Monday, June 22, 2009

Robotic coin dealers coming to Europe?

James Wilson's strangely-titled report, “Germans taste machines with Midas touch” for the Financial Times says
... Germans will soon be able to sate their appetite for the yellow metal as easily as buying a chocolate bar after plans were announced on Tuesday to install gold vending machines in airports and railway stations across the country.

...

A prototype vending machine on display in Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday appeared to be a converted version of the dispensers typically used to sell snacks. For €30 airport shoppers could buy a 1g wafer of gold, with a larger 10g bar priced on Tuesday at €245 and gold coins also on sale.

...

When the Financial Times bought the cheapest product it was dispensed in an oblong metal box labelled “My Golden Treasure”, with a certificate of authenticity signed by Mr. Geissler but no receipt and the wrong change. Mr. Geissler said he hoped to have a more advanced prototype available this month.

...

2 comments:

RJO said...

Some more robotic analysis -- well, not quite, but perhaps of interest:

"The ‘proof of the pudding' of his technique for automatic image analysis is a system for the automatic analysis and recognition of archaeological material such as pottery, Roman coins and glass from the Middle Ages"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090630163529.htm

Ed Snible said...

Thanks RJO! When I can find out more I will make a post about this new research.

via Google, I learned that last week van der Maaten defended his PhD thesis Feature Extraction from Visual Data in conjunction with a symposium on 'dimensionality reduction'.

His personal web site allows download of Matlab extensions that implement his techniques and a technical report on how to use it.

I am not familiar with the techniques but the symposium announcement says “The goal of dimensionality reduction and manifold learning is to construct a low-dimensional representation of the data in such a way that the structure of the original data manifold is preserved as good as possible. The resulting low-dimensional data representation can ... be employed in classification...”