U.Va. Computer Science Grad Student Develops ‘Musical Heart’

Musical Heart - UVA Today

Photo: Dan Addison

“Musical Heart works by merging a microphone that detects the pulse in arteries in the ear with earphones that bring in music from a playlist on a smartphone. An app selects tunes that optimize the heart rate of an individual user based on a given activity, whether running, walking or relaxing – playing fast-paced music for hard workouts, and slowing the beat for cool-downs. An algorithm refines the music selection process of the system by storing heart rate data and calculating the effects of selected music on the rate. Over time, it improves music selections to optimize the user’s heart rate.” (Fariss Samarrai, UVA Today)

Customise your favourite TV show

Customise your favourite TV show - NewScientist

Image: HBO/Everett/Rex Features

“Lost the plot watching Homeland or Game of Thrones? Wondering when a strange character you’d never seen before on Doctor Who was introduced? You’re not alone: the tremendous choice of programmes on offer on today’s multichannel TV services can make it hard to keep up.

But help is at hand, thanks to scene-analysis software that can compile a video sequence summarising any chosen plot line or character’s appearances in a TV series. Choose a scene, for instance, and the software will assemble a personalised video episode based around it. And in a move screenwriters will doubtless detest, it can also help fans compile customised episodes starring only their favourite actors. […]

The researchers successfully tested StoViz on three TV series with very different formats: the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, the fantasy drama Game of Thrones and the legal lunacy of Ally McBeal.” (Paul Marks, NewScientist)

 

Is Wikipedia going commercial?

“Having commissioned articles on Wikipedia dilutes one of the last respites from commercialization on the Internet. Perhaps worse, these commissioned endorsements are hidden by the guise of pure encyclopedic information.” (Maura Ewing, Salon.com)

“If PR editing from Wikipedia’s representatives — paid or not — were to be openly tolerated, Wikipedia’s reputation will most certainly be harmed in a way that is different from the harm done from vandalism or covert PR editing.” (Violet Blue, CNET)

My Dissertation Now Available

Greetings everyone…My dissertation “Network of Knowledge: Wikipedia as a Sociotechnical System of Intelligence” is now available here on the blog.

It will be permanently downloadable from the About Me page, but I also wanted to put it here on the front page in hopes that it might spur questions and comments.

A huge thanks to all of the bot operators and Wikipedia contributors who participated in the study. I plan to continue this research (once I get the IRB approval at my new institution) and would love to chat with other WP bot operators and people involved in the creation, maintenance, and governance of automated and semi-automated tools. Please email me if you’re interested.

Need an Expert? Try the Crowd

Need an Expert? Try the Crowd - University of Vermont

Photo: James Cridland

“Josh Bongard and Paul Hines, professors in UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, and their students, set out to discover if volunteers who visited two different websites could pose, refine, and answer questions of each other — that could effectively predict the volunteers’ body weight and home electricity use.

The experiment, the first of its kind, was a success: the self-directed questions and answers by visitors to the websites led to computer models that effectively predict user’s monthly electricity consumption and body mass index. […]

But the UVM team primarily sees their new approach as potentially helping to accelerate the process of scientific discovery. The need for expert involvement — in shaping, say, what questions to ask on a survey or what variable to change to optimize an engineering design — “can become a bottleneck to new insights,” the scientists write.

“We’re looking for an experimental platform where, instead of waiting to read a journal article every year about what’s been learned about obesity,” Bongard says, “a research site could be changing and updating new findings constantly as people add their questions and insights.” (Joshua E. Brown, University of Vermont)

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

Image: Nanyang Technical University

“Named the “Social Cloud TV”, this system allows you to watch TV programmes and online videos with your family and friends at the same time. The system leverages a cloud backend for media processing (e.g., video transcoding), such that the same video can be streamed into devices in the most suitable format.  When viewing a TV show or perhaps a live soccer match, you can invite family and friends to join your session, from either your phone book or social networking contact lists.” (Nanyang Technological University)