15/03/2014 Click


15/03/2014

Click tests a new tool that promises to drastically increase your speed, but will you take any of it in? Start-ups fight for attention and investment at SXSW in Texas.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Right, let's get started on this.

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Hmm. Not bad.

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A bit slow in the middle.

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But not bad.

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This week, Click is tearing up the page as we test a new technique

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to help you read faster on smaller screens.

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We'll follow a start-up's journey from Silicon Valley

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to Texas, as it tries to make a name for itself

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at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

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We'll play the games pushing the next-generation games consoles

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to their limits, and meet the man who gave up the glamour

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to write a hit in his bedroom.

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All that, plus the latest tech news

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and Webscape definitely has YOUR number, but do you have ours?

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Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly.

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How good a reader are you?

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More specifically, how fast can you read?

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I tell you what, we're going to do a test.

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In a moment, I'll show you a page of text

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and all I want you to do is read it

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at your normal reading speed

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and see how far you get in 15 seconds.

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OK, ready? Go!

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Well, if you got to the bottom,

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you read at a rate of 324 words per minute,

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which is slightly faster than the average adult.

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Although you'd have to go some

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to beat the fastest readers on the planet.

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4,700 words a minute. That's, quite frankly, ridiculous.

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Well, there's a new reading system

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that's been tantalising the tech world recently

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that could boost your speed.

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It's called Spritz, and it's been designed to enable faster reading

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on devices with smaller screens.

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Here, the so-called optimal recognition point,

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the most important part of every word,

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appears in exactly the same place on the screen.

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According to researchers at Spritz, most of your reading time

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is actually spent moving your eyes from one word to the next,

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whereas, using this system, your eye doesn't have to move at all.

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I caught up with Spritz's co-founder Dr Maik Maurer

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in my office in the Cloud, to find out more.

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What you are essentially asking people to do

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is read fairly quickly and, for the most part,

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they only get one shot at each word.

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Do you have any evidence that people can still retain that information

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as well as they could, if they had the freedom

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to go back over a couple of words and linger a little bit longer

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than it's Spritzed on the screen for?

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If you have the right speed,

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so that means not too slow, not too fast,

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then, really, people have a higher comprehension of the text

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than they have in normal reading, very often.

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So this is, you know that, if you read tickers on TV,

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they are always too slow.

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And this is really horrible, because it's just annoying,

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and you wait for new words coming up and so you get bored

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and people can answer more questions about the content of the text

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if it is Spritzed at the right speed,

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which is a lot faster than conventional reading.

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To put that to a wholly unscientific test,

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I challenged Dr Catherine Brown, English lecturer

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and Queen of Reading

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to take in as much of this text as she can in one minute.

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I'm reading the same text using Spritz,

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running a bit faster than Catherine's reading speed.

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Once we're done, we have to answer three questions

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about the text we've just read.

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But who will have retained more information?

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Question one?

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-9-10 hours a day.

-I got 10-12.

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-9-10.

-Oh, no!

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OK. Question two?

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I got the something, something, something park in South Africa.

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I got the Addo National Park.

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Addo National Park.

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-Can I have half a point?!

-Not really.

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-I think you should.

-Thank you.

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Question three, I have to say, I completely made up dolphins.

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I thought big cats.

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-It's actually whales!

-You were closer!

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I know, but I just completely made it up!

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Hmmm. All those years at university paid off

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for at least one of us, then!

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South by Southwest has grown from humble roots in the early '90s

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to a vital date on the tech calendar.

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For ten days every March, around 30,000 film, music

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and tech creators travel to Texas to talk, party and pontificate

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on issues of the day, on everything from digital movie-making

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to wearable tech design.

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It's also a place where start-ups

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try and make a splash any way they can.

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Richard Taylor has been on the road with one of them.

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The important thing for us to look at also

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as we're in South by South West is,

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what is the marketing or acquisition strategy for us?

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Finalising their South by Southwest road trip

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from their Silicon Valley base, British entrepreneur Sachin Duggal

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and his team are looking to the Texas festival to make waves.

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The guys have quietly been working

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on their mobile photo app, Shoto, for a year.

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It offers friends the ability to automatically share their snaps

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with others who are at the same location.

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Now, it's time to bring the app out of stealth mode

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and show it off to the masses.

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South by Southwest is where a lot of big names have come to fruition.

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It is where you sink or die to a certain extent.

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It has been our plan, almost since the beginning, that it would be

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the point at which we wanted our product to go to a wider audience.

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South By, as it's known, certainly draws in

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an eclectic crowd of cultural influences,

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who descend on downtown Austin

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for a chaotic, creative festival quite like no other.

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South by Southwest brings together people from technology,

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from creators, innovators, social entrepreneurs.

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It's the hub where everyone comes together for the next few days

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and it's so exciting to be here.

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Inside the convention centre, they're treated to a stimulating agenda,

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with over 800 sessions across ten days.

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In one hall, the WikiLeaks founder remotely waxes conspiratorial

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on the dangers of state surveillance.

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Other panels span the gamut of contemporary culture,

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many with a social media bias.

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Twitter, now the subject of much discussion,

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famously made it big here.

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It's outside the convention centre that South By really spring to life.

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At every turn, social interactions are liberally lubricated,

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often by big-name corporate sponsors,

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a growing presence here.

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It's resented by some,

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willingly overlooked by most.

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For us, the value of South by Southwest

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is totally in the parties and the networking

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because it puts us in front of people

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we normally wouldn't get to be in front of.

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For start-ups without the corporate cash flow,

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more guerrilla marketing comes into play.

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Shoto has splashed out some of its 12,000 budget

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on a party bus to lure in potential users.

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Are you interested in a cup of coffee or something to eat?

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We're picking people up and we're saying install the app

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and if they do they can eat and drink anything they want on the bus.

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Would you guys like to get out of the rain...?

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Problem is, it's not going well.

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Would you like some hot coffee?

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Would you like some hot coffee?

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But, after a hard tweak to the drinks offering,

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the party bus finally starts filling up,

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almost as quickly as the booze bottles empty.

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Some punters even show what might be genuine interest in the app.

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Other start-ups have chosen

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a marginally more sober and certainly cheaper route,

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like exhibiting their wares in this pop-up hotel lobby showcase.

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One of the problems with South by Southwest is

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that there is so much noise, not just literally but metaphorically.

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For every Twitter or Foursquare that makes it,

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there are thousands that you'll simply never hear from again.

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But back on the Shoto shuttle,

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the spirit of South By really is beginning to soak in.

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Over the week, the team even find the time

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to do some networking of their own, giving them party memories

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that they at least will definitely want to share.

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Next up, a look at this week's Tech News.

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After 25 years, Sir Tim Berners-Lee,

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father to the worldwide web,

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has decided it's time for a few house rules.

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In an interview with the BBC, Sir Tim called for

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a Magna Carta bill of rights to protect its users

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from mass surveillance

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and for action to protect the democratic nature of the web.

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Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments

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to have more control and surveillance, or actually

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now it is so important and so much part of our lives,

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that it becomes, on a level, human rights?

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Doctors in Swansea have used 3D printing in pioneering surgery

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to reconstruct the face of a man

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seriously injured in a motorbike accident.

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Stephen Power is thought to be one of the first patients

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in the world to have 3D printing used

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at every stage of the procedure.

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During the eight-hour operation, surgeons inserted

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custom-made titanium implants, 3D-printed in Belgium.

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Using the tech means doctors can be much more precise,

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producing a better final result.

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And finally, musician Neil Young has successfully crowd-funded

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over 1.5 million for his fidelity-focused music player.

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Backed by a host of stars,

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the prism-shaped device offers a new hi-fi listening experience, with

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some tracks containing 30 times more sound data than an average MP3 file.

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The accompanying Pono digital music store plans to sell

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ultra-high quality files,

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with a maximum resolution of 9,216 kilobits per second.

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Audiophiles, don't get your ear buds in a twist just yet.

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The device isn't slated to start its set until late summer.

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The next-generation video games consoles

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PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launched

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to much fanfare at the end of last year.

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But the games they launched with

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had a decidedly last-generation feel about them.

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That was true, until now.

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Now we're starting to see games that use the full processing grunt

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of these new devices, to give you a much richer picture

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to have more things going on in the shot

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and more detail in the background, for example.

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Mark Ciesnak has been putting the latest batch of blockbuster games

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through their paces.

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GUNFIRE

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Titanfall is none of these things.

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It is, however, an Xbox exclusive,

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featuring online multiplayer jet-pack-equipped futuristic grunts,

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leaping tall buildings in a single bound, while blowing away

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similarly-equipped enemy futuristic grunts.

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While it may seem a touch unsporting,

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giant mechs taking on infantry,

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the balance between quick and nimble pilots

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and the powerful but lumbering Titans

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creates surprisingly satisfying gameplay.

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A superior shooter, which helps demonstrate

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the capabilities of Microsoft's take on the next gen, admirably.

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Microsoft isn't alone in bagging exclusive games for its machines.

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Sony's PlayStation 4 is about to receive

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its very own much-anticipated next-gen title.

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It's a game which thrusts the player

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into the super-powered shoes of a character

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who has most definitely ticked the sartorial box labelled "Emo".

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Infamous Second Son is a third-person,

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sandbox-style adventure, set in a totalitarian Seattle,

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a world where superpowered humans are treated with fear and suspicion.

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The protagonist possesses the power

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to adopt the abilities of other superhumans.

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This can manifest as turning into a cloud of smoke

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or throwing beams of neon at enemies.

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There's a saying that's often associated with superheroes.

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"With great power comes great responsibility."

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However, in this game, the player can choose to be heroic and nice

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or villainous and very, very nasty.

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In-game events and the story will alter

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depending on the path the player decides to follow, good or evil.

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Don't make me break that handsome nose of yours.

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Flexing the PS4's processing prowess,

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it makes jumping across rooftops or turning into a puff of smoke

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before laying waste to gangs of enemies, look effortless.

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A task which I suspect the previous generation's machines

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would have struggled to achieve.

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Good girl!

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When it comes to sneaky, stealthy espionage action,

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the acknowledged master of the genre is Hideo Kojima

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the creator of the Metal Gear series of games.

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Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes acts

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as the prologue to the full Metal Gear Solid 5 game,

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which will be released later this year.

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Kept you waiting, huh?

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And if that voice sounds familiar, it's because 24's Kiefer Sutherland

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has lent his gravelly growl to the game's protagonist, Snake.

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Set in the 1970s, there is one main mission and five side missions,

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which providing about 4-5 hours of play time.

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This is classic Metal Gear.

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Sneaking and stalking,

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avoiding guards, cameras and flashlights, in an attempt

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to rescue prisoners from a mysterious military outpost.

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The play environment is now pretty big. So big, in fact,

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that Snake can commandeer vehicles to get from one place to another.

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Items or equipment the player comes across, like

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anti-aircraft emplacements, can be used to assist Snake in his mission.

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As with all Metal Gears, a more stealthy style of play

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is rewarded over a firearms-friendly all-guns-a-blazing gung-ho approach

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which often leads to the player discovering

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that their on-screen character has a severe allergy to bullets.

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Fans eager to get their fill of Kojima's slick brand

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of Hollywood-inspired stealth-em-up

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will no doubt lap up Ground Zeroes, as a game perhaps best described

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as the appetiser to Metal Gear Solid 5's main course.

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Mark Cieslak. Now, the games we've just seen

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are the equivalent of Hollywood blockbuster movies

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and Triple-A companies can often have

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more than 100 people working on each title.

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But the games industry grew from people

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writing computer programmes on their own,

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and some developers are leaving the big companies

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and returning to this bedroom-programming mentality.

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One example is Papers, Please.

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Nominated for a video-game BAFTA this week,

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developer Lucas Pope left gaming giant Naughty Dog

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to develop his low-res hit.

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The concept for Papers, Please

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is one I think is hard to convince others of.

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If I'm working with a lot of people I've got to convince them

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this kind of dumb idea is going to make a good game.

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You man a border inspection checkpoint

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and you're the guy who checks the documents.

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So people come in your booth and they give you their papers,

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their passport, their immigration papers,

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and you check all the papers against them and their face and information.

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And if it all checks out, you can then send them through.

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It sounds really boring and stupid

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but that correlation of disparate information, for me, is really fun.

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As someone who has mild OCD

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I like to make sure the information matches up.

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I like the setting, 1984 kind of setting, of, like,

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a Communist bureaucracy, more or less.

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I work by myself in a small room as an office.

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I just get up in the morning and work all day long.

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I love to work, so it was easy for me to do this kind of project

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where I need to do all of the art, music and sound.

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So if I get tired of doing the programming,

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I can take a break from that and do the music.

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As far as like, working on a team of 150 people,

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even when you're the game director, at the very top,

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you still don't have complete control of everything.

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And I guess I'm kind of a control freak,

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so for me, I dialled the project way back, so I could handle it myself.

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So far it's sold about 500,000 copies,

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which is, like, unimaginably beyond what I ever expected.

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When reviewers talk about the game, they say it's not fun.

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But for me, just the core element of checking documents is fun.

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The second thing is, people call it an empathy game.

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I did try to put you in a difficult position throughout the game

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so that you have a better understanding

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of the kinds of issues that come up in this sort of situation.

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I hope, it's not my main goal, but I hope people get a more balanced view

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of the kind of issues that come up

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by security and safety and freedoms in this sort of setting.

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Lucas Pope in his own words.

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Now, if you are properly into your maths,

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you will know that prime numbers are not just interesting,

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they're actually really important in science,

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and are currently used for things like cryptology.

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The largest one that has so far been discovered

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is more than 17 million digits long

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and if you wanted to print it out in normal-sized text,

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you would need about six acres of paper.

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But there are plenty more still waiting to be discovered,

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as Kate Russell has been finding out this week in Webscape.

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# 5, BLEEP, 3, 2, 1... #

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The biggest known prime number was discovered in 2013

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and is a huge number,

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but there are also a lot of prime numbers missing,

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and that is where citizen science project Prime Challenge

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wants your help.

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The focus of the challenge

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is to find the lost primes,

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those prime numbers that have remained so far undiscovered.

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This visualisation from the developers behind the project

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gives you an idea of just how big

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the gaps between discovered prime numbers are.

0:19:010:19:04

You'll need to take up a free trial of Windows Azure,

0:19:040:19:07

which gives you some Cloud computing power that can be enlisted

0:19:070:19:10

to crunch through the numbers with a specially-written algorithm.

0:19:100:19:13

The project hopes to fill the gaps

0:19:130:19:15

between those prime numbers that we already know

0:19:150:19:17

and hopefully stimulate renewed interest in mathematics.

0:19:170:19:21

# 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... #

0:19:210:19:23

If you've got a lot of old photos on paper,

0:19:280:19:31

Pic Scanner is a new app on iOS that should save you loads of time

0:19:310:19:35

by letting you scan, auto-crop

0:19:350:19:38

and save up to four photos in one go.

0:19:380:19:40

The app is also packed with great tools for editing, adding captions,

0:19:470:19:51

tags and other enhancements that will be really useful

0:19:510:19:55

if you're scanning very old and fading photographs.

0:19:550:19:59

There is even an automatic perspective correction

0:19:590:20:02

and levelling tool, to help you capture

0:20:020:20:05

the best possible scan with your camera.

0:20:050:20:07

Scanning four photos is obviously fastest

0:20:070:20:10

but you will lose out on resolution.

0:20:100:20:12

Although they should be fine for posting online

0:20:120:20:15

The best balance between speed and quality

0:20:150:20:17

is achieved scanning two at a time.

0:20:170:20:20

And make sure the lighting is good for the best results.

0:20:200:20:23

Stanley worked for a company in a big building

0:20:280:20:31

where he was employee number 427...

0:20:310:20:34

When is a game not a game?

0:20:340:20:36

When it's the Stanley Parable,

0:20:360:20:38

an artistic and thought-provoking exploration of choice and free will

0:20:380:20:42

in video games.

0:20:420:20:45

Originally created as a fan modification

0:20:450:20:48

for the popular first person shooter Half-Life 2,

0:20:480:20:51

you play the part of Stanley,

0:20:510:20:54

otherwise known as employee number 427,

0:20:540:20:58

as he goes in search of his missing co-workers.

0:20:580:21:01

The narration is darkly humorous

0:21:010:21:03

and, coupled with the complete lack of choices, makes this feel

0:21:030:21:07

more like a piece of interactive linear fiction than an actual game.

0:21:070:21:12

..as though he'd been made exactly for this job.

0:21:140:21:17

Its creator bills it as a first-person exploration game.

0:21:170:21:21

Whatever you choose to call it is up to you.

0:21:210:21:25

At least you do have a choice about that.

0:21:250:21:27

Personally, I found it an atmospheric journey through a quirky world

0:21:270:21:32

that is definitely worth the download.

0:21:320:21:34

The free demo is available for Windows PCs

0:21:340:21:36

with expanded levels for a moderate price.

0:21:360:21:39

CACOPHONY OF OVERLAID "STANLEY" PHRASES

0:21:400:21:45

Kate Russell's Webscape.

0:21:510:21:52

And Kate's links are, as usual, available at our website

0:21:520:21:55

if you missed them -

0:21:550:21:57

That's the place to go

0:21:570:21:59

to find all the various parts of this week's programme, too.

0:21:590:22:03

Just before we go,

0:22:030:22:05

I feel a murmuration coming on.

0:22:060:22:08

This extraordinary video uses a relatively simple visual effect

0:22:110:22:16

to bring to life the flight patterns of birds.

0:22:160:22:19

As these starlings leave their digital trails in the sky

0:22:190:22:23

the creator says, as well as just looking cool,

0:22:230:22:25

this could also help scientists to better understand animal behaviour.

0:22:250:22:30

I was driving by a doughnut shop

0:22:320:22:34

and I saw this flock of birds up on the wires

0:22:340:22:38

and I got out and I took out my pocket camera

0:22:380:22:40

and shot it and went home

0:22:400:22:42

and did my process to the footage,

0:22:420:22:45

and I was absolutely amazed.

0:22:450:22:47

I've been in contact with people that are studying bird behaviour.

0:22:500:22:55

I'm engaged in some conversations about the flights of birds

0:22:550:22:59

and whether there are actually modes of communication

0:22:590:23:03

in why they do it, how do they do it,

0:23:030:23:05

and how do they fly in these tight formations?

0:23:050:23:09

What I'm doing is, I'm taking two seconds of time

0:23:100:23:14

and I'm taking all of the frames in that two seconds of time

0:23:140:23:18

and putting them on one frame.

0:23:180:23:20

And then I progressively go down and do it to the next frame

0:23:200:23:23

and then do it to the next and do it to the next,

0:23:230:23:26

and so these films are real-time films.

0:23:260:23:32

It's just fascinating to let your mind wander while looking at these.

0:23:330:23:39

It takes one hour to render one minute of this footage

0:23:410:23:44

and Professor Hylnsky has already covered a fair portion

0:23:440:23:47

of the animal kingdom.

0:23:470:23:49

It is, for me, I have to say, as much art as it is science.

0:23:500:23:54

Fascinating stuff.

0:23:560:23:58

And if you've found anything you think the world needs to see,

0:23:580:24:01

send it our way.

0:24:010:24:02

That's it for now. Thank you very much for watching

0:24:050:24:07

and we'll see you next time.

0:24:070:24:09

Click tests a new tool that promises to drastically increase your speed, but will you take any of it in? Start-ups fight for attention and investment at SXSW in Texas.

And the show gets hands on with the latest video game previews. Plus tech news and web roundup.


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