Artificial eyeball does away with distorted images

October 30th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

I found this interesting article [1] at NewScientistTech written by Kurt Kleiner. They have a nice approach to create a curved digital sensor (spherical) mostly using conventional photolithography. There can be endless applications since this will help to get wide-angle but less distorted images from a small camera. Also the author suggests, these can be used in military surveillance as well as in medical applications. Read on for more information on how they created the sensor.

Artificial Eyeball

Artificial Eyeball

Extracted from the Article:
Mimicking the curves of a human retina has enabled a digital image sensor to take wide-angle pictures without distortion. This is possible thanks to an improved method of transferring silicon sensors onto a curved surface.

They built their hemispherical electronic eye by first using conventional photolithography to build silicon photodiodes 500 micrometers square and 1 micrometer thick. These were then wired into a flexible 16-by-16 array using chromium and gold.

Separately, they created a 1-cm-wide hemisphere out of a stretchy plastic, and stretched it into a flat surface. That stretched surface, or “drumhead”, was then pressed against the photodiode array.

The silicon squares stuck to the stretched plastic thanks to van der Waals forces, which was then allowed to spring back to its original hemispherical shape. As the array took its new form, the photodiodes packed together tightly and the connecting wires arced away from the surface, but the array was undamaged.

The reformed array was then glued to a curved glass surface, and a conventional lens attached. It now resembled a human eye in construction, with light entering the lens from the front, and passing to the curved “retina” containing the matrix of photodiodes behind.

[1] http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14477

Developing a WordPress theme from scratch!

October 29th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

It didn’t take too long for me to get rid of the previous “black” WordPress theme I’ve been using. But the most immediate reason was some encouragements given by few friends.

Okay, that is how the fun began! :) .

First, I wanted to use the layout I used back in 2004. Second, I wanted to make it a WordPress theme.

After extensive work with Photoshop, theme was okay to proceed to CSS design level. I found Guides and Slice Tools really useful in Photoshop. After playing with CSS a bit, the theme was ready to upload. There are few glitches here and there, but decided to deal with them later. The theme was tested in Firefox, Chrome and IE.

[1] and [2] tutorials made my life so easy. However, M$ Internet Exploder gave me enough trouble. Specially with the Sidebar. If I make a small change in a width of a DIV tag, the sidebar goes and sits right at the bottom of the screen.

[1] A CSS Layout with 2 columns
[2] So you want to create WordPress themes huh?

Pillow Talk: One more reason to “love” Computer Vision

October 19th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

How you can feel the love across thousands of miles?

Pillow Talk: A computer vision system enables couples to ‘touch’ each other while living far apart
More info found here

Usain Bolt, Fastest Man Ever

August 16th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Usain Bolt from Jamaica won the 100m Gold in Style. He set a new world record of 9.69s. He waved to the crowd even before completing the event, while others did their best to reach the finish line.

Lakshman Kadirgamar

August 12th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

LTTE assasinated Lakshman Kadirgamar on August 12, 2005 (exactly 3 years earlier for today). This is a perfect example for the claim – “LTTE is NOT the sole representative of Tamils”.

I can still remember how well, he faced a hostile interview with BBC. Also I remember the following after-dinner speech, one of the great speeches I came across. At the end of this blog you will find some more information about this great man.

————————————————————————————–

Captain Atapattu and members of the Sri Lankan team;

Members of the Sri Lankan community;

Friends of Sri Lanka;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Some historians say, I think uncharitably, that cricket is really a diabolical political strategy, disguised as a game, in fact a substitute for war, invented by the ingenious British to confuse the natives by encouraging them to fight each other instead of their imperial rulers.

The world is divided into two camps – those who revel in the intricacies of cricket and those who are totally baffled by it, who cannot figure out why a group of energetic young men should spend days, often in the hot sun or bitter cold, chasing a round object across an open field, hitting it from time to time with a stick – all to the rapturous applause of thousands, now millions, of ecstatic spectators across the world.

The game has developed a mystical language of its own that further bewilders those who are already befuddled by its complexities.

In the course of my travels, I have a hard time explaining to the non-cricketing world in America, China, Europe and Russia that a googly is not an Indian sweetmeat; t hat a square cut is not a choice selection of prime beef; t hat a cover drive is not a secluded part of the garden; t hat a bouncer is not a muscular janitor at a night club, t hat a yorker is not some exotic cocktail mixed in Yorkshire ; t hat a leg-break is not a sinister manoeuvre designed to cripple your opponent’s limbs below the waist.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me see whether politics and cricket have anything in common. Both are games. Politicians and cricketers are superficially similar, and yet very different. Both groups are wooed by the cruel public who embrace them today and reject them tomorrow.

Cricketers work hard; politicians only pretend to do so. Cricketers are disciplined; discipline is a word unknown to most politicians in any language. Cricketers risk their own limbs in the heat of honourable play, politicians encourage others to risk their limbs in pursuit of fruitless causes while they remain secure in the safety of their pavilions. Cricketers deserve the rewards they get; the people get the politicians they deserve. Cricketers retire young; politicians go on for ever. Cricketers unite the country; politicians divide it. Cricketers accept the umpire’s verdict even if they disagree with it; politicians who disagree with an umpire usually get him transferred. Cricketers stick to their team through victory and defeat, politicians in a losing team cross over and join the winning team. Clearly, cricketers are the better breed.

It is said that the task of a foreign minister is to lie effusively for his country abroad. That may be true, but it is certainly true that he has to fight for his country and defend it at all times. Our cricketers may recall that in the run-up to the 1995 World Cup Australia refused to play a match in Colombo , citing security reasons. Shane Warne said he wouldn’t come to Colombo because he couldn’t do any shopping there. The press asked me for a comment. I said: “Shopping is for sissies”.

There was a storm of protest in Australia . A TV interviewer asked me whether I had ever played cricket. I said I had played before he was born – without helmets and thigh guards, on matting wickets that were full of holes and stones, and I had my share of broken bones to show for it. My friend the Australian foreign minister was drawn into the fray. He phoned me. We decided to cool things down.

A combined India/Pakistan team came to Colombo at very short notice to play an exhibition match in place of the Australian match. It was a magnificent gesture of South Asian solidarity. Against strong security advice I went on to the field to greet and thank our friends from India and Pakistan . When the whole episode was over I sent a bouquet of flowers to my Australian counterpart. Flowers are also for sissies.

I remember vividly the incident that occurred in Australia when Murali was called for throwing and Arjuna led his team to the boundary, in protest, but cleverly refrained from crossing it. I was watching TV in Colombo . As a past captain I asked myself what I would have done in Arjuna’s place. In my mind I had no hesitation in supporting his decision. A few minutes later the phone rang. The President of the Board called to ask for advice. I said Arjuna was right because a captain must, on the field, stand up for his men and protect them, but the consequences must not be allowed to go too far; good lawyers must be engaged and a reasonable compromise must be reached. That was done.

During that tour I paid an official visit to Australia . My friend the Australian foreign minister in the course of a dinner speech invited me to go with him the next day to Adelaide , his home town, to watch the final day’s play. I knew what the result was going to be. In my reply I said that at the end of the match I did not want to be the one to tell him that Australia had “won by a Hair,’. Accordingly, I went back home, as planned, to maintain the good relations that we have with Australia .

Foreign ministers sometimes find themselves in very difficult situations. Take pity on the Foreign Minister of Uganda. President Idi Amin had told him that he wanted to change the name of Uganda to Idi. The minister was told to canvas world opinion and return in two weeks. He did not do so. He was summoned to come. He was now in danger. He was asked to explain.

He said: “Mr. President, I have been informed that there is a country called Cyprus . Its citizens are called Cypriots, If we change the name of our country to Idi our citizens would be called… Idiots”. Reason prevailed.

A shark was asked why diplomats were his preferred food. He replied because their brains being small are a tasty morsel, their spines being supple I can chew on them at leisure – and they come delightfully marinated in alcohol.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I approach the close of this brief address I wish to speak directly to our Sri Lankan team. Today we lost a match. But you lost to the rain and M/s Duckworth and Lewis. You did not lose to England .

Only a few weeks ago you had a resounding victory against South Africa . You will win again tomorrow. What is important is to keep up your confidence and spirits.

All of us, your fellow countrymen, and countrywomen, have been enormously impressed in recent times by the commitment, discipline, athleticism and determination that you have displayed in the field. The people are with you. We all know that you try hard. All of you, each and every one of you, are constantly busy honing your skills. We can see that you are maintaining a high standard of physical fitness. When the people see this it gives them not only immense pleasure but the moral uplift that Sri Lankans are capable of rising to the challenge of sustained performance.

Every team loses. It takes two to play a game. One has to lose. It is the manner in which you play the game which gives the promise of success to come. It is a great pleasure to see how youngsters are being drafted into the national team. Our team is united; it reflects all the races and religions of our country. Cricket, like all international sport today, is highly competitive; and so it must be, and so it must remain.

It must always be regarded as a very high honour to represent one’s country at any sport. All of you are role models for our youth. They will be looking to see how you take defeat. To exult in victory is easy, to remain well balanced in defeat is a mark of maturity.

Do not allow yourselves to be disturbed by the arm cha ir critics who will no doubt engage in a display of theoretical learning on how the game was played. Many of these critics have never put bat to ball. It makes them feel good to indulge in the pastime of amateur criticism. They do not know what it is to face fast bowling in fading light; to engage in a run race against daunting odds; to find the stamina and sheer physical   endurance to spend concentrated hours in the field of play. They know nothing of the psychological pressure that modern sportsmen are subject to. Therefore, my advice to you is – ignore them. Go your way with customary discipline and methodical preparation for the next game, the next series in different parts of the world under different conditions.

For me it has been a great pleasure and an honour to be here with you tonight. When I was invited to be the Chief Guest at this occasion on my way to New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations, I accepted with eager anticipation of meeting our cricketers and relaxing for a moment. Nobody told me that I had to make a speech, until last night. It came home to me then that there is no such thing as a free dinner.

————————————————————————————–

About Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Extracted from Wikipedia,

Sri Lankabhimanya Lakshman Kadirgamar PC (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005) was a Sri Lankan diplomat, politician and lawyer. After a distinguished career as a lawyer and international humanitarian, he was appointed as foreign minister of Sri Lanka in 1994 by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He achieved international prominence in this position due to his wide ranging condemnation of the LTTE and his efforts to have them banned internationally. He served as Foreign Minister until 2001, and then again from April 2004 until his assassination in August 2005, which was carried out by an LTTE sniper team.

LTTE Terrorism (The beginning of the end)

August 7th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Extracted from [1],
The US state department claims that its reason for banning LTTE as a proscribed terrorist group is based on allegations that it does not have respect for human rights and that it does not adhere to the standards of conduct expected of a resistance movement or what might be called “freedom fighters”.Other countries have also proscribed LTTE under the same rationale. Some countries cite that LTTE attacks civilians and recruit children.[2] The FBI has described the LTTE as the “amongst the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfit in the world”.[3]

LTTE never wanted a peaceful solution. After several attempts for peace talks, Sri Lanka government was finally forced to use weapons against this (terrorist) group. Considering the recent victories over LTTE, it seems this is the beginning of the end for LTTE.

A good movie illustrating the brutality of LTTE, (may not suitable for minors)

[1] wikipedia
[2] janes.com
[3] fbi.gov

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Robotics

July 14th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

One of my favorite areas of research is Robotics. Today I came across the following, which made a lot of sense since I am into SOA too.

http://www.adarobotics.com/main/technology/soa-robotics.html

adarobotics discusses about the SOA nature of its robotics implementation.

It seems the following is the result of their implementation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcyM54h6eC8

Software to correct your English Grammar

July 13th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

I am into SOA Governance these days. Part of my job includes writing Articles.  So came the interest of having the $subject. After browsing I saw the following text segment about English language, and sadly the author is unknown. Boy!, Natural Language Processing is challenging!!!

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down. In which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.”

Nokia N95 / Mobitel 3.5G works with Ubuntu!

May 30th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

UDPATE: New Ubuntu release has made the life easy. You just need to follow on screen wizard to configure everything. Just select the country and the provider “Mobitel” (or even “Dialog”) from the menu.

I’ve been using my N95 8GB / Mobitel Broadband (3.5G HSPA) to connect to internet for a while now. But I was limited to Windows platform only. Today, I wanted to access internet using my linux partition too. This time google came to rescue.

This is how to do it…

Connect your phone via data cable, open terminal & type

lsusb

now you will get the following output

janapriya@ace-laptop:~$ lsusb
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 0421:0070 Nokia Mobile Phones
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0b97:7761 O2 Micro, Inc.
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0b97:7762 O2 Micro, Inc. Oz776 SmartCard Reader
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 04b3:310b IBM Corp. Red Wheel Mouse
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:a005 Dell Computer Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

janapriya@ace-laptop:~$

Please note that above is for my laptop. Yours might be different.

Now note the line in which Nokia Mobile Phones is written. It has two number one is 0421 & other is 0070

we’ll take these numbers as 0×421 & 0×0070

0421 is the Vendor ID & 0070 is the Product ID

Now enter this comand.

sudo /sbin/modprobe usbserial vendor=0x(vid) product=0x(pid)

eg, in my case::: sudo /sbin/modprobe usbserial vendor=0×0421 product=0×0070

Now enter this command

wvdialconf create

You’ll get a long output which will be like

Scanning your serial ports for a modem.

Port Scan: S0 S1 S2 S3
WvModem: Cannot get information for serial port.
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 — OK
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 Z — OK
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 — OK
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 — OK
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 — OK
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 — OK
ttyACM0: Modem Identifier: ATI — Nokia
ttyACM0: Speed 4800: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 9600: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 19200: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 38400: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 57600: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 115200: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 230400: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Speed 460800: AT — OK
ttyACM0: Max speed is 460800; that should be safe.
ttyACM0: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0 — OK

Found an USB modem on /dev/ttyACM0.

Modem configuration written to create.

ttyACM0: Speed 460800; init “ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0?

Now.. notice the output says that there is a modem at /dev/ttyACM0 & max speed is 460800

now enter this command

sudo vi /etc/wvdial.conf

A file will open in vi editor. Now delete everything in that file & paste the following there

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyACM0

Baud = 460800

Init1 = ATZ

Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

ISDN = 0

Modem Type = Analog Mode

OK AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”mobitel3g”

Phone = *99***1#

Username = “mobitel3g”

Password = “mobitel3g”

Stupid Mode = 1

save the file & you are done

Now whenever you need to connect, open terminal & type wvdial. Wait till some sort of IP adress is displayed like

pppd: ?[06][06][08]` [06][08]

primary DNS address 218.248.240.135

pppd: ?[06][06][08]` [06][08]

secondary DNS address 218.248.240.79

pppd: ?[06][06][08]` [06][08]

Now you are connected. Later hit ctrl+c to disconnect.

Vesak Festival, 2008

May 19th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

It has been a while since I actively done something for Vesak. This time, I decided to make some Vesak Lanterns. It took me an entire day to complete 5 of them. I felt great at the end. Most importantly, my parents are happy to see them. It reminds me, how we (my family) celebrated Vesak in old days!

For curious minds, Vesak [1] [2] [3] is the most important of the Buddhist festivals and is celebrated on the full moon in May. It celebrates the Buddha’s birthday, day of Enlightenment and also marks his passing away.

img_0202.jpg

img_0279.jpg

[1] http://www.buddhanet.net/vesak.htm

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesak

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/holydays/wesak.shtml