Wireless Passwords Could Be a Thing of the Past Thanks to MIT Research

 

A new wireless technology in development by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab could allow us to finally say goodbye to the Wi-Fi password.

The technology, currently named Chronos, is capable of allowing a single wireless access point to detect the location of networked users to tens of centimetres in accuracy. This immediately has a number of possible applications, one of which could allow wi-fi networks to be limited in access to only those within the building, as well as smart home applications such as tracking people’s movement and adjusting temperature and lighting as they move.

Chronos works by computing the “time of flight” of a wireless signal with an average error of just 0.47 nanoseconds according to MIT, which when multiplied by the speed of light allows Chronos to accurately detect not only the angle from the access point a user is at, but also their distance from it. Comparatively, existing wi-fi devices lack the bandwidth to accurately measure the time of flight of a signal, so in order to detect the locations of users, multiple access points were required for triangulation.

It was discovered after MIT Ph.D. student Deepak Vasisht observed that the signals travel through the air at a different frequency than within a Wi-Fi device that is being detected. He and his team were then able to exploit this difference in signals, testing their new algorithm in a two-bedroom apartment containing four people, where Chronos could accurately detect the room a user was in 94% of the time. When tested in a cafe, the detection rate of in-store customers compared to out-of-store hijackers was 97% accurate, which could allow wireless passwords to be rendered redundant in such cases, as only those in the store can connect to the network.

Whether this will truly be the end of the wireless password is unlikely, as there will always be a call for a higher level of security on many networks. For lightly restricted public networks, though, this technology could be a godsend, without requiring businesses set up a complex multi-access-point solution. A paper summarizing the study of the technology was presented last month by Vasisht at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

Malware May be Using Real GPS Data to Scam Speeders

There is a new malware scam hitting computers in Pennsylvania posing as an email containing a speeding ticket and containing a link that loads malicious software onto the user’s computer. The emails claim to be from the police department of Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, and masquerading as an official body is nothing special for malware. What is interesting is that the data used in the tickets is said to be accurate, including the street names, their speed limits and the actual speed that the perpetrator drove at, according to the Tredyffrin Police Department.

Exactly where the data is coming from is unknown, but the current suspect is that the source is a phone app with access to the user’s GPS data and perhaps other personal information that provided the attackers with contact details. This source could be from either a legitimate app that has been compromised and hands over data to the attackers or a purpose-built malicious app that has been uploaded to the internet. It is common knowledge that GPS data can be used to determine speed as well as location, which would make GPS-using apps a good method for obtaining the data.

Thankfully for many, this malware scam seems to be highly localized to the Tredyffrin area, but it gives a good view of a new type of attack emerging. Possessing data that normally only legitimate sources would have makes a great way to deceive people into believing that they are the sources they claim to be. Despite this, this scam chooses not to offer a payment link for the fictional speeding ticking, in lieu of downloading malware, but other parties may make use of this method to different ends on a much larger scale in future.

Driverless Bikes Are Now A Thing Too

The term driverless isn’t anything new and it is probably most known in relation to cars and Google’s self-driving car project that’s been going on for years now. But we’ve also heard of driverless lorries coming to the UK, driverless pods in London, and even driverless Formula E racing as well as oversized quad-copters for personal usage, but driverless bicycles is one I haven’t heard of before.

The driverless bike, or i-Bike as it has been named, is the brainchild of Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, two students from IIT Kharagpur, India. The whole idea started with an idea that is as noble as the result is brilliant: The two wanted to build a simple vehicle that could help disabled people get more out of life by increasing their freedom. Now that’s an idea we all can get behind.

The i-Bike has autonomous steering, brakes, driving, and balancing mechanisms that can work completely on their own as well as aids to just help you with the part that might be troublesome for you.

Just riding a bicycle wasn’t the only problem the students tried to solve, parking and retrieving a bike can be equally challenging for a disabled person as bicycle locations by default rarely have much in disability friendliness. You wouldn’t expect them to ride a bicycle, so it isn’t out of bad intentions.

“We saw some differently abled people who could ride bicycles but had to face many problems when trying to take their bikes out from the parking space, as most such spaces are not disabled friendly. To tackle this problem we started working to make a bicycle that would be controlled wirelessly,” says Ayush, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

You can ride the i-Bike manually or you can get help from the dual locomotion technology. The autonomous driving is handled with the help of GPS as well as lasers and sonar based sensors to avoid obstacles in its path. The destination is set by an Android app that sends an SMS to the i-Bike. Upon receiving this, it will start its journey.

None of the techniques used is new as such, but this combination of them is awesome. It has a unique and affordable software architecture that enables it to follow specialised bicycle lanes as they are found in many countries already. It also offers live tracking and wireless control mechanism on top of all that.

What started as a team of two is now comprised of 13 undergraduate students from various departments of IIT Kharagpur, all working together and making up the i-Bike team. Since the project was started back in October 2014, the team has won several awards, most recently the innovation challenge organised by KPIT Technologies where they won first prize.

The trainer wheels that have been used for balancing can easily be retracted by a switch and the same goes for the steering aids that also can be turned on and off by the flick of a switch.

The i-Bike could solve many problems in urban cities and crowded spaces. Whether you want to prevent theft by sending you bike home, retrieve it where ever you are in order to get home, or just want to send it on a cruise of its own, the i-Bike can do it. It would also allow new options for bicycle sharing centres where you could rent a bike, drive where you need to go, and then send it back home again on its own. The same way you could order it back via your smartphone no matter where you are located, and you won’t even have to pedal yourself.

Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India – and hopefully this kind of technology will make it to the rest of the world too.

Volvo ROAR is an Automated Bin!

Volvo is known for their safe cars, my own family has the saying that Volvo’s are the people’s tanks. They are known for other things and soon they could be the ones responsible for your bins thanks to ROAR.

ROAR (RObot based Autonomous Refuse handling) is designed to help those who come pick up your bins every week. ROAR is a two-part system, with the first part being a drone. The drone creates a “target” for the robot, named ROARY, that enables it to locate and navigate towards the target bin, with it even picking up obstacles and moving around the threats.

ROAR is the brainchild of three universities undergraduates with both Chalmers University of Technology, Mälardalen University and Penn State University to help create the project. The second part of the project is the automated emptying of bins. When you approach the back of a garbage truck it detects how far away a person is, when you are too close the process ends meaning it is safe and keeps curious passersby out of harms way from the large lifting and crushing mechanics.

You could soon see a single person traveling in the truck, with a small selection of drones and copters helping pick up your truck with minimal manpower and risk to both you and the neighbourhood. What do you think about the idea? Is the concept of automating everything going a little too far when it will even take out your rubbish?

Morgan Freeman is Now a GPS Navigation Voice

Actor, serial voiceover-er, and occasional God Morgan Freeman has joined such luminaries as Mr. T, John Cleese, Brian Blessed, and Kim Catrall by lending his voice to a GPS navigation system. Through Google’s Waze navigation app, you can enjoy Freeman’s warm resonance to help guide you to your destination.

The addition of Freeman’s voice to Google Waze is a promotional tie-in for new action movie London Has Fallen – sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen – starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Freeman as US Vice President Allan Trumbull.

“Yes, it’s true. Morgan Freeman, star of the upcoming film London Has Fallen, will now be directing you through traffic as Vice President Trumbull. Far and away one of the most requested voices by Wazers, U.S drivers will now be able to have Mr. Freeman as their new executive co-pilot,” the Google Waze blog announcement reads. “Ready to get meta? Use Morgan’s voice to guide you the theatre to see his new movie London Has Fallen. Vice President Trumbull has lots of work to do to save the world, and he’s only with us for a limited time. Download the app and voice for free at waze.com/get, then Settings > Sound > Voice Language > Morgan Freeman.”

Image courtesy of The Daily Beast.

Anti-Drone Rifle Disables UAVs Up to 400 Metres Away

Drones are one of the latest areas of technology that the public has widely accepted. Ranging from their use at filming sports events from different angles to being used for racing, weapons and more, they are certainly adaptable and dangerous. Two months ago it was revealed that most drones could be disabled with the right sound waves. Now it would seem that a company has taken this idea and created a public sector, anti-drone weapon.

Meet the DroneDefender. Created by Battelle and weighing approximately ten pounds the device is designed to help disable UAV’s and other remote controlled aerial craft from up to 400 metres away. While the military has been keen to develop anti-drone defences, this is the first time that a company has created something for use by the general public for drone defence.

By firing an array of radio waves, specifically tuned to GPS and ISM frequencies the drone is not only disabled but it can’t receive any future commands from its operator. With the possibilities being endless for its deployment, from sports events and public gatherings to buildings like the White house or Parliment.

With drones becoming an everyday purchase, with you being able to walk down to your local shop and grab one or order several different models straight from the web. Being able to stop them when they are clearly being misused is an idea many are welcoming.

https://youtu.be/zX4XXLb_Vuw

Thank you Engadget for the information and image.

German Car Manufacturers Nokia Maps Bid Reaches Stalemate

Nokia’s “HERE” mapping technology is an attractive proposition for car makers looking to enhance the GPS functionality in future models. A number of Germany’s leading vehicle manufacturers have shown a keen interest and joined forces to make a bid for the company’s map software. However, talks between Nokia and BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have become fractured on the basis of the technology’s value. The “HERE” software is valued between £1-3 billion but this estimated figure might have decreased if recent reports are correct about Uber pulling out of the bidding process.

The consortium of German vehicle makers feel they can acquire the company assets at a lower cost given this evidence whilst Nokia believes the £1-3 billion rate is fair. An anonymous, insider source said,

“Talks have not broken down, but they are at a delicate stage of brinkmanship,”

It’s also important to reiterate that these car manufacturers are customers of the “HERE” system and it makes sense to sell the mapping software to an existing client. They feel the technology is vital to provide accurate high-definition maps and create a form of smart cars based on internet connectivity. Furthermore, the software could be used in luxurious vehicles to warn of impending collisions, and become one of the first mass-produced driverless cars on the market.

A spokesperson from Nokia declined to comment on existing business negotiations. However, the most likely outcome is a compromise between the German car manufacturers and Nokia.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Drones Are Now Able to Learn Flight Paths and Fly on Their Own

Researcher José Martínez Carranza from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico developed a new way for drones to operate on their own and use much cheaper tech to navigate, like accelerometers, gyroscopes and camcorders.

This was made possible with an algorithm that drops GPS support in favour of visual feedback. The drones can view the terrain similar to how we see it on Google Maps and orient themselves using the above mentioned technology. If you’ve played games that have unmanned aerial vehicles which you can send by clicking on a map, then you know how this drone can operate in real-life too.

Of course there are more factors to take into account other than the 2D spatial positioning. This is where the accelerometers and gyroscopes come in, helping the drone to properly position itself into the right direction and readjust in case of harsh wind conditions or other external factors that might affect the drone’s orientation. However, the project is still at its early stages, so don’t expect the drones to do loops or move like jet fighters.

Martínez said that he wants to add support for wearable devices for people to control the drones and aid in a variety of situations where drones are most suitable, such as surveillance, exploration of properties and other areas.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

Does Your Boss Know Where You Are? Or Fired Because You Uninstalled A GPS Tracker?

A woman in California claims that her uninstalling an app has led to her being fired. The reason for uninstalling the app? The 24/7 monitoring of her location using the iPhones GPS (Global position systems allowing for the tracking of a device via satellite in real time).

Myrna Arias worked for the money transfer service Intermex. In a recent lawsuit, claiming as much as $500,000 in damages, Arias claims that the reason for her being fired was due to her uninstalling the job management app Xora from her company issued iPhone. Sounds fair right? You get given a phone with an app to clock in and out of work with and you uninstall it, you would expect some disciplinary issues or even to be fired right?

Arias was fired from her $7,250 per month Job after removing Xora because of the revelation she had about the app’s use of GPS monitoring. Xora allows management to not only see when people sign in and out of work but also allows tracking of the iPhone by its GPS, allowing bosses to check time spent out the office at client locations or even people singing into work from home. The problem that is stated is that Xora does not stop monitoring the phones GPS when you sign out of work, it’s constantly on.

Citing invasion of privacy, Arias claims that her manager made it clear he was using the program to monitor her during not only company time but also in her personal time. Alongside this, it is also claimed that Arias’s manager would opening speak about her driving speed and the roads she took.

Arias likened the app to prisoners ankle bracelet’s and complained about the legality of this invasion of privacy. A discussion which was apparently followed by her being told to “tolerate the illegal intrusion”.

Do you have GPS on your phone? Should it be used for work or do you think that this was a step too far?

Thank you to Arstechnica for their information.

TomTom Shakes up the Action Camera Market With New Bandit

TomTom has launched a new Action Camera to take on the rivals such as GoPro. TomToms’ take on an action camera comes with eased editing and sharing thanks to the companion app for smartphones and the built-in media server. Just shake your phone and the app can automatic generate a video of your highlights and share it on the internet.

The companion app makes it possible to create and share videos in matter of minutes and everywhere you are thanks to the built-in media server inside the camera that is able to allow your smartphone to access all the recordings. But TomTom’s action camera doesn’t just record videos, it also comes with built-in motion and GPS sensors to automatically find and tag exciting moments based on speed, altitude, G-force, acceleration and heart rate. The heart rate part requires the use of TomTom’s Runner.

“We know that the biggest frustration people have with action cameras today is the time and effort it takes to edit,” says Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director, TomTom Consumer. “With TomTom Bandit we’ve cut the editing time down from hours to minutes – all it takes is a shake!”

With current action cameras, you first need to download gigabytes of footage to a powerful PC. Then you need to find the highlights, put together a story and format it. This can take hours on end and that is just what the Bandit is created to fight.

The TomTom Bandit action camera has a wide-angle lens, 16MP CCD sensor, and a powerful processor to create the best recordings of your adrenalin focused moments. It’s also waterproof up to 50 meters without an extra and bulky case, although it does require an additional lens cap.

 

The uniquely designed Batt-Stick combines a long lasting battery with a microSD card reader and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 plug. It plugs directly into any computer with the USB connector to allow you to easily download and store all your footage and precious moments. No need for extra cables, adapters, or readers.

The TomTom Bandit Action Camera will be available in May for €429 for European customers and later this summer for APAC and the US.

Features include:

  • Video at 1080p30, 1080p60, 720p60, 720p120
  • Cinematic at 2.7k30, 4k15
  • Native time lapse at 4k30, 1080p30 (various capture intervals)
  • Native slow motion at 1080p x2, 720p x4, WVGA x6
  • Single and burst photo up to 16MP at 10/s
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart and USB3.0 connectivity
  • Smartphone app available on iOS only at launch. An Android version of the app will be available soon.

 

DARPA Developing Superior GPS Replacement

Anyone who’s tried to negotiate their way cross-country with only a satnav for guidance knows that GPS signal can be temperamental. It seems that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) must have also struggled with a ten-hour road trip from Bournemouth to Loch Lomond, as it is developing a “radical” new technology to replace global positioning systems.

DARPA has written a new paper on the matter, in which it states its aim to create a system that goes beyond satellite tracking and signal strength. Or, as DARPA puts it, “The need to be able to operate effectively in areas where GPS is inaccessible, unreliable or potentially denied by adversaries, has created a demand for alternative precision timing and navigation capabilities.”

As part of the endeavour, DARPA is also developing self-calibrating gyroscopes, accelerometers, and tracking clocks that don’t depend on wireless signal. The system is projected to be self-contained, housing all the data you need to track your position within the device. In addition, DARPA wants to track local “signals of opportunity”, like television, radio, and even meteorological conditions, such as lightning, to help location tracking.

DARPA is, of course, focusing on military implementation but, as with all good tech, the new location system is sure to bleed through to the consumer market.

Source: Engadget

Volvo Cars Will Be Able to Talk to Each Other in the near Future

Have you ever thought that cars can talk to one another? If not, prepare to be amazed. Volvo apparently is working on a new technology which allows their cars to “talk to each other” in real-time, delivering warnings to drivers about black ice conditions or disabled vehicles on the road.

It seems the technology is currently being tested in Sweden, where the cars are said to be gathering data from their wheels in order to detect and determine if they are encountering black ice. Once the black ice is detected, the car transmits a GPS location to a Volvo server, which in turn sends the data to other vehicles nearby.

Drivers of those cars see a small warning icon on the dashboard to alert of the black ice ahead. The icon gets bigger as the car approaches the dangerous area, said Erik Israelsson, project leader for safety at Volvo, during a demonstration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It is said that the system is also implemented to activate the car’s hazard lights, sending an alert to nearby cars when they are activated to notify other drivers of potential hazard lying on the road ahead.

Technology such as this one seems to be a keyword in the industry, having scientists working on even more complex systems. However, compared to others, Volvo’s vehicle-to-vehicle system is said to be coming out as soon as next year, having it be implemented in the successor model of XC90 SUV.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information

Apple Unveil Their New Smart Watch

Apple’s live event is over and we’ve been presented with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and they look great. The live event-stream had some trouble with blackouts and the wrong audio, but the viewers hung in to see the next big thing, and I think this is what most people were waiting to see. The excitement is over and it’s here.

The new Apple Watch is a reality and not only does it looks gorgeous, it’s also highly customizable, to fit your own personal style. It doesn’t matter if you prefer your Apple Watch in 24-carat gold or in a simple aluminium case with a black leather strap. Apple has it all covered with custom alloys and thoughtfully designed bands.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created”, said Tim Cook during the presentation. “A comprehensive health and fitness companion and it’s an extremely precise and customizable timepiece.”

Once again Tim Cook takes the audience on a trip down the memory lane to some of Apple’s previous inventions. First it’s the computer mouse, then it’s the clock wheel on the iPod and finally the iPhone with its multi-touch. The new invention on the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. A versatile utility that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display. The digital crown can scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display.

The screen has a flexible Retina display, curved around the edges and laminated to a single crystal of sapphire. Sapphire is the hardest transparent material known after diamond. There are a range of watch faces to chose from and millions of ways to personalize them, to fit your specific needs and preferences.

On the inside of the watch, it has infra-red and visible-light LEDs along with photo-sensors to detect your pulse rate and physical condition. Working with other technologies in Apple Watch, these help provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity.

The home screen looks very familiar, yet slightly different. It’s of course optimized for the small display and navigational options. A press on the Digital crown and it’s launched. The Apple Watch also allows you to receive and send messages in new ways, directly from your wrist. Pre-set phrases, smart responses based on your conversation, audio messages, your location and even interactive emoticons. Apple Watch of course also features Siri; the voice based assistant.

There are a lot of useful apps that have been ported to the new format; Maps for example. It can show your current location in case you should get lost, give you turn-by-turn directions and tell you how long it will take you to get to your destination. It doesn’t just show and tell you where to go, it also gives you a tap if you need to change direction.

For the quick and personal message to the one you care about, the Apple Watch comes with some funny alternatives to just a text. It allows you to draw a fish or a flower, or what ever you’d like, with your finger and send it to someone. If it has to be really personal, you can even send your own heartbeat by just pressing and holding two fingers onto the screen.

Another big aspect of the Apple Watch is fitness and as such the watch comes with two apps that give you a complete picture of your health and fitness. The activity app monitors movement throughout the day and the workout app tracks dedicated workouts. An everyday, all-day fitness tracker and highly advanced sports watch designed in cooperation with some of the leading experts within the field.

The Apple Watch has built in accelerometers and a lot of other sensors, but still rely on your iPhone for WiFi and GPS to track your distance.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7EHkwBybqI[/youtube]

Thank you Apple for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Apple

Google’s Android Wear 2.0 Rumoured for Release Next Month

It’s been six months since Google released Android Wear to the public – over that time we’ve seen a number of unique and upcoming wearables from all the big mobile manufacturers. But rumours are flying that Mountain View might be bringing out version 2.0 of the OS as early as October 15th. An anonymous source recently tipped Android Police that users can expect to see an over-the-air update pushed out for a handful of Wear devices in the middle of next month.

The publication wasn’t given any solid information of what the update might entail – but Bluetooth headphone support and GPS tracking are the hotly anticipated additions, as well as a number of various bugfixes across the OS. We can hope to see easier tools to create custom watchfaces – as well as a few things we haven’t thought of that Google might have ready up their sleeve. The question left in everyone’s mind is what naming terminology Google will use in order to update and inform both users and developers – or will the update be prominent enough to warrant such at thing at this stage?

At the current time of writing, not much else has been said on the matter – but we can hope to expect more news about the 2.0 update soon.

Thank you to Android Police for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Droid-Life.

Scientists Solve the Mystery on Moving Death Valley Rocks

No matter how advanced we get, there still are dozens of unsolved mysteries everywhere. One of them is, or rather was, about the rocks that moved in strange patterns and seaminly by themselves through the death valley. And we aint talking small pebbles here, these stones weigh up 700 pounds each.

This however is one of the mysteries that was possible to solve definitive using our modern technology, and it was just a matter of time before someone with the right equipment found interest in it. A group of scientist led by paleobiologist Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have published a study in the journal PLOS One last week, showing just how it actually happens.

I was taught in high-school that the reason was enormous ice layers and heavy wind that made this possible, but shortly after I left school I learned that this was just one of many theories. Another was that it simply was the wind that moved the stones across the flat area. Other theories have involved sudden tilting of the earth as explanation, as well as magnetic influences.

The stones however didn’t seem to move in any logic pattern and could suddenly change direction completely while at other times they would lay still and not move for decades. Using motion activated cameras and GPS sensors embedded in some of the rocks, it was possible to figure out this mystery.

The theory I learned in school wasn’t entirely wrong though, as ice is involved. But not thick layers, but rather very thin. This unusual combination of ice and slow winds in an otherwise extremely hot area is the cause for the phenomena.

That happens when the dry lake bed they are in freezes over with a thin layer of ice which then breaks apart in a light wind, sending large sheets of ice against the rocks with enough force to move them a few yards per minute, Norris said.

Because of the ability of the large ice sheets to catch the wind, and aided by the underlying flow of water, the rocks, which weigh as much as 700 pounds (318 kg), are pushed along in a way that could not occur from the force of the wind alone, he said.

Norris went on to say that he thinks it will have a massive popular appeal, because it is one of these things that’s very widely known about but kind of marveled at. He went on to say that other people undoubtedly have witnessed the phenomenon before, but didn’t understand what was going on.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of imgur.

Another Smartwatch Contender – Samsung Curved Gear S

Rumors have been circulating of Apples apparent plans to release their iWatch on the 9th of September, in conjunction with their iPhone 6. Doing so has thrust smartwatches directly into the limelight. As with many other markets that Apple are involved in, Samsung wants their ‘thumb in the pie’, thus, they are introducing another smartwatch to their range – the Samsung Curved Gear S.

All things curved seem to be a big Samsung led trend these days. They’ve released curved televisions and curved smartphones with competitor LG said to be releasing a curved laptop into the mix. Following this trend, the Samsung Curved Gear S will feature a 2-ich curved AMOLED display, complete with 3G technology all connected via Bluetooth and WiFi.

The watch will provide you with similar functionality as all other smartwatches, allowing you to answer phone calls, utilize its GPS functionality and monitor select applications. As with many other smartwatch plans, this product will once again be targeting the health and fitness consumer audience, providing their new product with S Health features and marketing it as a fitness tracker.

Samsung’s new smartwatch is set for release this October – the price is yet to be announced. For more information, view the official release.

Image courtesy of HiConsumption

Smart Helmet Is Indiegogo’s Fastest Funded Campaign of $1 Million

The world’s smartest helmet, the Skully AR-1, is the fastest Indigogo campaign to hit the $1 million donation milestone. Looking at this helmet and what it has to offer, it’s really no surprise.

They had set a fundraising goal of $250.000, an impressive amount of money on it’s own, but it didn’t take them long to pass this. Only 45 hours into the campaign, the $1 million was breached. At the time of writing, the donations are up to $1.152.724 and that with 26 days left to go.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdcWd594lRw[/youtube]

The Skully AR-1 offers the user with a heads-up display, a rearview camera and GPS navigation. It can also connect to your phone for internet access, hands free calling or streaming music. The connection to a mobile phone is done via Bluetooth. On the helmet side it also features such things as Anti-scratch and glare visor and perfect-fit laser cut foam padding.

If you got interested in this pretty awesome new helmet, you can head over to Indigogo and pledge your donation, it all starts at $1.499.

Thank you Indigogo for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Indigogo.

ECHO Urgent Messenger Aims to Notify Your Friends When You Are In Distress

A new personal SOS device is apparently in the works over at Indiegogo website, having it be able to let people know where you are and even speak to them after you press the ‘panic button’. The device by the name of ECHO Urgent Messenger, which basically has the same principle as a normal panic button, is said to fit on your keychain and help you in calling for help whenever you need it. The company is aiming to raise at least $5,000 in order to start production for the aforementioned gadget.

What makes the device stand out of the crowd is its ability to add friends to the contacts it sends a distress signal upon triggered. Aside from the staff, who will receive your distress signal and be able to talk to you (if you can) or at least listen to what is going on, the device is said to let users add individual phone, email and even Facebook contacts, who will be notified about your distress as soon as you press the button.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L97MDtdp0Nk[/youtube]

The message sent when triggered is said to contain your location within five feet, based on GPS, GLONASS and cell tower triangulation. However, with all the privacy concerns out there, this might sound as a way people could track your every movement. Nonetheless, the company has stated that all location tracking features will only activate once the user presses the button and will remain deactivated otherwise.

In terms of power, the ECHO gadget is said to run on a AAA battery, having the company stating that it would last as long as 7 years in standby or 5 hours of talk time in the case where it has been triggered. People interested in acquiring one can pledge at least $144 and wait for it to be delivered in December, though the target crowdfunding plays an important role to its actual release on the market.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Indiegogo

GammaTech Announces the DURABOOK R8300 Fit For Extreme Environments

It looks like GammaTech Computers Corp. has just announced a new rugged notebook, the DURABOOK R830, addition to its notebook lineup. It is said to be certified with MIL-STD-810G and IPS65 specs, for short to withstand abusive harsh environments and is suitable in areas of operation normally encountered in military, utility and public safety sectors.

“It is easy to produce a computer that works well in a climate-controlled environment, where Mother Nature is held at bay,” remarked Jen Chen, GammaTech president. “It is something entirely different, however, to engineer a computer to withstand long exposure to wind, dust, rain, and extreme temperatures as well as surviving bumpy rides, drops, and working in sweltering heat or frigid temperatures. Designed specifically for outdoor usage, our new R8300 notebook offers unsurpassed performance, even in the most hostile environments.”

To describe the certifications even further, the MIL-STD-810G certification stands for extreme sock, drop, vibration and temperature environments, while the IP65 certifies equipment for water and dust resistance. Besides the latter, GammaTech has also received two more certifications for the DURABOOK R8300, the MIL-STD 461F, ANSI/ISA 12.12.01 as well as ATEX Zone 2 for operation in hazardous locations.

In terms of specs, the DURABOOK R8300 is powered by a 3rd Generation Intel i-Core LV /ULV CPU i-Core i7-3555LE or i-Core i5-3437U mobile processor, two DDR3 SODIMM slots which support 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB RAM each, all configured on a mobile Intel QM77 Express Chipset. It also provides USB 3.0 support, Intel AMT 8.0 with enhanced manageability and security, Intel Rapid Storage Technology with RAID support for enhanced performance, power management and data protection, as well as Intel Smart Response Technology and Intel Anti-Theft Technology which can disable a lost or stolen PC and reactivate it without worrying about compromising data.

The DURABOOK R8300 has a 13.3-inch TFT touchscreen LCD display featuring direct-sunlight readability for operating in extremely right and sunny environments, such as the desert or an extremely lit room. The HDD is also a plus, having a quick release storage capability, making it easier to swap 500 GB or 750 GB HDDs just by turning a couple of knobs, as well as having SSD configuration capabilities. If additional space is required, a 5.25-inch multi-slot type optical disk drive is available for another hard disk.

When it comes to security, both the administrator and boot password protection is available to configure, having the Absolute Computrace feature allowing remote management for continual tracking and securing all endpoints within a single cloud-based console. The TMP 1.2 as well as Kensington lock is provided for additional security when needed.

The notebook offers a wide range of connectivity options, such as a mini card slot for Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 Class 1 combo card, a built-in antenna, a built-in WWAN antenna, one M2 card slot for the WWAN Type 3042-S3-B module, a built-in SIM card slot, a GPS module with built-in GPS antenna and an optional Intel Dual Band Wireless 6235 802.11AGN antenna. What keeps this indestructible PC ‘alive’ is one Lithium-Ion battery which provides 8 hours battery life. A second battery can be accommodated in a second slot for an additional 4 hours worth of operation.

The GammaTech DURABOOK R8300 is said to be available starting from the second quarter of this year, having a customization feature available for unique customer requirements.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Audi Developing Car That Avoids Red Lights

Ever been late for work or a date and you seem to get every red light on the way to your destination? Well that could soon be a thing of the past with Audi developing a car that can sense when traffic lights ahead are about to turn red. The new advanced technology dubbed Traffic Light Assist will let the driver know how long before a traffic light ahead of the driver will change, thus leaving the driver to adjust speed to miss the red light or seek an alternative route. Although the technology is currently still in testing and development stage, Audi has released how this new feature in their cars will work.

The Traffic Light Assist works by using the GPS in the car as well as having access to local traffic light control information, once these two systems work together a display pops up on the dash telling the driver the timer on traffic lights they will encounter on their route and also the timer for those traffic lights. Testing has all ready begun in selected cities around the world, however global release may come under scrutiny from local authorities as some drivers may take advantage use this new piece of technology to speed through red lights that may be popping up ahead of them. I personally love the idea of this new piece of technology that Audi is developing, however I can see where local authorities will have a problem with this, as it might encourage speeding. What are your thoughts on this latest piece of automotive tech?

Thank you News.com.au for the information provided

Image courtesy of Gizmodo

GLONASS Could Be Halted In The US

Russia’s version of the widely-used Global Positioning System could be all but halted in the US due to the nation’s latest defence budget bill, according to The New York Times. The bill, signed into law on Thursday, would require the US secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence to provide a waiver ensuring that data transfer between the Glonass stations is not encrypted, and certify that they pose no threat to national security, among other requirements. “The idea was to make it next to impossible, if not impossible, to do this,” a House Republican aide told the Times.

Several nations in Asia and the EU have been working to compete with the dominance of American GPS. The efforts echo similar ambitions by some nations to reduce the United States’ power over the global internet, especially in the wake of this year’s NSA revelations.

While Glonass is not widely used in the United States, some phone makers have embraced its benefits. Last year, Sony added Glonass positioning to several of its Xperia handsets, claiming that the additional data offered by Russia’s satellites compliment the US GPS system. A Sony and Qualcomm test in San Francisco found that accuracy could be improved by up to 50 percent with Glonass and GPS combined.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Nokia’s HERE Maps Removed From iOS AppStore, iOS 7 To Be Blamed

Nokia has removed its popular HERE Maps app from the iOS App Store. The Finnish company blamed its decision on iOS 7, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, for being a user experience killer.

“We have made the decision to remove our Here Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience,” Nokia said in a statement.
“iPhone users can continue to use the mobile web version of Here Maps under m.here.com., offering them core location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information and more, all completely free of charge.”

True to Nokia’s word, we could still access HERE Maps using an iPhone web browser, although lazy fanboys would no doubt prefer to have a nice big button to click rather than a long old web address to type in.

HERE is wildly popular on Windows phones, where it comes pre-installed, and is probably one of Nokia’s killer pieces of mobile software, but for the most part, it has failed to pull users away from old faithful Google Maps.

Anyone using Windows phones can still use HERE, which is handy because Microsoft has licensed it for 10 years. The mapping division will be a core part of Nokia’s denuded business, which will look significantly smaller when Redmond’s acquisition of the Finnish firm’s smartphone production division is complete.

Apple’s own Maps has a long and buggy story too, for when it wasn’t directing drivers onto airport runways, it was rather rudely deleting whole towns. Nokia also has a long and occasionally sad history with mobile phones, although its Windows phones recently made ground on Apple in Europe. According to recent stats, Nokia’s phones now account for about 10 per cent of all mobile sales in Europe, while Apple’s share shrunk from 20.8 per cent to 15.8 per cent.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

New Location Settings To Be Added in Android 4.4 KitKat

The old Android location services will be revamped on the new Android 4.4 KitKat release. It seems that the “Location Access” area will be called simply “Locations” and the Location ON/OFF switch will be moved from the area that used to be called “Access to my location” to the top right corner.

Furthermore, the two Location Sources features, GPS satellites and Wi-Fi & Mobile Network will be replaced with three new features. The first is “High Accuracy” which uses the GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile (but uses more battery), the second “Battery saving” which uses Wi-Fi and mobile networks and of course as the name says, it saves battery. The third is Device sensors only, which only uses the internal GPS receiver, but of course will take a long time to get your actual position.

The rumor is still to be treated as a rumor, at least for now, but given the images and looking from a logical point of view, there are high chances that the rumors will be true. There is a hint pointed to a launch date for the Android 4.4 on October the 15th, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Android Police.

Cats Out And About, What They Do When You’re Not Looking

Cats are magnificent and interesting creatures, that we might think we know quite a bit about, but really how much do we know about the predatory creatures. If you have a cat, you might think it is a loving and comforting pet, perhaps a built in mouse trap. Over the years I have heard lots of stories about cats, and how they act around their owners, or shall I say, the cats pets. If you own a cat, then you likely know that you don’t OWN a cat, a cat owns you, it chooses when it comes and when it goes, it also chooses whether or not it is going to stay with you, or move out on its own to find a new place to live.

Recently the BBC wrote an article, about what cats do while they are out and about. Things that might be startling to some viewers, when you see what your cat might be busy doing while you’re not around. Though we are only shown 10 of the cats from the program there were 50 studies in total.

A team from BBC Two’s Horizon worked with the Royal Veterinary College, attaching GPS tracking devices and micro-cameras to several cats and then tracked their progress. Tracking 50 cats in total over several weeks, they would track the cat’s movements over 6, 24-hour periods, also having the micro-cameras to film their activities.

This article by the BBC is quite interesting showing us little blips of information about each of the cats, and how they act, as well as showing us some of the footage their micro-cameras were able to pick up.

If you’re interested in seeing the videos or even reading up more about the different cats travels, check out the article from the BBC.

Image courtesy of the BBC

Galaxy Note 8 Now Comes With $25 Google Play Credit

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 is an excellent Android tablet that will no doubt prove very popular with Android and Samsung lovers alike. The new Galaxy Note 8 tablet from Samsung was released just a few days ago. If you aren’t aware of the key specifications, then you can see those below:

  • Chipset: XMM 6262 and Exynos 4412 (1.6 GHz x 4)Bearer – HSPA + 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • Memory – 2GB (RAM), 16/32GB
  • microSD (up to 64GB)
  • OS / Upgrade – Android Jelly bean 4.1
  • Battery – 4,600mAh
  • GPS – A-GPS (3G/LTE), S-GPS(WiFi) + Glonass
  • Wireless Connectivity -WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5GHz) – WiFi Direct, AllShareCast, BT4.0, USB2.0
  • Camera / Flash – 5MP AF + 1.3MP
  • Display – 203.1 mm (8″) WXGA (1280 x 800, 189ppi) TFT
  • Dimension, Weight – 210.8 x 135.9 x 7.95 mm, 345g (3G/LTE) / 340g (WiFi)
  • UI / Web Browser -Android + Samsung / Android Browser / Chrome Browser (GMS)
  • Connectors -3.5mm Earjack, 11 pin MicroUSB

If the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wasn’t tempting enough in itself then Samsung are offering $25 of Google Play Credit for you to grab some apps, films, games or whatever suits your needs. All you need to do is get your Samsung Galaxy Note 8 powered up and connected to Wi-Fi then visit this page and register. You need to fill in your model, serial number and MAC address then within a few minutes you should received a gift code to your email account.

What are your thoughts on Samsung offering $25 credit? Does it make the $399 price tag more acceptable?

Source

Using Hands-on GPS While Driving In Californa Is Now Illegal


The lawmakers in the state of California have passed a new law which made it illegal for one to check their hands on GPS systems while driving in the hopes it will prevent most of the chances of accidents. This way drivers will not be distracted by driving, similar to how talking and texting while driving is banned.

However, there are certain issues while addressing this concern, while texting, talking and using hands-on GPS is deemed illegal, there are certain activities which could cause a distraction while driving such as changing the radio station, talking to passengers, eating, etc. is still considered legal. This way it would not be practical to make a single law to ban each activity while drives, but again a blanket law simply cannot be put up.

Studies have found that many distracted drivers often find a different way to distract themselves while driving to pass the time.

There have been cases where drivers argued that using the hands-on GPS should be allowed. But the court did not agree to him despite agreeing to certain oddities and therefore told that its the job of the lawmakers to decide what to so about it.

The law doesn’t completely stop one to use the mapping system, but it should be setup in a way that it can be used hands free. Technically it makes you touching your mobile devices to access the navigation system as illegal. That being said, having a hands-free mapping software can help to dramatically reduce to distract a driver.

There are certain loop holes, such as many new cars with built-in touch only GPS systems that are legal to be used in California. But eventually, one wouldn’t be surprised if the manufacturers will integrate voice-controlled devices in their GPS units. It should be noted that a voice-controlled devices would be considered as a distraction.

Via: TechSpot