A Droplet for KRPano for Publishing 360 Videos

Here is the first ver­sion of a sim­ple droplet for con­vert­ing and pub­lish­ing 360 panoramic videos. It is intended to be used for the processed out­put file from a Ricoh Theta S that has the stan­dard 1920x960 resolution.

It con­ve­niently includes 32-bit and 64-bit ver­sions of FFMPEG for per­form­ing video conversion.


  1. Extract to your KRPano folder.
  2. Drag your MP4 video file to the ‘MAKE PANO (VIDEO)’.
  3. Be patient while your video is encoded to var­i­ous formats.
  4. Rename the fin­ished ‘video’ folder to a name of your choice.

You can down­load the first ver­sion of my droplet here:

You will likely find that some users have to wait for the video to buffer or play­back may stut­ter. It would be opti­mal to reduce the qual­ity, but, as a KRPano user you are likely will­ing to sac­ri­fice speed for quality.

Here is a demon­stra­tion video.

Ama­zon Wish List 😉

Open Bionics robotic hand for amputees

“A pro­to­type 3D-printed robotic hand that can be made faster and more cheaply than cur­rent alter­na­tives is this year’s UK win­ner of the James Dyson Award.” (BBC News link)

This is a fan­tas­tic idea, which has so much value to peo­ple with­out limbs. Bionic pros­thet­ics can cost up to £100,000, and £30,000 for a sin­gle hand.

The 3D-printed robotic hand in the arti­cle costs £2,000, which is the same price as a pros­thetic hook, and offers sim­i­lar func­tion­al­ity to the top-of-the-range options.

The designer gets to develop his inter­est in cre­at­ing a prod­uct, while help­ing the esti­mated 11 mil­lion peo­ple who are hand amputees worldwide.

Open Bionics

Rock, Paper Scissors

I lis­tened to an inter­est­ing pod­cast today, explor­ing the game Rock, Paper, Scis­sors, pre­dic­tion pat­terns and game theory.

Being clever isn’t an effec­tive way of win­ning, as peo­ple are rarely per­fect deci­sion mak­ers. The Nash equi­lib­rium is only rel­e­vant to domains with per­fect deci­sion mak­ers. So it is impor­tant to con­sider the choices of others.

In the pod­cast, it was men­tioned that from large datasets:

The biggest chunk of peo­ple will think one step ahead, the next biggest chunk of peo­ple will think totally ran­domly, the next biggest chunk of peo­ple will think two steps ahead, and a small num­ber of peo­ple will go beyond two steps.

It also con­sid­ers crowds and groups influ­enc­ing decisions.

Link to the pod­cast: Rock, Paper, Scis­sors (BBC) (Direct MP3)

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Project Tango and Visual-Inertial Localization

This project enti­tled “Large-Scale, Real-Time, Visual-Inertial Local­iza­tion” is inter­est­ing, using Google’s exper­i­men­tal ‘Tango’ hard­ware to improve real-time track­ing of loca­tion and position.

The hard­ware is a tablet com­puter with a motion track­ing cam­era, a 4 megapixel 2µp pixel cam­era, inte­grated depth sens­ing and a high-performance proces­sor. This equip­ment aids in tasks like scan­ning rooms. A lim­ited num­ber of kits were pro­duced and given or sold to pro­fes­sional devel­op­ers with the intent of mak­ing tech­no­log­i­cal developments.

One day we may see more accu­rate and inter­est­ing aug­mented real­ity. I’ve often thought over­lay­ing infor­ma­tion onto our cur­rent real­ity would be inter­est­ing. Walk­ing down a street and see­ing for-sale signs could be inter­est­ing. It may just being over­loaded in adver­tis­ing, mak­ing a vir­tual eye­sore though.


Get Out of My Lab: Large-scale, Real-Time Visual-Inertial Local­iza­tion
Simon Lynen, Torsten Sat­tler, Michael Bosse, Joel Hesch, Marc Polle­feys and Roland Sieg­wart.
Autonomous Sys­tems Lab, ETH Zurich
Com­puter Vision and Geom­e­try Group, Depart­ment of Com­puter Sci­ence, ETH Zurich

Using a Cellular/Mobile Phone Network to Send Data

Today I used an Arduino repro­gram­ma­ble elec­tron­ics board and a GSM/GPRS modem to send data to the Inter­net. This will be use­ful for the sen­sors I intend to build.

You can see a video of it oper­at­ing below. One win­dow shows the out­put from the ser­ial inter­face as it makes a request to my web server and out­puts the response, and the other win­dow dis­plays the access logs on my web server.

I used a soft­ware UART (par­al­lel and ser­ial data con­verter), as using the Arduino’s built-in ser­ial inter­face caused con­flicts. Learn­ing to use a soft­ware UART is going to be very use­ful for the next step in the project.

I did con­sider mak­ing a Cat Facts for Arduino, but I resisted the distraction.

I didn’t have any issues with power spikes caus­ing a reset (the GSM board uses a lot of power) as this is a ver­sion 2 board with soft start circuitry:

Soft Start Circuitry
Soft Start Cir­cuitry (Source)

I also used AT codes to send SMS text mes­sages. A full list of AT codes are avail­able here, and I used these:

Send a text

Set to human read­able text mode:

Set phone num­ber:

Enter the message

Send hex 1A to escape message.

List texts


Read a text

AT+CMGR=<index> (indexes start at 1)

Delete a text



The only stum­bling point I had was when the GSM modem was set to a dif­fer­ent baud rate than my soft­ware ser­ial inter­face. To change this, I sent the AT com­mand AT+IPR=9600 to recon­fig­ure the modem.

I learnt that AT com­mands are also used to send and receive via TCP/UDP. This made it much more straight­for­ward than some kind of low level sys­tem I had imag­ined. All that is required from the Arduino is to send AT com­mands (e.g. AT+CIPSEND=) and lis­ten for incom­ing responses.

Expla­na­tion for non-techies:

I made an elec­tronic cir­cuit that can send infor­ma­tion to the Inter­net. This will be use­ful for mak­ing a sen­sor e.g. a tem­per­a­ture sen­sor for an office that is acces­si­ble on any computer/smartphone.

Smart scanning technology detects early signs of potholes

Smart scanning technology detects early signs of potholesInter­est­ing work by a team led by Not­ting­ham Trent Uni­ver­sity on mak­ing a mobile scan­ner that can detect early signs of pot­holes. It uses con­ven­tional cam­eras, 3D scan­ners and com­puter vision to detect ‘rav­el­ling’. Mov­ing this around at traf­fic speed mounted to a vehi­cle, and com­bin­ing it with GPS and a suit­able log­ging sys­tem, it could be used to improve road conditions.

Researchers are devel­op­ing smart scan­ning tech­nol­ogy using exist­ing cam­eras to detect the early signs of pot­holes and deter­mine their severity.

The tech­nol­ogy, devel­oped by a team led by Not­ting­ham Trent Uni­ver­sity research fel­low Dr Sen­than Math­a­van, scans roads for rav­el­ling — the loss of aggre­gates from the asphalt which leads to pot­holes and cracks.

Ravelling - an early indication of potholes
Rav­el­ling — an early indi­ca­tion of pot­holes — Source

Com­bined with 2D and 3D scan­ners on a pave­ment mon­i­tor­ing vehi­cle, a com­puter vision algo­rithm can exam­ine the road with accu­racy at traf­fic speed dur­ing day or night.

The sys­tem works by detect­ing dif­fer­ent tex­tures of the road to iden­tify rav­el­ling and dis­tin­guishes it from shad­ows and blem­ishes such as tire marks, oil spills and recent pot­hole repairs.

“It’s imper­a­tive for author­i­ties across the world to be able to mon­i­tor road con­di­tions effi­ciently and safely,” said Dr Math­a­van, a research fel­low of the School of Archi­tec­ture, Design and the Built Environment.

“For the first time, aca­d­e­mic research has addressed the issue of detect­ing rav­el­ling in an auto­mated way, which has led to the devel­op­ment of this novel soft­ware which can be used across the industry.”

The research was pub­lished today in Trans­porta­tion Research Record, a lead­ing aca­d­e­mic jour­nal for trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture research. It also involves Dr Mujib Rah­man of Brunel Uni­ver­sity, Mar­tyn Stonecliffe-Jones of Dynat­est UK Ltd, and Dr Khur­ram Kamal of the National Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ences and Tech­nol­ogy in Pakistan.

Dur­ing the research, the team found that the tech­nol­ogy detected road sur­faces cor­rectly in all 900 images tested. It took approx­i­mately 0.65 sec­onds to 3D process the rav­el­ling mea­sure­ments, but it is believed that this could be reduced further.

potholeDr Rah­man added: “Pot­holes, in their worst poten­tial form, can cre­ate dan­ger­ous dri­ving con­di­tions and cause costly dam­age to vehicles.

“What this tech­nol­ogy allows us to do is cap­ture bet­ter qual­ity infor­ma­tion on road con­di­tions, with­out dis­rupt­ing the flow of traf­fic or incur­ring unnec­es­sary costs.

“This could be a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in the way that pot­holes are man­aged, help­ing improve the time­li­ness and effi­ciency of repairs.”

Source: http://www.ntu.ac.uk/apps/news/169006 – 6/Smart_scanning_technology_detects_early_signs_of_potholes.aspx

Jonathan Hassall