W3C looks to improve speech recognition technology for web transactions

first_imgW3C, the standards-setting body for the Internet (World Wide Web Consortium), has completed a draft for the important VoiceXML 3.0 – technology enabling voice identification verification. While normally associated with voice commands, it has the potential to greatly speed and improve the accuracy and positive proof of online transactions. Name that voice: Mathematica catches impersonations Explore further Some larger net businesses are even using it to confirm orders and verify identity. Many, however, have become increasingly worried about the reliability and security of these transactions with fraud and identity theft on the rise. Error rates have been around 1 to 2% – unacceptable for ironclad business transactions.W3C does not actually make software but produces standards. They now have a working draft, said James Larson, co-chair of the W3C VBWG – Voice Browser Working Group. The standard also addressed the issue of extending its Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) functionality to certain languages including Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean. SSML is important because it allows software makers to control speech from pitch to volume to pronunciation. This insures the software will hear the right tones and pitches so critical in languages were a tiny change in pronunciation can affect the whole meaning of a word.SSML is also used to tag areas of speech with different regional pronunciations. It is based on JSpeech Grammar Format (JSGF).A technical description and how to use SSML version 1 on a web page can be found here: www.xml.com/pub/a/2004/10/20/ssml.htmlMicrosoft Agent website is another source for would be speech interface developers.www.microsoft.com/MSAGENT/downloads/user.aspOpera browsers can be programmed for speech recognition with some XHTML (Extended Hypertext Markup Language) extensions. my.opera.com/community/dev/voice/Working with web-based speech applications can be frustrating. While the speech recognition software works well, poor quality microphones and PC speakers combined with slower Internet connections can put a damper on effectiveness. These issues will be difficult to address due to being largely beyond the control of the developer. New speech compression algorithms and simple responses like yes or no make the job much easier.Trained systems – ones that are accustomed to the user’s voice – have been much more successful, but users typically do not have the patience to complete the training and the time factor makes it impractical. Expect to find the first complex VoiceXML 3.0 technology mostly in telephone-connected and cell-phone activated systems – ones that have more controllable voice quality.Hopefully, with the new W3C standards, companies can dedicate more to useful speech recognition and less to reinventing the wheel. Standards usually lead to software tool kits for programmers and these often end up in popular packages like Microsoft’s Frontpage and Adobe’s Macromedia Dreamweaver.Amateur and professional web designers alike may soon find a compelling reason to upgrade to voice enabled web design suites.Maybe one day you can toss that pesky keyboard and mouse and talk to your machine instead – a promise made since the late 1980s and not yet satisfactorily realized.by Philip Dunn, Copyright 2005 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Nextgeneration cameras inspired by fruit flies and moths

center_img “While human eyes use a spherical volume, compound eyes use only a spherical shell, so that much of the space and weight is saved for the brain,” Jacques Duparre, coauthor with F. C. Wippermann of a recent paper in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, told PhysOrg.com. “The arrangement allows for a large field of view, but does not require large signal processing.”Although single aperture eyes have advantages in resolution and sensitivity in large lenses, compound eyes have the potential to make more compact, robust and cheap vision systems. At the micro level, compound eyes’ individual viewing channels on curved lenses have minimal aberrations, or focusing errors that cause blurring. Cameras with compound eye lenses could have applications in many tight spaces, such as those encountered in automotive engineering, security and surveillance, and medical technology.“Thin lenses might have applications in flat panel displays, and we’re also working on another arrangement for minimal invasive surgery,” said Duparre, who is currently working on a patent for this arrangement.Scientists have studied optical lenses based on natural compound eyes for more than a hundred years, but classical macroscopic technology has not provided the necessary fabrication and assembly accuracy. For the first time, Duparre and Wippermann have fabricated and tested two different compound eye lenses using state-of-the-art micro-optics technology. Scientists fabricated an artificial apposition compound eye (center) that is significantly cheaper and smaller than a traditional 20-mm single lens objective (left) with the same magnification; and much smaller – though not quite as cheap – as a Euro cent (right). Photo credit: IOP. Researchers develop liquid-crystal-based compound lenses that work like insect eyes This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Rumor Microsoft to possibly release a Windows 8 tablet

first_img Microsoft to release a tablet OS in 2012 While some reporters and bloggers are speculating that this may be part of Windows attempt to create an iPad killer, few are pointing out the holes in that theory. First is the fact that Windows current model of licensing out the Windows 7 operating system to third party tablet makers is relatively low risk and highly profitable for Microsoft. Few companies are willing to rock the boat on a profitable business model. The second reason that Microsoft trying to make their own iPad killer would be unlikely is that history is not on their side. Many of us remember the ill fate of the Zune, which at the time was launched as competition to the now ubiquitous iPod family of device. Then there is the Kin, a Microsoft phone, which failed to take a bite out of the iPhone popularity. It was pulled from the market after failing to sell. If Microsoft has learned it lesson about coming late to market against Apple in mobile devices, they’ll stick with their profitable licensing agreements and let their partners with stronger track records in mobile, like Motorola, try to make an iPad killer. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: via Digitimes Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Rumors are circulating around that Microsoft may be bringing a Windows 8 tablet to consumers in 2012. Reporters over at Digitimes have been theorizing, based on information from a chip-supplier, that the Redmond, Washington, based software giant may be putting out a tablet of its own in the near future. As is expected with a rumor of this nature, the company has declined to comment. Windows 8 screenshot Citation: Rumor: Microsoft to possibly release a Windows 8 tablet (2011, June 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-06-rumor-microsoft-possibly-windows-tablet.html © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

New evidence suggests large asteroid strike may have influenced Mercurys spin

first_img It’s partly because of evidence like this that a group of European researchers is proposing that Mercury, the planet closest to the sun in our solar system, was once tidal locked with the sun, but now is not, because, as they assert in their paper published in Nature Geoscience, it was knocked into its current spin by a large asteroid. They even have a likely crater made by the impact to back up their theory.It’s called Caloris Basin, the largest impact crater on Mercury’s surface, and it appears to be just the right size to fit the computer model the team has created. What happened, they suggest, is that long ago, Mercury had an east to west (retrograde) spin, but then over millions of years, slowed till it spun no more. Then, at some later time, the planet was struck by an asteroid large enough to cause it to begin spinning again. But this time, in the opposite direction, though not very fast, causing Mercury’s current 3/2 (three spins on its axis for every two trips around the sun) spin it has today.The team points out that one side of Mercury clearly has more craters than the other, but perhaps more concretely suggest that the thus far inexplicable hollows inside the Caloris Basin could be the result of ice that was once buried by matter from the asteroid when it hit, then melted as sunlight began to fall on it as a result of the planet spinning again.And finally, they say, the side that would have been the hot side before being struck by the asteroid would have been flatter than the opposite, more cratered side, do to molten activity. Evidence from Mariner 10 and MESSENGER, suggest that this is the case as well.It all adds up, the team concludes, to a planet that once spun one way, stopped, then was knocked into spinning the other way. Probing Question: Why does the Earth rotate? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2011 PhysOrg.com Journal information: Nature Geosciencecenter_img More information: Mercury’s spin–orbit resonance explained by initial retrograde and subsequent synchronous rotation, Nature Geoscience (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1350AbstractThe planet Mercury rotates three times about its spin axis for every two orbits about the Sun, in a 3/2 spin–orbit resonance. This unique state has been explained by an initial rapid prograde rotation, which was then decelerated by tidal torques to the present resonance. When friction at the core–mantle boundary is accounted for, capture into the 3/2 resonance occurs with a probability of only 26%, whereas the most likely outcome is capture into one of the higher-order resonances7. Here we use a numerical model of Mercury’s rotational evolution to investigate the consequences of an initial retrograde rotation of Mercury. We find that in this case, the planet would be captured into synchronous rotation, with one hemisphere always facing the Sun, with a probability of 68%. Strong lateral variations in the impact cratering rate would have existed, consistent with the observed distribution of large impact basins. Escape from this highly stable resonance can be initiated by the momentum imparted by large, basin-forming impact events, and subsequent capture into the 3/2 resonance is likely. During synchronous rotation, substantial quantities of volatile deposits would have accumulated on the hemisphere facing away from the Sun, potentially explaining the existence of sublimation hollows on Mercury’s surface (PhysOrg.com) — Planets orbiting a sun generally, but not always spin on their axis. Some spin east to west, others west to east. Those that don’t spin are said to be tidal locked with their sun; always showing it the same face, such as the moon does with planet Earth. In these instances, the planet tends to develop different properties than it would were it spinning. One side is cold, the other hot, for example leading to unique geophysical properties. Also because of the sun’s gravitational pull, more asteroids are likely to hit the far side of the planet, leaving more craters. Citation: New evidence suggests large asteroid strike may have influenced Mercury’s spin (2011, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-evidence-large-asteroid-mercury.html Mercury. Credit: NASAlast_img read more

Two New Zealand scientists to travel to Antarctica to measure magnetic South

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — While the rest of the world gets on with meeting the New Year head on, two research scientists from New Zealand are traveling to the Antarctic to take measurements of the magnet South Pole. Such periodic measurements are necessary geo-scientists say, because the magnetic poles keep moving around. The south magnetic pole, for example is slowly moving north toward Australia at almost ten miles per year; this matters because very accurate ground measurements are necessary to keep satellites properly calibrated, ensuring such things as GPS coordinates are accurate. The magnetic poles move, as do other parts of the Earth’s surface, because the outer core inside the planet is made of molten metal. As the Earth moves through space, spinning and circling the sun, there is some jostling that goes on, resulting in some shifting. And unfortunately, it doesn’t do so in a regular predictable fashion, which means changes to the surface of the Earth must be constantly monitored all over the planet. For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, New Zealand has been charged with monitoring the south magnetic pole, and has been doing so by traveling there every five years since the 1950’s.This latest expedition, made up of just two guys, Stewart Bennie and Tony Hurst, will travel first to a particularly barren locale known as Lake Vanda in one of Antarctica’s dry valley areas. After that, they will travel to a site near the shelter constructed and used by the infamous polar explorer Robert Scott and his team before they were lost trying to return home back in 1912-13 as part of the Terra-Nova Expedition.To take their measurements, the team will make note of physical landscape features, then will use a tool known as a magnetic theodolite to measure magnetic field angles relative to the ground. At the south magnetic pole, such fields should be 90 degrees relative to the horizon. They will also be using instruments that allow them to measure the strength of the magnetic field, which will be useful, because scientists have found that the magnetic fields have been diminishing over the past couple of hundred years, a sign perhaps that a “flip” is in the making over the next thousand years or so.To take into account the wobbling that occurs with magnetic fields, the two will take many such measurements over the course of a day to make sure that what they bring back to report, is truly accurate. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. South Pole… 1: South Geographic Pole, 2: South Magnetic Pole (2007), 3: South Geomagnetic Pole, 4: South Pole of Inaccessibility. Image: Wikipediacenter_img via Nature Ulysses Flyby of the Sun’s North Pole Citation: Two New Zealand scientists to travel to Antarctica to measure magnetic South Pole (2012, January 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-zealand-scientists-antarctica-magnetic-south.html More information:last_img read more

Astronomers characterize two superEarths in a distant planetary system

first_img Citation: Astronomers characterize two ‘super-Earths’ in a distant planetary system (2017, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-astronomers-characterize-super-earths-distant-planetary.html More information: K2-106, a system containing a metal rich planet and a planet of lower density, arXiv:1705.04163 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1705.04163AbstractAims: Planets in the mass-range from 2 to 15 MEarth are very diverse. Some of them have very low, others very high densities. Method: We determined the masses, radii and the densities for the two transiting planets orbiting K2-106, which have been previously found. The inner one is an ultra-short period planet with an orbital period of 0.57 days. The outer planet has orbital period of 13.3 days. Results: The two planets have similar masses, though very different densities. For K2-106b we derive M_p=7.69+/-0.82 MEarth, Rp=1.52+/-0.16 REarth, and a high density of 12.0 -3.2+4.8 gcm-3. For K2-106c, we find 6.79+/-2.29 MEarth, R_p=2.59+/-0.27 REarth and a relatively low density of 2.4-1.1+1.6 gcm-3. Conclusions: Since the systems contains two planets of almost the same mass, but different distances from the host star, it is an excellent laboratory to study atmospheric escape. Comparing the mass and radius of the inner planet with composition models implies that it has an iron core containing at least 50% of its mass. Such a high metal content is surprising, particularly given that the star has solar abundance. We discuss various formation scenarios for this unusual planet. Best-fit light curves to planet K2-106 b. Light curve is folded to the orbital period of the planet. Credit: Guenther et al., 2017. Located approximately 825 light years away from the Earth, K2-106 is a 5 billion-year-old star of spectral type G5. With a radius of about 0.83 solar radii, the star is 7 percent less massive than the sun. In 2016, researchers detected two planets transiting this star with orbital periods of 0.57 and 13.3 days.Now, Guenther’s team obtained absolute and relative radial velocity measurements of K2-106 using five different spectrographs worldwide in order to reveal more detailed information about this planetary system. The new observations show that the two exoplanets have almost the same mass, but orbit at different distances from the host, which makes the system an excellent laboratory to study atmospheric escape processes.”We determined the masses, radii and the densities for the two transiting planets orbiting K2-106, which have been previously found,” the paper reads.The researchers found that the planet closest to the star—K2-106 b—has a radius of about 1.52 Earth radii and is about 7.7 times more massive. Therefore, it has a high density of approximately 12 g cm-3.K2-106 c is bigger in size as its radius is about 2.6 Earth radii. However, the planet is less massive—6.8 Earth masses—which gives a relatively low density of 2.4 g cm-3.The team also revealed new information about the composition of K2-106 b. They assume that it is a metal-rich planet with an iron core containing at least 50 percent of its mass.”Ultra-short-period planets forming close to the star should all be iron-rich. Clearly, more research in this field is needed, but the results so far obtained show that studies of ultra-short period planets can give us key information on how and where low-mass planets form. The high metal content of the planet is thus very interesting, particularly because the host star has solar metallicity,” the authors wrote in the paper.The researchers noted that the K2-106 is particularly interesting because it hosts an ultra-short period planet subject to a strong stellar irradiation and an outer planet at a relatively large distance from the host star, where the atmospheric escape rate is expected to be low. Thus this system could provide important insights into the formation and evolution of planets. However, many observations are still needed to uncover more details about K2-106 and its planets.”K2-106 is a very interesting system that deserves further studies. (…) The next logical steps are search for the extended, escaping exosphere atmosphere of K2-106 b that has been suggest by Mura (et al. 2011) by obtaining spectroscopic transit observations in a similar way as we have done for CoRoT-7b (Guenther et al. 2011),” the astronomers concluded. Explore further ‘Hot Jupiter’ transiting a rapidly-rotating star discovered © 2017 Phys.org (Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers led by Eike W. Guenther of the Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg, Germany, has characterized two “super-Earth” exoplanets orbiting a distant star designated K2-106, determining their size, mass and density. The new findings were presented in a paper published May 11 on the arXiv pre-print server. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Tabbys star dims again

first_img Alien megastructure not the cause of dimming of the ‘most mysterious star in the universe’ Citation: Tabby’s star dims again (2018, March 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-tabby-star-dims.html © 2018 Phys.org The team of astrophysicists studying KIC 8462852, more well known as Tabby’s star, has reported that the star recently dimmed again, and did so quite dramatically. The group, led by LSU’s Tabby Boyajian who discovered the odd behavior of the star back in 2015, has been documenting their findings on their web site. Explore furthercenter_img Tabby’s star has been under study for many years, as one of a group of stars known to dim—space scientists are interested in such stars, because in most cases, they have planets transiting them, dimming their light. But KIC 8462852 is different, Boyajian noticed—it dimmed a lot more than other stars did—at one point, as much as 20 percent. That was too much to chalk up to a planet blocking its light. Also, the star tended to stay dim for longer periods of time than other dimming stars. So she and others wondered what could be causing the dimming.Researchers advanced many theories, such as aliens building a Dyson sphere, but most were shot down. The most likely explanation, Boyajian has suggested, is dust. She and her team found earlier this year that the light that makes its way to us from the star is of different wavelengths at different times, which, she notes, suggest that it is passing through something translucent, casting serious doubts on the Dyson sphere theory. She and her team have proposed several theories regarding the nature of the dust, most involving the idea of planets or other objects colliding. One notable exception is the possibility of a comet that was torn apart as it approached the star.In this latest report, the star was seen to dim on March 16—a dip that Boyajian reported was the largest observed since 2013 (she and her team went back and looked at old Kepler data after the star was found to dim abnormally). By the March 22, the star was nearly back to its normal brightness. In the same blog post, she reminded readers that the observation was made possible by donations to the Kickstarter campaign set up for just this purpose, and while that project has ended, she is still requesting donations. Credit: wherestheflux.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Faces of divinity

first_imgCelebrating one of the most recognised dances of India – Bharata Natyam, Divinity Series, in its maiden event, will endeavor to recreate the classical integrity of this temple dance form. The event presents three contemporary artistes – Rama Vaidyanathan from New Delhi, Meenakshi Srinivasan from Chennai and Mythili Prakash from Los Angeles, each of the performances will be preceded by a short recital of specially composed invocatory music by members of the acclaimed Gandharva Choir. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Meenakshi Srinivasan has studied Bharata Natyam under Smt. Alarmel Valli. She has been awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for 2011 by Sangeet Natak Akademi. Srinivasan’s individual approach, technique and creativity are characterized by a distinctive sensuous geometry. Her strength relies on her ability to co-relate the different disciplines of the art and she has worked with various artists – composers, musicians, scholars and writers on new choreographic works. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMythili Prakash is recognized as one of the world’s leading young exponents of Bharata Natyam – the classical dance of South India. Her classical, yet inventive approach to Bharata Natyam revitalizes the physicality, musicality and expressive theatricality of the dance to create an exceptional style that is distinct and meaningful to audiences across the world.Rama Vaidyanathan is a leading exponent of Bharata Natyam, a popular classical dance form of India. She is undoubtedly one of the most sought after artistes of her generation having carved a name for herself in the Bharata Natyam world. She has trained intensively under the legendary dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and the renowned Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Conceptualised and organised by industry veteran Deepak Shourie and notable Bharata Natyam dancer and choreographer Jyotsna Shourie, Divinity Series seeks to create a new generation of cultural connoisseurs by offering an authentic celestial experience of the art form to fresh and diverse audiences. WHERE: Chinmaya Auditorium, Lodhi RoadWHEN: 27 to 29 September, 7 pm onwardslast_img read more