Geek Culture and Gadgets

New Photo Colorization AI Fixes Early Photography’s Old Man Wrinkle Effect – Review Geek

An AI-colorized Abe Lincoln
Time-Travel Rephotography

Classic photos of Abe Lincoln seem incredibly detailed, showing tons of wrinkles and cracks in the president’s skin. But much of that “detail” is a flaw of early camera tech, which couldn’t capture a good chunk of the visible light spectrum. Now, a the Time-Travel Rephotography colorization AI shows us what Abe might look like if old cameras were more accurate.

Before the 1900s, camera negatives were blue-sensitive or orthochromatic, meaning that they were more sensitive to light at the top of the visible spectrum than light at the bottom of the visible spectrum. Warm tones, which give skin a soft, luminescent quality through a process called sub-surface scattering, were absent from photography shot before the 1900s, which is why some old portraits look so dang wrinkly.

Time-Travel Rephotography makes up for the shortcomings of early photography through a few interesting tricks. First, the Time-Travel Rephotography team runs a picture (like the portrait of Abe Lincoln) through StyleGan, an that AI that generates portraits of people that do not exist. An AI then uses the full-color “sibling” photo produced by StyleGan to recolor and retouch the black and white source image. After applying some smoothing and sharpening effects, you end up with a “more accurate,” full-color version of your source image.

While AI colorization and the Time-Travel Rephotography method could help us understand what historical figures looked like, the technology is still very flawed. Professional artists who colorize photos spend a lot of time researching their subjects to pick the most accurate colors they possibly can—a task that is currently impossible for AI. Not to mention, image-editing AI tends to distort photos, leaving behind strange artifacts and causing faces to look waxy, melted, or misshapen.

The Time-Travel Rephotography method introduces several opportunities for image distortion, due to the use of “sibling” image references (which alters the shape of the subject’s face), intense smoothing and sharpening algorithms, and of course, the AI’s inability to research its subjects. While Abe Lincoln probably didn’t look as wrinkly as he does in that classic black and white photo, he probably didn’t have the soft, supple, moisturized skin that you see in the AI colorized photo. (Or maybe he did,

Even though it’s a bit flawed, Time-Travel Rephotography is one of the best AI colorization methods available, and it will only grow better with time. Professional colorization may produce better results, but AI colorization is better than nothing and could help people feel more connected with the last 200 years of history.

Source: Time Travel Rephotrography via Gizmodo

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Geek Culture and Gadgets

Amazon’s 2nd Gen Echo Buds Arrive With Improved ANC, Pre-Order Discount – Review Geek

All-new Amazon Echo Buds

Amazon just announced its 2nd generation Echo Buds with improved ANC and a more comfortable design. Pre-orders for the new Echo Buds start at $99, but Amazon will raise the price to $120 (or $140 with wireless charging) after pre-orders ship on May 13th.

The new Echo Buds are smaller than their predecessor and feature a comfortable, vented design similar to Google’s Pixel Buds. They come with several oval-shaped eartips and two pairs of wingtips, which are well-suited for exercise. Amazon also claims that the new Buds sit flush with your ear, unlike the original Echo Buds. Unfortunately, the new design also includes an Amazon logo on each earbud.

Amazon has also abandoned the Bose ANC technology that it utilized in its first Echo Buds, opting for in-house ANC tech instead. One of the original Echo Buds’ biggest downfalls was its sub-par ANC, and Amazon claims that the new Buds eliminate twice as much external noise as their predecessor. A new passthrough mode also gives you the option to adjust how much noise the Echo Buds cancel, a common feature in high-end wireless headphones.

Other features offered by the Echo Buds are pretty standard. You’ve got IPX4 sweat resistance, five hours of listening time with ANC enabled, and a total of 15 hours of listening time with the included charging case. Alexa is also a stand-out feature for these Buds (of course), and Amazon promises VIP Filter features later this year.

You can pre-order the Echo Buds now for $99, or $120 if you want the wireless charging case. Once the 2nd gen Echo Buds ship on May 13th, Amazon will shift those prices up to $120 and $140 respectively.

Source: Amazon

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Geek Culture and Gadgets

LEGO’S New Classic Batmobile Comes with Everything but BatShark Repellant – Review Geek

Batman classic TV Batmobile LEGO set with Batman and The Joker minifigures

The Batmobile from the classic 1966 Batman TV series is one of the most iconic vehicles in pop culture history, and soon you can own the LEGO version. The set includes a rotating stand for the car and minifigures of Batman and The Joker.

With 345 pieces, the set is perfect for Batman fans of all ages, as well as those who love any and all of LEGO’s vehicle builds. It’s got plenty of exciting style, lots of cool features, and feels like it’s right out of a vintage Batman episode. Heck, The Joker minifigure even has a painted mustache, a la Cesar Romero.

The LEGO Batmobile measures roughly 2.5 inches tall, 7.5 inches long, and 3.5 inches wide, and fits with other LEGO DC Batman sets. Since the original 1966 Batmobile didn’t feature any shooters, extra bricks were added to this set so you can rebuild the car’s hood to make it look just like it did in the series, if desired. And when you’re done playing with the stylish car, you can set it on the rotating platform, which even comes with a detailed placard.

The Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile will be available to purchase on April 26, and will go for $29.99. For now, though, you can check out the details and see additional photos over on LEGO’s site.

Source: LEGO

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