Arne Bergh
Arne Bergh

Incredible Photos of a Melting Ice Hotel

Arne Bergh
Arne Bergh

Every year, Lapland erects a hotel made of ice in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. And every year, when the weather turns warmer, the IceHotel melts back into where it originated: the Torne River.

Here's what the twenty-third incarnation of the IceHotel looked like when we visited it last year:

Ben Nilsson/Big Ben Productions

And here's what it looks like now that temperatures have hit 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit):

Only about half of the single-story structure, which was constructed on the banks of the Torne River, remains; the rest has melted away.

A new version of the hotel is conceived and built every winter using ice from the Torne River.

Annually, the hotel hosts approximately 60,000 guests before it closes in mid-April. The currently melting incarnation had 65 rooms, including 15 one-of-a-kind art suites designed and sculpted by artists from around the world.

Ulrika Hellby, who travels to Jukkasjärvi to help build the hotel each year, says "It's a strange feeling to wander the ruins of the hotel, it feels like yesterday that temperatures were minus thirty degrees Celsius and the hotel was about to open for the season, but now it is almost gone—completely still except for the sound of water dripping."

Find out more about how IceHotel is made here.

All photos by Arne Bergh.

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Ruined a Photo By Blinking? Facebook Can Fix It With AI
iStock
iStock

Next time you blink in an otherwise flawless photo, don't be so quick to hit the "delete" button on your phone. As The Verge reports, Facebook is testing a new feature that uses artificial intelligence to make closed eyes look naturally open.

Facebook engineers Brian Dolhansky and Cristian Canton Ferrer described the technology behind the AI in a paper published June 18. They used a type of machine learning called generative adversarial network or GAN. It works by looking at a database of pictures and using that information to generate new imagery where there wasn't any before.

This type of AI has been used to design clothing and video game levels in the past. To get it to work with faces, Facebook engineers showed the system photos taken of people when their eyes were open. After "learning" the subject's eye shape, size, and color, the AI used that data to superimpose a new set of eyes over the blinking lids. The feature still has some trouble working with glasses, long bangs, and pictures taken at an angle, but when it does what it's supposed to, it's hard to tell the photo was ever retouched.

Faces with blinking and open eyes.
Facebook

Facebook isn't the first company to use AI to salvage photographs with closed eyes. In 2017, Adobe added an "Open Closed Eyes" feature to Photoshop Elements that also uses AI to generate a pair of eyes that match those of the blinking subject. For it to work, users first have to show the system several photos of the subject with their eyes open.

Facebook, which already holds a database of pictures of many of its users, seems like a perfect fit for this type of technology. The social media site is still testing it out, but based on the success of early experiments, they may consider making it available to users in the not-too-distant future. And because Facebook owns Instagram, it's possible that the eye-opening feature will eventually be applied to Instagram posts and Stories as well.

[h/t The Verge]

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Remember Every Moment of Your Next Vacation With this Tiny, 360-Degree Camera
Rylo
Rylo

Kiss those blurry, shaky, amateurish vacation videos goodbye: As spotted by Travel+Leisure, a new 360-degree camera called Rylo captures every angle of the action around you with little effort, and the high-definition footage can be edited directly on your phone.

The camera is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and has two wide-angle lenses that can be used to consolidate your footage into a 360-degree spherical video for when a single shot just won't cut it. Just press the record button, and the device does the rest of the work.

Alternatively, you can select just one angle or section of the footage and create a more traditional video—simply change the camera’s perspective by tapping on specific points of interest in the video. The choice is all yours with the accompanying mobile editing app, built for both Apple and Android phones.

Shaky hand? Fret not—the camera comes equipped with a stabilization feature, so even if you’re mountain biking down a treacherous path, your video won’t look like the sequel to Cloverfield. The aluminum camera is built to withstand the elements, but for an extra level of protection, Rylo makes a water-resistant Adventure Case.

Other nifty features include time-lapse and something called FrontBack, which lets you add a bubble on top of another video in order to show your reaction as the action unfolds in the background. If you’re skydiving and shooting the scenery around you, for instance, you can also show your face in the corner, should you want to capture those embarrassing reactions for posterity.

The camera is available on Amazon for $499. Check out the company's video below to see it in action.

[h/t Travel+Leisure]

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