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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SOUND OF TENNIS BALL BEING HIT
This week on Click, we're underground and overground
at Wimbledon, to look behind the gameplay
and find out what makes a champion, according to the tech, anyway.
What would you do if you lost the ability to move and communicate?
Well, we'll meet the man who's creating a keyboard for his eyes.
We'll also have all the big announcements from Google's
I/O events in San Francisco.
All that plus the latest tech news
and the best of this week's web in Webscape.
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly
and welcome to the most famous tennis tournament in the world.
This is Wimbledon. Excuse me, gents.
Now that is Centre Court behind me, if you're asking, and this
is Henman Hill, or Rusedski Ridge or Murray Mound. Take your pick.
And this week we're going to look at the tech that makes tennis tick.
Each year, the world's top players make the journey here to SW19,
to compete for that all-important championship title.
The winner will pick up over £1.7 million in prize money,
but the glory is priceless.
Just ask last year's winner.
That's Andy Murray, Britain's first singles winner in 36 years,
if you needed reminding.
Over the years, we've dipped into this event to see how tennis
is experimenting with new ways to keep up with a tech fan's demands.
Some, like the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology,
have now become part of the action.
Some are still in the realms of possible but not actual.
Commentators, and increasingly fans,
have access to incredible amounts of statistics.
The information on every point, in fact,
every shot in every point, in every match.
Federer, back-hand drive, unforced.
And that data is gathered here,
in a cramped box overlooking the court where three
pairs of eyes watch the match and match groundstrokes with keystrokes
to record backhand, forehand and the way each point is won.
These guys are logging that guy's moves,
and that guy is Roger Federer.
Seems like an awful lot of pressure to me, even up here.
They've told me that you get used to it but...
no, I don't think I ever would.
But, since the ball is now tracked by computer, it does make me
wonder whether the new full-body motion sensors, now in use
in video games, could soon put these guys completely out of a job.
You could automate what we do, and there are technologies on the market that already do it.
You could buy it and install it at your local tennis club,
but the reason we use people sitting on the courtside is
we want to make sure the data quality we get is absolutely accurate,
and it's within the definitions that we set for the club.
So we have very good tennis players that are able to tell the difference,
very, very quickly, between, is it a forced or unforced error?
And did he clip the racket? And was that bounce on the court?
Quite right, it's a grass court, sometimes they bounce off.
So we have people that can tell that really quickly sitting at the side of
the court to make sure that we get the data quality that we want.
And we'll have much more from Wimbledon later in the programme.
But, regardless of how amazing this technology is,
like a lot of stuff that we feature on the programme,
it's designed to make our lives easier and more enjoyable,
but we really could do without it if we needed to, couldn't we?
However, every so often, we hear how technology is being used to connect
people who, without it, might lose touch with the world entirely.
Recently, we travelled to Israel to meet a man called Gal,
who's made it his mission to ensure his voice
is heard against all the odds.
...'that hopefully will help disabled people communicate much faster.'
Gal Sont has been programming for most of his life.
He was given his first computer at the age of eight,
got a degree in maths and computer science,
married his high school sweetheart and had two daughters.
Together with his best friend Dan,
he's worked in technology companies for more than 20 years.
Gal is fearless.
That's the first thing that comes into my mind
when I think about Gal. Gal likes adrenaline in any shape or form.
Whether it's...I mean,
kite surfing or roller coasters
or indoor racing, Gal did it all.
But in 2009, Gal was diagnosed with the degenerative illness,
ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease.
As it progresses, it will gradually destroy the nerve cells
which control his ability to move and talk,
and he will become increasingly paralysed.
Most sufferers are eventually left with control over only their eyes.
There is no known cure.
So I remember when Gal came to me
and we started mentioning the kind of obstacles that people in his
condition face, or are about to face, and how are you going to communicate.
And Gal came to me, you know, and he started...
looking for technological solutions out there to improve that.
Together, Gal and Dan have invented Click2Speak,
an affordable tool that helps disabled people to communicate.
Dan does the business side and Gal writes the code.
The software uses a special eye-tracking camera to watch
your eye movements and use them to control the cursor on the screen.
You click using a foot mouse,
or by simply looking at a particular button for a few seconds.
The Click2Speak keyboard allows Gal to control any
program on his computer, and it's completely customisable.
He's hooked it up to his projector, his air conditioning
and he can use it to play video games.
Gal wrote the basics of the app
when he could still just about use his hands to control a mouse.
Now he uses the on-screen keyboard itself to code new features,
programming using his eyes.
If you want to purchase an eye-gazing camera and to work with it,
you've got to purchase the software that comes with it.
This could be 5-6,000 dollars.
Um...so, you can't really go and separate.
Typing with your eyes can be incredibly slow,
but Click2Speak uses part of the SwiftKey smartphone app
to suggest words and speed up typing.
It works by looking at what you, and others, have typed in the past,
and uses that information to predict what word you might type next,
before you've even hit a key.
Gal and Dan worked with the SwiftKey team
to integrate their prediction engine into the software.
With it, Gal says he can communicate around 40 percent faster.
But Click2Speak isn't just about helping Gal to communicate.
He wants it to be made available to anyone who can't
use their hands to type.
The most important thing for us, before we look at any,
you know, financial reward, is the reward of seeing people in this
situation being able to communicate better and have their life improved.
It's not a big market when it comes to that,
but it's a very important market and people who really need help.
As Gal's condition worsens,
Click2Speak will increasingly become his main
means of communication with his family and the world around him.
But even when that time comes,
the software he created will still allow him to have a voice,
to work on updates for other users
and to be able to do the thing he's loved doing since he was a kid.
Gal Sont and Dan Russ in Israel, and, of course, we wish them
the best of luck in getting Click2Speak out there.
OK, back to Wimbledon next. First, a look at this week's tech news.
A 23-year-old paralysed man has moved his hand for the first
time in four years, after having a microchip implanted into his brain.
Researchers at Ohio State University, and Battelle R&D Institute,
developed the new technology, which they've dubbed Neurobridge.
The chip interprets the electrical activity in the brain and sends
signals directly to a custom hi tech sleeve, in this case,
on the forearm. It then stimulates muscle movement in the appendage.
Once out of the testing phase, doctors hope the tech will
someday help people with similar injuries in other limbs.
The pizza by drone business appears to be heating up.
After a US outfit launched its own pizzacopter last year in the UK,
a Russian pizza purveyor has joined the aerial buffet.
Back on terra firma, the Federal Aviation Authority in the US
caused confusion with new guidelines that seems to suggest paid
drone delivery services were illegal, although, they later
clarified that the guidelines were only directed at hobbyists.
And, finally, could human TV presenters
become a thing of the past? I hope not.
Last week, the Miraikan Museum in Tokyo
powered up its vision of an android newscaster.
Dubbed Kodomoroid, the automated anchor can recite news
and weather in a variety of voices and languages.
It's joined to the museum by Otonaroid,
a lifelike robot which can be controlled by members of the public.
Both automata have been designed as part of an exhibit called
Android: What Is Human?
Come to think of it,
who's to say this news hasn't been read by a replicant?
This might not be as glamorous as Wimbledon up top,
but this is the heart of the tournament,
at least for people watching at home and online.
You remember all those shots and the data about them that were being
captured outside each court? Well, that ends up in here.
IBM provides the tech backbone for the tournament
and this is what it calls the bunker.
This is where the match data is crunched
and turned into summary statistics for the fans online,
and more detailed numbers for the commentary teams.
The players are also given as much information as possible
about their own performance.
One of the new tricks IBM is trialling this year
is tracking a player's aggression.
We take Hawk-Eye data, who are tracking the player and the ball
around the court, and then we've analysed that data and we've said,
"Can we quantify an aggressive shot?" So we've looked at the speed
of the shot, we've looked at where does it bounce,
how close to the line? How far does the player have to move?
Where do they end up hitting the ball? How far they've been
pulled off court, and if you combine those things together in various
different weightings and
permutations, you can quantify an aggressive shot.
We can see, not just at the end of the rally, but all the way through
the rally, how aggressive are they being,
but also how well are they coping with that aggression?
And from that you can start to see insights coming out on TV
and the commentator starting to talk about quantifying that Nadal
is being more aggressive than Murray, but Murray's coping with it
and that's why he's winning. Then getting into another level of insight
into the match and what's going on.
And by looking even further back through the data,
it's also possible to examine one player's form
against their opponent,
and calculate the keys to the match, the things
they need to do to win against that player, at that point, in that game.
What we've done is we've looked at eight years of Grand Slam data,
41 million datapoints, and we've analysed all of that
and we can identify what are the patterns, in particular,
players' styles when they win.
So for any particular head-to-head, we can see what are the three
things that each player needs to do in order to win,
and we can track that in real-time then as the match progresses.
It's a bit like being the coach in the room at home.
You can see what Andy should be doing. Is he hitting his stats?
Technology has impacted tennis in the same way that it's impacted
pretty much every sport.
It's gone from two people hitting a ball backwards and forwards
to an incredible science with so much data that you can crunch.
It does make you wonder if there's anything left
that they haven't yet analysed?
But then we haven't talked about wearable tech yet, have we?
What about all those T-shirts
and tennis rackets that can measure your performance as you're playing?
We can currently get data from rackets' head now. Where's the ball
hitting the racket? We're looking with some of the other clients I work
with around getting information
directly from the players. What's their heartrate?
Imagine last year, if you'd been watching the Murray final,
knowing what his heartrate was as he was going up to serve
for the match. That would be really exciting.
Yeah, I can certainly tell you what my heart was
doing during those final points. But that's irrelevant.
Anyway, while Wimbledon heads into its second week,
there's another massive annual event
taking place on the west coast of the US.
Google I/O is Google's annual developers conference,
and it always serves up some big announcements.
This year is no different, so here's Richard Taylor.
It may be teeming with developers but don't let that fool you.
Google's annual coming out party affects us all.
And not just existing smartphone owners.
Android One is Google's attempt to consolidate its already strong
position in the developing world,
where smartphone adoption is still only around 10%.
Working with hardware partners and targeting India right now,
the aim is to get affordable handsets running a fully up to date
version of Android.
Good for users, a great opportunity for Google itself.
A more exciting opportunity for the devs, tweaking their apps
to work on Google's new smartwatch platform, Android Wear.
Let's face it, despite the industry hype around wearables,
we don't seem to be smitten yet.
Could this be the moment we've been waiting for?
Of course, there were plenty of core Android announcements,
too, to get the 6,000-strong faithful in the audience misty eyed.
Not least a new faster and slicker version of Android,
right now simply codenamed "L".
Forget your smartphone,
they say in many ways the car is the ultimate mobile device.
Apple recently announced CarPlay,
now Google has its own way of getting your mobile talking to your motor.
Android Auto takes your favourite apps and makes them
car-friendly, from navigation to music.
All voice-controlled and car-optimised,
using the phone itself as the brains.
In fact, wherever we may be, on the road, at work or at home,
it's clear Google has designs on being there with us.
We want to work to create a seamless experience across all these connected devices.
A lot of it seems very Apple-like, doesn't it?
It does, and that's not a bad thing. Saying we have this cohesive
experience, this vertical integration. If you want a good
experience, you're going to have to do that. Google came about it
the long way and it's taken them a while to get there,
but I don't think there was anyone who didn't understand that
if we want to do this stuff well we have to really bring it together.
That's what they've absolutely announced today.
Still, not everyone is convinced they want or need any
kind of Google experience.
This protest outside the convention,
a reminder that as the big G gets ever bigger,
its encroaching presence on our lives isn't welcomed by everyone.
Well, it is June and the garden's looking lovely,
which means Kate Russell has actually been outside.
Here she is with some smartphone apps for all your green-fingered
friends now in Webscape.
Keen gardeners will know that some things grow
better in their flower beds than others.
It's all down to soil
and to help you understand more about what's under your feet,
the British Geological Survey
and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have put together
a detailed European map of soil properties,
available as an Android and iPhone app.
Fire up the app and it will locate you on the map
and tell you things like soil type, depth, organic matter,
texture and pH.
You can use this information to match your planting for the best
The Royal Horticultural Society's Plant Selector is a great
place to look for plants, as it lets you enter soil type,
shading and certain garden characteristics before choosing
which type of plant you'd like and when you want it to bloom.
The one thing every good gardener needs to know is what to pull out.
Weed ID will help you pinpoint 140 species of broadleaf and grass weeds.
You can take a snap to compare your plant with a database of thousands
of images or just search via the ID filter
or by common and scientific name.
If you're really into gardening,
then the aptly named Intogardens.com is a must-bookmark for you.
Part interactive magazine and part web TV series,
this site is bursting at the flower beds with colour
and instructional content to help you get your garden in bloom.
Come on, Speedy. Come on, Slowy.
I love the design and it delivers a refreshing mix of written,
video and photographic content from some of the best gardeners
and designers around the world to really give you a head start.
As soon as your tomatoes start flowering, which is just here,
this is where the actual tomato fruit are going to come from.
This week a new photo sharing and chat app made it onto iOS.
Cooliris is the developer and their trademark wall display
technology makes this interface stand out in a crowded market.
Transfer to groups is one click simple and pretty instantaneous
with integrated comments and other social features.
One lovely touch is that you can delete a snap from the
recipient's deliveries if you decide you don't like it after all.
It's free on iOS right now, with web based
and Android apps coming in four to six weeks.
And, as much as I hate it,
there is one app it's hard to ignore this week.
-Yo is a zero character chat app that does just one thing,
-sends a "yo" to your contacts.
-Perhaps I would understand the point more if I was 15.
But it picked up 950,000 users in four days this week,
bringing the user base to a million.
It's also been reportedly hacked,
so if you feel like annoying your friends with a stream of "yo"s...
Yo, yo, yo.
..be aware there could still be vulnerabilities to be fixed.
-Thank you, Kate. Or should I say, "yo"?
Now I just thought you'd like to see behind the scenes
here at Wimbledon, because these are some of the camera crews
who are covering the tournament for broadcasters around the world.
I can guarantee you one thing,
at some point during the championship,
the focus will shift from the courts below to the skies above
because, well, let's face it, this is England.
Last week we showed you a rain alarm,
this week something much more flashy.
This website allows you to see the location of lightning
strikes in real-time.
It works with the help of amateur volunteers from all over
the world who can buy lightning detection kits
for about 275 dollars.
What the blitzortung set is,
is a low-frequency radio receiver which then digitises
the signal and sends it through to a server with a GPS timestamp.
So, it's effectively, a low-frequency radio listening
out for lightning strikes within a radius of 2,000-3,000 kilometres.
The aim of the project is to harness the power of the crowd to monitor
the skies and establish a low-budget lightning location network.
What it's useful for is for weather hobbyists to actually
look at where the thunderstorms are,
and predict where major rainfall will be.
And the data is supplied to not-for-profit meteorologists
so they can use it in their predictions and weather forecasts.
Let's hope we won't be needing that too much over the next week.
Now for more from us, go to our website
and if you'd like to talk to us, we do talk back.
We are @BBC Click on Twitter. But that's it from Wimbledon.
I'm off to see if I can sneak onto Court No.1. Shh.
Don't tell anyone. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.