Researchers Create Flexible Camera That Can Wrap Around Objects

If you want to take a 360-degree photograph, you either need a complex and bulky camera rig to do it, or deal with the blurry stitching that often appears in 3D images taken in pieces by smartphones. These limitations could soon be a thing of the past as a team of researchers from the University of Colombia have invented the prototype of a “flexible wallpaper camera” that is capable of wrapping around objects and taking photographs in all directions.

The wallpaper camera is based around the concept of being able to employ flexible lenses that are still able to take images while avoiding the issue of aliasing in incredibly compact lenses. The researchers first identified the properties that were required for a flexible lens requires to show passive optical adaptation and used this knowledge to construct a model of tiny identical lenses made of convex and planar sides and arrayed in a grid layout. The convex side of each lens faced outwards while the planar side was used as the base and the side upon which the detector components of the camera were attached. When the lens array is incredibly compact, the researchers found that it brought on a kind of adaptation that is required for optical anti-aliasing, countering the normal aliasing effect where signals become indistinguishable when sampled.

To tackle this, the lens array was made highly elastic and if constructed correctly, the lens array changes shape and focal length when distorted with the bending forces acting to regulate the aliasing. When combined with a flexible sensor array, the technology is capable of forming a complete sheet of camera says the team. They believe that the next step for the technology is to create a high-resolution lens array that and attaching it to a large format image sensor to create a true high-resolution flexible camera.

The current findings in the team have been published in a document which can be found here.

Image credit to Columbia Engineering.

D-Link DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Home security is an ever growing trend as technology gets smaller and better, and at the same time, it has also become a lot for affordable for the everyman. Today I’m taking a look at one of the best options in this category as I’m having D-Link’s DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi camera in my testing area.

Where most home surveillance cams still come with a 720p resolution, the D-Link DCS-2630L adds on top of that and goes for the full 1080p HD experience. While 720p already was a great step up from the old 480p CCTV resolution, it just doesn’t beat the full 1080p experience. The Wi-Fi camera doesn’t just feature a higher than usual resolution, it also has a wider field of view, allowing you to monitor an up to 180-degree wide area. Basic cameras only feature 90 or 120-degree view, which allows the DCS-2630L to monitor a lot more real estate that might prevent you from having to set up multiple cameras. The wide-view feature is also a lot better to look at than a traditional wide view fisheye view that distorts things.

Recording video during daylight is an easy thing, but you’ll also want to monitor what is going on when it is dark. After all, that is the time of day we usually associate with the need for protection. D-Link added night vision capabilities to the DCS-2630L with the help of infrared LEDs. The camera is able to see in the dark at a distance of up to 5 meters (16 ft) with as little as 0 Lux light. The IR LEDs can be turned on manually, but the camera also features a light sensor that determines when the LEDs are needed.

Next to the six infrared LEDs it also features two PIR sensors that detect infrared radiation when a person or animal passes for an enhanced motion detection. And that is another one of this cameras features next to just being able to show and record what is going on. With motion and sound detection, the camera is able to start recording automatically and also push notifications to your Windows, Android, and iOS device to let you know that something is going on.

D-Link didn’t just built-in a high-quality microphone to picks up on loud noises like the breaking of glass and the ability to send notification alerts about this to you, it also features 2-way audio that lets you send audio back. A high-quality speaker lets you respond to what you see using your mobile device.

The Full HD sensor features a 1/3-inch 3-megapixel sensor to deliver images in sharp and rich detail while the camera lens is made of glass for the best possible results. All this coupled with the de-warping technology provides you with a clear and ultra-wide 180º field of view surveillance. The camera comes on a wall mountable metal stand with flexible tilt for the perfect angle. It also allows for 360-degree camera rotation to ensure that your video is perfectly level no matter where you mount it.

It isn’t just an ordinary camera on the Wi-Fi field either and it sports a proper IEEE 802.11ac dual-band connection for reliable connection and streaming. It also features a convenient WPS button for quick and simple connection with the rest of your network infrastructure. Everyone can press a button. Besides the wireless connection, the DCS-2630L also features a micro SD/SDXC card slot with support for up to 128GB memory cards. This is enough for up to a week of continuous clip recordings in 1080p.

A status LED lets you know what your camera’s doing, which is a simple but very useful thing. The whole camera in itself is very power effective and only requires a USB connection, portable battery, or power adapter to run. That also allows for a very flexible placement.

Feature Highlights

  • 180-degree Ultra-Wide-View
  • Full HD 1080p video
  • Night vision up to 16-feet
  • Sound & motion detection triggers e-mail / push alert notifications
  • 2 PIR Sensors – Enhanced motion detection senses when a person or animal passes for accurate
  • notifications
  • microSDXC card slot – Record continuous, scheduled, or detection triggered video clips directly to a
  • microSDCX card up to 128 GB
  • Unique De-warping technology maximizes the video quality with less distortion to eliminate a fish-eye view
  • Built-in two-way audio
  • mydlink app support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone

Specifications

Packaging and Content

The D-Link DCS-2630L is a consumer camera and the package is made to be as eye-capturing as the camera catches images. The front displays the camera and usage scenario as well as the product highlights such as 1080p and wide eye lens.

On the rear, you will find more detailed information about the functions and features, all in full colour.

Each of the two sides is full of information too. On one side you find the features listed above the minimum requirements for usage.

On the other side, you’ll find a simple representation of the camera’s easy setup and usage as well as what’s inside the box.

Besides the Wi-Fi camera itself, you also find the Quick Install Card with default information and QR-code for easy setup as well as the quick install guide, a GPL code statement, and an assistance card if you should have trouble.

There’s also an AC/DC adapter included with a plug fitting the region where you bought it. Due to the clever usage of micro-USB, the camera is also easily powered otherwise.

Lytro Cinema Gives You The 40K Experiance

When we say 40K in this instance we aren’t talking about the Warhammer universe, instead, I am talking about the 40k resolution that the Lytro Cinema will give you.

Lytro uses a “light field solution” to detect and calculate a cubic ton of information regarding the light in a photo, this gives you not just the original imagine but the depth of any given point, essentially a 3D copy. While this technology may give you something to use for VR technology, the companies recent introduction of Lytro Cinema looks to be the closest to everyday use that we will see for a while.

Lytro Cinema records at 40K resolution with a staggering 300 FPS, leading to around 400 gigabytes of information per second. With the ability to change settings after filming because of how the data is recorded, the new recording technique may get rid of an old cinema favorite, the green screen.

With the ability to detect and focus on a particular part of a scene, the reliance of putting people within a green screen (something you would then remove to overlay special effects). With the rental package for a camera starting at £125k, it’s not for your everyday filmmaker.

With many only just catching up to 4K TV’s, I doubt that 40K 3D content will be coming to your home anytime soon but when it comes to making movies the added quality can only be a good thing.

Amazon Patents Selfie-Pose Authentication Technology

Amazon is known for their increased use of technology. Keen to use drones in their delivery process and even leasing out a new set of jets in order to speed up their delivery processes, the company seems to be stopping at nothing to control the delivery market. The next step may be something a little closer to home though with the pay-by-selfie technique to introduce selfie-pose authentication.

The new patent filed by the company reveals a process in which shoppers would be able to forgo the use of their password to instead have them take a photo or video of themselves. The technology would use a similar system to the MasterCard selfie system which means that you would be prompted to perform an action, such as blink or pose in order to confirm that it isn’t just a photo being held up by someone else.

Can you see yourself buying a product and then paying by blinking at the camera on your phone? While it stops you from having to remember your password or getting your phone and laptop from saving them, am I the only one who suddenly see people in public winking at their phone every five minutes in order to purchase that new DVD you’ve wanted to see for so long?

Ciclop – A 3D Scanner For $99!

These days we keep hearing about 3D printers, the devices that can print everything from railguns and computer cases to bridges and organs. This is all great, but how about the other way around, you see a nice model and you want to bring it into a game, what can you do other than painstakingly map out every twist and turn? That’s where 3D scanners come in, and now you can get one for just under $100.

The CowTech Ciclop is a 3D scanner designed around two lasers and a Logitech webcam acting as a 720p camera. The Ciclop is also open-source but does require some assembly. In order to get the Ciclop up and running you will need to print off a few parts, but with it only requiring small parts, any small 3D printer should be able to create them.

The total size of the object that the scanner can capture is 200mm wide by 205mm tall. The total scan though will only take between 2-8 minutes, much shorter time than it takes to print off anything you’ll want to scan in.

If this is interesting to you and you want to scan in and create your own models, parts or toys then you can find the project on Kickstarter now.

Lens-Less Cameras Are Now A Thing

Cameras have evolved so much over the past few years. They began with the throwaway cameras you would take on field trips with you to capture 40 different moments, then they became digital with you buying a small block of metal and watching the screen light up as the lens zoomed out the body to focus. Now you don’t even use need to buy a camera,  they are built-in every smartphone and even pens and watches. The traditional drawback to these devices is the lenses that are used to focus on an image, but no more.

A professor of computer and electrical engineering at Rice University in Texas, Richard Baraniuk, believes that lenses are the only thing holding back cameras. To combat this, his team has developed a design based on a pinhole camera. The difficulty of pinhole cameras is they don’t allow for a lot of light, the solution to this problem appeared to be quite simple. Don’t use just one pinhole camera, use thousands.

The problem with a thousand different cameras, is a thousand different images are hard to use. So with a little modern logic, it’s not possible to produce a camera that is not only without a traditional lens but also slim and almost hidden.

Camera Attached To A Utility Poll Used To Spy On Suspects

While they work to enforce the law, recently they have come into conflicts with it when technology was used in new ways. From the use of mobile interception technologies, like the Stingray, to the watching people’s online activity. In a recent court appeal, a new tactic was revealed, a Webcam attached to a utility pole being used to spy on suspects.

Roane County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rocky Houston, a known felon, for possession of a firearm. ATF agents installed a remote-controlled camera to a utility pole around 200 yards away from Houstons farm, all without a warrant. Normally required to install surveillance technology such as cameras or phone taps, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that Houstons conviction will remain in place as “no reasonable expectation of privacy” was present in the video footage. The reason for this ruling is that as the camera was placed on a public utility pole and only captured what could have seen by a passerby, the images it took would not be considered an invasion of privacy and wouldn’t require a warrant to be legally admissible.

The camera was located on the pole for a grand total of 10 weeks. With such as a short time frame, the observations were not considered unconstitutional.

Judge Thomas Rose, while believing that even if the surveillance was in breach, said that the video evidence would have been permitted, although due to the probable cause they could have gotten a warrant.

Computer Completes a Rubik’s Cube In A Spellbinding Time

There are many things in life that are quite annoying and include inventions such as Predictive Text; however, the Rubik’s Cube certainly adds a new dimension to the word “Frustrating”. But, what happens if you mix a homemade computer with arguably the world’s most difficult game?

Well, two software engineers from Kansas, US, decided to find out and it becomes apparent this computer was able to successfully complete the iconic puzzle in a mind-bending 1.047 seconds, this means that it successfully found the correct permutations quicker than it would have taken for you or me to say the word Rubik’s Cube.

The current Guinness World Record is a rather poor 2.3 seconds while humans are currently well behind on a snail-like pace of 4.9 seconds, although, that is still pretty fast. If you’re wondering, this record is held by a 14-year-old who goes by the name Lucas Etter in November 2015.

Below is the video, as you can see, the cube is being held within a 3D printed frame via “drilled holes with four USB cameras pointing at the puzzle. The robot is then hooked up to a Linux-based computer running a Kociemba Rubik’s cube-solving algorithm that takes the information delivered from the cameras and then works out in milliseconds which moves to make”.

The creators, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose uploaded the video and are currently applying for it to be officially recognized as a new world record, one would assume this would be a time which stands for a long while, although, you know what assumptions are.

Comedy Team Uses Only The Prius Backup Camera to Create Movie

I don’t know why nobody has come up with this idea earlier, or maybe they have and just realised how stupid it was. And while it is kinda stupid, it’s also quite impressive and funny at the same time. So what is? Well, someone actually went along to use just the Back-Up camera in their Toyota Prius to make a feature film. At least, that is what it appears like, but I don’t think that it is entirely true.

The Mommy Sketch Comedy group of Los Angeles, CA released a new YouTube video that appears to be a behind the scenes of the first feature film shot entirely on Prius backup camera. I do however think that the video is all we get in this regards, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny to watch. It might even give someone the idea to do just that for real. After all, we have seen films created entirely with iPhone’s and other similar gadgets, so why not a Prius Back-Up camera.

The Mommy Sketch group consists of Andrew Heder as a writer, director and improviser and Ryan Kelly as a writer, director, editor, and improviser. Other than this sparse info, the group doesn’t provide much information on themselves. The do have more videos around, but they aren’t that many yet. The group appears to be relatively new with the YouTube channel just about a half-year-old.

The 6 minute behind the scenes video will teach you how to frame your shots from the backseat, how to deal with a crew member suffering from a donut-induced coma, and how to avoid running your cast over. All relevant skills to have, at least in this case. I won’t spoil more of it before you watch it except to say, I hope you don’t have a fear of directors wearing scarfs.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Fantastic Sand Dunes Of Mars

Space exploration is a fascinating subject which encompasses a wide selection of avenues which include the search for other life forms to new discoveries both concerning known and also unknown distant plants. NASA has recently released images from the Curiosity Mars rover which show a fantastic selection of images of Sand Dunes from the red planet.

Below is a selection of images of Sand Dunes which have been both snapped and also transmitted back by Curiosity, it conveys an extremely steep surface where “cascading sand has sculpted very different textures”  Researchers are implementing the rover with the aim of examining examples of the Bagnold Dunes, “this is a band of dark sand dunes lining the northwestern flank of Mt. Sharp”. 

The Curiosity rover “conveys the downwind side of a dune at around about 13 feet high within the Bagnold Dunes field on Mars”. Below is an image which really does capture both the steepness and also the varying textures, The mission’s dune-investigation campaign is designed to increase understanding about how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth”

Below is another incredible image, the Curiosity rover has been stationed on Mars since August 2012 and had managed to reach the base of Mount Sharp in 2014. This image was also taken from the “telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this reveals fine details of the downwind face of Namib Dune. Sand on this face of the dark dune has cascaded down a slope of about 26 to 28 degrees”.

 

It’s certainly impressive and what space discoveries are all about, it also makes you wonder what else will be found within the near future, perhaps there really is life on Mars, if not, the advancement within this area of tech will make it a possibility of deeper and more detailed space exploration.

Kodak Relaunches the Super 8 Camera

Kodak has delighted film lovers by announcing the relaunch of the fabled Super 8 film camera. Super 8, named for its 8mm single perforation film stock, was the entry-level format that inspired generations of film directors, ranging from old legends like Steven Spielberg, to (relatively) young upstarts Christopher Nolan, director of Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy, and the man behind the recent Star Wars revival, JJ Abrams. Jeff Clarke, the CEO of Eastman Kodak, described Super 8, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, as “an ecosystem for film.”

“The news that Kodak is enabling the next generation of filmmakers with access to an upgraded and enhanced version of the same analog technology that first made me fall in love with cinematic storytelling is unbelievably exciting,” Christopher Nolan said.

“For me, 8mm was the beginning of everything,” Steven Spielberg added. “When I think of 8mm, I think of the movies.”

“While any technology that allows for visual storytelling must be embraced, nothing beats film,” said JJ Abrams. “The fact that Kodak is building a brand new Super 8 camera is a dream come true. With a gorgeous new design, interchangeable lenses and a brilliant scheme for development and delivery of footage, this camera appears to be the perfect bridge between the efficiency of the digital world and the warmth and quality of analog.”

The new Super 8 cameras and film stock are expected to hit the market at some point this year, with the hardware priced between $400 and $750.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v2Cwz_yXZo

Nvidia Already Working on Next-Gen VR System

Nvidia has been fairly quiet on the VR front, allowing the Oculus Rift to take most of the limelight. However, they haven’t been doing nothing, Nvidia’s boffins have been working away with Stanford University to develop a new technology. The new tech has a catchy name of NE-LF. This stands for Near Eye Light Field. The system proposes to eliminate all forms of motion sickness caused by traditional virtual reality headsets. The system works by utilising 4D (2d+2d) images. These are displayed to both eyes that then combine to form a single 3D image; Fudzilla believes that the new tech will be available by 2018.

The problem with current VR systems is that when viewing objects close to the virtual camera, some people experience motion sickness. This in turn limits the amount of time you spend using the device as you may find that you feel rather ill, rather quickly. The last thing you want to do is vomit on your nice, shiny VR headset! The system uses two layers of display, with about 5mm of distance between the two panels. This then sends the eye an entire “4d” field of images so the eye can naturally focus between two objects.  The only downside is that because of the early adoption, the resolution works out at 640 X 800 per eye, not a useable resolution for gaming or any modern application.

I do find the VR headsets rather cool, and love the Oculus Rift ( I’ve even had a go with one!). However other VR vendors may solve the motion sickness problem by the time NE-LF hits the market, I guess we will see.

Google Photo Update Helps Save Space On Your Device

We all love taking pictures, first it was that camera you took around and wound up after every shot. These days though you either have that high-definition camera or if you are caught unprepared for the moment you use your mobile phone. The only problem with using your mobile phone to take all those life changing moments on camera is that you often store other things, such as your music or apps on there too. With so many things on your phone, Google Photo hopes to make keeping those memories slightly easier.

Stated in a post on Google+, Google Photos gets several new features in an update released today. First up is its ability to “Free Up Space” via a new button on the settings screen. This button starts to bulk-delete copies of photos, but don’t worry, it only does this to photos that have been backed up.

Users can now also downgrade their photos from “Original Quality” to “High Quality”,  a process which will create a smaller file by compressing your photo, this means you can store more photos, as long as you don’t want to view them in their full glory all the time.

How often do you find your space running out on your phone or tablet? Are these changes welcome additions or just options for those holidays pictures you might take next year?

Police Body Cameras Pre-Installed With Worm

Police are just one of many organisations that are using technology to help their everyday activities. One of these pieces of technology is body cameras, small devices which can record a policemen’s actions, allowing them to operate and display both their and others actions in court at a later date. With many police forces making these required pieces of technology and disciplining officers who turn them off it is a serious issue when these devices are exploited or misused. So what happens when they are installed with viruses?

Martel Body Cameras are supplied with GPS and are sold and marketed for use by official police departments. It would seem though that users who plug in these devices get more than they bargained for when iPower Technologies began testing the devices.

iPower Technologies are a network integrator looking at creating a cloud-based system for storing police and government videos, so during the course of their testing of products they quickly discovered something shocking. The Martel body camera came pre-installed with Win32/Conflicker.B!inf virus, a worm.

The worm in question, once unleashed, automatically spreads across the network and the internet attempting to spread it to other systems, a serious impact if the systems are meant to be secure, as government agencies expect of theirs. iPower have since contacted Martel but are yet to receive an official acknowledgement of the problem, as such they have released the information regarding this matter in a blog post. They state that the reason they have released the information is due to the severity of the security implications that these devices pose with their presence within government and police forces around the US.

Below you can find the video iPower posted showing that their anti-virus does in fact pick up and contain this worm.

Toshiba is Apparently Selling Their Camera Business to Sony

There have been rumors circulating from Bloomberg, the Japan Times and Reuters regarding the sale of Toshiba’s sensor business to Sony. Apparently, the deal is worth $165 million and part of Toshiba’s large restructuring programme. The image sensors are paramount to Toshiba’s LSI semiconductor business and provides the technology for smartphones and traditional cameras. However, Toshiba’s position in the smartphone market is extremely weak and only used in a couple of handsets; the most luxurious model is the HTC One M9.

In contrast to this, Sony controlled about 40 percent of the $8.7 billion image sensor market last year, compared with about 16 percent for its next biggest competitor, according to Techno System Research. Compared to their other business ventures, the sensor market is extremely promising and a profitable endeavor. As a result, this particular sale makes sense given Sony’s financial success and Toshiba’s fragile position. Additionally, Toshiba needs to try to restore faith in their company given the recent executive profits scandal.

Sony even provides the sensor technology to a large quantity of Chinese handsets, while keeping their flagship technology for the Xperia series. It’s an interesting course of events, as Sony’s mobile sales were quite poor and it looked for some time they could exit this particular market.

Arrested And Robbed All In One Night – All Streamed On Twitch

Live streaming is a big thing these days, with anybody being able to put on a camera, share their screen and show the world everything from their video games to board game parties. Sadly the opportunity to watch others from anywhere in the world has led to some rather nasty situations, one of these is the action known as ‘Swatting’. Swatting involves someone watching a live stream, and through various technological means, finding out the address of the streamer. With the address, they ring the police and often fabricate a situation where someone’s life is in danger and so the police act on the information they have and dispatch SWAT (special weapons and tactics) to the scene to help solve the situation. Normally they are still live streaming when the police burst through their doors, causing distress to everyone bar the caller.

Recently though this was not the case as during a live stream by Mr_13ig who was asked by a policeman to keep the volume down and for his details. After refusing to provide his details, he noticed one of his neighbours walk past and informed the officer that he was feeling harassed because his neighbour was taking photos of him. As the video continues the policemen arrests him for the noise complaint and his behaviour, only to then have two minutes later another crime happen in the apartment.

The neighbour who had walked past earlier, while being filmed by the live stream not only entered the apartment and took several items from the room, but then returned to take even more stuff, all the while seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was being recorded all the time.

You can watch the video here, and you’ll be glad to know that the neighbour who stole from the apartment has been charged with burglary thanks to the viewers ringing and informing the police about the crime.

Image courtesy of Twitch.

Conference Cancelled After Pressure From IP Camera Makers

Security is a tricky subject. In recent years both digital and physical security has been scrutinised and exposed for some rather crucial weaknesses. Back in May it was claimed that a security researcher was able to remotely issue commands to a plane’s engines, more recently it was revealed that some car companies had silenced an investigation that had found a vulnerability in the way their key fobs communicated with their immobilizer system. Now it’s the turn of internet-enabled cameras to come under fire.

Gianna Gnesa is a security consultant with Ptrace Security, a company based in Switzerland. He was set to speak at the Hack in the Box GSEC Conference that was to be hosted in Singapore. He has since decided to cancel his presentation.

The presentation was set to reveal the breaches in security systems that utilize internet connected video games (IP cameras). Gnesa has since cancelled his presentation after “legal pressure from manufacturers affected”.  In the talk, Gnesa was set to “expose vulnerabilities found on major surveillance cameras and show how an attacker could use them to stay undetected”.

Traditionally security consultants work on a “responsible disclosure” policy, in which they only release date about defects or issues with security once the manufacturers or developers have had time to develop and release patches to fix these issues.

Thank you PC World and GSEC for the information.

Image courtesy of PC World.

Disney Is Devising a 3D Augmented Reality Colouring Book

I don’t know, children today in developed countries have it all in terms of tech, where tablet computers and Smartphone’s are the norm and internet access is available 24/7 to assist with homework, yep, let’s assume it’s for school work and not for social networks. Now, Disney has incorporated augmented reality into a colouring book which allows your child the ability to colour in a character from an art book in 3D.

Below is a video which shows the concept, as you can see, it utilizes an augmented reality app that Disney have developed with the aim of tracking and capturing real-time images from a mobile device camera. It then maps them onto any 3D deformable surface. The end result is a moving 3D character which can be coloured in within real-time.

The app is still very much at the development stage, but it certainly shows the possibilities which could exist within toys of the future.  Below is a screenshot to convey the idea, the user views the 3D character via a phone or tablet camera while using the app, they can then colour in the figure within the 2D colouring book which is then translated onto the character.

This concept is certainly fantastic and shows what could be achieved if you transfer this principle onto a more advanced model. Imagine if this technique was perfected and allowed you to colour in a Star Wars vehicle before it flew around the room or a historical building or landmark.  It will be a while yet before it hits the shops, but when it does, expect children to clamber for it.

A fantastic concept for tech lovers, and imagine working for a company called “Disney Research” certainly eye-catching on a CV.

Thank you disneyresearch for providing us with this information.

More People Died from Selfies than Sharks This Year

It’s a sad state of affairs when people have been going out into the wild to slaughter sharks in areas that a human was attacked by one. Here’s a hint for people, sharks live in the sea, we do not, if you get bitten by one, it’s because you generally don’t belong there. Yet I find it infinitely more sad that we’re doing an even better job at killing ourselves taking selfies.

Just this year alone there have been eight shark-related deaths, which is a sad thing for sure as no one wants to lose a loved one. However, there have been twelve deaths due to people taking selfies in dangerous situations, something that only a Darwin Award can help justify. A 66-year-old Japanese tourist died recently after he and his companion fell down the stairs of the Taj Mahal while taking a selfie. In fact, four of the deaths so far were due to falling, only proving that you should literally look where you are going, not at your phone screen.

Falling killed the most, but a close second were people being hit or injured by trains. We’ve heard of people trying to take photos with wild bears, at bull runs and all kinds of stupid things.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a selfie, but there’s no sense in putting yourself in danger. Check your surroundings, if you’re standing in the way of a moving vehicle, selfie or on the edge of a cliff… move before picking your favorite Instagram filter.

D-Link Inadvertently Publishes Its Private Code-Signing Keys

Hackers are viewed within the media and by films as master genius’s who are able to hack into protected systems with the intention of stealing a vast array of information. There is some truth in this assertion considering even multinational companies have been caught napping by cyber thieves, but, what happens if I don’t know, a tech firm accidentally publishes its private signing keys? Well, D-Link has managed to do this in what is known scientifically as stupididiotness.

Taiwan-based networking equipment manufacturer D-Link has published its Private code signing keys inside the company’s open source firmware packages. This was spotted by a user by the username “bartvbl” who had bought a D-Link DCS-5020L security camera and downloaded the firmware from D-Link which open sources its firmware under the GPL license.

All seemed well for “bartvbl” until they inspected the source code, only to find four private keys which are used for code signing. To test this, the user-created a windows application which was able to be signed by one of the four keys which appeared to be valid. Not only this, the user also discovered pass-phrases which are needed to sign the software,

It is yet unclear if any of these keys were used in attacks by malicious third parties, meanwhile, D-Link has seen the light and has responded to this embarrassment by revoking the certificate in question and subsequently releasing a new version which does not contain any code signing keys, which is good.

Thank you tweakers via Google Translate for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of thehackernews.

D-Link DCS-935L mydlink Home Monitor HD Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Today I’m taking a look at a somewhat different product than I am used to and that is a wireless home security camera. Security becomes a bigger and bigger issue for a lot of people and many would like to keep an extra eye on the home while they are away. The D-Link DCS-935L Home Monitor HD allows you to do just that and I’ll be taking a closer look at the hardware and software that comes along.

The mydlink Home Monitor HD, as it is known by as full name, allows you to monitor your home from where ever you are and see everything in full-colour high-definition 720p with sound, may it be from a computer, tablet, or a smartphone. The WiFi camera also comes with built-in night vision that allows you to see up to 5 meters in complete darkness.

One of the places that held many people back in the past and stopped them up from entering the world of do-it-yourself home security was the setup. It could be very complicated and require a lot of running of wires at the same time. That made people hesitate and they rather invested in a commercial and subscription-based security plan. Granted, a camera like this cannot do the same, but in return it can be set up by anyone and it only requires the initial purchase.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is as easy to set up and connects to your Wi-Fi network, all it takes is the press of a button. Simply press the WPS button and you are securely connected to your wireless network at home. There is no need for extra and additional control hubs or other hard to configure interfaces and router settings.

The DCS-935L WiFi camera is part of the mydlink structure of smart home devices, allowing you to create your own smart home, all without a complicated setup. Those devices include music streamers, Wi-Fi motion sensors, Smart Plugs, and also the Home Monitor cameras as the DCS-935L.

Everything is connected through the mydlink Home app that is compatible with both Android and iOS-based smartphones and tablets. You can view the stream from anywhere you are connected to an internet connection, allowing you to always know what is going on in your home. You can also set the camera to alarm you when sound or motion is detected. Again, everything without complicated setup, installation cost, or monthly subscription charges.

The camera stand on the DCS-935L Wireless camera can be used universally in may ways, allowing you to place the camera in a convenient place and at the same time having it pointed where you want it to. You can turn and tip the camera and also hang it on a wall or ceiling that way. The rear of the stand features a cut-out to route the power cable through and still have it mounted properly.

Whether you want the camera to keep an eye on your kids or pets while you’re away, monitor for possible intruders, or something completely different, the D-Link DCS-935L could be a perfect choice. The smart hardware combined with the smart apps allow you to set up a smart home as easy as it rarely, if ever, has been seen before.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers specification page and can as such be subject to change in possible future revisions of the product.

Key Features

  • WiFi with easy WPS setup
  • 720p HD resolution
  • Microphone for sound recording
  • Nightvision for up to 5 meters in full darkness
  • Motion and Sound detection
  • No charges, fees, or complicated setups
  • Monitoring from Smartphones and Tablets

Packaging and Content

The DCS-935L WiFi camera comes in a little box that displays all the relevant information about the product easy to read. Inside you’ll find a power adapter, the camera in itself, and manuals and guides that allow you to get started quick and easy.

The included power adapter uses a universal plug switch as seen below. Even if you bought it in a foreign market or traveling with it, all that’s required is a new plug part. Flip the old out, put a new in, and you’re done. These plugs are used on many power supply units and there is a good chance that you already have one or multiple of the same principle.

Big Brother Drone Is Watching Construction Workers

Big Brother is everywhere, from CCTV cameras on poles to the most cutting edge of democracy crushing surveillance which has been brought to you by the NSA, CIA, GCHQ and CITV, now a new American football stadium which is under construction is monitoring its workers by implementing Drones.

The sports arena is question goes by the name of Sacramento Kings in California, the workers are being monitored by drones and software that can automatically flag slow progress. So how does it work? “Once per day, several drones automatically patrol the Sacramento work site with the aim of collecting video footage. That footage is then converted into a three-dimensional picture of the site showing when each element should be finished. The software can show managers how the project is progressing, and can automatically highlight parts that may be falling behind schedule”.

In theory, this is an idea which monitors construction with the aim of planning for any future errors or for example how the weather is affecting the build. The problem lies with the notion of how this data will be used, if for example a particular worker or team falls slightly behind schedule, will those individuals be fired? The concerning information also states that

“The University of Illinois team is currently testing a system that will allow drones to attach cameras to locations across a building site, so that activity can be monitored continually. A manager can then see how different tasks are being performed overall, and how much time each individual is spending on a job”.

To me this is attempting to speed human beings up to the same level which machines can operate, collecting data for architectural and building purposes is standard to ensure safety, asking drones to fly over the top of workers and record their movements? Not so much, data needs to be overseen with proper protocols in place to ensure information is not built up with the aim of placing jobs at risk. Psychologically, if those workers feel that they are being watched 24/7, it will place them in a heightened state which might affect concentration and health.

Below is a GIF/JIF of the current phases which have been modelled for the stadium, as you can see, it’s pretty impressive, let’s hope employment rights are as futuristic as the design.

Thank you MIT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of watchdogwire

Apple Offers to Fix ‘Blurry’ IPhone 6 Plus Cameras for Free

Apple has been under increasing pressure from disgruntled customers affected by blurry focus on the iPhone 6 Plus rear-facing camera. The hardware fault effects models sold between September 2014 and January 2015 but Apple insists this only occurs to “a small percentage” of handsets. To setup an RMA, you need to navigate to this dedicated website and insert your phone’s credentials. Please note, Apple can refuse the repair or charge a fee if the phone has any damage which could impair the repair process. It’s a shame Apple doesn’t provide a brand new replacement phone but at least your existing handset doesn’t go to waste.

Evidence showing the highlighted problem is included in a user-video below and illustrates how the camera’s optics swish from side-to-side. It’s important to reiterate that this only happens on the iPhone 6 Plus so other handset owners shouldn’t be affected. This isn’t the first instance of hardware flaws on the iPhone 6 which was plagued by “bendgate” and created a lot of negative press surrounding the latest SKUs.

While Apple might be completely right and the issues are quite isolated, it’s good to see consumers being given a free repair option. Although it’s long overdue and many users might have already migrated to Android after returning their faulty handset.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

See How This Robot Is Able to Improve Its ‘Mini-Robots’ with Each Generation

Researchers at the University of Cambridge seem to be studying how evolution took place and are apparently using a ‘mother’ robot for that. The robotic arm in question is able to build miniaturized robots from a selection of blocks equipped with small motors, check their progress on the table and make the necessary adjustments to improve and fix what went wrong in earlier generations.

This might sound quite scary, but it really is mind-blowing. The robotic arm is able to watch the progress of the robots while they move on the table with the help of a mounted web camera, while observing their speed and ‘imperfections’. Lead researcher, Dr. Fumiya Iida, explains that this might seem as a heartless evolutionary process, but don’t forget, this is done without the use of DNA. I mean, when you look at how evolution took place on Earth over millions of years, you kind of see a glimpse of it in the video below.

While we learn things in a similar way, evolution on a larger scale has different ways of ’embedding’ information into their ‘next generation’. Iida hopes that this experiment may shed some light on some unanswered questions about evolution, but in the meantime, he even has real-world applications for the project. Think about quality control and how these machines can spot imperfections or broken products on down the line. It is a start, but for those of you who are thinking about a Terminator scenario, we are still far away from something like that. At least with this particular project.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information

Canon’s 4,000,000 ISO Camera Can Shoot 1080p in Pitch Black

Canon has unveiled a new full-frame, 35mm multi-purpose camera that can shoot full colour, full HD video in pitch black conditions. The ME20F-SH achieves this feat with an incredible ISO of 4,000,000. For photography novices, a camera’s ISO scale determines its sensitivity to light; the higher the ISO, the more sensitive to light the camera is, and the less light it needs to shoot a clear picture.

The drawback with higher ISOs is that it increases the signal-to-noise, so the more sensitive to light the camera is the more digital noise it will pick up. Canon has managed to compensate for this drawback by limiting the CMOS sensor to a below-industry standard 2.26 megapixels, and increasing pixel size to 19μm, 5.5-times more than a high-end DSLR.

Canon has been testing its ultra-low light sensors for a number of years, as evidenced by this impressive video (sadly in 360p):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHnUtmenGQ0#t=19

The hope is that the ME20F-SH can usurp Sony’s A7 camera, the current industry leader for low-light shooting with its 409,600 ISO and 12.2-megapixel (8.4µm) CMOS sensor. Check this impressive video by photographer and filmmaker Philip Bloom, shot with an A7, and imagine what the Canon ME20F-SH could be capable of:

Thank you DigitalRev for providing us with this information.

Woman Only has her Selfie to Blame After Bison Attack

Yellowstone Park has become a breeding ground for dangerous and avoidable incidents as visitors try to capture the moment in close proximity to a host of wild animals. This particular case involves a 43 year-old Mississippi woman who casually turned her back on a Bison only 6 feet away. Even more worrying, she was accompanied by a young child who could have been seriously hurt. As she lined up the photograph, the Bison hurtled towards her and started a pursuit. In a move which almost redefines stupidity, the woman believed she could outpace the animal. A statement released from the park service outlined the course of events:

“They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head,”

Colleen Rawlings, a ranger in the park’s Old Faithful District added,

“The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK,” 

“People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”

This exemplifies how easily people can be distracted by the selfie craze which could have resulted in disastrous consequences. Strangely enough, the term “wild” refers to an uncontrollable beast, so it is bizarre to see people acting in such a cavalier fashion. Perhaps this particular animal was upset because she rudely turned her back and didn’t say Bye….son/Bison. Joking aside, it’s shocking how commonplace these events are and I hope the press coverage will make people prioritize their safety above any kind of photograph.

Could have been worse I guess, remember the guy trying to take a selfie with a moving train?

Thank you CNN for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The New York Post.

Transcend Unveils DrivePro Body 10 Body Camera With Infrared LEDs

If you need that little bit of extra personal security, may it be for personal reasons or job related, then Transcend has a lot of options available. The latest addition to the security line-up is the DrivePro Body 10 that essentially does what their dash cams do, only for yourself instead of your car. Police officers and other security personnel could also benefit from these as pictures speak a thousand words.

The DrivePro Body 10 body camera features a F/2.8 aperture, a wide 160-degree viewing angle, a built-in battery, infrared LEDs for clear images at night, and a handy snapshot button on the front. You can record full-HD 1080p videos in 30fps and it doesn’t matter whether it is day or night as the infrared LEDs automatically turn on in low light conditions. Recording at night is now easier than ever before.

The built-in Li-Polymer battery has a charge of 1530 mAh and can record up to 3.5 hours of footage on a fully charged battery. It is optimally protected and IPX4 water-resistant against splash water and it also features a great shock resistance in case it should be dropped and passed the U.S. military drop-test standards.

The DrivePro Body Toolbox is a practical video file management system which simplifies the settings of the camera and video/photo files. It features a user-friendly interface

Transcend’s DrivePro Body 10 carries a two-year warranty and comes bundled with a 32GB microSDHC MLC memory card that offers consistent durability and endurance.