Best But To Offer Apple Watch At All Stores Due To High Demand

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has been available at selected Best Buy stores in the US and now the company has announced that it will sell the device in all of its 1,050 retail stores in the US.

The company recently confirmed that they have seen strong demand for the Apple Watch during their latest earnings call.

Best Buy have said that they are expecting to have the Apple Watch available in all of their 1,050 retail stores by the end of September, the company had originally planned to make the device available in 300 stores by the holiday shopping season.

The company also plans to update its in store Apple shops in 740 of its retail stores, this will include new fixtures and display tables for the Apple Watch, iPhones, iPad and more.

Best Buy have also announced that they will start to offer Apple Care within their retail stores in the US and this will be offered before the end of the quarter.

Maharashtra Using Drones to Survey Crop Losses in Drought-Hit Regions

The Maharashtra government, for the first time, will use two drones in the drought-hit Osmanabad district to survey the loss of crops due to water scarcity.

The data would be used to determine the compensation to be paid to the farmers.

Shankar Totawar, Osmanabad superintendent agriculture officer, said these drones fly at a height of about 150 metres. Each drone surveys area in the radius of 7 km in a single flight, generating around 1,000 photos for every five meters of area.

“We do not have adequate drinking water for humans and animals. The crop losses due to the shortage of water are further troubling farmers. To get proper details of the loss, we have started using the drones for surveying,” he said.

As many as 51 villages in Osmanabad will be surveyed by the two drones. Later they would be used in the drought-hit Yavatmal and Aurangabad regions.

“The government has given a contract of Rs. 2 crores to Noida-based Skymet for survey,” he said.

Once the entire area is surveyed, the company will submit a report on the loss of crops.

“Drones will now be used during the harvest season of both Kharif and Rabi crops. They are being used under the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana for better verification of crop losses,” he said.

“The existing method of manual survey and approximate assessment will cease permanently,” Totawar said.

MIT Develops Real-Time HDR Camera, Algorithm to Prevent Overexposure

Everyone hates washed-out spots in images but there isn’t much that could be done to prevent it as of today. Things might be different in the future, however. MIT researchers believe that they have found a way to weed out overexposed elements from pictures, using HDR-like technology without the limitations.

Several smartphones come equipped with HDR technology which reduces the washed-out spots by offering a wide dynamic range. But MIT has a better solution. The researchers have combined the next-generation camera hardware called “modulo camera” with new image-processing algorithm to get rid off overexposed spots.

The researchers claim that modulo camera is designed to never overexpose an image. Created in a collaboration between Media Lab’s Camera Culture group, MIT Lincoln Lab, and Singapore University of Technology and Design, the modulo camera requires only one shot to create an HDR image, compared to today’s widely used HDR sensors that require many photos to be taken. The current HDR technology also requires one to keep the camera still while taking a shot, and if done incorrectly can produce blur and other artefacts.

With the modulo camera and the new image-processing algorithm, the researchers have essentially created what they call a ‘real-time HDR’ camera that removes the hassle of HDR photography completely, from correctly choosing aperture to exposure length, and keeping the camera steady.

The other issue in overexposure is light, or its abundance to be precise. Conventional camera sensors can only accept certain amounts of light because of limited “well capacity,” the amount of light an individual pixel can hold. Compared to that, modulo camera resets the sensor capacitors every time the “well” gets full. It further makes use of “an inverse modulo algorithm to calculate how much light the reset sensors took in,” the news release said.

“For example, if a certain camera sensor can record eight bits of information, then when those eight bits are filled, the capacitor will be reset to zero. The number of resets is recovered by the algorithm, which then calculates the relative brightness of each area of the photo,” the researchers explained, adding the technology can be used for computer vision and astronomy, or any field that deals with bright and low-light sources.

Sadly, this technology isn’t available in current digital and smartphone cameras. And there’s no word yet on when we can expect this on our devices. But what’s exciting is that many companies are working to take the existing camera technologies to the next level. Earlier in August, MIT and Google had partnered to make an algorithm that removes reflections and obstructions from an image.