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iCandy: A Better View

A panoramic vision system, an eye tracker, and a 3-D model of a fetus

1 min read
iCandy: A Better View

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
Researchers at INRIA, the French public research center, recently revealed the first wearable gadget that gives humans eyes in the back of their heads. The helmet-mounted prototype, called FlyVIZ, increases the wearer’s field of view from 180 degrees to 360 degrees. The team developed a processing algorithm that transforms images captured by a panoramic video-camera system (the bit that sticks up from the crown of the helmet) so that the head-mounted display can show it all.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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