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Explore The Current Audio Visual News

Aug 23, 2008
This article explores the weird and the wonderful world of audio visual keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest technological developments. We are entering the realm of seriously scary with what can be done and this article is packed with CGI humanoids and robotic snakes.

Every year natural geometric disasters plague certain parts of the planet and although we cannot prevent this from happening , we can certainly be equipped to deal with the aftermath. This is where the 8 metre robotic snake comes in, which is designed to be controlled by an operator to locate survivors.

The snake uses an internal system of fibre optics which is a series of mirrored fibres that cause total reflection in order to transfer data via light at optimum speed. It can negotiate around complex obstacles and reach places that rescue workers and dogs cannot. The balance between flexibility, size and durability was paramount in the design and the Japanese developers hope that the technology will be developed further to help people all over the globe.

The use of CGI in feature films has thrown the gates of the imagination wide open, allowing directors to stage realistic fantastical effects from apocalyptic explosions to creating strange creatures from other worlds. The latest developments in this technology have seen CGI taken to another level by a company called Image Metrics and is set to revolutionise CGI computer gaming.

Image Metrics, producers of CGI for the cult gaming phenomenon Grand Theft Auto have developed a facial recognition system that builds facial expressions by focussing on individual pixels as opposed to targeted points on the face. The company states that the eye movements and lack of symmetry is what makes this new technique so effective and they have released a promotional video featuring an actress called Emily being interviewed about the technique although she is not really there.

These developments have to be sustained by hardware as previously graphics chips could not cope with this new technology. AMD has produced a chip with the equivalent processing power of a computer that would have filled a whole room twelve years ago, but the chip fits inside a standard PC. Although these images are a step up toward life-like photo imagery, it is believed the line between real and CGI will not be completely blurred until 2020.

CGI is big business and this facial recognition technique in theory could used for other facial recognition purposes such as security. The face has a fingerprint in it that is unique as no one face is the same, so the pixel system could in theory be adapted to monitor the movements of criminals or terrorists.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is a correspondent covering Video News and all developments in audio visual technology.
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