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Canon cameras to drive facial screening project

Canon South Africa has teamed up with the University of Pretoria’s Department of Genetics in a facial screening project that will assist with the early diagnosis of disorders in South African children.|Canon South Africa has teamed up with the University of Pretoria’s Department of Genetics in a facial screening project that will assist with the early diagnosis of disorders in South African children.

Ten Canon EOS 1200D cameras will be used to build a 3D camera for the university’s Facial Morphology Research Group. The ten cameras will be triggered simultaneously and the images used to build 3D models of faces. These 3D models will be used to identify specific facial features associated with syndromes like Down syndrome, Prader-Willi, Fragile X and Marfan syndrome in infants.

“When we heard about this tremendous, forward thinking project, we were excited to be involved in bringing it to fruition,” says Michelle Janse van Vuuren, Marketing Director at Canon South Africa. “We are pleased to be in a position to sponsor the necessary equipment to facilitate the building of a 3D camera for the facial morphology research project. This initiative has great potential to empower the early diagnoses of syndromes in African children, allowing for timely treatment to be effected and improving prognoses.”

Around 700 disorders have characteristic facial features associated with them. These facial features can play an important role in the initial diagnosis of disorders, but they differ somewhat between different populations. Many of the disorders are more difficult to recognise in African children because so little is known about the specific facial features associated with them in African populations. For example, Down syndrome, which is easily recognised in Western infants, is often difficult to recognise in Black African infants.

This means that they don’t get the lifesaving medical screening and treatment that they need when they require it. Some of these children likely die from associated conditions such as heart defects, even though these conditions could have been treated if their disorder was diagnosed in time.

The research group wants to change that by identifying the facial features associated with a range of disorders in African kids. Once these features have been identified, facial screening tools will be developed to help doctors identify the specific disorders more easily.

“It is clear that we need more research to identify the specific facial features associated with disorders such as Down syndrome in African infants and children,” says Dr Vinet Coetzee, head of the Facial Morphology Research group. “We need accurate facial photographs of children with and without the disorder. 3D images are ideal because they contain information on a range of different dimensions, so we can identify key facial features more accurately. An accurate 3D camera will enable us to precisely capture and identify these facial features.”

With this 3D camera in action, the research group can capture and analyse the specific facial dimensions that differ between those affected and those not affected by disorders. The first project will focus on identifying the features associated with Down syndrome in African children and infants. Once the groundwork has been laid the project will include more researchers and more disorders such as Autism, Mitochondrial disorders, Prader-Willi, Marfan and Fragile X syndrome.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

The leader in cloud data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ gets funding

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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