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A Few Neat Things – Finding Your Way Around

When I was 12, my local PBS station broadcast a program that forever changed the way that I saw science, technology, and history.  It was the show Connections, written and hosted by James Burke.  For me, it was the way that history was no longer presented as a function of time, but as a function of change and influence.  He traced the effects of technological changes especially how they enable more and more technologies.

I thought of that when I was watching this TED talk about the astrolabe.  The astrolabe was an early form of celestial computer that could be used for navigation, surveying, and time keeping.  That reminded me of an episode of connections that covered the challenges of ballistics and surveying, which includes the development of the theodoliteThis is a 10 minute segment from the video – take the time to watch it.

Now compare the ProFORMA project, which using a web cam alone can build a 3D model of a shape in front of a web cam.  The tasks are very similar and a lot of the math will be the same.

Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:19 AM by Steve Hawley


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