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Standard digital camera and AI to monitor soil moisture for affordable smart irrigation

#artificialintelligence

Researchers at UniSA have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic – buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.


DJI unveils the Air 2S drone with 20-megapixel camera

Engadget

It's barely been a month since DJI unveiled a new drone, and the company already has another to show. Note the absence of the Mavic branding, indicating we might be seeing more of a shift in how the company pitches each level of quadcopter it offers. It's not clear if the "S" branding here is an Apple-style upgrade to the previous model, but the Air 2S certainly looks like someone gave the previous model a light facelift. The design seems near-identical bar a few smoother lines and an extra pair of front obstacle avoidance cameras. But what's important here is the camera it seems.


Detection of marine litter using deep learning

AIHub

Researchers at the University of Barcelona have developed an open access, deep learning-based web app that will enable the detection and quantification of floating plastics in the sea with a reliability of over 80%. Floating sea macro-litter is a threat to the conservation of marine ecosystems worldwide. According to UNESCO, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Eroded fragments, known as micro-plastics, are now prevalent across the food chain. The largest density of floating litter is found in the great ocean gyres (systems of circular currents) with litter being caught and spun in these vast cycles.


Astrophotographer captures shot of the International Space Station as it passes across the sun

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An amateur astrophotographer has taken an incredible image of the International Space Station (ISS) flying in front of the Sun. Mehmet Ergun took the photo on April 2 from his base in Germany and had been planning the photo for three weeks. He has now successfully taken several images of the ISS in transit and posts them to his Instagram, where he has more than 14,000 followers. The space fanatic captured the photo with a Lunt LS80 DSII solarscope, Rainbow RST-135 star tracker, a QHY5III174M camera, Hutech Hinode solar guider and a 2x Meade Series 5000 Barlow Lens. It enabled him to photograph the ISS at the exact moment it passed 300 miles (500km) over his head in Alzey, Germany.


Best photography drone in 2021

ZDNet

Increasingly the line between the two is blurring, with prosumer and sub-$4,000 drones delivering commercial-level quality and advanced flying features that just a few years ago were exclusive to the highest-end equipment. The best aerial hardware and technology stacks for keeping an eye on operations, individuals, and valued assets from above. It can be daunting wading into the deep roster of drones designed for enterprise photography and video. Sure, DJI, long the market leader, makes some truly fantastic devices, but before you go out to buy the first Mavic you come across for your business photography needs, take a moment to appreciate the nuanced diversity of UAV hardware out there and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current offerings across a variety of applications and budgets. To help, we reached out to video and photography professionals to hear what they had to say.


AI photo restoration shines a light on life in old Ireland

#artificialintelligence

Thousands of historical images from across Ireland are being brought to life in color for the first time, thanks to a new AI-led photo project. Combining digital technology with painstaking historical research, professors John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley at the National University of Ireland, Galway, have been able to turn photos, originally shot in black in white, into rich color images. It includes portraits of key figures like Oscar Wilde and poet W.B. Yeats, as well as defining moments in history, like the Titanic setting sail from the Belfast shipyard where it was constructed. Yet, some of the most compelling photos depict everyday scenes -- people herding pigs, spinning wool or packed onto the back of horse-drawn carts. And while poverty is evident in pictures of barefoot villagers crowding around for a photo, or of Dublin's working-class tenement buildings, there are also well-to-do family shots and depictions of upper-class pastimes like fox hunting.


Artificial intelligence software detects ocean plastics from the air

#artificialintelligence

As millions of tons of plastic wash into the ocean everyday, scientists have their work cut out for them in trying to keep tabs on its whereabouts, but they may soon have a useful new tool at the their disposal. Researchers at the University of Barcelona have developed an algorithm that can detect and quantify marine litter through aerial imagery, something they hope can work with drones to autonomously scan the seas and assess the damage. Taking stock of our plastic pollution problem is a tall order, with so much of it entering the ocean each day and being broken down into smaller fragments that are difficult to trace. The University of Barcelona team has taken aim at those pieces floating on the surface, hoping to improve on current methods of tracking their distribution, which involve surveying the damage from planes and boats. An interesting example of this is the work carried out by The Ocean Cleanup Project, which has ventured into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with research vessels and flown over the top of it with aircraft fitted out with sensors and imaging systems.


Watermark Faker: Towards Forgery of Digital Image Watermarking

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Digital watermarking has been widely used to protect the copyright and integrity of multimedia data. Previous studies mainly focus on designing watermarking techniques that are robust to attacks of destroying the embedded watermarks. However, the emerging deep learning based image generation technology raises new open issues that whether it is possible to generate fake watermarked images for circumvention. In this paper, we make the first attempt to develop digital image watermark fakers by using generative adversarial learning. Suppose that a set of paired images of original and watermarked images generated by the targeted watermarker are available, we use them to train a watermark faker with U-Net as the backbone, whose input is an original image, and after a domain-specific preprocessing, it outputs a fake watermarked image. Our experiments show that the proposed watermark faker can effectively crack digital image watermarkers in both spatial and frequency domains, suggesting the risk of such forgery attacks.


Standard Digital Camera, AI To Monitor Soil Moisture For Affordable Smart Irrigation

#artificialintelligence

Adelaide (Australia): Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic -- buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.


GoPro's new Quik app makes highlight reels from your favorite photos

Engadget

Since 2019, GoPro has worked to streamline its two mobile apps into a single experience. As of today, that project is complete, with the company merging its GoPro and Quik apps into a single offering named after the latter. In its newest iteration, Quik also has a new purpose. According to the company, the app is something anyone can use, whether they have a GoPro camera or not, to manage their media library and rediscover their favorite memories. At a time when so many photo library apps are adding AI components to help people cull and organize their best shots and clips, GoPro's approach is refreshingly old-school.