Also, scarily accurate mugshots generated by a computer from nothing more than a DNA sample
By Jason Imms on March 28, 2014 at 10:56 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of Nvidia’s upcoming NVLink GPU/CPU bus tech, Nielsen’s use of Twitter to further gauge TV ratings, and software that can record a melody with any instrument from little more than a hummed tune.
Nvidia launches NVLink to eliminate PCIe bottleneck
On Tuesday, Nvidia announced NVLink, the company’s answer to the problem of the data bottleneck between the GPU and the CPU. According to the announcing press release, NVLink allows the GPU to communicate with the CPU “five to 12 times faster than they can today.” During his talk at GTC 2014, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said that NVLink is “aimed at next-generation super-computers, workstations, gaming PCs and cloud super-computers,” meaning that the technology should eventually make it into affordable gaming rigs, but it isn’t clear how long that will take. NVLink is due for release 2016 in Nvidia’s next-gen Pascal GPU, in conjunction with IBM incorporating the technology in future versions of its POWER CPUs. It is unclear at this stage whether any other CPU manufacturers are working on NVLink-compatible chipsets for consumer-grade hardware.
Genetic mugshots generated from little more than DNA evidence
Traditionally, the presence of DNA evidence in legal proceedings is the answer to any question of identity. DNA evidence is widely considered to be the most reliable way to confirm whether or not a suspect was present at the scene of a crime, which is partially why the topic of government DNA sample databases can spark a lot of controversy and debate. Thanks to a new technology developed as part of a study led by Mark Shriver of Penn State University, perpetrators of a crime may still be caught through the use of a “genetic mugshot,” or a computer-generated image of a person based purely on a DNA sample. Some of the results are startlingly accurate, though the team admits that there is still a lot of work to do before the software is ready for routine use by forensic teams around the world.
Nielsen to use Twitter reactions to gauge TV show popularity in Australia
Audience research company Nielsen has partnered with Twitter to bring Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings (NTTR) to Australia later in 2014. NTTR is a service that works alongside Nielsen’s existing television ratings statistics to rate television shows based on their popularity with Twitter users. On-topic tweets, retweets, and other interactions count toward a TV show’s position on the ratings charts, which Nielsen and Twitter claim will “make watching TV with Twitter even better for TV fans.” They also use the phrase “Twitter is the social soundtrack to TV today,” which, however distasteful, isn’t entirely inaccurate.
Imitone gives aspiring composers a chance even without instruments
Many composers find themselves hamstrung by their inability to play a certain instrument, leading to countless misplaced melodies and derailed scores. Imitone is a small software project that aims to eliminate this problem by allowing the user to sing, hum, or play an instrument they are familiar with into a microphone, and turning that audio into a midi track of the melody with any instrumentation. Imitone is made by Evan Balster, programmer for SoundSelf, and Richard Hogg, an artist with credits on Hohokum and Frobisher Says. Go and check out Imitone’s fully-funded Kickstarter for more information, and video demonstrations.
Queensland Police scouting crime scenes with drones
According to a report over at ITnews, Queensland Police Service has been using drones to gain “aerial situational awareness” during sieges and other high-risk police operations. One of the two drones in active service is a commercially available CyberCopter, and the other is an internally constructed octocopter. The drones have been operating since a siege occurred in Brisbane on Boxing Day 2013. QPS representatives claim that there are no privacy risks presented these drones, “Our use right now is limited to really overt activities,” said the head of the unmanned vehicles program Brad Wright. “When we turn up at a scene there are usually already a lot of police there. Because we fly at under 400ft, the drones are really quite noisy, which limits our capability to be covert. Queensland’s Fire and Rescue Service is also looking at the potential of using drones in the future, but cites line-of-site operation limitations and “mapping interfaces” as potential roadblocks to using drones to enter burning buildings to look for survivors.