Earth 2050: Future Energy

Last December there was a special on the Discovery Channel called "Earth 2050: Future Energy". I found this to be one of the more interesting programs that I've seen in quite a while. I have it DVR'd, but I was hoping to find a version for permanent record and to share with others as I think it is worth showing. Tonight I got the brainstorm to take a look on youtube (duh!) and found much of the content posted there, by none other than Shell. I thought it was sponsored by Shell when I watched it, so I was correct with that assumption.

I'm going to post links to all the videos on YouTube here, but two of them are of particular interest to me and were the two segments that caught my interest the most:

  • Driven by Design, and
  • Extended Interview with Cliff Fox

I find these interesting as he discusses the application of point clouds to energy scenarios, specifically automotive navigation and fuel efficiency. Honestly, he doesn't get into any details, but it strikes my interest due to the work that I've been doing with Kinect point cloud data, and since I build energy systems for a living...

The following are several stills from the first video showing use of the point cloud data, and the transposing of image data onto the point clouds.

This mapping of image data onto point cloud data is a concept that I've been playing with around with the Kinect and C#. I don't have a screen shot at this point to show, but it is easily accomplished using Processing and several plug in libraries and open source projects. If you want to play with this, I actually recommend getting the following text, "Making Things See" (which is a great read):

The author, Greg Borenstein, shows how to do this task with code written in Processing that will do the image mapping onto point clouds, with the RGBDemo open source project courtesy of Nicolas Burrus. I have this running on my mac and it works perfectly. I highly recommend it for experimentation. As an example, Nicolas has a video on YouTube (and his site) which shows 3D reconstruction of interior spaces, much like is shown in the Future Energy / Shell videos:

Now the Nokia videos are using a much larger scale depth imaging system with obviously a lot more storage. But I have seen this done using a Kinect...

Martin Szarski, on his blog, Decorator Pattern, has an entry where he describes his adventure in strapping a Kinect to his car and going for a drive, recoding the point cloud data, car location data, and images. An example of his result is just spectacular, and can be done for the price of a Kinect (and some gas):

So this leaves me to figure, what's to stop a number of people with inexpensive Kinect's to crowd source 3D point clouds and images, store them in a cloud database, and provide analytics?

I think I'll have to work on that one... Stay tuned...
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About the author

I'm a .NET, XAML, and iOS polyglot that loves playing with new things and making cool and innovative stuff.  I am also a Mac junkie.

I am Principal Technologist for SunGard Global Services in NYC, in their Advanced Technologies practice, and I work extensively with SunGard's energy and financial customers.

Note the the posting on this blog are my own and do not represent the position, strategies or opinions of SGS.

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