Thursday, 5 May 2016

LG's new Fingerprint Reader Sits Under a Smartphone Screen


Fingerprint Readers – Abundant in Smartphone Designs

Fingerprint readers seem to be abundant in the designs of smartphone with queries like, whether they should include them or where to accommodate them. While some of the manufacturers have opted in adding readers in the button on the front or raised area on the back of the devices, LG Innotek has come up with a latest idea of putting it under the screen of the phone.

The LG associate had announced that it had created a new fingerprint sensor which has been inserted into a small 0.01 inch space cut in the underside of smartphone glass cover enabling the designers of the device to include fingerprint reader without committed button, pads or other exposed components. LG has stated that the fingerprint recognition rates on the under-glass module are comparable to button-kind sensor and could reduce any kind of smartphone malfunctions, together with bonus of enabling phone to be waterproof as well as scratch-resistant or only designed to appear sleeker.

No announcement has been made yet by the company whether it would be utilising this new module in any of the upcoming phone. However a spokesperson of LG had informed the Korea Times that the company is in talks with some smartphone manufacturers in order to commercialize the new sensors, within the year.

LG’s Fingerprint Sensor under the Display

Few years ago, Apple had begun pioneering smartphone fingerprint sensors in its smartphone with the iPhone 5s and since then various manufacturers had introduced fingerprint sensors on their smartphones. Presently, LG is pioneering and is touting its new fingerprint sensor which tends to sit under the display which means that when one tends to place their finger on the cover glass of the display, the under glass fingerprint sensor module seems to automatically identify your fingerprint.

As announced by Jongseok Park, CEO of LG Innotek, the under glass fingerprint sensor module will eliminate dedicated buttons, pad or other elements for fingerprint recognition and will also help in making the smartphone more water resistant by decreasing the number of openings. This could also be the cause of slimmer devices in the near future.

 LG Innotek has mentioned that it has cut 0.01-inch slot towards the back of the cover display glass and has set up a fingerprint sensor in it with `supreme precision and combination technology’.

Fingerprint Sensor Module – False Acceptance Rate – FAR

It has also been stated that the fingerprint sensor module tends to have a false acceptance rate – FAR of 0.002%. Besides this, LG also informs that the adherence side of the glass as well as the fingerprint sensor is 0.0098-inch thick, with the capability of resisting the impact of a 130 gram steel ball dropped from 7.9-inch. Changhwan Kim, Head of Research and Development Centre LG has mentioned that they are concentrating on all resources to the development of the differentiated technology based on the creation of customer value and will continue to provide convenient, safe and pleasant user experience by launching innovative product.

LG has not disclosed when precisely we would start seeing this technology in smartphone or the other devices. In December last year, the company had been tipped to supply Oled displays for their forthcoming iPhone models.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Samsung App Helps Premature Babies Hear Their Mothers

Samsung App

Samsung’s App – Voices of Life

Babies when they are born premature, do not get to spend much time in the womb, developing as they should which means that when they are born there are risks and dangers to their development. One of the ways to deal with that is for the baby to hear the voice of their mother.

Research has found that when this is done, it helps their brain to develop properly, but when they are placed in an incubator, it is hard to do the same. Hence Samsung has come up with the app which would be helpful for the premature baby.According to Engadget reports, Samsung has been working on an app which has the potential of sending recordings straight from parents to premature babies still in the hospitals.

Samsung has been working a new way of connecting parents and the preemies through the healing power of sound. The app known as `Voices of Life’ enables parents to record stories and lullabies and then gets rid of any high-frequency sounds, not present in the womb, which would tend to be uncomfortable for the baby to hear. It is then sent to the incubator at NICU. This has shown to be helpful for parents to bond with babies as well as enables babies in receiving the maternal sounds they need for healthy brain development.

Exposure to Mother’s Voice/Heartbeat Helpful in Brain Development

Samsung had released a video regarding the app portraying a small speaker set within the incubator of the baby apparently linked to the app. Samsung has been pushing the notion of replicating a womb and tends to describe how a mother could utilise Voices of Life though it seems likely that the fathers could also be capable of using it. It is not known about the level of completion of the app or when it could be publicly made available.

A baby tends to hear sounds in utero around twenty four weeks, though for the 15 million premature babies that are born each year, the nurturing sound of the womb seems to be lost. According to research, the exposure to a mother’s voice and the heartbeat could help in the brain development and growth of the premature baby. Launching People, a global campaign by Samsung Electronics Co., has designed to help clients to set free their capabilities in creating meaningful change through the use of Samsung technology and introduced this pilot program.

Recordings Sent Wirelessly to Speaker in Incubator

The app utilises the heart-rate sensor of the smartphone to record the heartbeat of the mother or it could utilise the phone’s microphone to record sounds, stories and lullabies, with the choice of collection recordings together with playlists eliminating certain higher frequencies which could be uncomfortable for the babies. The recordings are then sent wirelessly to a speaker set inside the incubator.

Samsung is not the first company in developing an app in helping parents of premature babies. The Premature Baby Journal helps in keeping track of a baby medical progress in a log book, while the MyPreemie app tends to provide a simple pocket guide for some of the major questions which expectant mothers may tend to have. Presently, Voices of Life does not have a public release date.

Hackers Steal Millions of Minecraft Passwords


Minecraft Passwords Stolen by Hackers

Login data of more than seven million members of the Minecraft site Lifeboat has been stolen by hackers. Lifeboat is a service for determined servers and customized multiplayer games for Minecraft Pocket Edition and this data breach tends to affect customers who seem to use the service. If one has used Minecraft Pocket Edition without signing up for Lifeboat, it is ok but if one used Lifeboat, they would possibly get a message compelling them to change the password for the site in early 2015 which was because the company was aware about the hack, though it had not made the information public till recently. Lifeboat permits members to run servers for customised, multiplayer maps for smartphone edition of Minecraft.

There is confirmation that the information that is stolen comprising of email addresses and passwords is provided on site that trade in hacked data. Investigation recommends that passwords were weakly protected and hence attackers could work them out with ease. Evidence regarding the breach had been passed to Tony Hunt, independent security expert, who stated that he had received the list from someone who tends to trade in stolen identifications. Most of the people had informed him that the data had been circulating on dark net sites.

Passwords for Lifeboat Hashed – Little Security

Mr Hunt had mentioned that the data had been stolen in early 2016 though the breach had only been known, now. He said that passwords for Lifeboat accounts were hashed though the procedure utilised provided little security. Hashing is said to be a technique utilised to scramble passwords in order that they are not easily read if the data tends to get stolen or lost. According to Mr Hunt, usually a Google search for hashed password would practically provide it in an accurate plain text and people familiar in cracking tools could possibly computerize and accelerate this procedure.

He further stated that a Google search for a hashed password could quickly return the correct plain text value and well known cracking tools could automate as well as speed up this procedure. He had mentioned in a blogpost regarding the breach that a large percentage of those passwords would be reverted to plain text in a short time. He also informed that this often tends to lead to other security problems since several people re-use passwords and find out one which could lead attackers to compromise accounts on other sites. Lifeboat, in a statement provided to Motherboard, had stated that it had taken action in limiting the damage.

How to Minimise Damage to Users

It informed the news site that when this occurred in early January, they figured the best thing for their players was to quietly force password resets without letting the hackers know they had limited time to act, adding that it now used stronger hashing procedures. It also mentioned that they had not received any reports of anyone being damaged by this. Mr Hunthad been critical of the company for `quietly’ compelling the password re-set stating this policy had left him speechless.

As an alternative, he said that Lifeboat should have done more in alerting users so that they could change passwords rapidly if they used the same one on other sites. He said that the first thing which should be a priority with any company after an incident like this is `How to minimise the damage to the users’.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Flexible Camera Could Change the way We Take Photos


Silicone – A New Type of Camera Lens, Wrapped Around Things

Cameras are amazing but have not changed much for the last 100 years and one is still limited to shooting whatever is before you. However a piece of silicone is a new type of camera lens which can be wrapped around things, totally extending its point of view. This camera technology does not seem to be a pocket size or pretty as smartphones manufactured by Apple or Samsung but the A4 sized sheet of silicone that computer scientists from the Columbia University School of Engineering will be presenting at the International Conference on Computational Photography in May.

This would turn the world of photography upside down. The silicone is said to be a flexible layer which is protected with optical lenses that detect light and combine to portray an image of the environment. On attaching them to a silicone sheet, the lens array tends to become flexible, overcoming a main difficulty. Gaps seem to appear between the signals from the lens with the image being blurred, if they do not change their focal lengths when the sheet is bent. The silicone sheet tends to enable specially adapted lenses to alter their focal lengths automatically when the sheet is bent which means that the image is capable of staying in focus.

Cameras to Be More Attractive

The team intends making the camera more attractive, producing them like rolls of plastic or like the shape of credit cards which can be utilised to wrap around things in daily life, like lamppost or cars in order to get a 360 degree view of the environment. Project leader Shree K. Nayer states that present day cameras tend to capture the world from a single point in space.

While the camera industry had made remarkable progress in shrinking the camera to a tiny device with increasing image quality, it has been exploring a radically different approach to imaging. It is believed that there are various applications for cameras which are large in format but very thin and highly flexible. Dr Shree Nayar, director of Columbia University’s Computer Vision Lab, tends to study the science related to photography and wondered one day that it would be nice if there were cameras that could be wrapped around things. This led his team to go and make one.

Camera Lens – Vaguely Like Flexible Solar Tile

Researchers at the lab comprising of research engineer Daniel Sims as well as postdoctoral researcher Yonghao Yue had explored this question with their Flexible Sheet Camera study. The team had made a flexible lens array which could be wrapped around the daily object and capture unique images, mounting in way that was not possible earlier. Nayar, one of the study leaders had placed the project in the view of the present limitations. The camera lens seems vaguely like a flexible solar tile and when bent, it tends to capture an image which may appear changed though is still a high quality full picture.

Silicone was used by the team for the prototype sheet camera which enable the focal length of each lens differ with the curvature of the sheet, which means that there is no missing information as the lens bends. The main issue was in the material. Nayar had informed DT that if one chooses the right material and the right shape, the material itself bends in a way which you need and that gives it the right optical properties without adding any additional engineering. The silicone lens was the outcome of much testing and research.

Moore's Law and the Future of Solid-State Electronics


Moore’s Law – Driving Force of Social & Technological Change

Moore’s Law is said to be the observation which the number of transistors in a thick integrated circuit tends to double almost every two years. Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor has been named after the observation, whose 1965 paper had described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit. He had projected this rate of growth which would continue for another decade.

He had revised the forecast to doubling every two years, in 1975, looking forward to the next decade.His prediction seems to be accurate for many decades and the law was utilised in the semiconductor industry for guiding long-term planning as well as to set targets for research and development. Innovations in digital electronics were strongly connected to Moore’s law – memory capacity, quality-adjusted microprocessor prices, sensor as well as the number and size of pixels in digital camera.

Digital electronics had made their contribution to world economic growth towards the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Moore’s law tends to describe a driving force of social and technological change, economic growth and productivity. Semiconductor electronics, for 50 years had shaped a reduction in cost per transistor of over 30% a year while doubling the transistor for a chip every two years.

Special Case of Learning Curve

Though, at that time, Moore did not realize that the Moore’s Law is a special case of the learning curve, which has been popular for more than one hundred years and the good news is that it should continue at least in the future. Consider the learning curve as sitting one rung above Moore’s Law in the classification of theories. The learning curve does not seem to care how we tend to achieve the reduction in cost per switch merely that we certainly do since we always have.

 As we tend to attain lower cost, new application as well as computer architecture seems to emerge, quickening the growth in unit volume and reducing further the cost per switch while growing the entire market for semiconductors. Unfavourably, the learning curve does not care if the switch is a logic transistor or a memory bit and both of them seem to carry the information intelligently.

Flash Memories Substituting Rotating Media

Percentage of transistors used for memory against logic functions on most of the advanced integrated circuits has increased since 1995. Though the memory can be inserted on the logic chip, currently referred to as the system-on-a-chip, or SoC, the memory also seems to reside in dedicated memory chips.Flash memories that are now substituting rotating media for computer storage are reducing their price per bit at a much faster rate than the price per gate of logic.

In the meanwhile, new memory architectures like 3D XPoint announced by Intel and Micron assure another order of magnitude or more with regards to cost reduction together with improvement in performance. Moore’s Law would become immaterial to the semiconductor industry but the progress of reducing the cost per bit and cost per switch will tend to continue indefinitely, due to the learning curve. Together with it, the number of new applications for electronic will continue to be restricted only by the creativity of those who will hunt for solutions to new problems.