Information Communication Technology

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Computers are vital in the study, practice, research and development of health and science. ICT can be used to collect and more importantly convert data into information. Spreadsheet packages can be used to answer calculations and provide information in the form of graphs, tables and charts (pie charts). Computers can be used to shorten the time of a particular task; this can be done because the computer is more faster and can process more information than a normal team of humans in the same period of time. A good example is that scientists have analysed every gene in the human body using a specially developed computer system in the short period of three years rather than the predicted period of hundreds of years by hand.

One of the most useful and fast developing uses of ICT (Information Communication Technology) is the portrayal of extinct creatures to understand how they evolved and lived daily. One such creature is the dinosaur. The company FrameStore used computer animation to produce the graphics for the extremely successful BBC series “Walking with Dinosaurs”. They used Silicon Graphics workstations for animating on because they had incredibly fast graphics. The level of interactivity is high and therefore the animator can view changes immediately. They render any changes only once on a farm of ordinary PCs that are far cheaper than the Silicon Graphics computers. More power can be added to the computers capabilities by adding another computer.

The computer knows nothing about bones or bodies so the computers produce the animation by making points at frame x and at frame, the computer can calculate the frames in between. The skill of the animators is used to show a dinosaur’s weight and other complex details that a computer cannot do. Only recently a computer software programme was built for the animated film “Stuart Little” for his individual bodily hairs. The normal computer could not comprehend that each hair on the mouse’s body was different. Similarly the human skin cells are different and therefore computers cannot create an accurate human image with the normal computer software programmes.

They started to construct the dinosaur on computer by initially using a “maquette” which is a model made by a sculptor. They took the sculpture and used a laser scanning system to create a set of points in the computer that described the shape in 3D. The model has no colouring and they often have little in the way of detail, so they created the wrinkles, scales and colour on the skin. That was done with a “texture map” – a model of the skin which is mapped onto the creature by the computer. There’s one map for the torso and separate ones for the limbs and these have to be joined seamlessly which was quite difficult for the computer. The director superimposed the dinosaur images on top of the filmed backgrounds so the dinosaurs would appear to be jumping around! The computer tracked the marks on the film and then adjusted the dinosaur’s positions accordingly on each frame. After that they removed the tracking marks from the picture, again via the computer.

The programme producers are supplied with a range of angles and features of the same shots. They do a monochrome version with all the detail, highlight versions to grade the dinosaur to show background on the dinosaur. There are matte versions and colour versions. The programme editors decide what to use to portray the right image. Scientists in the United States of America are developing a new smarter baby suit for the future. This unlike the old belt is kind on the skin, does not provide frequent false alarms and also stretches with elastic fibres with the chest to measure breathing.

Hi-tech ultrasound is being used to view an elephant foetus in 3D. The problem with a conventional ultrasound is that it does not through through the elephant’s thick hide. Elephants have a pregnancy of 22 months and scientists are hoping with the use of those ultrasound images coincided with computer software programmes to learn more about the development of baby elephants. The number of wild Asians elephants decreasing dramatically, the successful birth of babies is important to safeguard the species. The more we understand with the use of computers the more we will be able to prevent the deaths of elephants prematurely and after birth.

The most influential and prominently demonstrated use of Information Computer Technology is in the continuing improvement of health care. The information and medical research and advice can be obtained from any country around the world to save lives and to improve health care. In West Africa where malaria is researched heavily then they send data for clinical trials to cities such as London and Washington. Therefore advice and information can be traded and supplied by any nation to any nation around the world with an everyday computer (Internet is a good way of transferring data, advice and information).

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