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Google’s AI-based flood detection & alert system to expand its coverage

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Taking forward a pilot project in Patna that started last September, US technology major Google will expand its artificial intelligence-based flood detection and alerting system for the upcoming monsoon season that will cover areas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. Under its pilot project, Google had partnered with India’s Central Water Commission to collect data for its models that it claims predict the impact of floods more accurately.
“Every year, they affect up to 230 million people across the world — more than storms and earthquakes combined. Twenty per cent of flood fatalities happen in India alone … and without consistent accurate warning systems, people are prone to ignore warnings and be unprepared. That’s especially detrimental in areas hit with annual monsoons … the expanded area will cover millions of people living along the Ganges and Brahmaputra river areas.
“Not only are we increasing the area of coverage, but we are also better forecasting where the floods will hit hardest. Through a new version of our public alerts, people can better understand whether they will be affected,” Jeff Dean, Google’s head of AI division, said earlier this week at the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, California.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), monsoons in India during 2019 will be near-normal. Further, as per the department’s monsoon forecast, rainfall will be well distributed across the country. The south-west monsoon makes its onset over India around May-end.
Dean explained that Google’s model simulates water behaviour across the floodplain, showing the areas that are likely to be affected.
The model combines thousands of satellite images to create high resolution elevation maps to figure out the height of the ground.
It then uses neural networks to correct the terrain, making it more accurate, after which it simply applies physics to simulate how flooding will happen.
However, effective riverine flood forecasting at scale is hindered by a number of factors, with the biggest factor being the need to rely on human calibration in current methodology, limited amount of data for a specific location, and computational difficulty of building continent level models that are sufficiently accurate.
Google said it has collaborated with the government to collect up-to-date stream gauge data and accordingly sends out real-time updates.
During the pilot project, Google exhibited, via Public Alerts, a map that included areas designated as ‘high risk’, ‘medium risk’ and ‘low risk’ and across these different alert types after this year’s heavy post-monsoon rains, which Google says recorded “high accuracy metrics”.
The pilot used an operational hydro-dynamic model, with the explicit goal of preparing the ground for integrating machine learning (ML) models into the process. Alerts were then sent out to individuals in the catchment area in the form of maps and Android notifications. Patna was chosen for the pilot as the city, and its surrounding area, has a large population and has one of the most frequent occurrences of severe riverine flooding.
“After we sent out the alerts, this allowed us to look into how people experience and interact with the alerts we send. One example of this is that we’ve realised that many people who receive these alerts prefer a stronger emphasis on text that describes the same information our maps show,” Sella Nevo from Google’s Research and Machine Intelligence team, had said.
In the early stages of the Patna pilot, where a lot of time was spent understanding the needs of people in the area, as well as the river morphology and conditions on the ground, a big learning for Google was that people who received these alerts preferred a stronger emphasis on text that described the same information that Google’s maps showed.
“This allowed us to be relatively confident that our pilot will already have a significant impact, and will also be informative as we prepare to scale our efforts up … Our alerts, though limited in scope for our first pilot, achieved results we’re happy with,” Nevo had said.


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Infinix S4 Smartphone With Triple Rear Cameras, X Band 3 Fitness Band Launched

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Infinix S4 has now been launched in India, after the launch of the Smart 3 Plus last month. The phone sports a triple rear camera setup, a rear fingerprint sensor, and a waterdrop-style notch. The Infinix S4 key features include the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, a 6.21-inch large display, Android 9 Pie software, a 32-megapixel selfie sensor, and a 4,000mAh battery. The company also launched the X Band 3 fitness band alongside the smartphone, and it comes with real-time heart rate monitoring and up to 20-day battery life.

Infinix S4, X Band 3 price in India

Infinix S4 is priced in India at Rs. 8,999. The phone will be available on Flipkart from May 28 at 12pm (noon) IST. It will be available in Nebula Blue, Space Grey, and Twilight Purple colour options. The X Band 3, on the other hand, is priced in India at Rs. 1,599 and will be available on Flipkart from June 4.

 

Infinix S4 specifications

As for specifications, the dual-SIM Infinix S4 runs on Android Pie-based XOS 5.0. The phone features a 6.21-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and 2.5D curved glass display protection. The phone is powered by the 2GHz MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM. Internal storage is at 32GB with the option to expand further using a dedicated microSD card (up to 256GB).

The triple rear camera setup at the back houses – a primary 13-megapixel snapper with f/1.8 aperture, another 8-megapixel 120 degrees ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a last 2-megapixel camera as well. The rear setup is accompanied by a Quad-LED flash. Up front, the Infinix S4 will have a 32-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and screen flash. Features include auto scene detection across eight modes including portrait, text, night, backlight HDR, blue sky, sports and others.

The phone packs a 4,000mAh battery, the dimensions measure at 156x75x7.9mm, and it weighs 155 grams. Connectivity options include Bluetooth v5, Micro-USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3.5mm audio jack, and more. The phone supports Face Unlock and a rear fingerprint sensor as well. Sensors on board include a G-sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, and compass.

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Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 Announced With Improved Camera and More

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Google is bringing the second edition of its eye-wearable device — Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, with improved camera, USB Type-C port and safety frames.

Google Glass is a small, lightweight wearable computer with a transparent display that brings information into your line of sight.

“Glass Enterprise Edition 2 helps businesses further improve the efficiency of their employees,” Jay Kothari, Project Lead, Glass at Google, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

 

To enable significant power-saving, support for computer vision and advanced Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform that comes with a multi-core CPU.

The company says, Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is easier to develop for and deploy. In order to support scaled deployments, Google has also added support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management to the wearable.

The price of the second edition of Google Glass remain undisclosed as of now.

“Enterprise businesses interested in using Glass Enterprise Edition 2 can contact our sales team or our network of Glass Enterprise solution partners starting today.

We’re excited to see how our partners and customers will continue to use Glass to shape the future of work,” Kothari added.

In August 2017, Streye, a “Glass for Work” partner started selling the eye-wearable device Google Glass Enterprise Edition starting from $1,829 (roughly Rs. 1.3 lakhs).

Google sells the eye-wearable device with “Glass for Work” partners which are authorised to develop and deliver enterprise solutions for Glass customers.

The device has been known to be helping scientists study brain disease, during emergency and teach Morse code in four hours.

The first Google Glass was introduced with much fanfare in 2014. At $1,500, it promised a new, bold era for information.

People, however, realised the device was not yet ready to be part of their lives. There were safety and health concerns. The built-in camera raised privacy and piracy issues too.

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Juhi Chawla supports her kids dreams

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Actress Juhi Chawla says her son Arjun is good at mimicking accents and that he is hilarious, so sometimes she feels that he can probably try his hand at acting.

Juhi is currently living out of a suitcase, swinging between Mumbai, Kolkata and the UK where her teenaged children are put up in a boarding school.

In times when star kids have a ready launch-pad for their Bollywood career to take off, Juhi has shared about her children’s interests.

 

“My small monkey Arjun has clearly told us, ‘Mom don’t even think about it’. With Jahnavi, I’m not so sure. Arjun is quite funny and good with mimicking accents. He’s actually hilarious, so I feel sometimes that he could maybe try,” Juhi said in a statement.

“Jahnavi is an avid reader. If there is anything she likes in this world, and if you ask her what she wants as a gift, it will be a book. She said she wanted to be a writer.

“Then she went through a phase where she said ‘Okay I want to be a model’. Tomorrow she might say ‘I want to be an actress’. Then she might say she wants to drop all this and do sports. I don’t know, but I have learnt one thing that you have to let your children do what they want,” she added.

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