, colorful, briefly informative—they communicate as much as the text. Even more so to a reader in a hurry.

Inserting Pictures Stored Locally

When the image you want to use is stored either on your computer, or a computer on your network, you simply browse for the file to bring it in to the publication. In the next section, you learn how to locate an image online.

  1. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Pictures command button is in the Illustrations group, along with the Online Pictures, Shapes, and Picture Placeholder command buttons.
  2. Click the Pictures command button. The Insert Picture dialog box opens.

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  3. Use the Navigation pane on the left to browse to the folder that contains the picture you want to insert. If you are unsure how to browse through folders on your network, ask someone for help.
  4. When you find the correct image, select it, and then click Insert (or double-click the image). Publisher inserts the image into the publication.

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Inserting Pictures Stored Online

  1. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Online Pictures command button is next to the Pictures button in the Illustrations group.
  2. Click the Online Pictures command button. The Insert Pictures dialog box opens. This dialog box has Bing search built-in and a link to your OneDrive account. There are also links to help you insert photos from your Facebook and Flickr accounts.

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  3. Type a search phrase in the Search Bing box, and then click Search (magnifying glass) to get things started.

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  4. Initially, the search results contain images that are licensed under Creative Commons. There is an advisory to read the specific license for an image that you want to use to make sure you can comply.
  5. Scroll down to see more search results.
  6. Select one or more images; then click Insert to add them to your publication.

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  7. Alternatively, you can select an image from one of your OneDrive folders.

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  8. Click a folder to view the pictures within.

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  9. Select the photo that you want to use.
  10. Click Insert to place it in the publication.

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Inserting Pictures from the Scratch Area

When you insert pictures, either those stored locally or those found online, you always have the option to insert multiple pictures. Just as you select more than one file at a time, you select multiple pictures by clicking the first one and then holding down the Ctrl key to click the others. The selected files are placed in a “scratch area” of the workspace.

Using the scratch area, you can get all your pictures open and then drag and drop them as you need them. You can also drag and drop pictures from the publication back to the scratch area. It is like having a white-board on the side with your photographs tacked up waiting to be used.

  1. Click the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Pictures or the Online Pictures command button, depending on where your pictures are stored. Browse to where the pictures are stored.

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  3. Click to select the first picture, and then hold down the Ctrl key to select the rest.
  4. Click Insert to place the selected pictures in the scratch area of the Publisher workspace.

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  5. You can now drag and drop pictures from the scratch area to the publication.

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Moving and Resizing a Picture

Invariably, you will need to resize an inserted picture and also reposition it. And although that may sound intimidating, it’s actually super easy. You simply click and drag a picture to move it; and you click and drag the sizing handles to resize it.

  1. Move the mouse pointer over the inserted image until you see the four-headed arrow. This is the universal move pointer.
  2. Click and drag the picture to the preferred location; then release the mouse button to drop it there. You’ll see a “ghost” image of the picture to show you where the image will be positioned when you drop it.

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  3. To resize a picture, you must first select it. When you do, the sizing handles appear. There are circles at each corner, and squares on the sides.
  4. Position the mouse pointer over a sizing handle and wait for the two-sided arrow to appear. This is the universal resizing pointer.
  5. When you see the resizing pointer, click and drag the sizing handle to increase or decrease the size of the picture.
  6. If you want to make absolutely sure that the picture maintains its original proportions, click and drag one of the corner handles.

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Inserting Picture Placeholders

Picture placeholders are handy when you know how much room you want to dedicate to a photograph, but you aren’t exactly sure which photograph you will use. A picture placeholder can be moved and resized so that it literally holds the space that the photo will occupy. In this way, you can continue to format the rest of the publication.

  1. Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon. The Picture Placeholder command button is the right-most button in the Illustrations group.
  2. Click the Picture Placeholder command button. The picture placeholder appears in the publication. You can now move and resize this placeholder so that it takes up as much space as the picture when you insert that later.

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  3. When you are ready to replace the picture placeholder with an image, click the Insert Picture button in the center of the picture placeholder to open the Insert Pictures dialog box.

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  4. Using one of these methods to locate the picture, select and insert it into the publication, replacing the picture placeholder. You can continue to adjust the size and position of the picture until you are satisfied.