28/06/2014 Click


28/06/2014

Technology news. What would you do if you lost the ability to communicate? Click meets the man creating a keyboard for his eyes. Plus the behind the scenes tech at Wimbledon.


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Transcript


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SOUND OF TENNIS BALL BEING HIT

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This week on Click, we're underground and overground

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at Wimbledon, to look behind the gameplay

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and find out what makes a champion, according to the tech, anyway.

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What would you do if you lost the ability to move and communicate?

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Well, we'll meet the man who's creating a keyboard for his eyes.

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We'll also have all the big announcements from Google's

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I/O events in San Francisco.

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All that plus the latest tech news

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and the best of this week's web in Webscape.

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Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly

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and welcome to the most famous tennis tournament in the world.

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This is Wimbledon. Excuse me, gents.

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Now that is Centre Court behind me, if you're asking, and this

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is Henman Hill, or Rusedski Ridge or Murray Mound. Take your pick.

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And this week we're going to look at the tech that makes tennis tick.

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Each year, the world's top players make the journey here to SW19,

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to compete for that all-important championship title.

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The winner will pick up over £1.7 million in prize money,

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but the glory is priceless.

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Just ask last year's winner.

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That's Andy Murray, Britain's first singles winner in 36 years,

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if you needed reminding.

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Over the years, we've dipped into this event to see how tennis

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is experimenting with new ways to keep up with a tech fan's demands.

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Some, like the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology,

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have now become part of the action.

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Some are still in the realms of possible but not actual.

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Commentators, and increasingly fans,

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have access to incredible amounts of statistics.

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The information on every point, in fact,

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every shot in every point, in every match.

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Federer, back-hand drive, unforced.

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And that data is gathered here,

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in a cramped box overlooking the court where three

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pairs of eyes watch the match and match groundstrokes with keystrokes

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to record backhand, forehand and the way each point is won.

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These guys are logging that guy's moves,

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and that guy is Roger Federer.

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Seems like an awful lot of pressure to me, even up here.

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They've told me that you get used to it but...

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no, I don't think I ever would.

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But, since the ball is now tracked by computer, it does make me

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wonder whether the new full-body motion sensors, now in use

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in video games, could soon put these guys completely out of a job.

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You could automate what we do, and there are technologies on the market that already do it.

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You could buy it and install it at your local tennis club,

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but the reason we use people sitting on the courtside is

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we want to make sure the data quality we get is absolutely accurate,

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and it's within the definitions that we set for the club.

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So we have very good tennis players that are able to tell the difference,

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very, very quickly, between, is it a forced or unforced error?

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And did he clip the racket? And was that bounce on the court?

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Quite right, it's a grass court, sometimes they bounce off.

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So we have people that can tell that really quickly sitting at the side of

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the court to make sure that we get the data quality that we want.

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And we'll have much more from Wimbledon later in the programme.

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But, regardless of how amazing this technology is,

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like a lot of stuff that we feature on the programme,

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it's designed to make our lives easier and more enjoyable,

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but we really could do without it if we needed to, couldn't we?

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However, every so often, we hear how technology is being used to connect

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people who, without it, might lose touch with the world entirely.

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Recently, we travelled to Israel to meet a man called Gal,

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who's made it his mission to ensure his voice

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is heard against all the odds.

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...'that hopefully will help disabled people communicate much faster.'

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Gal Sont has been programming for most of his life.

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He was given his first computer at the age of eight,

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got a degree in maths and computer science,

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married his high school sweetheart and had two daughters.

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Together with his best friend Dan,

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he's worked in technology companies for more than 20 years.

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Gal is fearless.

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That's the first thing that comes into my mind

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when I think about Gal. Gal likes adrenaline in any shape or form.

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Whether it's...I mean,

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kite surfing or roller coasters

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or indoor racing, Gal did it all.

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But in 2009, Gal was diagnosed with the degenerative illness,

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ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease.

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As it progresses, it will gradually destroy the nerve cells

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which control his ability to move and talk,

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and he will become increasingly paralysed.

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Most sufferers are eventually left with control over only their eyes.

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There is no known cure.

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So I remember when Gal came to me

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and we started mentioning the kind of obstacles that people in his

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condition face, or are about to face, and how are you going to communicate.

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And Gal came to me, you know, and he started...

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looking for technological solutions out there to improve that.

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Together, Gal and Dan have invented Click2Speak,

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an affordable tool that helps disabled people to communicate.

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Dan does the business side and Gal writes the code.

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The software uses a special eye-tracking camera to watch

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your eye movements and use them to control the cursor on the screen.

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You click using a foot mouse,

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or by simply looking at a particular button for a few seconds.

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The Click2Speak keyboard allows Gal to control any

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program on his computer, and it's completely customisable.

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He's hooked it up to his projector, his air conditioning

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and he can use it to play video games.

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Gal wrote the basics of the app

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when he could still just about use his hands to control a mouse.

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Now he uses the on-screen keyboard itself to code new features,

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programming using his eyes.

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If you want to purchase an eye-gazing camera and to work with it,

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you've got to purchase the software that comes with it.

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This could be 5-6,000 dollars.

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Um...so, you can't really go and separate.

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Typing with your eyes can be incredibly slow,

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but Click2Speak uses part of the SwiftKey smartphone app

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to suggest words and speed up typing.

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It works by looking at what you, and others, have typed in the past,

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and uses that information to predict what word you might type next,

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before you've even hit a key.

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Gal and Dan worked with the SwiftKey team

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to integrate their prediction engine into the software.

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With it, Gal says he can communicate around 40 percent faster.

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But Click2Speak isn't just about helping Gal to communicate.

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He wants it to be made available to anyone who can't

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use their hands to type.

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The most important thing for us, before we look at any,

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you know, financial reward, is the reward of seeing people in this

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situation being able to communicate better and have their life improved.

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It's not a big market when it comes to that,

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but it's a very important market and people who really need help.

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As Gal's condition worsens,

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Click2Speak will increasingly become his main

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means of communication with his family and the world around him.

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But even when that time comes,

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the software he created will still allow him to have a voice,

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to work on updates for other users

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and to be able to do the thing he's loved doing since he was a kid.

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Gal Sont and Dan Russ in Israel, and, of course, we wish them

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the best of luck in getting Click2Speak out there.

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OK, back to Wimbledon next. First, a look at this week's tech news.

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A 23-year-old paralysed man has moved his hand for the first

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time in four years, after having a microchip implanted into his brain.

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Researchers at Ohio State University, and Battelle R&D Institute,

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developed the new technology, which they've dubbed Neurobridge.

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The chip interprets the electrical activity in the brain and sends

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signals directly to a custom hi tech sleeve, in this case,

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on the forearm. It then stimulates muscle movement in the appendage.

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Once out of the testing phase, doctors hope the tech will

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someday help people with similar injuries in other limbs.

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The pizza by drone business appears to be heating up.

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After a US outfit launched its own pizzacopter last year in the UK,

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a Russian pizza purveyor has joined the aerial buffet.

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Back on terra firma, the Federal Aviation Authority in the US

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caused confusion with new guidelines that seems to suggest paid

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drone delivery services were illegal, although, they later

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clarified that the guidelines were only directed at hobbyists.

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And, finally, could human TV presenters

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become a thing of the past? I hope not.

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Last week, the Miraikan Museum in Tokyo

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powered up its vision of an android newscaster.

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Dubbed Kodomoroid, the automated anchor can recite news

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and weather in a variety of voices and languages.

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It's joined to the museum by Otonaroid,

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a lifelike robot which can be controlled by members of the public.

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Both automata have been designed as part of an exhibit called

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Android: What Is Human?

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Come to think of it,

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who's to say this news hasn't been read by a replicant?

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This might not be as glamorous as Wimbledon up top,

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but this is the heart of the tournament,

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at least for people watching at home and online.

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You remember all those shots and the data about them that were being

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captured outside each court? Well, that ends up in here.

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IBM provides the tech backbone for the tournament

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and this is what it calls the bunker.

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This is where the match data is crunched

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and turned into summary statistics for the fans online,

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and more detailed numbers for the commentary teams.

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The players are also given as much information as possible

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about their own performance.

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One of the new tricks IBM is trialling this year

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is tracking a player's aggression.

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We take Hawk-Eye data, who are tracking the player and the ball

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around the court, and then we've analysed that data and we've said,

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"Can we quantify an aggressive shot?" So we've looked at the speed

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of the shot, we've looked at where does it bounce,

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how close to the line? How far does the player have to move?

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Where do they end up hitting the ball? How far they've been

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pulled off court, and if you combine those things together in various

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different weightings and

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permutations, you can quantify an aggressive shot.

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We can see, not just at the end of the rally, but all the way through

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the rally, how aggressive are they being,

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but also how well are they coping with that aggression?

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And from that you can start to see insights coming out on TV

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and the commentator starting to talk about quantifying that Nadal

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is being more aggressive than Murray, but Murray's coping with it

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and that's why he's winning. Then getting into another level of insight

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into the match and what's going on.

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And by looking even further back through the data,

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it's also possible to examine one player's form

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against their opponent,

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and calculate the keys to the match, the things

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they need to do to win against that player, at that point, in that game.

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What we've done is we've looked at eight years of Grand Slam data,

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41 million datapoints, and we've analysed all of that

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and we can identify what are the patterns, in particular,

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players' styles when they win.

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So for any particular head-to-head, we can see what are the three

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things that each player needs to do in order to win,

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and we can track that in real-time then as the match progresses.

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It's a bit like being the coach in the room at home.

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You can see what Andy should be doing. Is he hitting his stats?

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Technology has impacted tennis in the same way that it's impacted

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pretty much every sport.

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It's gone from two people hitting a ball backwards and forwards

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to an incredible science with so much data that you can crunch.

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It does make you wonder if there's anything left

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that they haven't yet analysed?

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But then we haven't talked about wearable tech yet, have we?

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What about all those T-shirts

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and tennis rackets that can measure your performance as you're playing?

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We can currently get data from rackets' head now. Where's the ball

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hitting the racket? We're looking with some of the other clients I work

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with around getting information

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directly from the players. What's their heartrate?

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Imagine last year, if you'd been watching the Murray final,

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knowing what his heartrate was as he was going up to serve

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for the match. That would be really exciting.

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Yeah, I can certainly tell you what my heart was

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doing during those final points. But that's irrelevant.

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Anyway, while Wimbledon heads into its second week,

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there's another massive annual event

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taking place on the west coast of the US.

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Google I/O is Google's annual developers conference,

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and it always serves up some big announcements.

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This year is no different, so here's Richard Taylor.

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It may be teeming with developers but don't let that fool you.

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Google's annual coming out party affects us all.

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And not just existing smartphone owners.

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Android One is Google's attempt to consolidate its already strong

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position in the developing world,

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where smartphone adoption is still only around 10%.

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Working with hardware partners and targeting India right now,

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the aim is to get affordable handsets running a fully up to date

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version of Android.

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Good for users, a great opportunity for Google itself.

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A more exciting opportunity for the devs, tweaking their apps

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to work on Google's new smartwatch platform, Android Wear.

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Let's face it, despite the industry hype around wearables,

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we don't seem to be smitten yet.

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Could this be the moment we've been waiting for?

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Of course, there were plenty of core Android announcements,

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too, to get the 6,000-strong faithful in the audience misty eyed.

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Not least a new faster and slicker version of Android,

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right now simply codenamed "L".

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Forget your smartphone,

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they say in many ways the car is the ultimate mobile device.

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Apple recently announced CarPlay,

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now Google has its own way of getting your mobile talking to your motor.

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Android Auto takes your favourite apps and makes them

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car-friendly, from navigation to music.

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All voice-controlled and car-optimised,

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using the phone itself as the brains.

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In fact, wherever we may be, on the road, at work or at home,

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it's clear Google has designs on being there with us.

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We want to work to create a seamless experience across all these connected devices.

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A lot of it seems very Apple-like, doesn't it?

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It does, and that's not a bad thing. Saying we have this cohesive

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experience, this vertical integration. If you want a good

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experience, you're going to have to do that. Google came about it

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the long way and it's taken them a while to get there,

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but I don't think there was anyone who didn't understand that

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if we want to do this stuff well we have to really bring it together.

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That's what they've absolutely announced today.

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Still, not everyone is convinced they want or need any

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kind of Google experience.

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This protest outside the convention,

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a reminder that as the big G gets ever bigger,

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its encroaching presence on our lives isn't welcomed by everyone.

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Richard Taylor.

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Well, it is June and the garden's looking lovely,

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which means Kate Russell has actually been outside.

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Here she is with some smartphone apps for all your green-fingered

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friends now in Webscape.

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Keen gardeners will know that some things grow

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better in their flower beds than others.

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It's all down to soil

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and to help you understand more about what's under your feet,

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the British Geological Survey

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and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have put together

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a detailed European map of soil properties,

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available as an Android and iPhone app.

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Fire up the app and it will locate you on the map

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and tell you things like soil type, depth, organic matter,

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texture and pH.

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You can use this information to match your planting for the best

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possible results.

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The Royal Horticultural Society's Plant Selector is a great

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place to look for plants, as it lets you enter soil type,

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shading and certain garden characteristics before choosing

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which type of plant you'd like and when you want it to bloom.

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The one thing every good gardener needs to know is what to pull out.

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Weed ID will help you pinpoint 140 species of broadleaf and grass weeds.

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You can take a snap to compare your plant with a database of thousands

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of images or just search via the ID filter

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or by common and scientific name.

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If you're really into gardening,

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then the aptly named Intogardens.com is a must-bookmark for you.

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Part interactive magazine and part web TV series,

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this site is bursting at the flower beds with colour

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and instructional content to help you get your garden in bloom.

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Come on, Speedy. Come on, Slowy.

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I love the design and it delivers a refreshing mix of written,

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video and photographic content from some of the best gardeners

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and designers around the world to really give you a head start.

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As soon as your tomatoes start flowering, which is just here,

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this is where the actual tomato fruit are going to come from.

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This week a new photo sharing and chat app made it onto iOS.

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Cooliris is the developer and their trademark wall display

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technology makes this interface stand out in a crowded market.

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Transfer to groups is one click simple and pretty instantaneous

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with integrated comments and other social features.

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One lovely touch is that you can delete a snap from the

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recipient's deliveries if you decide you don't like it after all.

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It's free on iOS right now, with web based

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and Android apps coming in four to six weeks.

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And, as much as I hate it,

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there is one app it's hard to ignore this week.

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-PHONE: Yo.

-Yo is a zero character chat app that does just one thing,

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-sends a "yo" to your contacts.

-Yo. Yo.

0:21:430:21:47

-Perhaps I would understand the point more if I was 15.

-Yo.

0:21:470:21:51

But it picked up 950,000 users in four days this week,

0:21:510:21:56

bringing the user base to a million.

0:21:560:21:58

It's also been reportedly hacked,

0:21:580:22:01

so if you feel like annoying your friends with a stream of "yo"s...

0:22:010:22:04

Yo, yo, yo.

0:22:040:22:06

..be aware there could still be vulnerabilities to be fixed.

0:22:060:22:09

-Yo.

-Thank you, Kate. Or should I say, "yo"?

0:22:120:22:16

Now I just thought you'd like to see behind the scenes

0:22:160:22:18

here at Wimbledon, because these are some of the camera crews

0:22:180:22:21

who are covering the tournament for broadcasters around the world.

0:22:210:22:25

I can guarantee you one thing,

0:22:250:22:27

at some point during the championship,

0:22:270:22:29

the focus will shift from the courts below to the skies above

0:22:290:22:34

because, well, let's face it, this is England.

0:22:340:22:38

Last week we showed you a rain alarm,

0:22:410:22:43

this week something much more flashy.

0:22:430:22:45

This website allows you to see the location of lightning

0:22:450:22:48

strikes in real-time.

0:22:480:22:51

It works with the help of amateur volunteers from all over

0:22:510:22:53

the world who can buy lightning detection kits

0:22:530:22:57

for about 275 dollars.

0:22:570:22:59

What the blitzortung set is,

0:22:590:23:01

is a low-frequency radio receiver which then digitises

0:23:010:23:05

the signal and sends it through to a server with a GPS timestamp.

0:23:050:23:10

So, it's effectively, a low-frequency radio listening

0:23:100:23:13

out for lightning strikes within a radius of 2,000-3,000 kilometres.

0:23:130:23:18

The aim of the project is to harness the power of the crowd to monitor

0:23:190:23:23

the skies and establish a low-budget lightning location network.

0:23:230:23:27

What it's useful for is for weather hobbyists to actually

0:23:290:23:32

look at where the thunderstorms are,

0:23:320:23:34

and predict where major rainfall will be.

0:23:340:23:37

And the data is supplied to not-for-profit meteorologists

0:23:380:23:43

so they can use it in their predictions and weather forecasts.

0:23:430:23:48

Electrifying stuff.

0:23:480:23:49

Let's hope we won't be needing that too much over the next week.

0:23:510:23:54

Now for more from us, go to our website

0:23:540:23:57

and if you'd like to talk to us, we do talk back.

0:23:570:23:59

We are @BBC Click on Twitter. But that's it from Wimbledon.

0:23:590:24:03

I'm off to see if I can sneak onto Court No.1. Shh.

0:24:030:24:07

Don't tell anyone. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.

0:24:070:24:10

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