Technology after touch and Google ATAP’s Project Soli

Technology after touch and Google ATAP’s Project Soli

When touch screen phones and devices debuted in the markets in the 2000s, people and techmakers were extremely excited, for it was simple and elegant technology which simplified devices and of course, our lives. Phones and tablets got virtual keyboards and the rest of the journey to complicated graphic interfaces from thereon is no secret to any of us. It is surely one of the biggest and quickest developments in our times.

But one question has haunted inventors and consumers both alike – “What after touch?” The realisation of touch enabled devices was so sophisticated and huge that it overshadowed most developments that came after it.

However, the answer comes to any of us intuitively when we think about the shortcomings of touch enabled technology.

Let me ask you, “How well would a blind person handle touch devices? Or perhaps physically handicapped people?” or quite simply “What if you want to operate your phone which your hands are dirty but you’re mute and can’t use voice recognition?” There are many situations where having an alternate technology would help.

One way to resolve these sticky situations is to enable gadgets to respond to gestures.

Gestures come instinctively to all humans and every person, by his capacity, can make gestures. Technology which identifies these promises to be the next Big Thing.

Google ATAP, among others, has been quick to realise this and initiated the Project Soli. It is a new sensing technology which uses miniature radar to detect toothless gestures. Soli is a purpose-built sensor to track the motion of the human hand.

Soli Sensor detecting hand motion

The sensor tracks ubiquitous human gestures. Here are examples-

Hand gestures and their meanings

 

The chip Soli uses incorporate the entire sensor and antenna into an ultra-compact 8mm x 10mm package. The notion of Virtual Tools is key to Soli interaction. Virtual Tools are gestures that mimic the familiar interactions with physical tools. This makes it easier to communicate, learn and remember Soli interactions. A button can be pressed by squeezing two fingers and a slider can be used by pressing two fingers together and sliding your hand.

Feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching each other. Without the constraints of physical controls, virtual tools can undertake the fluidity and precision of our natural hand motion.

HOW IT WORKS:

Soli works by emitting electromagnetic waves in a broad beam over some space. Objects within this space scatter the energy from the waves, reflecting some fraction back towards the radar antenna Properties like energy, frequency shift and time delay of the reflected signal specify to the antenna the characteristics of the object such as size, shape, orientation, velocity and distance.

 

One of the best features of Soli is that it is not affected by light conditions. This, along with its energy efficiency make it an impactful technology and beautiful concept which can transform the future of human-machine interactions and make it easy for all to operate devices.

THE ALL NEW TESLA

THE ALL NEW TESLA

Elon Musk has done it again. The CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX has yet again paired an aggressive prediction for the future of his technology with an unreasonable deadline. He is now pledging that by the end of 2017, he’ll produce a Tesla that can drive itself from Los Angeles to New York, no human needed.

Tesla is planning on using LIDAR sensor technology, which fires out lasers to build a super accurate graphic representation of the environment. To translate sensor data into driving commands, Tesla is planning to equip its cars with Nvidia’s Drive PX 2, a supercomputer that uses deep learning to teach the car to handle itself. For the cameras, Tesla is going to run in-house software. The new approach, the laser-free one, is quite unconventional, but may actually work.

It also needs to be remembered that Tesla has more and more diverse data due to its Autopilot because of which it may be able to leapfrog its competitors. This is because a car that can handle any situation requires lot of teaching and a lot of back data.

But one thing is for sure, if Tesla does manage to pull this off, it would put it years ahead of all the big players working on fully autonomous cars.

How has WhatsApp brought back the “Old” Status?

How has WhatsApp brought back the “Old” Status?

After a huge backlash from the users over the new “Status” feature of WhatsApp, it is finally going to do something about this. Amongst the speculation was a complete recall of this Snapchat-type feature or bringing old status back by the name of the feature “tagline”.

In the latest beta update of the app, the old status is back in the “About Section” of the user.

WhatsApp Profile

Users in the beta program can update their Text based Status by going into “Settings” and clicking underneath your name. Then clicking on the “About Section”.

whatapp homepage

  status update window

It is definitely a step forward or should we say a step backward for WhatsApp in the right direction. We hope WhatsApp reverts back to the way it dealt with status before the Snapchat like-update.

To view the text-based status of your friends in one go just press the “New message” green icon and voila there you have it.

Updating text-based status is not that easy. It is more cumbersome than before. This shows that even though WhatsApp has brought the text-based status back, the company wants the users to use the new Status feature more.

The backlash faced by WhatsApp is a classic of example of an app trying to be what it’s not. This might be the time Facebook wakes up and realize that they cannot make all the services they own as a clone of Snapchat.

Facebook is really clawing to get some users from Snapchat, and it’s working. According to the recent data obtained the active users aren’t growing at the same pace that they were before. In a contrast daily active users for Instagram Stories has grown at an unexpected rate.

P.S: In the new update, WhatsApp has also removed the “Attachment” from the top bar right next to the camera icon in the message bar.

To download the latest version for android, check out the link below:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.whatsapp

Why should you get a Nanodegree?
nanodegree

Why should you get a Nanodegree?

Hola folks ! I’m Ramkishore, an Android developer at GDG VIT. There are several talks about the concept of a nanodegree. I would like to tell you why a nanodegree plays a major role and how it has helped me in my career.

To start off, all the nanodegrees from Udacity are co-created with Google. My Android nanodegree comes with the Google tag which makes it extremely valuable. When that is projected to companies they will be keen to have you. You will become a play boy or a play girl ,having choices of so many companies in your hands.

The other obvious factor is that the curriculum is framed in a comprehensive manner. Trust me, I had around 1.5 years of experience in Android when I took up the course, yet it was very challenging for me. One project called “build it bigger” was the toughest challenge I have ever faced. They look to cover all the concepts related to the subject that is beneficial.

The kind of support you get is above par. You can get one on one appointments with experts in the respective domains. There is a separate section for your career development where they will train you to build your resume, Linkedin profile and your Github profile strongly so that companies have no option but to consider you as their only option. They will review it and provide suggestions with more individual attention.

Every project has deadlines. Your project should meet specifications before the given time. Your code will be reviewed by experts with their suggestions.

If you end up being among the top 50 nanodegree students in the country you get a chance to attend the prestigious career summit which will be held at the Google office.This gives you competitive strength as you will pay additional focus throughout the course. I am proud to say that I attended the career summit held at Google Bangalore on September 2016. It was a wonderful experience talking to Googlers from various parts of the world, connecting with people, getting job oriented tips from experts, and yeah the free food, Taj hotel stay; all of it was absolutely fantastic.

Hence, it is definitely worth spending for your nanodegree, though I got it for free by clearing the Tata scholarship test and interview along with 1000 other developers in India. After the graduation I did get calls from companies but I would like to keep the names of the companies private. You can definitely get to learn a lot even if you don’t get a chance to attend the career summit.

That’s it folks.. A lifetime of “swag” is just in front of you so go for it.

Any help or queries, please feel free to contact me at ramkishorevit@gmail.com

Cheers!

Experiments with Getting an Internship!

I can’t wait for summer vacations to come soon enough.

Soon this nightmare of a semester will be over and I’ll be home free from studies and worries. But the last thing I want to do is wasting the vacation, binge watching some TV show! I have decided to do something productive while it helps me gaining some experience.

Well, what better than an internship!!

But in this day and age, of cut-throat competition, getting better grades than my contemporaries aren’t going to guarantee anything. My resume has to be impeccable and immaculate. It should be perfect up to a fault. Most importantly, it should stand out.

There are several ways of getting an internship these days. I can either go the traditional way by using previously known contacts or contacting college’s Placement office, but these days it’s necessary to go the extra mile and do something creative which someone else wouldn’t think.

Here are a few creative ideas which I researched from the internet. Some of these are outright wacky and would require one to be pretty good at what you do while some are exceedingly creative.

Some creative Ideas

  • Candidate contracts a billboard outside employer’s office!!

Save me from emigration

This is exactly what Irish man did during the recession which lead to huge job cuts and as a result led to people emigrating to other countries to find jobs. Now instead of following the trend, Féilim Mac  Iomaire used his savings and put this up on a street in South Dublin. Soon enough, people were queuing up to give this guy a job!

  •  Entering a competition

While it may seem pretty mundane, participating in a competition may actually be worth it. While most people are busy making resumes, you can actually take part in a competition going on in your city, college or university. These can drastically improve your chances of being hired by a prospective employer. These can help you in getting some technical know-how as well as getting certification from a recognized club/chapter or institute.

  • Mapping your skills and expertise

Now, this is pretty creative but also requires you to have traveled the world and have had quite a bit of experience.

mapping your skills

Ed Hamilton used Maps to show where he had worked using different colored pins and describing his experience in each country while detailing the work he did there.

  • Google Search Bar is the CV?

Eric Gandhi walked the extra mile ( no pun intended) to prove that he was serious about getting the job. He made a CV which looked like a Google search result. He was even called for a Google interview but ended up working with Ebay and Buzzfeed.

google search

  • Eye spy with the employer

Now, this may or may not work but it’s mighty creative. Alec Brownstein was very interested in working in advertising, and what better than Google AdWords. So he took out cheap 5$ ads with the name of hiring executives in the title. And who doesn’t like to Google themselves ?!
Ian Reichenthal of Young and Rubicam saw the ad, called Brownstein in for an interview and eventually hired him.

  • Sell Yourself… Literally 

Akash Mittal of IIT Kharagpur did something absolutely crazy to stand out from the crowd. He made the Flipkart product site into his CV!
Akash literally sold himself like a product adding descriptions, ratings and even a pay package. He expanded in detail about his experience and skills in each heading.

sell yourself!

  • Get an infographic Resume. It’s hip!

info-graphic resume

Let’s admit it.It’s pretty cool to have an infographic resume! It instantly increases perception and value. It’s more catchy and it condenses everything about you in a single page replete with diagrams and pie charts. Getting a CV in such a format is easy and not as painstaking as it may seem and it’s worth the effort.

I hope these ideas help you get a big break as an internship. You never know thinking out of the box may even let you a bumper job offer let alone internship.
All the best guys!! Summer is here. Grab your internship now.

‘Handle’ with care

by Liza 0 Comments

Four-legged but with stabilized wheels attached to the hind limbs, Handle, the new humanoid robot draws straight up vertically and rolls around at the max speed of up to nine miles per hour. Termed the “nightmare inducing hybrid robot” by the company’s founder Marc Raibert, this is the latest creation from Google-owned Boston Dynamics.

Handle’s astounding capabilities were portrayed in a leaked video which demonstrates its four feet vertical jumps, impressive hops and beautiful spins. Handle uses many of the principle dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation distinctive to Boston Dynamics. With only 10 actuated joints, efficient wheels and flexible legs, Handle enjoys practical simplicity with its hybrid design. Handle’s wheels can speed around with little difficulty while its front legs can be used to balance and carry loads of up to 50kg. Handle can do things we’ve never seen other robots doing before, making it then one of the most advanced humanoids in existence.

But this rapid development of technology poses very pertaining questions as to the definition of immorality or unscrupulousness. Along those lines, Google’s parent company Alphabet is reportedly hoping to sell off Boston Dynamics, citing the feeling that their technology could be ‘terrifying’ and consequent tensions.

How to prepare for placements !

How to prepare for placements !

Preparation for Placements! I know this is what all of you have been looking up on the internet for the past five (?) months. You have all the reason to. And you’re probably here because you haven’t found what you actually wished to know. Fear not, my friend. We have the answers. ALL OF THEM. Read along.

Alright, the placement season is upon us. This is what y’all have been looking forward to when you joined the institute. First things first, at this point of time you need to put in all you have towards this one thing. This is a clichéd line, and you’ve heard it from your professors for the past four years, but we’re mentioning it here because now is the time you start applying your 100%. Trust me, it’s now or never.

WHAT TO DO?

Believe in yourself. This, exactly this, is what’s going to help you achieve something. Only one who has faith in himself can assure others to have faith in him. You’re competing against people like you. You have to prove to the interviewer that you deserve to be a part of their team. How exactly are you going to do that? First of all, make sure you’re at your “A” game on the technical stuff. You mess up on this and it’s over. You’re not at your “A” game? Well, get your eyes off your device and get to studying. For those of you who are well prepared with the stuff and still fear failure, here are a few tips to help you:

  • Avoid nervousness. Better to rehearse in front of a mirror just to know what can land you in a moment of awkward silence. Train with your friends till you’re fully confident.
  • Be honest. It’ll be better to just tell the plain truth and offer no false promises. It’s not beneficial in the long run. And making things up will ruin your confidence.
  • Make sure the important concepts are at the tip of your hands. If you’re quick with basic concepts, it will make the other person believe that you really have a grasp of the subject.
  • You’ll be working with many more people. You’ll eventually have to work as a team. Make sure you are in fact compatible with working with people who share difference of opinions. Listen to all viewpoints before arriving at a conclusion.
  • For my friends in Computer Science, get all the concepts of Data Structures, OOPS, Database Management.

You went through all of this. Now bring this to practice. Want to be good with the teamwork thing right now? Go through the comments section, read people’s point of views, add your point of views, arrive at a common unanimous conclusion.

Android Internal and External Libraries

Android Internal and External Libraries

A deeper look on internal and external android libraries

About Me

Hi I’m Ramkishore, part of GDG VIT Vellore’s Android team. I love building android apps and making them more efficient . A Udacity certified Android developer, I have a nano-degree in android issued by Udacity and Google. I’m among the top 50 android nano-degree holders in the country to attend the prestigious Android career summit held at Google, Bangalore.

Github profile :  https://github.com/Ramkishorevit

Linkedin profile   : https://in.linkedin.com/in/ram-kishore-14031310a

Email: ramkishorevit@gmail.com  Contact No: +91 8056987980

Let’s explore some efficient internal and external libraries that I personally use to make the app more efficient. You can have your own choices too.If you are learning android there are many websites that still contain outdated libraries and techniques. So please get updated to have an easier experience.

Let us start seeing section wise.

  • Always extend AppCompactActivity no matter what outdated Activity– it brings so many new libraries into place which makes things easier and cooler.
  • For networking,Volley is the best thing to use as it provides caching and is able to handle request queuing by itself. When the back-end server is slow to give back response it waits, creating a queue automatically. It is extremely fast except for the first time as the data caching happens.This is one epic library that I love.
  • Gson– I always use this to parse the JSON. I hate writing my own parsers and wasting time. Gson efficiently parses the JSON into java objects with one line of code.It is very customizable too.
  • MPAndroidChart– When I want any graphical representations in the app this is really a good choice in my opinion.
  • Picasso/Glide– For loading image from either a file or a specific server URL it is highly advisable to use either Picasso or Glide. It has the ability to load multiple images asynchronously and quickly. In a typical recyclerview you can see its power of loading images asynchronously in a very good fashion.
  • Google Design Libraries– I always go for google design libraries and stick to tablayouts,navigation drawers,cardviews etc.. that they provide.It is so easy to customize and material design guidelines can be followed easily. It also provides shared element transitions and several techniques. This is definitely one big help.
  • Realm DB – This is amazing. This lets us  save data directly as java objects. NoSQL database like mongoDB. I am not saying this can be a replacement for content providers with native SQLite. But still it is better than SQLite in so many occasions. It all depends on when to choose what.On a deeper note Realm is 3 times faster than SQLite. But if your app handles a lot of memory then SQlite is a safe option.If there are very less dependent entities one should lean towards Realm as it is damn easy to use with very less lines of code. If there are more objects to be stored, even then Realm can be preferred. In case there is a SyncAdapter usage in your app never go for Realm as you will have to write your own Utility class for connecting to it. So it really takes some time for you to choose between SQLite and Realm which only becomes easier with experience.

That’s it folks..These are some basic libraries that I use to stay updated and get better performances. These are like assets from god to android. 

Happy Coding.

Share Paper – The App for all Test Papers

Share Paper – The App for all Test Papers

by Anshaj 0 Comments

 

share paper

 

Upload pageBeing in college has the excellent benefit of having buckets of funny stories which honestly don’t care if you have an exam to prepare for or a day of leisurely fun awaiting you. Last semester while mugging up the overwhelmingly boring topics of Manufacturing Processes (aka MP) before my afternoon CAT exam ,I asked one of my friends to send the morning MP paper. He kindly did so, and on opening my WhatsApp I nearly jumped out of my skin and spent the next hour hoping for divine intervention to save me. However, I did forward the image to my classmate who asked for it. Ten minutes before the exam, he messaged me saying that I sent him the wrong paper.I had my light bulb moment just before I went in. That was good, my pulse rate finally went back to normal. I highly doubt this would have happened if I had an app like Share Paper.

 

What is Share Paper ?

Login PageShare Paper is a crowd-sourced project that lets you share the exam papers for subjects you have registered for. Gone are the days where students had to run around or message everyone on their contact list to get a copy of a question paper. With the Share Paper app, all your exam day question papers are available in one place. Students can upload the question papers after their exams and conversely fire up the app to boost their exam preparations. A special hoot for the times when a question gets repeated in the afternoon paper. Welcome page

How to use Share Paper ?

The Share Paper app is very similar to the myVIT app in terms of looks. Once you login to the app using your FFCS credentials you are greeted with a list of registered subjects – theory and lab, along with the slot numbers and respective faculties.  Tapping on any subject field opens up the database of available question papers. The orange colors of the app jump out at you (I am not complaining, I love oranges) and gives the app a lively feel, considering the fact it is only used during the gloomy times of examinations.

When to use Share Paper ?

  • Ahoy! Afternoon slot students during the exams
  • For the forgetful ones: All question papers remain in one place and are easy to manage
  • For the clumsy ones: No risk of accidentally deleting your stash of question papers
  • For the recyclers: Go on, put it in the Project Aware box, Nature would thank you for it
  • For the studious ones: You can refer to the papers even after the exams, great preparation technique for term ends
  • For the ones going the extra mile: Useful to refer to previous semesters’ question papers, especially for CAL students

 

The app is out on the Google Play Store right now, and has proven useful for many students during the exams. For subjects taken across the streams, the community worked with each other and put up the papers soon after the exams in each slot concluded. The Share Paper app also has an edge over the existing means for exam papers currently available in VTOP .It can be used to access CAT as well as FAT question papers and would continue to receive updates from the developers at GDG VIT Vellore. As the number of people using the app increases, the database will only get better .This will help out people looking for means to do well as test season rolls around. For now the app has already seen 800 downloads  and around 200 question papers uploaded during the CAT week.

The Share Paper app is an initiative by Ramkishore, Anurag Tiwari and Ashwini Purohit. The team completed the development of the application in 3 days while the backend work was completed in 1 day.

Share Paper App on the Google Play Store

So go on ahead and give it a try, who knows the difference it could make for you on D-Day.

Server Tragedy- How A Backend Developer Killed The MyVIT API

Server Tragedy- How A Backend Developer Killed The MyVIT API

At GDG VIT Vellore, I usually handle all the servers, and they are either deployed on Azure or Digital Ocean. One fine day, one of our members (schoolboy a.k.a. Balaji) asked for a server for a Hackathon held by TCS; but they were all engaged.

One of the pre-conditions was that, he needed a server with 4gigs of RAM to run his application.

MyVIT, an android application that is being used by most of the students here at VIT Vellore uses the Student login API developed by Shubhodeep Mukherjee; one of the best GoLang developers here.

The API is hosted on one of our servers with the best configuration available. You can find the source code of the API here.

Since the MyVIT server was the only server that was suitably configured, I shared the MyVIT’s server credentials with  schoolboy to use it for the hack.

Since Shubhodeep was the only server doctor, he did not suspect anything could go wrong with the server. The API handles more than 3,000 calls per day.

Mr. schoolboy had no clue about MyVIT’s API running on the same server. I don’t understand the obsession with the port 8080, but every time I set up an application, I either use 8000, or 8080.  And it’s not just me who is so obsessed with these numbers. Almost every web developer is obsessed with these numbers.

8080 being forwarded

As usual, the MyVIT API was hosted on port 8080. During the hack, schoolboy logged onto the server, and typed in the command :

hackathonServer bee run

and he got something like this:

Failed to listen on localhost:8080 (reason: Address already in use)

Without bothering about the process running on the port, our star developer Mr. schoolboy typed in this command :

lsof -i tcp:8080

followed by

sudo kill -9 pid #where pid is the process id returned by lsof

Basically what this means is that, he killed the existing process running on port 8080, and happily served his application on the same port.

Students here started facing problems in logging into the MyVIT application, to refresh their attendance. When this came to our notice, Shubhodeep immediately logged onto the server and checked the process running on port 8080. When he realised that some other application was being served, he reacted by saying :

Kis mahaan insaan ko server diya tha tune?

Shubho's look

He started the MyVIT application immediately and everything started functioning properly. After that incident, we always keep a note of applications running on a server along with the port number.

P.S. Mr. schoolboy’s team won the hackathon and bagged the first prize, for which he had to treat us later.

So that was one of the incidents. We have many more to share. Hope you like this!

Have a look at some of our cool projects at : https://github.com/GDGVIT

Download MyVIT android app at : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.vit.vitio