Browsing Tag: Did you know

    Longest Railway Line
    Articles, Blog

    Longest Railway Line

    December 18, 2019

    The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest
    railway line in the world. The line is a network of railways connecting
    Moscow to Vladivostok, consisting on the length of 9,289 kilometres (5,772 miles). It was built between 1891 and 1916, and is
    still being expanded. There are connecting branch lines into Mongolia,
    China, and North Korea.

    HTC Vive Pro Eye hands-on: first VR headset with eye tracking
    Articles, Blog

    HTC Vive Pro Eye hands-on: first VR headset with eye tracking

    November 25, 2019

    – Hey, it’s Nick Statt with The Verge, and we’re here at HTC’s
    CES press conference checking out all of its
    Vive virtual reality news. Now they had a new headset to announce. It’s called the Vive Pro Eye. It’s got native built-in eye-tracking. Now that may sound kinda lame. I mean eye-tracking’s been kicking around the PC gaming space for a while, but in virtual reality it can be really, really huge actually both for A, accessibility for people who can’t use their hands, but also B, for what’s
    called foveated rendering. Now that’s a technique that let’s you increase the resolution of an image by decreasing the
    resolution of those images on the peripheral vision of
    whoever’s using the VR headset. That way, when you’re
    looking closely at something, it actually increases the
    resolution of that virtual image. HTC actually has a whole different idea for the Vive Pro Eye. They imagine it would be really big for business use cases, so enterprise customers who wanna make specific apps that take
    advantage of eye-tracking. So we get to try a few of those here at their press conference. The first one did not
    use foveated rendering, but it did make use of eye-tracking. It was a motivational speaking or kind of a public
    speaking demo called Ovation that tracked how you used your eyes while you were giving a speech
    in front of a big crowd. So they did things like tracking how fast you were talking,
    how slow you were talking, where you were looking at
    while you were speaking, whether you were looking
    right at the teleprompter or whether you were making
    eye contact with equal sides of the left and the
    right side of the room, and then afterwards it
    gives you this big breakdown telling you how you were
    doing, where you can improve, and a headset like the Vive Pro Eye really makes something like this possible. Without eye-tracking
    you couldn’t really make a virtual reality app like this. It wouldn’t really make sense ’cause the data just wouldn’t be there. So another cool demo we tried
    out here called Zero Light specifically showed off
    the foveated rendering capabilities of the Vive Pro Eye. So it was a showroom app essentially. So you put on the Vive Pro, and you start selecting options for a car that you wanna maybe buy
    potentially in the future. Once you’re actually in the car and you’re up close and personal with the steering wheel, the speedometer, the radio, things like that, the foveated rendering really
    comes into clear picture. So they did a side-by-side comparison in real time while I
    was wearing the headset. So on the left it was standard and on the right it had
    foveated rendering enabled, and it was a huge night
    and day difference. I could actually read
    the text I was seeing. I could clearly look at
    icons and the gear shift. I could read the speedometer,
    things like that, whereas on the left in
    the standard version it was all fuzzy. It kind of looked like I
    wasn’t wearing my glasses. As for how well the eye-tracking works, well, it worked pretty seamlessly. You’re not really supposed to think about it while you’re doing it. You’re just supposed to
    move your vision around, and usually there’s some
    sort of visual input like a laser pointer or
    a kind of like a heat map telling you where you’re looking. We had that in our demos here, and it seemed to work pretty flawlessly, and I could see how this could be a really huge feature for VR. Not just VR games, but
    also these business apps, other things like that,
    educational apps for sure. In terms of how the
    eye-tracking actually functions, well, they put these rings inside of the goggles on the Vive Pro. So they’re on the outer rim, and you can see them pretty clearly when you’re putting the goggles on. You don’t really feel them while
    you’re wearing the headset. The comfort level is the same. It feels just like the old Vive Pro that came out last year here at CES, and basically it just tracks where your retinas are moving as you’re looking through a scene using little pulses of light. They also haven’t said anything about pricing or availability beyond the fact that it’s coming in the second quarter of this year. So it is coming soon, but we just don’t know
    how much it’s gonna cost. That said, if you wanna find out more information about the Vive Pro Eye or any of the other cool
    products here at CES, keep it locked to The Verge on YouTube at

    How do you make a Bobsleigh track? | Burning Questions
    Articles, Blog

    How do you make a Bobsleigh track? | Burning Questions

    November 17, 2019

    It’s the Formula 1
    of the Winter Olympics. So what do we know
    about this daredevil sport? It might surprise you to learn that one of the most
    adventurous sports on the planet wasn’t
    originally a sport at all. Before the Jamaican
    bobsleigh team made it cool, bobsleighs were
    actually invented to ferry wealthy visitors around the posh
    ski resort of St Moritz. They were literally
    too posh to push. Soon, people couldn’t resist
    racing them around the streets, so before someone
    got seriously hurt, the first official track was
    built at the Kulm Hotel park, ending in the village
    of Cresta. This track ended up
    hosting the sliding events at two Winter Olympic games
    and is still in use today. Modern bobsleigh tracks
    are made of concrete and then coated with ice. That sounds pretty scary
    just saying it – concrete coated with ice, the two hardest substances
    known to man. There’s actually a lot
    of technology going on to make sure it’s safe
    for all the athletes. First, the design of the track
    is modelled on a computer. Then it is simulated
    in a laboratory in order to measure accurately
    the amount of friction that’ll be created between
    the sled and the ice when travelling
    at high, high speeds. Basically, this means
    they can calculate the maximum speed
    a sled can reach. The designers take into
    account numerous factors, even the differences
    in the ice itself. The ice in Canada,
    for example, is different to the
    ice in Russia, which is different to the ice
    in Hawaii because it – because it had melted.
    It’s like a little joke. It doesn’t matter. Then the track is constructed
    out of reinforced concrete with evaporators embedded
    in it to cool the track to exactly minus 11 degrees. Not minus 10. Not minus 12. Minus 11. The track is then
    sprayed with water to create a layer
    of ice two inches thick. Like snowflakes, no two courses
    are exactly the same, but there are certain elements
    that each course has to have. They are required to have
    at least one straight section and one section made up of
    three turns in quick succession. This is known as a labyrinth. A modern track should be
    1,200 to 1,300 metres long and have at least 15 curves. The most distinguishing
    feature of the tracks is the Petersen turn. The 180-degree turn with
    a 270-degree bank angle is a compulsory feature
    on all Olympic runs and is named after
    pioneering track designer Heidi Petersen. These tracks
    are so specialised, there are currently
    just 16 in the world. All of them are
    artificially cooled with ammonia refrigeration,
    with the exception of St Moritz,
    the very first track, which is still naturally
    cooled. Of these,
    the track at Lake Placid is considered the most
    technically demanding, featuring 20 tricky
    turns, the most for any competitive
    sliding track. The fastest track in the
    world is in Whistler, built for
    the 2010 Winter Games. It is also the steepest
    track in the world, featuring a vertical
    drop of 148 metres. That’s like jumping out
    of a 10-storey window in a bobsleigh
    with Lycra for fun. Getting the track spot-on
    is essential. As we’ve said, speeds can
    exceed 120km per hour, and some curves can subject
    the crews to 5G of force. That’s similar
    to a fighter pilot – I mean, a fighter
    pilot wearing Lycra. The crew is made up
    of a pilot, a brakeman, and in the four-man
    bob, two pushers. Athletes are selected based
    on their speed and strength. Pilots must have the skill,
    timing, and finesse to steer the sleigh along
    the path or line that’ll produce the greatest speed. If you think you’ve got
    what it takes, you’re in luck. Several tracks offer
    tourist rides in bobsleighs, so if you fancy yourself as the
    next Shauna Rohbock or Pierre Lueders – those are two famous
    bobsleighers, but I mean, you knew that – now is your chance. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this edition of “Burning Questions”. Don’t forget to leave your Burning Question in the comments!

    In Tokyo, These Trains Jingle All the Way
    Articles, Blog

    In Tokyo, These Trains Jingle All the Way

    October 14, 2019

    (humming) – [Narrator] In train and
    subway stations all over Japan, you’re likely to hear a fully composed seven-second jingle that is uniquely written for that station. And if you’re one of the millions of Tokyo metro riders You’ve probably heard one of these jingles composed by Minoru Mukaiya. (lively music) (soft music) (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Over time,
    Mr. Mukaiya shifted his focus to his other passion-trains- and formed a company
    that builds simulators. In this world of trains, he found a new outlet for his music and got to work composing train melodies. Like this one (Shibuya Station music) (pensive music) (Ochiai music) (Takadanobaba music) (Monzen-Nakachō music) (Waseda music) – [Narrator] Having found a
    marriage of his two passions, today, Mr. Mukaiya considers
    himself a lucky man.