How Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit was saved using 3D scanning

Neil Armstrong's spacesuit (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

The historic garment was painstakingly restored using light scanning and 3D mapping ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission launch

On 16 July 1969, three men flew to the moon. Their spacesuits have since been kept at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, but nothing lasts forever. The suit Neil Armstrong was wearing when he became the first man on the Moon hasn’t been on display for 13 years – until the museum decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign in July 2015. Dubbed ‘Reboot the Suit,’ it has 9,477 backers and has managed to raise more than $700,000 (around ÂŁ539,000).

On 16 July this year, exactly 50 years after the flight, freshly restored Armsrtrong’s suit will go back on public display. First on temporary display, it’ll later become the centrepiece of the museum’s upcoming Destination Moon exhibition, slated for launch in 2022.

Armstrong’s historic garment is among the most fragile items in the museum’s collection. So how did the Smithsonian go about preserving it for future generations?

You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 8 July 2019).

This breakthrough could help diagnose CTE in living patients

By AJ Guel – originally posted to Flickr as Fumble, CC BY 2.0

Athletes who repeatedly suffer blows to the head face brain injuries and in the most extreme cases, death. Now, a new study has identified a biomarker that could be used to diagnosis a brain disease that affects athletes with repeated head injuries.

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which can currently only be diagnosed after death, is a progressive degenerative brain condition found in athletes who have suffered repeated trauma to the head, including concussions. The condition has a number of behavioural symptoms including aggressiveness, depression and memory loss.

The disease is especially prevalent in American football players with a recent study from Boston University finding signs of CTE in 99 per cent of brains from deceased American football players…

You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 11 October 2017).

 

This is how Netflix’s top-secret recommendation system works

 

Netflix

More than 80 per cent of the TV shows people watch on Netflix are discovered through the platform’s recommendation system. That means the majority of what you decide to watch on Netflix is the result of decisions made by a mysterious, black box of an algorithm. Intrigued? Here’s how it works.

Netflix uses machine learning and algorithms to help break viewers’ preconceived notions and find shows that they might not have initially chosen. To do this, it looks at nuanced threads within the content, rather than relying on broad genres to make its predictions. This explains how, for example, one in eight people who watch one of Netflix’s Marvel shows are completely new to comic book-based stuff on Netflix.

To help understand, consider a three-legged stool. “The three legs of this stool would be Netflix members; taggers who understand everything about the content; and our machine learning algorithms that take all of the data and put things together,” says Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation…

You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 22 August 2017).

Inside Netflix: we reveal how brain scans and bots help shows go from lens to your living room

A mural in the newest building at Netflix’s Silicon Valley HQ features characters from its original series (Netflix)

WIRED went behind the scenes at the Californian HQs of Netflix and Dolby for an exclusive peek at how your favourite shows are brought to the screen

Netflix first launched in the UK in 2012 and, along with catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and streaming rivals like Amazon Prime, has completely transformed the way we watch television.

WIRED was invited along to the firm’s recent Netflix Labs Day at its Los Gatos headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley for the global release of Marvel’s Iron Fist and to hear more about the innovations that brought it to the screen.

The firm is renowned for its ever-expanding range of original series from political drama House of Cards and 80s sci-fi throwback Stranger Things to 13 Reasons Why – one its latest offerings telling the disturbing story of why a teenaged girl took her own life. Unlike Amazon, Netflix has ditched the expensive process of producing pilot episodes, opting for a more direct approach.

A simulation of SDR vs HDR output for Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix)

“It really starts with a great idea, and a team wanting to bring it to life,” explained Cindy Holland, VP of Originals Series at Netflix. “We use data to work out what’s the minimum threshold audience size that we need, in order to justify the economics of a project that we’re thinking about”.

Marvel’s Iron Fist is one of the latest arrivals, with the comic book brand’s global clout helping Netflix conquer countries where it’s not so well known. It’s also the first of Netflix’s Marvel series to be shot using Dolby Vision – the audio and video firm Dolby’s enhanced version of HDR

You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 14 April 2017).