Meta 2 Development Kit Revealed

The Meta is known for being the forefront of augmented reality. Much like virtual reality, Augmented reality is based on the user seeing virtual objects but instead of it being on an isolated screen, augmented reality lets you bring virtual objects to life. That dream of an Iron Man experience is one step closer thanks to the Meta 2 Development Kit.

The new development kit contains all you need to start programming your augmented reality programs. Included with the Meta 2 headset you will get the source development kit (SDK) and the Meta operating environment while the Meta headset itself contains some impressive specs.

The resolution the “screens” displayed at is 2560×1440, being captured through a 720p camera that will give you a whole new level of detail in your interactions and visual manifestations of your dreams.

Four speakers and a 6-axis measurement unit mean that your whole experience will respond with the sensors to track your hands, giving you everything you need to see, hear and interact with your minority report like Minority Report like wall of screens.

At $949 the Meta 2 Kit is not for those who are looking for a quick thrill, but for those who are interested in the experience and developing for augmented reality, the product ships in the third quarter of this year.

Meta 2 AR Headset Impresses Crowd at Ted

Augmented reality is one step beyond virtual reality, with popular VR hardware like the Oculus Rift or even Google Cardboard looking to put you into the action, there is something missing from that Iron-Man experience. This is where Meta wants to surpass everyone else by not only letting you see images in 3D but also by letting you manipulate them.

We’ve seen augmented reality in a million movies and TV shows, the ability to create a 3D image and then using your physical body manipulate the digital image, from dancing with your favourite stars on a holodeck to crafting a vase on your table ready for printing.

We’ve commented on the Meta Spaceglasses before but they’ve come a long way since then. At a demo in Vancouver, Canada, Meron Gribetz, the founder and CEO of Meta, demoed just a few of the features that could soon see it become a must buy. On stage he was able to pick apart an object and manipulate it, work with a colleague somewhere else in the world by telepresence and then creating virtual computer monitors.

Being able to create something with your own hands is always rewarding, and can be easier than attempting to draw the object using a pen of some kind for your computer to interpret. The ability to create virtual screens will be a live saver for anyone who works on the go and needs access to private screens to get the most out of their work.

I personally can’t wait to see what Meta have accomplished with the Meta 2, but I guess we will only find out when the countdown reaches zero.

Public Record Request Reveals Stingray Used 303 Times Without Legal Reason

Digital privacy is a concept that is being contested with government monitoring. With section 215 of the Patriot act set for renewal in America, with reviews and discussions pushing the talks to the last possible minute, the concept of acquiring data illegally is almost considered taboo, or at least admitting to it is.

I’ve previously written an article about Stingrays, no not the creatures that swim around the ocean, but the device used by the Government to mimic a cell tower and intercept mobile communication data. The topic of Stingrays has once again been raised with a Public Record Request in San Bernardino County (East of Los Angeles County) has revealed that since acquiring a stingray in 2012, in the period between January 1st, 2014 and May 7th, 2015, the stingray has been deployed 303 times.

This would not be a problem normally, I mean they are just using a device to help fight crime and do their duty, right? With the public record request, Ars Technica was able to get an example of a template for a “pen register and trap and trace order” used to deploy the stingray.  This piece of paperwork was typically used to collect metadata in almost real-time from a telephone company about the activity on a landline, obviously before the mass adoption of mobile phones by the public. The order itself, however, does not mention in any way the Stingray device.

The public awareness of Stingrays has rocketed in recent years, given that previously a Non-Disclosure Agreement (an agreement between the creators of the Stingray and the companies that use them to prevent the spread of information regarding the devices), has caused cases to be dropped, rather than breach the NDA with both the FBI and the Harris Corporation (the creators of the Stingray Device). In April 2015, a women accused of being a getaway driver changed her guilty plea and refused to testify against her three co-defendants after a police detective was challenged during a deposition and they refused to provide further information. The case was then dropped, this is not the first time that legal action has been muddied by the use of stingrays.

In an email exchange between Sarasota Police Department and North Port Police Department, the departments hid the use of Stingrays from judges and defendants at the request of the US Marshal Service (who the devices were on loan from at the time). The advice given to the departments from the U.S. Marshalls Task Force was to state that they “received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect”. This means they were advised to lie regarding how information was gathered in order to hide the use of Stingrays, possibly in accordance with the NDA surrounding the device.

The non-disclosure agreement was revealed by Erie County, New York, and has been seen as stating that the FBI would rather drop a legal case rather than disclose information regarding the Stingray devices. This is however in contrast to a statement the FBI released stating that the NDA should not stop legal action based on the fact that a Stingray was used in the case.

Stingrays have been controversial devices since their public appearance, and with the court cases dismissed due to their use and most recently the awareness that the devices are being deployed with little to no legal oversight, they will continue to be a highly contested device until either legislation is implemented to protect the public from what is essentially the same meta-data mass collection that the national security agencies are currently being sued and debating.

What are your thoughts? Should devices like these be allowed to help fight crime, do they require more legal oversight or has their development been overshadowed with too many legal gray areas and cloak and dagger deployments?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of Infosec Institue.