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Engineering Is: Making Movies

Cartoons have come a long way since the hand-drawn moving pictures of decades past. Now, the animated films at your local cineplex are made possible by sophisticated computer software created by engineers. Modeling the realistic textures and movement of such things as fur, hair and fabric, for example, takes serious computing power.

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Event: Potter Day, Maryland Science Center. Nov. 20, 2010

harry potterBaltimore’s Maryland Science Center invites everyone to join Harry Potter Day, November 20, 2010. The screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in the IMAX theater, will be accompanied by day filled with activities for kids of all ages, from the creation of chemical potions, to a hunt for horcruxes, and mapping of the stars. Cost: Free with paid admission and for members.

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Movies That Watch You

Going to the movies is always fun, but would you still enjoy it if you knew the movie was watching you?

Soon, movie theaters may be equipped with cameras that will use facial recognition technology to monitor which way you are facing; if you’re laughing, scared, or bored; and if you came alone or with friends.

In order to monitor facial expressions, the theater cameras will illuminate the audience with infrared beams and create 3-D stereoscopic images of each viewer. Aralia Systems, a British security firm, received a $350,000 grant to develop the system.

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Will “Avatar” Revolutionize 3-D Movies?

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Check out our blog and newsletter next week to read more about the science behind motion capture technology and the exciting new wave of 3-D movies. In the mean time, here’s a fascinating glance behind the scenes at the upcoming movie Avatar:

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