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HTC VIVE :An amazing VR(virtual reality) product

HTC is one of the leading manufacturer of VR headsets and other devices

htc vivw vr head set
HTC Vive VR head set
Content Highlights
  • HTC VIVE
  • How it works
  • Unique features included in HTC VIVE VR headset
  • HTC VIVE for gaming
  • SteamVR™ Tracking technology
  • Where to buy and best deals for HTC VIVE
  • System requirements for HTC VIVE VR

HTC VIVE:The Ultimate VR effect

HTC Vive is room scale virtual reality head-mounted display launched by HTC which provides fully immersive Virtual Reality effect.Vive is brought to you by HTC and Valve. Uniting passion, talent, and innovation, Vive delivers on the promise of VR with best-in-class technology and content.

How HTC VIVE Works

This headset is designed to utilize "room scale" technology to turn a room into 3D space via sensors, with the virtual world allowing the user to navigate naturally, with the ability to walk around and use motion tracked handheld controllers to vividly manipulate objects, interact with precision, communicate and experience immersive environments.


htc vive fully immersive virtual reality
HTC Vive VR ser enables fully immersive VR

Awards won by HTC Vive

Unveiled during HTC's Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015, the HTC Vive has since been awarded over 22 awards in CES 2016, including best of CES.
Best of CES 2016,Best Entertainment- Slash Gear

Unique features included in HTC Vive

Front facing camera blends real world elements into the virtual world
htc vive vr front camera
front cam
110 degree field of view
HTC VIVE VR Viewing angle
wide lenses
32 headset sensors for motion tracking
htc vive sensors
head set sensors
2160*1200 combined resolution and 90 Hz refresh rate deliver eye popping graphics and smooth action

HTC Vive for gamers

HD haptic feedback and intuitive gestures mean playing games and interacting with the virtual world comes naturally. Vive’s two wireless controllers feature 24 sensors for unobstructed movement, meaning you can do more in VR than ever before.
Haptic or kinesthetic communication recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.This mechanical stimulation can be used to assist in the creation of virtual objects in a computer simulation, to control such virtual objects, and to enhance the remote control of machines and devices. Haptic devices may incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the interface.
Intuitive gesture:gesture sensing through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation
Multifunctional track pad provides effortless precision and HD haptic feed back.Dual stage triggers with HD haptic feed back brings VR experience to a new level.Two handheld controllers each have 24 sensors for accurate tracking.


htc handheld controller
ht vive trackpad
trackpad
Sensors on handheld device

SteamVR™ Tracking technology

steam vr tracking technology
SteamVR™ Tracking technology
Breakthrough SteamVR™ Tracking technology lets the headset and controllers know in real time where they are within a room. Freely explore and interact with objects, characters and environments. Room-scale VR puts you at the center of everything.
two base station provides 360 degree motion tracking for superior VR experience
how SteamVR™ Tracking technology works
The tracking system gives you your own personal GPS right in your living room,accurate to a millimeter.Beacause LASERS roomscale VR gives you the freedom to move around and to gain an entirely new perspective on in-game world.If you get too close to the real world while in the virtual one ,the chaperone will give you a gentle(Virtual) reminder.

Vive port

htc viveport
Viveport is a place where people can discover the latest and greatest in VR content and experiences.interactive Videos, games and much more
Vive provides you with a handful of VR contents at vive port.

What you need for experiencing fully immersed VR using HTC Vive


How to buy HTC Vive VR head set

You can purchase HTC Vive directly from vive store  or from leading online stores amazon and ebay.
It is also available at microsoft store

HTC Vive best buy

HTC Vive VR set is priced between $839.99 $600 and $800.
Price of HTC Vive at various online shopping karts :
  • eBay-$839.99 (new)
  • eBay-$650 (used)
  • amazon-$799.99
  • microsoftstore- $799.99
  • Vive store-$799.99

HTC vive system requirements

HTC has tested systems and worked with industry-leading manufacturers to bring you computers ready for Vive right out of the box. From graphics cards and processors to memory and storage space–these computers deliver a superior VR experience.
Recommended computer spec for installing vive
  • Processor: Intel™ Core™ i5-4590 or AMD FX™ 8350, equivalent or better
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce™ GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon™ RX 480, equivalent or better. For additional graphics card options, view the complete list.
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM or more
  • Video output: 1x HDMI 1.4 port, or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 port or newer
  • Operating system: Windows™ 7 SP1, Windows™ 8.1 or later or Windows™ 10
You can also check your PC using a small exe file provided in htc vive site.
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Self Driving Car Technology:Latest developments

In a decade Autonomous/driverless vehicles will rule the streets of major cities around the world


Content Highlights
  • Autonomous/selfdriving/driverless car technlogy
  • How does a self driving car works
  • Architecture of autonomous vehicles
  • Google self driving car project
  • Tesla autonomous vehicle project
  • Selfdriving technology:Recent developments
  • Advantages and disadvantages of selfdriving autonomous vehicles

Driver-less car technology:An Overview

'When will self driving cars be available?'Many people are searching this phrase in different search engines.What this implies?.People are eagerly waiting for a perfect driverless car.Autonomous cars are already out there in market.But are they safe enough?Are they ready to compete with cars driven by humans?To what extent these vehicles are autonomous?.Questions goes like that.Let us see how far self driving car technology has reached so far.In this article let us have a look at current self driving car technologies and autonomous car researches happening around the world.

How do self driving cars work?

An autonomous car (driver-less car, self-driving car, robotic car) is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.Autonomous cars can detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, lidar, GPS, odometry, and computer vision.

Electrical/Electronic system architectures of autonomous cars

Principal functions of a autonomous driving system can be categorized into to three.
1. Sensing
2. Decision making/planning
3. Control/execution

Sensing:Autonomous cars can detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, lidar, GPS, odometry, and computer vision.

Decision making/planning:Decision making can be done by programmed processors.It can be also achieved by artificial intelligence systems.

Control/executions:Decision based on the input by sensors should reflect in vehicle movements.This is primarily done by actuators which regulate speed and direction of the vehicles.

Self driving car technology
sensors used in self driving cars(image courtesy:http://www.automotivenl.com/)
How far we have reached in autonomous vehicle technology?
Many companies have developed self driving machines so far.Some of the notable projects are discussed here.

Google self driving cars:

According to google ,"google cars use their sensors and software to sense objects like pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and more, and are designed to safely drive around them"

How it drives

The car processes both map and sensor information to determine where it is in the world. Self driving car knows what street it's on and which lane it's in.
Sensors help detect objects all around us. The high end software classifies objects based on their size, shape and movement pattern. It detects a cyclist and a pedestrian in this case.
The software predicts what all the objects around us might do next. It predicts that the cyclist will ride by and the pedestrian will cross the street.
The software then chooses a safe speed and trajectory for the car. Car nudges away from the cyclist, then slows down to yield to the pedestrian.
google self driving car and its components
Major functional components of google self driving cars
Google team is working toward vehicles that take you where you want to go at the push of a button. Google is adding components to existing cars like their Lexus SUVs, then began designing a new prototype from the ground up to better explore what should go into a fully self-driving vehicle. They managed to remove the steering wheel and pedals, and instead designed a prototype that lets the software and sensors handle the driving.
Google started the self-driving car project in 2009.In 2009, they started testing self-driving technology with the Toyota Prius on freeways in California.In 2012, they began testing with the Lexus RX450h. Next, google cars shifted focus to city streets, a much more complex environment than freeways.Google unveiled an early construction of their new prototype vehicle in 2014. It’s designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving.
google driverless cars on road test
Google's fully autonomous car prototype

After months of testing and iterating, google delivered first real build of their prototype vehicle in December 2014.Still google is continuing research and development of their self driving cars.Before going into the commercial production they have address a serious of problems including self driving cars compatible roads,signal systems,precise navigation technology etc.Few crashes were also reported recently which demand google more safe autonomous vehicles in the future.
Google is publishing its Self-Driving Car Project Test Report every month.You can check Google Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report from below link.

Tesla Self driving car project.

Leading electric car manufacturer Tesla claims 'All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver'.Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
driver less cars sensors in tesla
Tesla self driving car sensor distribution
Model S and Model X vehicles with this new hardware are already in production, and customers can purchase one today.

Tesla promises they will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.

Apart from google and Tesla, leading automobile manufactures like Volvo,BMW,Mecedez etc.. are also have launched their own versions of fully/partially autonomous vehicles.

Recent advances in self driving vehicle technology

  • Delphi, formed out of the former parts division of General Motors, and Mobileye, a rising Israeli company known for producing the sensors and other technology that help cars recognize obstacles in the road, had formed a partnership to provide self-driving components to automakers by the end of 2019.Mobileye and Delphi said they expected to demonstrate an early version of their system in January at the 2017 International CES, the annual consumer electronics show, in Las Vegas and to begin production of a commercial version within two years.Mobileye is already a vendor of computer-vision technology and other related systems to carmakers. For Delphi, the partnership is an extension of its other efforts to develop self-driving cars, including a project with the government of Singapore to field a test fleet of driverless taxis. In 2015, a driverless car built by Delphi completed a 3,400-mile trip from San Francisco to New York in nine days 
  • Delphi-Mobile eye duo is adding computer-chip giant Intel to the partnership to accelerate a project meant to deliver a fully self-driving vehicle system by 2019. 
  • Reports suggest that Apple is developing an electric iCar to rival Tesla.Apple is now focusing on an autonomous driving system.Apple has not made official announcement regarding its driver-less car projects.But,with news of a letter penned by Apple to US transport regulators about self-driving cars strengthens the rumours of iCar project under cover.

Major challenges in self driving car technology

  • Creating (and maintaining) maps for self-driving cars is difficult work.Google's self-driving cars work by relying on a combination of detailed pre-made maps as well as sensors that "see" obstacles on the road in real time. Both systems are crucial and they work in tandem.
  • Driving requires many complex social interactions — which are still tough for robots
  • Driving is an intensely social process that frequently involves e interactions with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. In many of those situations, humans rely on generalized intelligence and common sense that robots still very much lack.Artificial intelligence can solve this problem to an extent.
  • Bad weather makes self driving more complex and trickier.Conditions like wet and slippery roads,bad visions in fog etc..
  • Better Roads:Especially in developing and under developed countries putting self driving machines on road is not going to be accomplished in near future.Self driving requires compatible roads.Such roads should have perfectly marked lanes,fool proof signal systems etc..
  • Better software:Driving in the United States is actually incredibly safe, with fatal crashes occurring once every roughly 3 million hours of driving. Driverless vehicles will need to be even safer than that.
  • Reckless Drivers/Unpredictable Humans:Predicting behaviour of a reckless/drunken driver is nearly impossible.
  • Law and regulations:requires a completely new set of laws and regulation for these category of vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles pros and cons

Pros
  • Since 81 percent of car crashes are the result of human error,there would be fewer accidents, as human error would be nullified.
  • It would be accessible to anyone. Children, senior citizens, visually-impaired or other impaired citizens.
  • There would be a reduced need for road signage, as the car would receive information electronically through signals.
  • There would also be a better management of traffic flow, which would be monitored over a controlled system.
  •  Less parking structures and parking headaches would be required, since your car could actually drop you off and locate a parking space farther away.
  • There would be fewer cars on the road, as families would only need one car to suit the needs of every member. This would sequentially cut down on carbon dioxide emissions, thus being more environmentally friendly.
  • Sensors in the autonomous cars allow vehicles to ride closer together, therefore allowing more cars on the road with actually less traffic.
Cons
  • Car enthusiasts would most certainly disagree to give up driving their own vehicle. To many, driving a car means much more than reaching a simple destination, as it seems to be reduced to when adopting autonomous cars.
  • It would be an economic disaster, if autonomous cars were implemented everywhere. Job losses would be monumental, as there would no longer be a need for professional drivers, such as cab and lorry drivers.
  • Autonomous cars would be much more expensive to buy, not to mention setting up electronic sensors on every accessible road or highway.
  • Autonomous vehicles rely heavily on GPS satellites. If a signal were to be blocked, this would affect the cars functionality.
  • The most savings in terms of cost, time, and lives is going to come from when more people "opt in" to the service. If self-driving cars are not adopted widely, accidents can and will still happen.
  •  If other technology fails, such as traffic signals that the cars rely on, there's no accounting for human traffic signals.
  • Autonomous vehicles are still undergoing research and can’t be trusted to operate without error, until further advances are made. Until then, they should be kept as ideal prospect for the future, which should still be visualized with caution.
At present self driving car technology is in its amateur phase.Autonomous vehicle technology will be one of the most competitive field in coming years.Many leading companies are working on autonomous vehicle technology.Lets hope this competition will bring out a perfect model of a driverless car in near future.
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How Fingerprint Scanners in mobile phones Work?

Fingerprint Scanners in smart phones

fingerprint scanners in mobile phones
Latest smartphones like google pixel feature capacitance sensor based fingerprint scanners.
Content Highlights
  • Fingerprint scanners in smartphones
  • Structure and working of fingerprint sensors in smartphones
Underlying technology of Fingerprint Scanners in smart phones are quite different from ordinary fingerprint sensors.Fingerprint sensors can be broadly classified into two.Optical sensors and capacitive sensors.
An optical fingerprint sensor is an electronic device used to capture a digital image of the fingerprint pattern. This image is digitally processed to create a biometric template (a collection of extracted features) which is stored and used for matching.Fingerprint sensors in modern smartphones are capacitive sensors.
The diagram below shows a simple capacitive finger print sensor. The sensor is an array of tiny sensing cells. Each cell has two conductor plates.Working of this sensors are similar to the working of touch sensors.
structure of capacitive finger scanners
capacitance based finger print sensor cells
The sensor is connected to an electronic circuit which sense even minute current variations.Working of this sensing circuit is beyond the scope of this article.Main component of this sensing circuit is an amplifier which amplifies the minute current variations.You might have studied in your high school physics "The factors affecting capacitance":
  • Plate Area.
  • Plate Spacing ( distance between the plates )
  • Dielectric Material.
Finger you are placing over the sensor will act as dielectric.When finger's ridges are placed over conductive plates, it increase the capacitance between plates, while an air gap(valley) will leave the charge at the capacitor relatively unchanged.In short the capacitor in a cell under a ridge will have a greater capacitance than the capacitor in a cell under a valley.Variation in capacitance will result in current flow.This variation is amplified by the sensing circuit.This analog signals are converted into digital signals using an ADC(Analog to Digital Converters) and required signal processing is carried out to extract the feature of a fingerprint.

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