Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

mardi 10 février 2004

In this story, BBC News Online reports that "scientists are developing a wearable, 'intelligent' computer system to help humans or robots explore Mars on future missions to the Red Planet."

The "cyborg astrobiologist" consists of a person equipped with a compact computer, camera, finger mouse, head-mounted display and keyboard.
It is designed to help explorers select interesting geological features for investigation on the Martian surface.

The system was designed by Patrick McGuire, now working at the Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid, Spain.

Hers is a photograph of McGuire playing with one of his robotics devices (Credit: unknown).

Patrick McGuire playing with one of his robotics devices

So, how does this work?

The intelligent program produces separate images showing the hue, saturation and intensity of a given scene.
These "derived" images are then divided into different "segmented regions" based on features in the image. Each of these segments is then assigned a number based on how large or small it is.
The smaller regions tend to contain the most uncommon features and are therefore considered most interesting.

And what do you do with these uncommon features? They are combined into "interest maps".

"The user can define the initial values to give it a bias towards edges or a bias towards polysaturated pixels," Dr McGuire explains.

Gee, 'polysaturated pixels'? Try to find this with a search engine!

Source: BBC News Online, February 10, 2004

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