Saturday
Nov292014

A new year. A new site. 

It's right around the corner... 2015. A brand new year. And with the coming of this new year, I feel that it's time I update this site.

This takes me back to the fall of sophomore year at college. It was 2010 -- the year of the iPad, 3D TVs and the Kinect/Move. And while in 2010, fluid, flexible and liquid layouts were certainly a trending topic amongst circles of designers and developers alike, the tried and tested fixed 960px grid system was still very much the norm in web design. Infact, it was only in the May of 2010 that a web designer by the name of Ethan Marcotte coined the term "Responsive Web Design" in this article.

Fast forward 4 years to today. It's no longer news that there are an insane variety of screens that have proliferated our lives. We're already so accustomed to it. These screens vary wildly not only in their resolution and aspect ratio, but also in the input methods we use to interact with them and the contexts in which we use them. With the web permeating an increasing number of these screens, there was no choice but to go responsive. Managing multiple code bases for different devices just didn't make sense. Mashable called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. It's now 2014, nearing 2015. Needless to say, it's about time I made this site responsive. 

Launch Date: 04/30/2015

Thursday
Jan162014

Google X's Smart Contact Lens Project

Today Google[x] announced their next project- a smart contact lens that detects glucose levels from your tears. Basically, it's an extremely small wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor sandwiched between two layers of contact lens material. The lens measures and relays your glucose levels around-the-clock, making diabetes management a significantly easier task. Soon enough, diabetics can say good bye to finger pricking. 

So it's not a contact lens version of Google Glass... yet.

Google is already testing working prototypes of their lens and has begun talks with the FDA. Project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz say their next step is to explore "integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate glucose levels having crossed above or below certain thresholds." Naturally, this technology is still in it's infancy, but given the exponential rate at which technology is advancing, squeezing in an array of LEDs could happen sooner than we think.

Naturally, Google isn't the only one working on smart contact lenses. Researchers at UNIST and Samsung are working on their own smart lenses for glaucoma patients. So while it's not a contact lens version of Google Glass just yet, these project gives us a teaser of what's lined up in the next generation of wearable and augmented reality tech- full-fledged immersion:

Source: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/introducing-our-smart-contact-lens.html

Read it on Medium: https://medium.com/p/2ffaf080ee26

Saturday
Dec142013

The Augmented Reality Workplace

SAP is partnering with Vuzix to create the next generation of augemented reality solutions for the enterprise. Much like Google Glass, Vuzix "Smart Glasses" are also an Android-based wearable computer. The key difference is that Vuzix's Smart Glasses M100 (besides looking clunkier) are targeted at commerical and professional users. This concept video showcases a warehouse picker navigating his environment while accessing relevant information feeds in real-time.

Now imagine a world where augmented reality, smart devices, drones and analytics work together seamlessly... Coming soon to an Amazon warehouse near you ;)

Wednesday
Sep182013

Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One - Which Phone Should You Buy?

The Apple iPhone 5S was finally announced last week. No longer sure which smartphone to buy? Isn't the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One better? Get the lowdown on these flagship models and learn how to determine which phone is the right one for you. Also my first YouTube tech video!   

Phone Spec Comparsion Table (Website):
Getting Galaxy S4 Features on your HTC One (YouTube):
Friday
Nov302012

VFX Test Film - Super Hero vs Mech Warrior

Here's an extended edit of the final project for my advanced Maya class with the ITP 3D wizard, Prof. Lance Winkel. The objective was to model, texture, rig and animate a 3D character from scratch. I had already been looking to do a CG + live action test using Image Based Lighting (IBL) so I thought I'd spice things up by making the project a live-action short. 

 

Lighting the CG model: I captured an HDRI probe (read: cheap reflective garden dome) on location and utilized Image Based Lighting (IBL) to light all the CG elements to match the live action footage. IBL is extremely useful, especailly in low-light scenarios as was the case in my footage. Sure, additional light sources and tweaking is required based on the specific angle/scene, but the HDRI map creates a solid starting point and does most of the work for you. 

3D Camera Mapping: As is the case with most short notice video shoots (done in two hours over finals week), some of the footage I went home with was less than optimal for vfx work. Most notably, the video I shot for the mech running down the tracks sequence had too much motion blur to be tracked in Boujou. To salvage the shot, I took a good clean frame of the train tracks footage and recreated the set using 3D camera mapping (also called photogrammetery). After some photoshop clean up work to fill holes that the perspective shift would cause I had the flexibility to do a lot of different camera moves. This made the the zoom in and out on the mech running towards the camera at a very easy task and gave me flexibility to create the exact camera move I wanted in the comfort of post-production, without sacrificing realism or quality. 

Learning Resources: Paul Debevec, AD and professor at the USC ICT  is a pioneer in the areas of HDRI, IBL and Photogrammetry. He also happens to have a plethora of resources about these areas online, including research papers and HDRI probe images: http://ict.debevec.org/~debevec/