Scientists Running Wild on the Streets (2)

So I went to the science on the streets (Veda v ulicich) over the weekend. Some impressions:

The virtual doppelganger was really that: They scanned people's faces, from the pictures they generated an animated 3D face, and then added a Czech speech synthesis and made it say stuff. (Yes, Czech tongue-twisters, too.) Some of the faces even came with facial gestures, and they also put a lot of effort in the teeth, tongue and eyes. No speech recognition though, neither was it hooked up to a dialog system requiring such an avatar for interaction.

The "three dimensional paint" turned out to be a liquid chemical substance in a marker, similar to window colors, but opaque. After drawing on paper, the lines foam up a bit and stand out of the picture. (Also interesting for the blind I assume?)

The "mammoth hunters" were a group of poor Czech men, women and children who somebody had talked into wearing "native clothing" and holding flintstone spears while camping in front of the Muzeum and smiling for the tourists. They also tried to play music on cattle horns. :) All the while, the mammoth was hiding inside the muzeum and never came out. Chicken.

One brainteaser I came across was a chain of flat wooden tiles, held together by straps, and you hold one tile and let the rest hang down, and one after the other tile kind-of flips over and down, but the chain doesn't fall apart and no tiles change their position in the chain. Huh? I took one home to figure it out, it's very simple indeed, like one of those Rubik thingies, but still... Who comes up with these things?

The last impression is from the promised "Robots separating waste in the metro station event". In short: They had not found a solution to automatic waste separation. Instead it was a normal student project very similar to the ones we did: I assume if they had advertised it as "Robots vaguely moving towards color-coded objects, sometimes picking them up, and then maybe throwing them in a random direction," fewer people would have bothered to come. ;-) However you could see that the robots where custom-made from scrap metal and old computer parts, which was very cool.

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