Computational photography is responsible for most of the amazing strides our smartphone cameras have taken in the last decade. Here’s how it works, and how it makes our photos so much better. The Magic of Computational Photography Computational photography uses digital software to enhance the photos taken by a camera. It’s most prominently used in smartphones. In fact, computational photography does the heavy lifting to create the great-looking images you see in your smartphone photo gallery. The rapid improvement in smartphone cameras over the last few years can largely be attributed to improving software, rather than changes to the physical camera sensor. Some smartphone manufacturers, like Apple and Google, continuously improve the photo-taking capabilities of their devices year after year without ever drastically changing the physical camera sensors. Why Does Computational Photography Matter? How a camera digitally captures a photo can be roughly divided into two … [Read more...] about What Is Computational Photography?
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You can’t believe everything you read—or see. Social media is rife with manipulated or “Photoshopped” images. Here are some telltale signs you’re looking at an altered image. Airbrushing Is Easy to Spot Have you ever seen an image that just doesn’t look right? Trusting your gut might not be the most scientific approach, but you’re probably better at spotting a fake than you realize. If you see an image that sounds alarm bells, you might want to look a bit closer. You’ll probably spot some telltale signs that it’s been manipulated. Airbrushed images often fall into “ uncanny valley ” territory. Even if you have perfect skin, most light sources cast small shadows on fine wrinkles, pores, and other slight imperfections. When these imperfections are digitally removed, so is the appearance of natural lighting. Professional retouchers often strike a balance between perfection and realism, but amateurs and mobile apps rarely do. Apps, in particular, depend on existing skin tones … [Read more...] about How to Tell If an Image Has Been Manipulated or Photoshopped
Google Maps has great turn-by-turn navigation, but it’s important not to use your phone while driving. That’s why Maps has a Google Assistant-fueled Driving Mode that puts common shortcuts within reach. We’ll show you how to get on the road. Driving Mode is a feature that utilizes both Google Maps and Google Assistant. It’s only available for Android 9+ devices and requires the device to be in portrait orientation. Of course, you’ll need both the Google Maps and Assistant apps installed on your Android phone or tablet. The first thing you have to do is opt-in to Driving Mode. To do so, either say “Hey Google,” or swipe from the bottom corner to launch Google Assistant. Next, tap your profile icon at the top right to open the Assistant settings. Scroll through the list of settings and tap “Getting Around.” This is where you can tell Google Assistant your preferred method of transportation. Select “Driving Mode” at the bottom. Now, make sure “Driving Mode” … [Read more...] about How to Use the Assistant Driving Mode in Google Maps
Version 1.0 of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was released in January 1996. 25 years and three attempts later, we’ve gone from USB 1.0’s 12 Mbit/s speeds to USB4’s 40 Gbit/s speeds. Here’s how USB conquered the world. The Problem: Wrestling with Ports and IRQs In the early 1990s, connecting peripherals to PCs was a mess. To use set up any PC, you had to utilize a handful of different types of incompatible ports and connectors. Most commonly, those included a keyboard port, a 9- or 25-pin RS-232 serial port , and a 25-pin parallel port . In addition, PC game controllers used their own 15-pin standard, and mice often plugged into serial ports or proprietary cards. At the same time, peripheral manufacturers began bumping into data rate limits in existing ports used for peripherals on PCs. Demand for telephony, video, and audio applications was growing. Traditionally, vendors had sidestepped these limitations by introducing their own proprietary ports that could be … [Read more...] about 25 Years of Making Connections With USB (After Three Attempts)
On February 1, 1991, John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack officially founded id Software. The group went on to revolutionize the game industry with franchises such as Wolfenstein , Doom , and Quake . Here’s a look back at id Software over the last 30 years, with a little help from those legendary developers. id Software: The House That Keen Built The story of id Software began in the late 1980s, when John Carmack, John Romero, Adrian Carmack (no relation to John), and Tom Hall developed games for a mail-order disk magazine company called Softdisk , located in Shreveport, Louisiana. After John Carmack devised a breakthrough scrolling technique for PC games in mid-1990, Hall, Romero, and Carmack created a new platform game— Commander Keen —based on the technology while secretly moonlighting at Softdisk. Soon the talented group began communicating with Scott Miller of Apogee Software , a pioneering shareware publisher. After some … [Read more...] about From Keen to Doom: id Software’s Founders Talk 30 Years of Gaming History