11/02/2017 Click - Short Edition


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11/02/2017

Click visits 500 Years of Robots at the Science Museum in London. Plus how Cuba is getting online and top tech for cats.


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In a moment we'll have Newswatch, but first, here's Click.

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Few things say the future better than robots.

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We seem to be in an era of massive advances at the moment.

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This week, a leaked video from Boston Dynamics shows

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off its latest machine, called Handle, something its founder

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Rolling on with the wheel theme, Piaggio, known for its Vespa

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motorcycles, has revealed a new robot servant called Gita.

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This robo-suitcase follows its owner's every move,

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using cameras in its body and in the user's belt.

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But sometimes it's good to look at where we've come from.

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The Robots Exhibition at London's Science Museum

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is a 500-year history of humanity's attempts to create robots that

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There are more than 100 robots here, including some old friends that

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And this amazing swan, made from silver, is all the more

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incredible because it was made over 200 years ago, in 1773.

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If you accept that these clockwork creations are indeed robots,

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then you can also argue that the earliest robots were clocks.

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It was these mechanical marvels that made the Industrial Revolution

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possible, mobilising hundreds of workers to be at the same place

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at the same time, enabling goods to be transported,

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trains to run accurately, and allowing industry to become

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The Industrial Revolution was also the catalyst for massive social

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change across the world, bringing about the rise

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of the working class, and sparking ideas like capitalism and Marxism.

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Now, in the West, Cuba found itself at the epicentre of this shift.

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It was the poster child for communism in the West,

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right in the back garden of the US, the heart of capitalism.

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Richard Taylor has been to Cuba to see how the island is now moving

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The iconic images are strikingly familiar.

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Cuba today still feels in some ways otherworldly,

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Life for most of its 11 million citizens is simple.

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They've been living in a state-enforced digital wilderness.

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A decade ago, you needed a permit just to buy a PC.

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Today, if you're lucky enough to own a smartphone,

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There's no mobile data, so Cuban apps are designed to work

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Until recently, even basic internet access could only be found

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at desktop computers inside state communication centres.

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Long queues persist but now people are coming to buy internet

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scratchcards which can finally get them online elsewhere.

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In this Havana park, small gatherings of Cubans

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But getting online is slow, unreliable and,

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Luis Rondon Paz is a self-proclaimed hack-tivist, and as a former

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government IT administrator, knows the system well.

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Everything in Cuba is restricted, filtered, as the rest of the world.

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Basically, they censor everything that might

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It might be porn, gay, or political things.

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But the biggest barrier for locals - the price.

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A single hour of full web access costs $2,

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The government says expanding the internet is a priority

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and central Havana is now conducting trials of in-home net access

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And it boasts of a growing number of public wifi hotspots,

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too, around 300 in total, and growing.

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Still, not exactly blanket coverage for a country 700 miles wide.

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Cuba blames its ageing communications network

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on the six-decade-old trade embargo with the US.

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Critics say that's a convenient excuse for a communist state that

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fears losing control over information.

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Relations with America are now at best uncertain

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In the aftermath of the President's historic visit here two years ago,

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prospects for American companies doing digital business

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Company boss Eric Schmidt inking a deal in December that gives Cubans

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fast access to content from services like YouTube and Gmail.

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The thing is, when you're running an internet-based business,

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the last thing you want to do is traipse across town

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So some Cubans who are fed up with the government strategy

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on access have come up with their own rather inventive solutions.

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The results are found on rooftops in towns and cities

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across the nation, in the form of pole-mounted antennaes

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which are pointed towards the local communications centre,

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giving them internet access and even wifi.

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The practice isn't exactly legal, but as I discovered that minor

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detail doesn't deter Cubans from getting their information fix.

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This is the paquete semanal, literally the weekly packet.

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It refers to a highly organised service in back streets and front

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rooms across the country, giving locals content downloaded

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often only hours earlier via satellite.

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There's pirated movies, news shows, documentaries,

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It's hugely popular with customers who can fill their USB drives

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with an entire terabyte, hundreds of hours, for the price

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And the rise of the paquete is the price the Cuban regime itself

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is paying, a reaction to the state dogma of keeping

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Cuban authorities should be less afraid of the free flow

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of information because the need for information functions

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People need information and people will get information,

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no matter if you are going to provide it or not.

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There's a political need to understand differently

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Progress is undoubtedly too slow for many Cubans.

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But recent overtures do at least give some people

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Ever wondered what cats get up to when no one's there?

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Meet Roxy and Zara, who seemed agreeable to taking part

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If you've ever wanted to watch, talk to or even play with your cats

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when you're not with them, then this could help.

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Once the device is connected to your home wifi, you can login

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anywhere you can get your phone online.

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There's a laser game to play, snacks at the tap of an icon,

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and a function to proudly make and share videos and cat snaps.

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This rather unusual looking setup works in quite a similar way.

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This smart collar has been around a little while now and is available

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It allows owners to keep an eye on temperature,

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pulse, breathing rate, heart rate variability and even

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the positions a pet is in, so could be particularly beneficial

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if there are health concerns or an injury to keep an eye on.

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Meanwhile, there seems to be a game of cat and mouse going on here,

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the latter played by a remote control rodent.

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Although it actually consists of the cat being chased

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by the mouse, which probably says it all about my day's filming.

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That was Lara, and this is Maria, the first blockbuster robot

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from the ground-breaking 1927 film Metropolis.

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The visual effects in that movie were absolutely stunning,

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given that it is actually 90 years old.

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Next, we are going to continue our look at some of the visual effects

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behind the latest blockbuster movies.

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We have Adam Valdes, BAFTA and Oscar nominee,

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to tell us more about the visual effects he used to bring back

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Every time you see the world in Jungle Book, someone has

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fabricated plants, trees, the dead twigs and leaves

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And it's only really when the surrounds around him

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makes him feel present within it that the magic

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trick comes off, that you believe that this is just a photograph,

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So we take a shot like Mowgli saying goodbye to his mother and we say,

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John really wants some sort of physical contact.

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It needs to be an intimate moment, their eyes need to be locked

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We can't have a feeling that he's acting to a tennis ball,

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We really need to feel the scene emotionally.

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You can locate the positions of his hands, the puppet

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And we can track it really carefully in three dimensions

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That way we make sure the contact is correct,

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and then we simulate the fur on the mother's neck.

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And we actually replace the better part of his hand with the digital

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double of his hand, so that the CG hand and the CG fur of the mother

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wolf are actually in the computer together,

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and when we put our lighting on that and create the final images,

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The magic trick is blending the hand into his arm.

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The render power required to generate a movie like this,

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I think it was 240 million renderer hours, or something like that.

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Which means if it was one computer it would have taken 3000 years,

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These individual frames that you see can be 40,

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50, 60 hours on a computer just rendering one frame.

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We'll see more and more imagery where we really start to not

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be able to tell the difference between something that's

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That was Adam Valdes on the magic behind the Jungle Book.

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And that's it for the shortcut of Click and the robots at the London

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museum. I'll put a load of photos up

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on Twitter for you to browse The full version of Click is up on

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iPlayer for you to view whenever you fancy.

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