PAVED PARADISE: US company Solar Roadways aspire to build roads from solar panels. For the moment though they have a grant to go ahead and build a solar panel car park outside their offices in North Idaho. Each panel will produce about 7.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day. They'll monitor the panels to see how feasible bigger projects may be. The panels will contain solar cells, LED lights and electronics, hermetically sealed between layers of textured glass. Even if the panels only work for carparks that could be a valuable source of energy. The Spokesman Review has more here.
A FACE IN THE CROWD: After the recent riots in the UK the police are turning to facial recognition software to identify suspects. Scotland Yard has a newly updated face-matching program they're using, alongside public appeals and posting headshots to Flickr. Next story: rioters and those intent on criminal behaviour to start using face altering makeup ala bank robbers in TV crime shows. CBS News tells the story.
SWAYING THE CROWD: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems in Germany knew that people trapped in a highly congested area sway slowly from side to side as they try to keep their balance. They developed a system to analyse video of crowds and highlight potential problem areas for security personnel to check out. The system could be useful at any venue where crowds gather to help prevent deaths and injuries from stampedes. Watched wherever we go. New Scientist has more.
MOVING DOTS: Traditional motion capture puts dots on an actor, then cameras record where the dots go. A new scheme puts the cameras on the actor and uses software to reconstruct their motion. The system can be used in any setting, not just a specially constructed studio. That could be a fun app for the consumer market too. Technical details are in this video at Disney Research.
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DISTINCTIVE JIGGLES: A security researcher at the University of California, Davis has found a way to use a keylogger on Android phones — their app uses the motion sensors in the phone to detect what you're typing. The app has correctly guessed more than 70% of keystrokes on the virtual numerical keypad. The researchers believe accuracy will be lower on the full alphanumeric keypad though. This one is sure to show up in spy movies soon. New Scientist has the details.
- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz