Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Using Adobe Bridge with Camera Raw for Drone Panorama Editing Applications





Here is a short video showing how I use Camera Raw in Adobe Bridge to generate Drone Panorama images quickly and easily with or without opening Photoshop. The advantages processing in Adobe Bridge offers is that it can improve the speed and efficiency of stitching together large images in panorama without slowing down your computer significantly.

Photoshop, like all programs, uses up some of your computer's resources while it's open. Even if you're not working in Photoshop at the time, as long as it's open in the background, it's still using up resources. If you're working on a slower computer to begin with, having programs open in the background that you're not using can slow you down even more.

Camera Raw offers such a complete image editing environment that it's entirely possible to do everything you need to do with your photo in Camera Raw without ever needing to open it in Photoshop for further editing, including cropping, aligning, contrast and color channel editing. Camera Raw is perfectly capable of running in Bridge itself, or another way to put it, Camera Raw can be "hosted" by Bridge, just like it can be hosted by Photoshop.

Another benefit to running Camera Raw from Bridge, and one that has an impact on your workflow, is that when you're finished processing one image in Camera Raw and click the Done button to close out of it, you're instantly returned to Bridge, ready to select and open the next image or sets of images for further processing.



Thursday, 26 March 2020

Coronavirus Emergency In Ireland - Why The Government Must Mandate a 2 Week Total Shutdown



This is an urgent message, so lets not waste time with introductions.

The Government of Ireland must mandate a Complete Shutdown of all non-essential and non-medical business immediately. 

This means closing all non-essential manufacturing, factories, construction sites, call centers and non-essential warehouse work (excepting medical device, food services for humans and animals, pharmaceuticals and other essentials) - Private and Multinational firms that are still continuing business as usual in Ireland MUST BE CLOSED - They must not be allowed to continue work as they dictate until they chose to close. WE ARE IN A NATIONAL CRISIS AND THEY MUST BE MANDATED TO CLOSE. 

I RECOMMEND THAT AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE USE THIS POST AS A PLATFORM TO NAME AND SHAME PRIVATE COMPANIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND THAT ARE REFUSING TO CLOSE AND PUTTING THE LIVES OF OUR CITIZENRY AT RISK AND ARE MORTGAGING THE FUTURE OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT FOR SHORT-TERM PROFIT.

The numbers of people out on the streets, parks, beaches and other public environs is also alarming. In the UK it is now illegal to be out during a nationwide lockdown while in Ireland we have still not made measures to ENFORCE SOCIAL DISTANCING THAT CAN SAVE HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF LIVES. 




Despite many euphemisms and mitigating measures the government has taken they have been half-measures at best and will do nothing to FLATTEN THE INFECTION CURVE. WE MUST MOVE PAST HALF-ASSED MITIGATION AND HAVE A FULL LOCKDOWN, APPLY "THE HAMMER" - Only then can we move onto "THE DANCE" AND CAREFULLY RESTART OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.

The key word here is MITIGATING MEASURES. the government refuse to take any hardline measures to, in-effect, flatted the infection from an exponential rate to a linear rate and eventually reaching a level that will not overwhelm our already beleaguered healthcare system. 


We have healthcare workers who can only be considered superheroes at this point who are quickly becoming so overwhelmed that they are, in-effect, samurai in nurses and doctors clothing. They are risking their own lives and also having to take the extra burden and risk because, again PRIVATE BUSINESSES REFUSE TO CLOSE ON THEIR OWN! THEY MUST BE FORCED RIGHT NOW!

TIME IS KEY IN ALL OF THIS. WE MUST GET OUR COUNTRY FROM AN EXPONENTIAL STAGE OF INFECTION RATE TO A LINEAR STAGE AND FLATTEN THE CURVE. WE CAN ONLY DO THIS WITH A FULL LOCKDOWN FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS!

To citizens I recommend you STAY INDOORS AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, we can only fight this virus and stop it becoming a permanent part of the microbial ecosystem in this country if we band together on this and most importantly HOLD BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT! DON'T FORGET THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE HAD A WUHAN OR RUSSIAN STYLE LOCKDOWN AT LEAST A WEEK AGO IF NOT TWO!

THE DATA DOES NOT LIE - The John's Hopkins Website has been providing more up to date information than any of the highly funded and subsidized quangos and institutions in IRELAND. The most important detail is to read the shape of the graph, not merely quote numbers.

This is Our Status (March 26th 2020):




WE ARE HEADING INTO EXPONENTIAL GROWTH. WE MUST ACT NOW!

Compare this to Italy, the Worst Country Hit in Europe:




EXPONENTIAL INFECTION RATE HAS CAUSED THE VAST NUMBER OF DEATHS WITHIN ITALY.

SEE John's Hopkins COVID 19 Updates live here: reading the curve is far more essential than the individual numbers: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

The Ideal is to APPLY THE HAMMER, initiate a 2 week controlled lockdown and flatten the infection rate, as CHINA and most East Asian Countries have done:




WE HAVE BEEN TOLD CONSTANTLY BY THE IRISH GOVERNMENT AND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA (RTE Are most culpable) THAT THE WORD "LOCKDOWN" IS A SCARE TACTIC. WELL, IN TIMES LIKE THIS FEAR WORKS TO GET THE JOB DONE. WE DON'T HAVE TO BE AFRAID FOREVER BUT THIS CRISIS REQUIRES US TO REALLY BE AFRAID FOR OUR LOVED ONES AND FOR OURSELVES.

Morever, it has not been the word "lockdown" that the citizenry have had a hard time understanding: The term "Social distancing" has been apparently interpreted by the public with a mixture of confusion and reckless abandon, maybe because it was written by the same second-rate advertising gurus that write the script our politicians read. 

As the Comedian George Carlin once said "Euphemisms are bullshit, people need direct honest language" - So, my fellows, please STAY INDOORS FOR AS LONG AS YOU HAVE FOOD AND MEDICINE! 




Again, to the Government, INITIATE A CLOSURE OF NON-ESSENTIAL PRIVATE BUSINESSES TO ENSURE THAT WE FLATTEN THE INFECTION RATE! YOU WILL BE HELD ACCOUNT FOR THIS NEGLIGENCE!

We can hopefully look back on this moment and perhaps laugh and have a kind of "I was there" moment with the kids in the future. Perhaps. But if we do not act now we are going to plunge this country into loss and sorrow that will take generations to heal. Please do what is in the common good.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

As I write this America has overtaken every other country as the most heavily infected. this was not unexpected given the delayed response there however they are due to get much worse due to the high level of exponential growth leading to a great strain on their healthcare system:





Saturday, 14 March 2020

Framing The Power of Art Using Luminescent Solar Concentrators and UV Lighting



This project involves creating vibrant etching artwork using ultraviolet reactive perspex in a Luminescent Solar Concentrator (LSC) configuration with silicon thin film solar panels on the side to harvest light as energy, boosted using an energy harvester circuit designed for indoor solar energy harvesting.

This technology was developed over a few years and has been tested using many different designs. The concept of using solar concentrators in buildings (in windows, roofing, glasshouses etc) has been explored in many research scenarios however the development of indoor based light-energy harvesting for display use is something that is novel in the context of use in displaying artwork.

UV artwork is very interesting and the vibrancy in certain UV reactive materials adds a contrast on images within the environment they are placed that is not found in other display media. The UV light source does not need to be super-bright and often the display is more effective in an environment where lighting is kept at a minimum to bring out the sharper colors from the fluorescence.  Many museums are using this technique to create interesting and eye catching displays for unique visual experiences. In some situations it resembles Neon lighting however it is far more energy efficient and safer to install.



Introduction:



The installation of conventional photovoltaic (PV) solar cells have many advantages. The ease of installation, the ability to generate energy locally and with minimal investment and supervision makes them ideal to install on buildings and integrate within devices.They can be used on rooftops, most portable solar chargers and in other applications directly absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. 

The major drawback is that amount of power, in watts, conventional solar cells can harvest is dependent on the amount of area the cells cover. So in areas where surface area is a premium, PV solar has clear limits in its energy harvesting capacity. High rise cities for example do not have the space for all but the most superficial of solar energy installations. This is a fundamental problem for genuinely running an energy hungry city on energy harvested directly from the environment.

Electricity is generally consumed first at the source where it is generated. So energy producing installations if positioned far from a cityscape will have their transmitted power drawn from other sources first, such as small towns and villages, and ultimately creates a situation where prioritization of power distribution is backwards - effectively powering the small municipalities before the larger ones.

Accounting for losses in transmission over large distances also means it makes sense to position a power plant as close to a city as possible. This is not so much a problem with stored fuels, such as fossil fuels, which can be stored and converted to electricity in power stations that require less space and are thus possible to install near large cities. With generic renewable energy however, large amounts of space is required, be it wind farms or solar arrays, so it is not really practical to position it near a city for the reason described and certainly not within it, only in a superficial sense such as on rooftops, as city high rises inevitable lead to shading of the surface. 

Conventional PV solar cells made of high quality materials, from Silicon to CIGS, will require refinement, purification, cleaning, doping and deposition and this will naturally increase their expense as the power they are expected to generate, and thus size, increases in demand. So even with conventional photo-voltaic solar cells we are trapped in the process in which the more power we want to harvest, the more money we will have to invest, making the transition to solar energy an expensive one.

This does not even go into mentioning that the most efficient photovoltaic absorption materials known, such as Gallium Arsenide (which has benefits of being a radiation-hard material) and  perovskite photovoltaic materials are extremely expensive.


Concentrating and Harvesting Solar Energy


Methods of concentrating solar energy, such as using reflective mirrors and/or lenses offers an obvious solution to the problem. However concentrating solar energy using conventional methods often means that we must have more supervision and infrastructure available in an area. For example, concentrating solar energy by mirrors and/or lenses is often done by heating water in a power plant infrastructure which may not always be available in a local area and will require yet more investment. 

Moreover, different technologies are required to harvest the concentrated solar energy - i.e. using Stirling engines, thus creating technology barriers along with the economic cost on transitioning to solar energy.

Therefore it would be nice if we were able to use combine the ability to harvest solar energy using conventional solar cells with new approaches to concentrating solar energy. One such approach is the idea to concentrate the solar energy by "pumping" a fluorescent medium with sunlight, akin to how a laser crystal can be pumped with a flashlamp, in which by clever design of the fluorescent medium and optics, the photon population in the flourescnt medium can be concentrated to a large level which can then be delivered to the PV cell.

This is the idea behind the operation of a Luminscent Solar Concentrators or LSC. A LSC absorbs the light on a plate embedded with highly efficient light-emitters called “lumophores” that then re-emit the absorbed light at longer wavelengths, a process known as the Stokes shift. For example, absorbing UV radiation to produce visible light. This re-emitted light is directed by total internal reflection (just like an optical fiber) to a micro-solar cell for conversion to electricity. Because the plate is much larger than the micro-solar cell, the solar energy hitting the cell is highly concentrated.



With a sufficient concentration factor, only small amounts of expensive photovoltaic materials are needed to collect light from a potentially inexpensive luminescent waveguide. The waveguides could be in principle made to be integrated into double-glazed glass windows, thus providing a possible solution to the integration of energy harvesting within high rise cities and across all available dimensions of a building.

Even within a building, in locations where sunlight reaches on walls the concentration of light to generate moderate amounts of energy can be achieved, at the very least for lighting.

Now why would this be important to consider? Well, LSCs have not only the potential to provide a means to Stokes-shift shorter wavelengths, such as UV, into longer ones such as red and blue, but also to provide a means to upconvert longer wavelengths of light, such as infrared, which is not converted to electricity by the PV material into shorter wavelengths such as red.

A large portion of radiation emitted by the Sun itself is in infrared and only generates waste heat in a PV cell, which undermines its overall performance. So developing materials that do demonstrate upconversion of infrared light, from IR lasers, is a reasonable step to developing devices that will work outside of the lab, perhaps using sunlight or alternatively as a way to provide wireless power distribution by means of lasers. Energy distribution by means of lasers, such as the common GaN UV Lasers, may also be possible to demonstrate with such a system..



This project, its images and design was developed by MuonRay Enterprises Ireland for educational purposes.



Artworks Depicted


In this project I created several etchings as a demonstration of how etching UV Perspex on different layers with contrasting colors can create very vivid and sharply colored images, not to mention the inclusion of a mirror which gives the images a sort of "floating pseudo-hologram effect". I will share the images depicted in the video and explain what they are from. All are cultural and historical symbols that I find interesting.




A mythical dragon, somewhat inspired by oriental dragons but I was thinking more along the lines of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwock when I was designing it - "with eyes of flame!"

The Winged Disk - The winged sun is a symbol associated with divinity, royalty and power in the Ancient Near East in particular the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt where it was used both to represent the Gods Ra and Horus.



A Celtic Knot Moon in conjunction with a Celtic Spiral Sun. The Celtic Knot is sometimes a depiction of a universe forever in flux but without clear beginning or end either in scale or direction. The Spiral Trigram is commonly associated with the connection between the changing seasons, death, life and rebirth. All are a common motif in Ancient Irish Culture.


The 4 Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernatural magical race in Irish mythology who bore these magical artifacts, crafted in faraway islands beyond Ireland. They are thought to be a pantheon of demigods or precursors to the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. In my depiction of the 4 Treasures, I symbolise each with one of the 4 classical elements of antiquity.

Claíomh Solais (The Sword of Light) - A Magical Sword that when swung no person could escape it. This sword is often associated with Nuada the King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, with him sometimes given the epithet Airgeadlámh, meaning "silver hand/arm". The element I have associated it with is fire.


Cauldron of Dagda - Dagda was one of the Tuatha De Dannan and later on the Irish All Father associated with fertility, agriculture, strength, as well as magic, druidry and wisdom. He is strongly associated with the culture at the Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange). From His cauldron it is said nourishment flows from which nobody is ever left hungry or weak. The element I have associated it with is water.

Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) - This is the ancient Coronation stone from which the High King's and Queens of Ireland would be deemed fit to rule the country by the stone itself vibrating. The an ancient stone still sits on the Hill of Tara to this day, however whether or not this is the true one remains unknown. The element I have depicted with this treasure is Earth with plant like roots boring into the ground from the stone to add to the effect and also the name of the stone itself etched in Ogham.

The Spear of Lugh - Lugh is a God of many talents in Irish mythology. He was a master craftsman but also a warrior and in some depictions both a messenger and a trickster. Lugh is linked with the harvest festival of Lughnasadh, which bears his name. He was also attributed to storms and so I have depicted his weapon of choice, a spear, with lighting and attribute it as the element of air. When Lugh uses his spear, it is said that it brings a decisive end to all conflict. 



This symbol is the Hamsa Hand, also known as The Hand of Miriam (Sister of Moses) in Jewish Tradition and also known as The Hand of Fatima in Islam and to a less common extent as the Hand of Mary in Christianity. There is also history of its use much earlier in Ancient India. In general it is used as a protective talisman. It is a symbol that people believe can protect them from harm against the evil eye and bring them goodness, abundance, fertility, luck and good health. In my travels I have seen it quite commonly used on ships in the Middle East as a charm to ward off storms.

With this one I used 3 layers of UV reactive perspex to reasonable effect at creating a vibrant display of color.


This project has been a fun way to share the concept of using perspex to create efficient illuminated artwork that can power itself and remain functional without external power sources. The technique in developing the art has been a learning experience for me and I hope to create more artwork using this technique in the future. 











Thursday, 20 February 2020

3D NIR Drone Scanning: Python + VisualSFM VS PIX4D




In this project I showcase my developments in 3D Drone Scanning where I can generate detailed 3D models with NDVI indices by modifying the DJI Mavic 2 Pro Hasselblad Camera in a Near-Infrared (NIR) Conversion.

Using a custom made Dual Bandpass Filter I can obtain clear NIR, green and blue leveraged colour images  which can be processed in Python + Visual SFM for free (using Code I developed in Python) and viewed in Meshlab. The advantage of this technique is affordability.

Alternatively, using commercial software such as PIX4D I can use the reflectance maps to generate a high fedelity and clear NDVI, ENDVI, SAVI map with customisable colormaps which look professional and can be used in the PIX4D BIM suite for accurate volume and area measurements which can be a very useful tool for systemic analysis of a region. In my view PIX4D offers unequaled scope in what one can do with drone mapping.



Index based classification is itself a forerunner to more sophisticated techniques in the field of machine learning. Machine learning is a diverse tool that uses convolution neural networks, trained under either supervised or non-supervised conditions with a selection of classified data for classifying known objects in a general landscape. This can allow, among other things, the user to compare directly individual sections of a chosen landscape, i.e. which areas have been depleted of vegetation with respect to others and what consistently known features are associated with this difference, i.e. the presence or absence of a significant plant undergrowth/understory/underbrush.



With 2D data alone however such classifications are impoverished from significant environmental features, the most important one being missing is overall topology of the landscape. We simply can only see and classify so much from a single 2D point of view, even with tools such as NDVI and others. No matter how many detectors may be onboard an imaging system, be it drone or satellite, without noticing this fact we are limiting our scope of classification.



Topology data of a landscape is itself critical for numerous reasons, being the source information for depth-based classifications, the basis for performing dynamic partial differential flow-based simulations (in fire physics, air flow, etc.) and even for charting the individual biomes in a region with elevation being a key factor affecting the distribution of species in an area, cold-thriving species existing upland and temperate species existing closer to sea level for example.



3D Scanning is the obvious solution and can be accomplished just as easily with NIR cameras as with regular imaging systems onboard a drone. The only difference being the ability to process the large datasets needed into meaningful maps that can have their features classified by the conventional tools of NDVI, ENDVI, SAVI and so on.





Using apps such as DroneHarmony or DJI Mapping Software with the Phantom 4 RTK for example it is possible to plan a plot sweep of a region of defined size.



The convential RGB data is itself very useful and can be classified with meaningful results based on height, shape and colour. This all epends on the 3D reconstructing software being used. PIX4D Mapper is probably the best proprietary software soltion on the market today for this work. The ease of processing and the countless features of this software really makes it the industry standard in construction, mining and of course for environmental monitoring.







The output is a orthomosaic TIFF file which can be classified using NDVI, ENDVI, SAVI as has been done before.












Creating full 3d NDVI Maps using freeware is a bit trickier but can be done in practice aswell. One must be careful not to delete the EXIF Data in Post-processing, or if one does then it is advise that data be transferred over to allow for consitency in maps to compare between RGB and NDVI profiles.

This can be done in Matlab or Python, depending on preference.


This project is attempted with existing freeware for ease of reproduction and replication. Python, Meshlab and VisualSFM and CMVS are all free and opensource. This is of utmost importance for NGOs and Charities working in this area.

Another useful program is QGIS which is opensource and works with Python in its interface and can run scripts from a built in compiler. At the very least it is useful for converting the orthomosaic TIFF Files in JPEG images which retain geoinformation. This is useful for doing postprocessing in Python.

The full unabridged use of QGIS in its full potential in NDVI-style classification is a subject for another project however and I hope to come back to sharing my experiences of using it in the near future.