Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


NARA crowdsources video captioning

Language and accessibility barriers for online videos are being broken down by an online tool that allows individuals, communities and organizations to caption and subtitle videos.

Amara, a toolset created by the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), a non-profit dedicated to creating open video tools and services, lets users create, edit and manage production-ready subtitles. It is being used internally by a number of premium content organizations, including Netflix and the National Archives and Records Administration.

NARA is currently using Amara’s crowdsourcing techniques to find volunteers to caption its older analog videos to make them accessible to the hearing impaired.

The cloud-based Amara editor enables the easy creation of subtitles and makes quality control, editing and publishing changes simple, according to PCF.

First, users add the URL of their video into their team space on Amara. The tool’s workflow system allows users to assign tasks, such as creating captions, translating, reviewing and giving final approval. Once the subtitles have been through the review process, Amara automatically syncs with video hosts like YouTube. Users can also use Amara’s API to collect the completed subtitles.

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM0 comments


GPS satellites improve position accuracy, deter spoofing

The Air Force will soon begin early implementation of the GPS Civil Navigation message and will use the process to help develop new countermeasures against spoofing, according to an article in Aviation Week.

GPS satellites will begin early broadcast of the more accurate navigation messages on the new civil L2C and L5 signals.

The L2C signal will enable "dual frequency," which will increase position accuracy and provide fast initial location.  L5 -- the international "safety of life signal" for aviation --  will enable moving from landmark and radar-based navigation to GPS-guided approaches and landings.

These upgrades improve anti-jam capabilities for the warfighter and improve security for military and civil users around the world.

The early implementation of the message broadcast is expected to begin in April 2014 and help development of user equipment compatible with the civil signals. The pre-implementation phase will also help the Air Force find new ways to protect against the growing threat of spoofing, in which vehicles can be put off course by counterfeit signals, Aviation Week reported. 

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM0 comments


Coastal flooding challenge uses cross-agency data

NASA recently announced a new challenge focusing on coastal flooding to encourage entrepreneurs, technologists, and developers to create visualizations and simulations that will help people understand their exposure to coastal-inundation hazards and other vulnerabilities.

The challenge will be included as part of the third annual International Space Apps Challenge, which will be held from April 11-13. It was developed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is based on cross-agency data.

The aim of the Coastal Inundation in Your Community challenge is to create tools and provide information so communities can prepare for coastal catastrophes.

“Solutions developed through this challenge could have many potential impacts,” said NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. "This includes helping coastal businesses determine whether they are currently at risk from coastal inundation and whether they will be impacted in the future by sea level rise and coastal erosion."

Many federal data sets are now available that illustrate the hazards of coastal inundation. As part of the Climate Data Initiative, the government has gathered data sets related to coastal vulnerability and the impact of future climate changes on flooding. The data sets will be available on climate.data.gov.

The data comes from NOAA, NASA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the departments of Commerce and Defense as well as from New York and New Jersey. 

The purpose of the larger International Space Apps Challenge is to contribute to space exploration missions and improve life on earth. Participants introduce these solutions by developing mobile apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions. They will have access to over 200 data sources, including data sets, data services and tools.

The challenge will be hosted at 100 locations over six different continents. 

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM0 comments


Group seeks tech-based solutions to sticky government issues

Got an idea for using technology to make government run better? It could win you $10,000 from the 2014 Better Government Competition.

The Better Government Competition is a project of the Pioneer Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization focused on improving public policy in Massachusetts. Ideas and innovations from the federal level are welcome, however, particularly when focused on information-sharing, fraud detection, reducing energy costs or streamlining agencies' reporting, licensing and regulatory processes. The focus of this year's contest is "leveraging technology to transform the public sector." Potential areas to address include:

  • Improving information-sharing between federal, state, and local governments.
  • Detecting and prevention of fraud in public benefits programs and the improvement of administration and oversight of such programs, resource and referral practices, identity verification, and cybersecurity.
  • Reducing the administrative burden and expense of complying with government reporting, licensing,
  • Addressing traffic congestion problems that affect all major cities in the United States with intelligent traffic solutions.
  • Reducing energy costs incurred by government agencies.
  • Using technology in education from virtual classrooms to technology for school safety measures, administrative work, and CORI checks
  • Improving wireless communications for law enforcement and health care  providers.

The deadline is fast approaching; submissions in the form of short "idea papers" must be received by April 16. And determining what your ethics officer thinks of such a contest is up to you!

Posted on Apr 09, 2014 at 11:22 AM0 comments


DARPA office to grow defense technologies with biology

Biology is taking its place among future defense technologies with a new DARPA office called the Biological Technology Office. It will apply the tools of engineering and related disciplines to biological systems to design next-generation technologies.

BTO will explore the intersection of biology with the other physical sciences to develop technology for U.S. national security, according to a DARPA statement. Its programs will operate across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. These include from individual cells to humans and other organisms and the communities in which they operate, and “from the time it takes for a nerve to fire to the time it may take a new virus to spread around the world one sneeze at a time,” the agency said.

The office will continue the work of the agency’s Defense Sciences Office and Microsystem Technology Office in fields such as neuroscience, sensor design, microsystems and computer science.

“The Biological Technologies Office will advance and expand on a number of earlier DARPA programs that made preliminary inroads into the bio-technological frontier,” said Geoff Ling, the first director of BTO. “We’ve been developing the technological building blocks, we’ve been analyzing our results, and now we’re saying publicly to the research and development community, ‘We are ready to start turning the resulting knowledge into practical tools and capabilities.”

The BTO will concentrate on three research goals:

Restore and maintain warfighter abilities. BTO seeks new discoveries that help maintain peak warfighter abilities and heal injured service members through autonomous diagnostics and new therapies as well as advanced prosthetics and neural interfaces.

Harness biological systems. BTO seeks to uncover and apply rules governing biological systems to engineering new systems and products with novel materials and functionality.

Apply biological complexity at scale. BTO will also investigate the complexity and living-system dynamics of biological systems with the goal of developing applications to improve health, understand disease migration and secure food sources. 

Posted on Apr 03, 2014 at 11:12 AM0 comments