Modern day video games have come a long way from Mario the plumber hopping across the screen. Incredibly intricate environments of games today are part of the lure for new gamers and this experience is brought to life by the characters interacting with the scene. However the illusion of the virtual world is disrupted by unnatural movements of the figures in performing actions such as turning around suddenly or climbing a hill.
To remedy the abrupt movements, [Daniel Holden et. al] recently published a paper (PDF) and a video showing a method to greatly improve the real-time character control mechanism. The proposed system uses a neural network that has been trained using a large data set of walking, jumping and other sequences on various terrains. The key is breaking down the process of bipedal movement and its cyclic behaviour into a series of sub-steps or phases. Each phase translates to a natural posture for the character while moving. The system precomputes the next-phases offline to conserve computational resources at runtime. Then considering user control, previous pose of the character(including joint positions) and terrain geometry, the consequent frame of the animation is computed. The computation is done by a regression network that calculates future position of the joints and a blending function is used for Motion Matching as described in a presentation (PDF) and video by [Simon Clavet].
Hike through unique, abandoned train track scenery, tunnels, and trestles just outside of Timber, Oregon. The trailhead GPS Grid Coordinates are 45°42′16.26″N 123°24′40.58″W.
To get to the trailhead (Located in the Tillamook State Forest) from Portland Oregon, take US 26 west for 36 miles to the Timber Junction and then turn left onto Timber Road. Drive 3 miles to the town of Timber and turn right onto Cochran Road. The pavement will end in a half mile. You’ll pass Reeher’s Camp at 5.5 miles; stay left just after that, then go right at a junction at 6.6 miles. At 9.6 miles, go left onto another unsigned road, then at 9.7 take the far-left road at a three-way intersection. Park at 0.1 mile ahead, just before the road crosses the train tracks. There are no facilities on site and there is no trailhead fee required.
More details here.
I’m on vacation and decided to spent some time catching up on my travel magazines. I saw an interesting piece on traveling in Syria – and learned something new – “The most outrageous and exuberant lingerie in the world comes from a place you’d probably never expect: Syria”. And when they say outrageous, they really mean it.
Since it’s slightly not safe for work, I’ll include a link to an Amazon book on it. Or Google ‘Syrian Lingerie’ which has some page samples when you’re in an appropriate location.
Yet another reason for your 17-year old goth kid to not to get gauge piercings and a ball python at the same time.
Bart was hanging out on her shoulders when Glawe thought he started attacking her head. “I like froze instantly,” she told CNN. The snake wasn’t attacking but “pythons just like hiding in holes.”
She tried to get him out by herself but couldn’t. So she said the fire department came. The fire department was unable to remove BART so instead, Glawe said she went to the emergency room, where doctors numbed her ear and lubed her and Bart up and were able to get the snake out of the hole.
Ho Fan was a teenager when he moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong in the 1950’s. He started taking street photography when everyone else was taking studio shots. He developed them in the family bathtub.
His results are astounding and humbling. He has a better eye than 9/10th of current professional photographers. His work has been published in 2 separate books – one in its 5th edition.
There were predictions that we would soon have intelligent agents in our home. This is a comparison and I’d say they’re pretty much there.
They’ve got ordering things down, playing music, etc. But a few items are still missing involve doing slightly more complex tasks for you:
- Find then schedule best flights for you based on criteria you specify (price, stops, dates, etc)
- Tell it to make calls to your doctor’s office/auto shop/etc to make appointments and check on the status of repairs/etc and report back.
- Find and buy the best tickets for a show – scouring craigslist, ebay, ticketmaster, etc. for best prices/seats/etc.
- Find out about a topic and summarize it from a few sources (not just google) – giving you verbal decision trees (automobiles are broken down by commercial vs passenger, trucks vs cars vs motorcycles, etc – which would you like to learn more about?)
- Law – Is X legal in my state/local?
- Tell you when appliances are finished (laundry is done, etc)
Perhaps there’s an opportunity here for services to work with these companies – especially in the case of law/etc. You could opt to talk to a real person in which case it would call the local office and you could continue more detailed discussion for a fee.
And as I have stated before, here’s another example of how AI and machine learning are removing a whole class of white-collar jobs. I predict professional assistants will always be necissary for some situations, but a lot of them are about to be replaced in version 2.0 of these devices.