Technique to beam HD video with 99 percent less power could sharpen the eyes of smart homes

Everyone seems to be insisting on installing cameras all over their homes these days, which seems incongruous with the ongoing privacy crisis — but that’s a post for another time. Today, we’re talking about enabling those cameras to send high-definition video signals wirelessly without killing their little batteries. A new technique makes beaming video out more than 99 percent more efficient, possibly making batteries unnecessary altogether.
Cameras found in smart homes or wearables need to transmit HD video, but it takes a lot of power to process that video and then transmit the encoded data over Wi-Fi. Small devices leave little room for batteries, and they’ll have to be recharged frequently if they’re constantly streaming. Who’s got time for that?
The idea behind this new system, created by a University of Washington team led by prolific researcher Shyam Gollakota, isn’t fundamentally different from some others that are out there right now. Devices with low data rates, like a digital thermometer or motion sensor, can something called backscatter to send a low-power signal consisting of a couple of bytes.
Backscatter is a way of sending a signal that requires very little power, because what’s actually transmitting the power is not the device that’s transmitting the data. A signal is sent out from one source, say a router or phone, and another antenna essentially reflects that signal, but modifies it. By having it blink on and off you could indicate 1s and 0s, for instance.

UW’s system attaches the camera’s output directly to the output of the antenna, so the brightness of a pixel directly correlates to the length of the signal reflected. A short pulse means a dark pixel, a longer one is lighter, and the longest length indicates white.
Some clever manipulation of the video data by the team reduced the number of pulses necessary to send a full video frame, from sharing some data between pixels to using a “zigzag” scan (left to right, then right to left) pattern. To get color, each pixel needs to have its color channels sent in succession, but this too can be optimized.
Assembly and rendering of the video is accomplished on the receiving end, for example on a phone or monitor, where power is more plentiful.
In the end, a full-color HD signal at 60FPS can be sent with less than a watt of power, and a more modest but still very useful signal — say, 720p at 10FPS — can be sent for under 80 microwatts. That’s a huge reduction in power draw, mainly achieved by eliminating the entire analog to digital converter and on-chip compression. At those levels, you can essentially pull all the power you need straight out of the air.
They put together a demonstration device with off-the-shelf components, though without custom chips it won’t reach those
A frame sent during one of the tests. This transmission was going at about 10FPS.
microwatt power levels; still, the technique works as described. The prototype helped them determine what type of sensor and chip package would be necessary in a dedicated device.
Of course, it would be a bad idea to just blast video frames into the ether without any compression; luckily, the way the data is coded and transmitted can easily be modified to be meaningless to an observer. Essentially you’d just add an interfering signal known to both devices before transmission, and the receiver can subtract it.
Video is the first application the team thought of, but there’s no reason their technique for efficient, quick backscatter transmission couldn’t be used for non-video data.
The tech is already licensed to Jeeva Wireless, a startup founded by UW researchers (including Gollakota) a while back that’s already working on commercializing another low-power wireless device. You can read the details about the new system in their paper, presented last week at the Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

Technique to beam HD video with 99 percent less power could sharpen the eyes of smart homes

Blockchain Founder (+ Developer): освойте блокчейн-технологию с нуля за восемь недель!

22 апреля стартуют две программы обучения для руководителей и разработчиков блокчейн-проектов от Blockchain Founder! Лекции, вебинары, задания и стажировки от экспертов-практиков в сфере блокчейн-технологий, среди них основатель и СЕО децентрализованной с

Красноярские клиенты Tele2 по итогам 2017 года совершили платежей на 388 миллионов рублей

Наибольший рост объем мобильных платежей со счета Tele2 – в 3,7 раза – зафиксирован в Норильске
Красноярские клиенты Tele2 по итогам 2017 года совершили платежей на 388 миллионов рублей

Grasshopper, a learn-to-code app from Google’s Area 120 incubator, goes live

Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, is today releasing its next creation: a learn-to-code mobile app for beginners called Grasshopper. At launch, the app teaches would-be coders how to write JavaScript, via short lessons on their iPhone or Android device. The goal is to get coders proficient in the basics and core concepts, so they can take the next steps in their coding education – whether that’s taking online classes, attending a bootcamp, or playing around in Grasshopper’s own online playground where they can create interactive animations.
Like other Area 120 projects, Grasshopper was built by a small team of Googlers, who had a personal interest in working on the project.
“Coding is becoming such an essential skill, and we want to make it possible for everyone to learn even when life gets busy,” the app’s About Us page explains. “We made Grasshopper to help folks like you get into coding in a fun and easy way.”
Area 120 has now been around for just over two years, but Google’s hadn’t heavily publicized its efforts until last year, when it launched a dedicated website for the incubator. To date, Area 120 has released things like Advr, an advertising format for VR; personal stylist Tailor; emoji messenger Supersonic; a job-matching service in Bangladesh, a booking tool called Appointments; and the YouTube co-watching app UpTime.
The incubator’s goal – beyond potentially finding Google’s next breakthrough product – is to retain talented engineers who may have otherwise left the company to work on their own passion projects or startups.
Grasshopper – whose name is a tribute to early programming pioneer Grace Hopper – was already known to be one of the projects in the works at Area 120.
However, it hadn’t launched to the public until today.
The app itself offers a series of courses, beginning with “The Fundamentals,” where users learn how code works, along with various terminology like functions, variables, strings, for loops, arrays, conditionals, operators, and objects. Grasshopper then moves into two more courses where coders learn to draw shapes using the D3 library, and later create more complex functions using D3.
The courses are actually designed as a series of puzzles and quizzes that increasingly get more difficult, explains Laura Holmes, founder of Grasshopper.
“Each coding puzzle has the student writing real JavaScript code using a custom built code editing environment. The student is given a challenge, and the user has to solve it using code, but it only takes a few taps to write out,” she says. “Each time the student runs code, they’re given real-time feedback to help guide them towards solving the challenge. Many students have told us that this real-time feedback feels like a tutor, since the feedback feels so tailored to the student’s current state.”
Also included are motivational features like achievements, progress indicators and coding streaks.
This curriculum will expand over the next couple of months. Grasshopper will add more content to The Fundamentals section as well as a new course.

The team says it’s not currently focused on expanding beyond JavaScript, a language used by over 70 percent of professional developers, the site notes.
“We see Grasshopper as a launchpad to help introduce people to code. For one-third of our users, Grasshopper is the first time they’ve ever encountered coding,” says Holmes. “Many people think that coding isn’t for them or don’t have the access and time needed to consider it as a viable career path, and we want to help change that perception,” she adds.
In early tests, there have been over 5,000 graduates from Grasshopper’s program. 47 percent were students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in tech, and 68 percent of users said they’re more motivated to learn to code after using Grasshopper.
Holmes, a senior product manager at Google, leads the Grasshopper team. She was previously the first Product Manager on Project Fi and Google Tag Manager.
Other Grasshopper team members include CTO Elliott Sprehn, a staff software engineer and formerly the tech lead for web platform architecture on Chrome; Curriculum Manager Heather Smith; software engineers Lucas Mullens and Phil Nova; and Curriculum Specialist Frankie Mercado.
The Grasshopper app is now available worldwide on both iOS and Android, but only in English.

Grasshopper, a learn-to-code app from Google’s Area 120 incubator, goes live

Игры PUBG и Fortnite пострадали от блокировки Telegram

Ковровые блокировки популярного мессенджера Роскомнадзором на территории России задели и такие хиты рынка многопользовательских игр, как PUBG и Fortnite «Королевская битва». О сбоях в подключении к игровым серверам сообщают игроки в русскоязычном комьюнит