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Analyzing the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s new Portrait mode camera AI



Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung has made serious strides with its AI portrait mode effect in the Galaxy S22 series, and to put it to the test, I spent some time comparing the S22 Ultra to the iPhone 13 Pro.

Right off the bat, there is no denying that Samsung is on another level with its hair cut-outs when it works properly. However, I found that darker hair wasn’t always caught well, but with enough light and a few attempts, it appears to have a decent batting average.

Samsung does this well by loading the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with key camera specs and then pairing them with AI software. For instance, the S22 series uses AI and the depth sensor on the back of the smartphone to depth map each space as you’re taking an image to better judge how much blur should be applied to each photo.

In my testing, it still goes a little heavy with the bokeh, but this is still very cool tech and is leagues better than what we’ve seen in years past. I wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung’s larger sensor and megapixel counts also helped a lot here. By feeding the AI more image data, it might be able to spot tiny strands of hair better.


Let’s get into it.

The breakdown

This example is a bit deceiving, but I chose to start with it because it truly shows how strong Samsung’s hair cut-out AI is. The iPhone photo looks the best to the eye since my face is sharper and brighter. It did lose a lot of the wisps I call hair on top of my head.

I mean, look at that cut-out. It would take me hours to get that precise manually in photoshop. Obviously, Samsung was helped quite a bit by the sun turning my hair into a golden crown, but still, it’s impressive.

Even punching along the side of my face, the cut-out looks 100x more natural than the fuzzy line along the side of my head the iPhone presented. That being said, the iPhone shot still looks nicer and in a lot of the cases below, that might be what matters more as the examples start to get closer and closer together.

Take this next image, for example. On first glance, both shots look incredibly similar, especially if you’re viewing these on a phone.

Blown up the Samsung photo retains more detail in Joe’s noisy denim pattern and his knit toque.

When you get a little closer, you can see that the S22 Ultra did a better job of cutting out his hair than the iPhone, but neither are as clean as my golden hair in the previous example.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

In this shot, the iPhone once again brightened the subject. The S22 Ultra, on the other hand, did a cleaner job of cutting out his hair. I needed to turn down the background blur quite a bit on this one to make it not over blur the edges of the hair.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

In this example, you can see that the iPhone needs to be a little closer than Samsung to initiate portrait mode. However, both phones do a great job of blurring out the background, likely because the blur is mostly natural when using the 3x zoom from this distance with this much drop-off. In this case, the fake blur actually ruins the pictures by missing Alex’s hair to the left of her face. Samsung caught it a little better, but it’s still not quite perfect.

To illustrate my point, here are two RAW image files snapped from each camera. I’ve lightly edited the colour, but the blurred backgrounds are entirely natural. You’ll also notice that by taking this route, Alex’s hair is cut out perfectly. There is definitely less blur, but I don’t think that matters much since it’s still enough to isolate her from the background.

In this low-light selfie example, neither phone did a great job at capturing my hair either. I’ll concede that my messy hair blowing in the wind isn’t the best example since most people have a less wispy hairstyle, but I still think it’s interesting to push these phones to their extremes to see what they can do.

For example, when you task both phones with cutting out a more simple shape like a head wearing a hat, they can do it well. In this photo, the iPhone actually did a lot more to punch-up the lights in the background, but the S22 Ultra more accurately cut out Alex’s hair and retained better contrast and detail on her.

Finally, in a more controlled test, Alex sat at her desk in good light, and I shot a photo with a bit of depth in the foreground and background.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Here I think Samsung’s blur ramps up a little too quickly and aggressively compared to the iPhone, but it does do a cleaner job of isolating Alex from the things on her table.

That said, the iPhone did an excellent job of applying natural focus fall off to the corner of the room.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

When we look at how well each phone cut her out, the Samsung caught way more of her hair. It’s not perfect and loses some along the right side of her face, but it improves Apple’s offering.


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A Quick Guide to Better CMM Maintenance




A coordinate-measuring machine, also known as a CMM, is a specialized piece of equipment common in high-precision manufacturing. It uses coordinate technology to measure and replicate the dimensions of particular objects.

CMMs are a lot more accurate than regular measurement gauges. This characteristic makes them the equipment of choice for quality assurance in certain industries, like aerospace, defense, and medical manufacturing.

Despite being a powerful piece of equipment and the most versatile measuring tool in the metrology industry, CMMs can also be quite delicate. They require the right environment and proper maintenance practices to maintain accuracy and reliability.

The Importance of Proper CMM Maintenance

It’s essential to clean and inspect each part of your machine to ensure it stays efficient and accurate. Preventative maintenance ensures that your CMM remains accurate and performs at its best. It also improves your machine’s longevity.


Without proper CMM maintenance, you could risk damaging your CMM. Repairs would involve operational delays and additional costs.

CMM Preventative Maintenance Tips

Preventative maintenance practices are ones your team could do by yourselves. It’s best to schedule regular maintenance checks for your CMM daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. These checks can alert you immediately to possible problems with your CMM.

Remove dust and dirt regularly

Clean and well-maintained air bearings ensure your CMM works as it should. These frictionless and stable bearings help ensure accuracy and efficiency. Dust and dirt can clog your machine’s air bearings, affecting its overall performance.

Aside from your machine’s air bearings, dust could also get into other surfaces and crevices. These tiny particles could affect your machine’s accuracy.

Handle Stylus Tips Properly

The stylus is the tip that makes contact with the object you want to measure with your CMM. Despite this significant role, the stylus can be fragile and require careful handling. Too much force could cause it to bend or break.

Clean your stylus with a cleaning agent and a lint-free cloth. Make sure to remove any residue from workplace materials.

Ensure Good Air Quality

Most CMMs use air bearings, and good air quality is essential to keep them running smoothly. Various air quality issues could affect machine performance and even burn out machine motors.

For air quality maintenance, ask and address the following questions:

  • Do the lines have condensation, oil, or other contaminants?
  • Is the airflow constant?
  • Are you using the proper pressure?

When To Call a Professional

Most preventative maintenance practices are simple enough to be performed internally. However, some issues require professional attention. You can also conduct regular professional maintenance checks to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Below are some procedures that require professional assistance. Many CMM suppliers also offer maintenance services alongside their machinery.

Conducting CMM Training

CMMs are highly specialized pieces of equipment. To handle them properly, your staff needs professional training.

Training courses allow you to get trained by CMM experts on the tools and knowledge necessary within your industry. Regular training sessions also help keep you updated on industry trends and standards.

Sensor Malfunctions

CMM sensors are critical to your machine’s speed and accuracy. They should be professionally inspected and calibrated annually.

Routine sensor maintenance can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your machine. CMM sensors include the following:

  • Scanning probe
  • Single point laser
  • Line laser
  • Electronic touch trigger probe
  • Video camera

Faulty Bearings

Neglected air bearings could cause them to falter in their accuracy and stability. Properly maintained air bearings ensure a smooth, stable, and accurate measurement process.

A professional metrology company can thoroughly inspect your air bearings to prevent further machine damage.

A CMM is a significant investment for any business. Good maintenance practices help your machine last and perform at its best, thus making the most out of this investment.


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Nintendo’s discounted Switch game vouchers are back



Nintendo’s Switch Online service has become a better deal over time, offering more perks than just the ability to play games online. On top of getting access to SNES and NES classics, and cloud save backups (for most games, save a couple dozen), Nintendo announced an even bigger perk yesterday: discounted game vouchers.

All subscribers can buy a two-pack of these vouchers for $99.98, and a huge range of first-party (in other words, typically discount-averse) Nintendo games are looped in. I encourage you to check out the full list, but some highlights include the brand-new Fire Emblem Engage, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Metroid Dread, Splatoon 3, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Important note: you both have to be a subscriber to buy and use these vouchers.

It’s great that this list is more expansive than Nintendo’s first swing at this deal in 2019. But this perk could actually turn Switch Online into a must-have service because it allows you to pre-purchase up to four sets of vouchers (totaling eight games), and keep them for 12 months from the date of purchase. With $20 in savings with each pair of vouchers, buying four bundles will save you up to $80, assuming that each title normally costs $59.99. If you buy a lot of games, this is a smart way to save a little bit of money on every forthcoming purchase.

I know what you might be thinking: “Can I use one on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?” Nintendo has not currently listed the deliriously anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is set to release on May 12th, 2023. Polygon has reached out to Nintendo to see if it’ll eventually become eligible, but did not hear back in time for publication.


You can get a free seven-day trial for Switch Online here, and you can easily subscribe to the service directly from the Switch’s eShop (it costs $3.99 per month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 per year). However, you can purchase (or gift) a one-year subscription with a digital code via Best Buy for $19.99. With a family subscription that costs $34.99 per year, up to eight Switch accounts can reap the perks of Switch Online.

For players who want all the perks, access to Goldeneye 007 and other N64 and Sega Genesis games, and complimentary DLC for some Switch games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll need Nintendo’s Switch Online plus the Expansion Pack tier, which costs $49.99 per year for one account, or $79.99 per year for a family subscription.


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Canadian discovery could help batteries last longer



A chance discovery in a Canadian laboratory could help extend the life of laptop, phone and electric car batteries.

According to scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, common adhesive tape in batteries may be the reason many devices lose some of their power while off or not being used, which is a phenomenon known as self-discharge.

“In our laboratory we do many highly complex experiments to improve batteries, but this time we discovered a very simple thing,” Michael Metzger, an assistant professor in Dalhousie University’s physics and atmospheric science department, said in a news release. “In commercial battery cells there is tape—like Scotch tape—that holds the electrodes together and there is a chemical decomposition of this tape, which creates a molecule that leads to the self-discharge.”

The solution is simple, too, Metzger says: replace the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic tape commonly used inside batteries with something more durable and stable.


“It’s a commercially relevant discovery,” Metzger said. “It’s a small thing but it can definitely help improve battery cells.”

Metzger and his team have been trying to understand why lithium-ion battery cells in inactive devices tend to lose some of their power and self-discharge, something that has long frustrated consumers and manufacturers alike.

“Every manufacturer of lithium-ion cells in the world wants to make self-discharge as small as possible,” Metzger told in a joint statement with graduate student Anu Adamson. “In every battery there is a small rate of self-discharge that slowly drains the battery. This is very inconvenient for users and a big headache for industry.”

The electrodes that power batteries are separated by an electrolyte solution that is usually a form of lithium. After exposing several battery cells to different temperatures, researchers were surprised to see that electrolyte solution had turned bright red when it normally should be clear, which was something they had never encountered. The discovery was made by Adamson and two other students.

Chemical analysis of the red electrolyte solution revealed that at higher temperatures, a new molecule had been created inside the battery through the decomposition of common PET adhesive tape, which is often used to hold components together inside batteries. Strong and lightweight, PET is also frequently used for plastic packaging, drink bottles, clothing fibres and more.

Researchers realized that the red molecule, dimethyl terephthalate, was acting as a redox shuttle, meaning that it can transport electrons between a battery’s positive and negative electrodes, creating self-discharge and depleting power even when a battery is not in use. Ideally, the shuttling of electrons within a battery should only happen when a device is on.

“It’s a very simple thing—it is in every plastic bottle and no one would have thought that this has such a huge impact on how the lithium-ion cells degrade,” Metzger said in the news release. “It’s something we never expected because no one looks at these inactive components, these tapes and plastic foils in the battery cell, but it really needs to be considered if you want to limit side-reactions in the battery cell.”

The findings are outlined in a pair of studies published on Jan. 20 and Jan. 23 in the peer-reviewed Journal of The Electrochemical Society. The researchers are now testing PET tape substitutes.

“Since the PET in the tape is the culprit that creates the redox shuttle, we need to replace it with a polymer that is more stable and does not decompose in the harsh chemistry of a lithium-ion battery,” Metzger and Adamson told “So far, the results look very promising, and we plan to publish a new research paper on improved polymers for lithium-ion battery tapes soon.”

According to the researchers, their work has been attracting interest from “some of the world’s largest computer hardware companies and electric vehicle manufacturers,” which are eager to reduce self-discharge and improve battery performance.

“We visited some of these companies and they are planning to implement more stable polymers in their battery cells,” Metzger said.

In the release, Metzger noted: “One of the engineers said, ‘I heard you guys found out something is wrong with PET tape.’ So, I explained to him that it’s causing this self-discharge and asked him, ‘What are you using in your cells?’ He said, ‘PET tape.'”


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