Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones as Binaural Microphones

My Sony smartphone has an unusual TRRRS (Tip-Ring-Ring-Ring-Seal) connector, allowing it to use very reasonably priced noise cancelling headphones that have an extra microphone in each earphone.

I found that the Sony app Sound Recorder allows selecting recording directly from these two microphones, and are great for binaural recording, and I gave it a go walking along a few busy streets. You can listen on YouTube and Soundcloud:

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 1920×960 resolution. It is easy to do manually, but many people asked for an automatic droplet.

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 FAST) droplet’.
  3. Be patient while your video is encoded to various formats.
  4. Rename the finished ‘video_x’ folder to a name of your choice.

You can download the droplet here:

Recent improvements include:

  • Adding three variations of quality, which can be accessed by the viewer in Settings.
  • Improving the quality of the default playback setting.
  • Automatically switching to the lowest quality when used on a mobile device.
  • Using a single .webm video, as the format is very rarely used, and very time consuming to encode.
  • Outputs to a named folder.

Here is a demonstration video and another.

Amazon Wish List 😉

Removing JavaScript Debugging in Production with Laravel Elixir

While using Gulp with Laravel’s Elixir, I found while it minifies/uglifies JavaScript on a production build, it doesn’t strip JavaScript debugging. It was also far more time consuming to implement this as a custom Task or Extension.

Stripping debugging allows you to freely use Console.debug() and similar debugging calls in development, which otherwise will reduce the performance of your JavaScript application, and in some cases make them completely unusable to certain browsers.

So I did it myself, and made a Pull request (Github) with the official Laravel Elixir repository, which was approved. Nice to give back.

Github Pull Request for Laravel Elixir

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

Jonathan Hassall