Editor’s Note: AI is behind many of Google’s products and is a big priority for us as a company (as you may have heard at Google I/O yesterday). So we’re sharing highlights on how AI already affects your life in ways you might not know, and how people from all over the world have used AI to build their own technology.
Machine learning is at the core of many of Google’s own products, but TensorFlow—our open source machine learning framework—has also been an essential component of the work of scientists, researchers and even high school students around the world. At Google I/O, we’re hearing from some of these people, who are solving big (we mean, big) problems—the origin of the universe, that sort of stuff. Here are some of the interesting ways they’re using TensorFlow to aid their work.
Ari Silburt, a Ph.D. student at Penn State University, wants to uncover the origins of our solar system. In order to do this, he has to map craters in the solar system, which helps him figure out where matter has existed in various places (and at various times) in the solar system. You with us? Historically, this process has been done by hand and is both time consuming and subjective, but Ari and his team turned to TensorFlow to automate it. They’ve trained the machine learning model using existing photos of the moon, and have identified more than 6,000 new craters.
Switching from outer space to the rainforests of Brazil: Topher White (founder of Rainforest Connection) invented “The Guardian” device to prevent illegal deforestation in the Amazon. The devices—which are upcycled cell phones running on Tensorflow—are installed in trees throughout the forest, recognize the sound of chainsaws and logging trucks, and alert the rangers who police the area. Without these devices, the land must be policed by people, which is nearly impossible given the massive area it covers.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the fastest growing cause of blindness, with nearly 415 million diabetic patients at risk worldwide. If caught early, the disease can be treated; if not, it can lead to irreversible blindness. In 2016, we announced that machine learning was being used to aid diagnostic efforts in the area of DR, by analyzing a patient’s fundus image (photo of the back of the eye) with higher accuracy. Now we’re taking those fundus images to the next level with TensorFlow. Dr. Jorge Cuadros, an optometrist in Oakland, CA, is able to determine a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease by analyzing their fundus image with a deep learning model.
Good news for green thumbs of the world, Shaza Mehdi and Nile Ravenell are high school students who developed PlantMD, an app that lets you figure out if your plant is diseased. The machine learning model runs on TensorFlow, and Shaza and Nile used data from plantvillage.com and a few university databases to train the model to recognize diseased plants. Shaza also built another app that uses a similar approach to diagnose skin disease.
To learn more about how AI can bring benefits to everyone, check out ai.google.
from Official Google Blog http://bit.ly/2ws8HfT
“Photography isn’t Instagram.” says Photographer Daniel Fjäll. “I think it’s important people try something new and break away from the trends. Think for themselves. That’s when the good stuff comes to you. I hope some of my pictures will spark someone’s inspiration. Also that you can still do photography even if you don’t travel the world if you work with what you got.”
Why did you get into photography?
I picked up photography after my dad put his camera on the shelf. Mainly to continue documenting our travels but I soon realized there was a lot more than just documenting after scratching the surface. I saw what other people was doing with it and ever since then my passion has been to pursue my goal of someday be really good at photography.
What photographers are your biggest influences?
Almost all my inspiration these days are from various photographers on Instagram. These kids that make you go ‘How come I didn’t think of that..?’ and ‘That’s genius!’. People that ignore all the rules and do their own style gets to me the most. No photographer got famous by copying somebody else. Don’t be the coverband.
How long have you been shooting?
I bought a phone back in 2004 that had a camera. Horrible by all standards but it got me introduced to composition and light. My first real camera I got 2009 when I was 19 but I bought my first ‘real camera’ a DSLR back in 2010 and I’ve been in love with the struggle since then.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
For me personally it’s about communicating your vision on life itself. I’ve always been observant of my surroundings and the camera is the perfect tool between me and my momentarily observation. The fact that you can freeze that observation and share it with the world instantly is incredible. It’s a medium that is as clear as any language if you just put all of yourself into it.
Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
A bit of both I’d say. Perhaps somewhat more a creator. Visually pleasing matter tingles the artsy fartsy in me. I sometimes shoot for the pure aesthetics but sometimes just looking for a expression in a portrait.
What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?
I’m naturally drawn to light. I get a good size meal and go walking around searching for good spots. But a good spot alone doesn’t suffice. It needs layers. A sunset without an interesting foreground is just another sunset. My head is on overdrive when trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do.
Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
I shoot film so I don’t really edit my pictures. I grab a certain film and I’m stuck on that decision. If I grab a roll of black & white film I don’t have to consider colour in my observations. Eliminating options are often limiting, but within limitations creativity thrives. Try getting it right in the camera and do as little processing as possible has always been rewarding.
Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio
Like it says in my Instagram bio; The extra in the ordinary. I’m always looking for the ordinary with a twist or an extra layer of ‘oh/ah’. I try showing people what they’ve seen before but in a different way. The way I see it. My portfolio is a mess with a mix of everything but there’s a overall theme. Keep it simple.
What made you want to get into your genre?
Unlike let’s say a landscape photographer I don’t travel around much. At least not enough to categorize myself as such. Finding the beauty in the mundane is challenging. If it’s easy I get bored. I’m the most active in that landscape and I try to work with what I got.
Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision
I got a whole shelf of cameras and lenses for certain stuff but my main camera is an old Leica rangefinder camera. It’s the most basic thing you could imagine. It doesn’t even need batteries. But I know it like the back of my hand. It never gets in the way of me and my subject. If I end up with a messed up exposure – I blame myself and not the camera. My favourite lens is my 35mm Summicron for the same camera. Super small and good for almost everything I shoot.
What motivates you to shoot?
It’s my escapism, my meditation. Photography is hard. If I keep getting good images I move on to try something new. It teaches me to observe my surroundings in yet a new way. When I get my pictures back from the lab and I see something I really like it gives me motivation to get out there and try to top that.
Polaroid Land Camera 180
Rollei 35 S
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII
Leica Summicron 35mm f/2.0 V4
Leica Summicron 50mm f/2.0 Rigid
Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 (Post War)
Nikon SB800 flash
Fujifilm EF-X20 flash
Pakon f135 scanner
Epson V800 scanner
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from The Phoblographer http://bit.ly/2rwan2x
If you love synths, you’ll want a guide to Berlin’s Superbooth. What was still just an actual booth a few years ago has grown into one of the world’s biggest synthesizer showcases. There was so much new, it’s actually hard to keep track. Here’s some assistance.
About the festival: Superbooth, held in a former East German children’s community center in the city’s Köpenick suburb, was more packed in 2018 than ever.
That’s partly a sign of the growth of modular makers. This event calls Berlin home thanks to Schneidersladen (née Schneidersbüro), the boutique synth shop that became a landmark and a beacon to lovers of electronic instruments, particularly as analog circuitry and Eurorack modular synths have seen major growth in the 21st century. Andreas Schneider and his team, and later their ALEX4 distributor and the Superbooth operation itself, have helped champion those instruments.
But like that shop, Superbooth also gathers boutique makers of many stripes, plus big manufacturers like KORG, Elektron, and Roland, each of whom had commanding presences (among others).
The overall feeling is of a place where synth makers and musicians come together, with gear at center stage. (There are panels and performances, too, but they feel a pleasant side show to the workshops and booths.)
This year’s themes: There are still wires everywhere. But “analog” sound sources aren’t the major concern they once were – or, for that matter, classic gear as models (even if Behringer clones were a big buzz). Now, you’ll see plenty of computer-like sequencers in racks, digital oscillators (including FM synthesis), more alternative control interfaces (from touch to gestures to biosensing), and fresh ideas built around digital tech.
Actually, maybe the openness of ideas is a big part of Superbooth’s easy-going atmosphere. Because modules aren’t complete products in themselves, they often seem as much a physical embodiment of an idea as a product. Even with some builders marketing complete “systems,” there was a hunger to connect gear.
But even if you’re not into modular… Here’s the funny thing. Superbooth has managed to become the world’s premiere synth show, not just modular show. Computers were mostly eclipsed, and you didn’t see a lot of guitar- or vocal-focused gear, but every other object that generates sound – from desktop synths to Theremins – was on hand, with some pretty big news.
Okay, there’s so much stuff – I’m going to make this a really fast log with some in-a-nutshell descriptions.
Things I left out of this list:
1. Stuff introduced earlier / shown before (as at NAMM in the USA, earlier this year)
2. Things I forgot / didn’t see
On #2, please feel free to remind me or make a case for something you found interesting. There’s actually way too much stuff to cover everything, though, so I did intend to pick highlights but …. I’m sure there’s more.
Erik Norlander (also creator of the Alesis Andromeda) shows us the IK Multimedia UNO he worked on with Soundmachines’ Davide Mancini.
I’ve covered these already, as they made some of the biggest impact at the show (and on general audiences), perhaps with the exception of the Behringer clones (more on that in a bit).
MFB’s Tanzbär-2 was instant drool-worthy stuff, combining analog drum sounds, digital drum sounds with sample loading, and an analog bassline with easy access to sounds and faders. And it’s made in Berlin, so – score one for the home team.
The Polyend/Dreadbox Medusa is a deep synth paired with an expressive grid and extensive live recording and sequencing features. And as with the MFB, pretty much everyone I talked to instantly wanted one, so there’s that.
The $199 IK Multimedia UNO. Combining a powerful analog synth with a sequencer and lots of modulation, all in a battery-powered unit you can play right away at a low price, is an easy win. It’s also the work of a collaboration between soundmachines and IK.
Erica Synths Techno System just does everything you need for percussion and bassline and distortion and mixing thereof, and sounds amazing.
Roland’s SYSTEM-500 modules strike a nice balance between features of the 100m line, the SH-5, and newer ideas. Plus, again, Roland got to stake out the super-cool space-themed part of the building.
Bastl’s modules are noteworthy, even if not the most buzzed-about gear at Superbooth this year, for two reasons: one, I think they’ve got waveshaping interface down with Timber, and two, the 1983 MIDI-to-CV module does clever automatic tuning, for polyphony across modules.
Desktop synths and toys
The Center for Haptic Audio Interaction Research chair.audio. This is perhaps the most exciting innovation shown at Superbooth. Vibration-based sensing and haptic technology produces a control interface that behaves more like an acoustic instrument. It’s the result of a research team based in Weimar, Germany – check their complete site for an explanation, but more on this on CDM soon, for sure. The results are stunning – suggesting a new kind of performance interaction, and a window to the worlds of electronic sound that descends more from acoustic percussion and less from organs and keyboards. Watch – it’s jaw-dropping:
Dave Smith Instruments Prophet X. Dave Smith have gone to the high end with this one – it’s a new flagship Prophet, combining a digital 8-voice stereo digital synth, a new sample-based sound engine, and those signature DSI analog filters and circuitry. Basically, you get a Prophet workstation – part Prophet synth, part sample engine with 150 GB content, and all the extras. And it costs four grand, though this seems like a new generation of workstation keyboard / computer sample engine replacement. (Dave Smith for Hans Zimmer?) DSI have posted a complete product page. It’s sort of a shame Keyboard Magazine (USA) is no longer printed on trees, as obviously this would be on the cover.
Soulsby Atmultitron. This is like the 8-bit workstation to DSI’s high-res one. No gigs of samples or high resolution here – just a keyboard packing all of Paul Soulsby’s brilliant and weird 8-bit creations into a single keyboard with joystick and controls.
Pittsburgh Modular Electronic Sequence Designer. Sequencers were all over the place at Superbooth, but perhaps the most useful was Pittsburgh Modular’s entry – a 4-channel, 32-step sequencer with loads of performance and composition options. It’s a little like having a KOMPLEX Sequencer from KOMA, but in a more manageable form factor.
Twisted Electrons introduced some toys in the best sense. The 8-bit uAcid8 borrows from their bigger acid8 wavetable synth, while the 4-voice hapiNES is “inspired by” the NES game synth. Both have push-button access to some clever features like filter wobble, and both cost just 99EUR. The inspiration of the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators was left in the open – they even had a couple of those plugged into these, jamming together.
A hardware tool for the Prologue. KORG hinted that they were bringing hardware SDKs to play with that would allow developers to make stuff for their Prologue polysynth. KORG’s Etienne Noreau-Hebert talked to us about it. It’s basically one Prologue voice on a board (with cute lasercut side stands), with audio in and out jacks so you can hear what you’re doing, and exactly the circuitry you’d have on the full keyboard. Writing in C (with limited C++ extensions), you can make your own oscillators and effects, then ship them to the Prologue user base. There’s not much to this other than that, apart from a handful of conveniences like lookup tables, but it still seems like fun. And it’s the first instance I can think of that a hardware platform worked in this way.
Holon bio interface. This was crazy fun to play with. Using an Apple Watch or a custom wristband sensor (or just your iPhone), this interface tracks your pulse as well as movement. The upshot: jog around, and music responds. It’s like having a generative composer following you around, writing music for your workout – so that even when you pause to wait for a light to change at an intersection, the music answers accordingly. They also have a modular interface for this. Awaiting Apple approval. (holon.ist site seems not to be up quite yet, either).
Soundmachines Arches. Touch interfaces were everywhere, but Soundmachines’ Arches was a standout. Not only does it provide touchable strips, but you get light-up feedback, recording and looping, pressure sensitivity and z-axis control, and tons of patchability in addition to MIDI and USB. It’s really a gestural sequencing instrument as well as control interface, with loads of pattern controls for automating as you play. See the full product page for more.
Snazzy FX pedals. If you feel a bit left out of the fun as an instrumentalist looking for pedals, Snazzy has you covered – some brilliant and completely weirdo guitar pedals from the USA, found in the Erica Synths booth.
u-he Civilization. With lite-brite rainbow colors and just a few pots, the entry of plug-in developer into the modular world was a strange one. This module is a 4×4 matrix mixer – but, with some taps of those pots, it’s also a quantizer and sample & hold module – and all of that is color coded. Basically, a single space lets you command a bunch of connections and modules quickly, making Civilization an interesting choice for saving space.
It’s a bit nuts, but it also shows some of the advantage of multi-functional thinking from software blurring over into hardware.
Humble Audio Quad Operator. Hailing from San Francisco, Humble Audio have delivered a four-operator FM synth in a Eurorack module – complete with a matrix of pots. Everything can be modulated – and you can patch in audio signal. You can choose algorithms, or mix together your own sound shapes. It’s basically everything you’d want from a software FM synth, but in modular form – brlliant stuff, and hope to look at it more.
NERDSEQ is a chip music-style tracker in a module. It’s not new – I saw some pre-modular prototype years ago even at Musikmesse – but each year, its developer takes it further. This year, cartridges containing open source synths, including the full MeeBlip anode with analog filter, were available. So you can plug in an entire synth and use it in the tracker, just as easily as you would play Excitebike. Don’t blow on the synth cartridge, though.
You can plug in a game controller, too.
Hexinverter Mindphaser. Well, this is basically your dream oscillator – an analog “complex oscillator” with phase modulation and waveshaping. And in addition to beautiful controls and patching, it just sounds ridiculously good:
In a way, maybe this is one of the best Superbooth moments. It demonstrates analog circuitry, behaving futuristic – voltages making those computer bits a little jealous. (I may seem like I’m now anthropomorphizing numbers whilst my hypocrisy takes down the very name of my site, but just remember the CDM motto – the ‘d’ stands for whatever you want it to.)
I just wish I hadn’t failed to get on the Eurorack manufacturing craze or the cryptocurrency thing, because now I … can’t afford all that mindphasing. (Or at least, thinking about it is causing some mindphasing.)
Insane Clone Posse
Behringer have gone clone mad – with Roland Corporation circa 1980 (give or take a couple of years) being a particular target.
Roland’s SH-101 synth (1982), VP-330 vocoder (1979), TR-808 (1980), and even two pedals based on the JUNO-60 (1982) were on the show floor, not to mention the announcement that Behringer’s cut-rate Eurorack line will be based on the SYSTEM-100 module line. And no one can argue that Behringer are bringing back products that Roland won’t, since Roland has unveiled the SH-01, VP-03, TR-08 (and TR-8S and TR-8), and JU-06, plus their own SYSTEM-500 Eurorack, respectively. Behringer aren’t just copying Roland from decades past, in other words – their whole brand strategy comes straight out of the 2017-2018 Roland product catalog.
Behringer’s offerings are cheaper, yes. But those aren’t profits going to some rich fat cats: they pay for the marketing and support operations of Roland worldwide, which arguably helps create the market Behringer can then come in and exploit (and certainly which pays for some jobs).
It’s not just Roland. Behringer copied Sequential Circuits (now Dave Smith Instruments) Pro-One, though the prototype on the floor copied the look and feel more effectively than the architecture. There was also the ARP Odyssey, which had recently been re-engineered and re-released by KORG. And Behringer also showed the Neutron, which looks suspiciously in board layout like Moog’s Mother-32 semi-modular.
Nowhere to be seen: the DeepMind, the one synth Behringer created that’s actually new.
On the other hand, maybe what makes this less remarkable at this point is that the 101 and 808 in particularly already have countless clones in software and hardware. Behringer is, perversely, almost trading on their reputation for being the clone maker.
Behringer’s strategy (via parent Music Tribe) and its impact on the industry deserves more investigation. Past clones have landed the company in legal trouble with Roland/BOSS and Mackie. I’m researching that story and will report more separately.
But were there new products from Behringer? Well, no – not unless you’ve been in cryogenic stasis since 1982.
Oh, so much weirdness. Want a beer tap in a module, for instance?