Over a month since I last blogged and a lot has happened. Anthea and I went for a weekend in Germany just prior to Christmas which was great. We had a fantastic time with great hospitality and interesting Christmas markets to explore.

Christmas day we left for our 2 week trip in India. India is an experience more than a holiday. We had a great time but it was hard work at times as well. I’m not looking forward to sorting and naming the 500 odd photos we took while we were there but as soon as it’s done I’ll put them up on my site and post a link from here.

I was sick for the first week back after our trip. Delhi belly strikes again! I have almost fully recovered now, but still feel a little off colour now and again.

I finally managed to get some time to return to my vision project in the last week or so and have made some progress, although I think I will save that for another post.

So very busy

Had a great time in Berlin last weekend. It wasn’t really what I expected and the really famous sites (check point charlie, Brandenburg gate) left me a bit disappointed. We did see a lot of neat stuff though and we really lucky with the weather. The highlight of the weekend was probably the Berlin Dom which was very cool.

The trip was also the first time I had used my new Sigma 28-200mm lens for my SLR. I found it a real pleasure to use and am really looking forward to seeing what the photos are like. The films should be developed this week so I hope to get some photos up on the website by early next week.

Life is still extremely busy and I haven’t had a chance to do any hacking for ages. Doesn’t look like this week will provide too many opportunites with me busy nearly every night!

All packed and ready to go!

Well, looks like we are all packed for our trip back to New Zealand. I reckon it will take us about 36hrs door to door so am already looking forward to getting there. I have all the important things like my laptop sorted so I can do some hacking on the plane on the way over. This is when I wish I had one of those laptops with a 5-6 hr battery life instead of the measly 2hrs I’ll probably get from mine.

I can’t wait to get home now!

Back from holiday and Go NASA!

Well, I have just returned from the most fantastic holiday in the Scottish highlands. If anyone is thinking of heading up there and doing a tour I can definitely recommend MacBackpackers and if you can get on a tour lead by Colin even better! I will try an get photos up on
https://www.jamesfitzsimons.com as soon as possible.

I have been following the Discovery return to flight mission with great interest. I have always been a bit of a space nut, but this mission really caught my attention partly because of the test flight nature of it I guess. I think NASA are absolutely fantastic and don’t get anywhere near the recognition or funding the deserve in spite of the rubbish the media would have you believe. To prove a point, here are a few interesting figures I found with a quick bit of googling:

2005 NASA budget $16.2 billion
2005 military budget $400.1 billion
Cost (to US) of war in Iraq $314 billion
US GDP 2005 $11,750 billion

So, NASA gets 0.14 % of the US GDP or put another way, 4% of what the US spends on it’s military.

Pretty sad.

Website updated!

It would appear hell must have frozen over because I have finally managed to update www.jamesfitzsimons.com with our last few trips worth of travel photos!

While I was at it I decided to pretty it up a little bit, and add slightly more functionality around viewing the photos. I also tried reducing the size and quality of the “large” versions of the photos in an effort to get the pages a little lighter for those on slow connections. It’s still not flash but it works 😉

Any comments or suggestions let me know!

Cause I’m impatient

I thought I’d post a few links to some panoramic photos I have made of our trip to Seville. I haven’t had the time to update the traveling section on www.jamesfitzsimons.com yet, so these are just a bit of a teaser.

I’m actually pretty impressed by how well these panoramas turned out. There are some bad color matches which are due to the source photos being taken in automatic mode on our camera. I have since learned you need to take the source photos in manual mode so you can get consistent lighting across all the images. I had to manually re-color them for these panoramas so that’s why they aren’t matched very well.

Anyway, here they are (click on the image below for the full size version)

Fun weekend but still stuck

Anthea and I had a fun weekend with a trip to Leads castle and some wine tasting at the oldest winery in Kent (yeah, apparently the English make wine 😉 leads castle was great. It has really beautiful grounds and the castle itself is very pretty and we managed to conquer the maze which was fun. They also had about 20 or so birds of prey sitting out on their perches waiting for the falconry display at 1:30 (which we missed unfortunately) and it was really cool to see some of these magnificent birds up close.

I received a little parcel from Amazon on Friday. I’ve finally got my second camera so should be doing real stereo vision soon. I am still COMPLETELY stuck on deriving the rotation from two sets of points using least squares however. I have a set of 3d co-ordinates which represent a set of features observed at time t1, and then I have another set of 3d co-ordinates which represent the same features at time t2. What I am trying to do is establish the translation and rotation of the camera platform between time t1 and t2. The translation is easy, but the rotation is giving me a real headache! I know I need to use a least squares minimisation, but the actual implementation escapes me. It is getting pretty annoying now too as this has held me up for a couple of weeks now. In the unlikely event that anyone reading this knows how to do this can you please contact me!

Ah well, back to reading Math world and my perpetual state of confusion :-/

Oslo and the news

I have just come back from a great weekend in Oslo. It’s a interesting place although not really at all like Stockholm which came as a bit of surprise to me. Anthea and I did as much site seeing as we could getting to the Viking ship museum, Folk museum, sculpture park and ski jump in the one and a half days we were there. I’ll post the photos to the travelling section of my website shortly.

Saw this on slashdot today. It appears that MDRobotics (makers of the Canada arm I & II on the International Space Station) have been working on a similar project to me. They have created some software that can reconstruct a 3d model of a scene photographed by a stereo camera system. Their software also uses Lowe’s SIFT features.