Tuesday 31 May 2016

Moto G4 Plus First Impressions

Moto G4 Plus

Moto G Series Smartphone Enters its Fourth Generation

Lenovo which tends to own the smartphone business of Motorola seems to be getting stronger and the formerly Google owned company is sticking to its main philosophy. The focus is on the Moto G series of smartphone that has entered its fourth generation and which is named `Moto G’ with references to the generation of the device like Moto G 2015 or Moto G 3rd Generation. The complete line-up, in fact is being broken down further and Lenovo is launching the Moto G4 Plus in India, soon while the Moto G4 would be coming in June.

The Moto G4 Plus is Motorola accepting some of the market developments though sticking to its own philosophy. It has a 5.5 inch 1080p display, a clear update from the 720p displays seen against the original Moto G. In Moto G4 Plus the colours do not pop and it is also a bitreflective. The most important update is the camera which has a 16Mp shooter on the back with laser auto-focus as well as PDAF and it has been claimed by Motorola that it is better than the iPhone 6 Plus. However, there is a considerable amount of processing time and the camera app launches slower than the older Moto G phones.

Moto G4 Plus – Two Options

This could be due to its added features such as HDR, Pro Mode and best shot that tends to make the app heavier. The lighting during the launch event was not suitable to take good shots but served to satisfy several users, at least in the sunlight. Motorola has utilised an Omnivision sensor for this smartphone. Besides this, another addition is the fingerprint sensor that does not make it to the Moto G4.

 Located on the front, the fingerprint sensor on the Moto G4 Plus is said to be square shaped and tends to feel new if not odd. It seems to have ridged design that feel unnatural and though it is not a button, it could be used to light up the screen or close an app. In India, the Moto G4 Plus comes in two options, for the version with 16GB internal storage and 2GB RAM forRs 13,499 and for 32GB internal storage and 3GB RAM for Rs 14,999.

Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Operating System

The processor is the same for both options which has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 oct-core chip. Each model comes with a MicroSD card slot which can have an extra 128GB of additional storage in order that the added internal memory may not be a big concern. Beneath the screen lies the fingerprint sensor having an unusual square shape design. The operating system running on the device is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow which in line with the promise of Motorola, seems to be most prevailing version available.

It also has a battery of 3,000mAh. A lot of specification is shared between the Moto G4 and the G4 Plus comprising of the 5.5 inch screen with 1080p resolution, a Snapdragon 617 processor together with a fast charging 3,000mAh battery while the Android version tends to remain the same together with the microSD card slot.

Google built a tiny radar system into a smartwatch for gesture controls


Google’s Tiny Radar Chips in Electronics – Controlling Digital World

In a conference room at an important tech corporation like Google, Ivan Poupyrey who works at Google’s ATAP research lab had posed a question on `How are you going to interact with an invisible computer? Poupyrey a technical project lead for Project Soli which has been designed to prove that we can embed tiny radar chips in electronics so that minute hand gestures could be utilised in controlling the digital world around us.

Advanced Technologies and Projects – ATAP is a division within Google which is at crossroads. Formerly led by Regina Dugan of DARPA recognition together with her influence had led the division to stream technologies which would range from modular phones – Project Ara, to real time 3D mapping- Tango, to cinematic, live-action virtual reality movies – Spotlight Stories.

Earlier in the year she had left for Facebook and hence it was a question whether the project left behind by her would continue. Tango had progressed into Google while Ara seemed stuck in the muck. However, the Jacquard touch-sensitive fabric project together with the Soli is yet at ATAP whereas Soli has at least a new and a remarkable goal, creating the industry as well as the project language for radar-enabled consumer electronics.

Radar to Work in SmartWatch

For this reason, Poupyrey had engaged his team to prepare for more than just experiment so as to ascertain that radar can work in a smart watch. Poupyrey had commented that if one can put something in a smartwatch, you could put it anywhere. So ATAP had redesigned the Soli chip in order to make it smaller and pull less power. It then redesigned it to do the same thing again and again.

Eventually according to Hakin Raja, lead hardware and production engineer of Soli, the team developed the smallest of the chips which is a tiny sliver one could balance on the pinky toenail, with four antennas which tend to offer full duplex communication in sending and receiving radar beeps. The first duplication of Soli shipped in a development kit, drew 1.2w of power while this one tends to draw 0.054 w x 22x reduction. But developing a chip which is small tends to have some setback. Radar had been designed to identify massive flying metal objects from miles away, not tiny millimetre movement from finger just inches away.

Logical to Convert Spatial Signal Radar into Temporal One

Till recently, no one was concerned about the power draw at this scale and no one had to deal with believing what the signal would look like when it had shrunk down. Lead research engineer for Soli is Jaime Lien and it is her task to tune the machine learning procedures which get hardwired in the chip. Her main understanding was that it was logical to convert the spatial signal radar provided into a temporal one, tends to make sense on a computer.

But the same was nothing when compared to noise pollution and one would run into these small scales. She portrayed a vast set of screenshots of all types of impenetrable noise which her processes need to locate signal and at these scales it seems impossible to do any kind of beam forming. Moreover the electrons running through the chip need to be accounted for.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission Enables Robots with Human-Like Grace and Precision


Hydrostatic Transmission Combines Hydraulic/Pneumatic Lines

A new kind of hydrostatic transmission which combines hydraulic as well as pneumatic lines can precisely as well as safely drive robot arms, providing them with the delicacy essential to pick an egg without breaking it. This communication does not have any friction or play providing great precision for jobs like threading a sewing needle. The hybrid transmission had made it possible to split the number of bulky hydraulic lines which a complete hydraulic system requires. Robotic limbs could thus be lighter and smaller according to John P. Whitney, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at North-eastern University, who is leading the development of the transmission and also an associate research scientist at Disney Research.

Whitney together with his colleagues from Disney Research, the Catholic University of America and Carnegie Mellon University would be reporting on the new transmission as well as the upper body humanoid robot, built with it at the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2016, on May 17 in Stockholm, Sweden. Co-author Jessica Hodgins, vice-president at Disney Research and a professor of robotics at the Carnegie Mellon had stated that `the communication provides the robot with incredibly smooth and fast motion as well as enabling life-like interaction with people and the handling of delicate objects.

Robot Remotely Controlled by Human Operator

She adds that presently, the robot is remotely controlled by human operator though the same level of mechanical performance, once the motions are automated would be expected. Whitney states that the robot joint would normally have two hydraulic cylinders, which are balanced against each other. However in the new design, the researchers have paired each water-filled cylinder instead with air-filled cylinder.

The pneumatic cylinder tends to assist as a constant force air-spring offering the required preload force enabling the joint to move in both directions with half the number of bulky hydraulic lines. The new transmission was used by the researchers to build a simple humanoid robot having two arms with stereo cameras placed in the head, streaming their video signal to an operator wearing a head mounted display. The arms have been coupled to a similar control figure, which is hidden behind a wall to permit the robot to be used for human-robot communication study.

Combination of Small Mass/High Speed/Accurate Motion

Whitney has mentioned that this technology has enabled them to build robot arms which are light, fast and dexterous and that they have an incredible life-like nature, providing a combination of small mass, high speed together with accurate motion not envisage earlier.

Together with Whitney and Hodgins, the research team had also included John Mars of Disney Research, who had developed the camera and head-mounted display system as well as Tianyao Chen, research assistant at The Catholic University of America, who had designed the robot arms at intern at Disney Research.

Robots utilising this technology are suitable for naturally accommodating and life-like interaction with people. On tele-operation, the low friction and the lack of play enables the transmission to devotedly transmit contact forces to the operator, offering a high reliability remote sense of touch.

Friday 27 May 2016

Smart Home Speaker, VR system, Chat service from Google

Google I/O

Google’s Virtual Reality System/Chat Service

Google has come up with a new smart home speaker, known as Daydream a virtual-reality system and a chat service called Allo. Over 7,000 people would be attending the showcase of Google in Mountain View California and in an effort to overtake Apple, Google has been adding in some more features to the next version of its Android operating system, comprising of a security method which tends to enable one to encrypt specific files instead of the complete phone. In a shot at Amazon, the company had declared Google Home, an Internet-connected speaker which tends to listen to your voice commands to play music or to control lights as well as thermostats in the home.

It is significant of Amazon’s Echo and would be made available later in the year for an unexpected price. The chat service, in the meanwhile would be using the computers of Google to predict how one would prefer to respond saving the typing stress. Allo would be competing with the popular chat services like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp which are also owned by Facebook. Google Home and Allo would be tapping into the computing ability of Google. Artificial intelligence, is a term used in describing efforts in developing software that acts and behaves like humans, has been a central point of Google for several years.

Android Powers 80% of World’s Smartphones

Development made in the field has assisted the search engine of Google in understanding the intent of the inquiries of people much faster and vastly improved the understanding and responsive of its voice recognition services. Reporters as well as bloggers from across the world are attending to make sure that whatever the company reveals will also be featured in pictures, stories and videos that will be delivered to the massive audience of consumers.

The three-day showcase tends to attract thousands of computer programmers, providing Google with an opportunity of convincing them on why they should design applications and other services which tend to work with its gadgets together with an array of software that include the Chrome Web browser as well as Android operating system for mobile devices. Android tends to power around 80% of the world’s smartphones, mainly since Google gives away the software for free to device manufacturers. Google can manage to do that since it designs Android to feature its search engine, maps together with other digital services, providing more opportunities to portray the digital ads which tend to generate most of its revenue.

Google – Distributing Guidelines for Latest Controller

Apple iPhone tends to carry more importance with affluent consumers and present features which Android tends to copy. Apple would be holding same conference in June to reveal its fall software plans.The entry of Google in the still-emerging field of virtual reality came two years back when it had revealed a cheap headset that was made of cardboard. The company is said to be poised to get more thoughtful considering far more sophisticated option available for sale.

Together with Daydream, other manufacturers comprising of Samsung, HTC and Huawei would have smartphones adept in handling it. These tend to be more comfortable and immersive than the cardboard headset. Google would also be distributing guidelines for the latest controller together with few buttons, a touchpad as well as sensors in tracking its orientation and where it would be pointing.

IBM Scientists Achieve Storage Memory Breakthrough


IBM Research – Latest Memory Technology – Phase-Change-Memory –PCM

Scientist at IBM Research, have for the first time demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data for each cell utilising a latest memory technology called phase-change memory – PCM. The existing memory landscape tends toextentfrom respected DRAM to hard disk drives to universal flash. However in the last several years PCM has attracted the attention of the industry as a probable universal memory technology based on its mixture of read/write speed, non-volatility, density and endurance.

For instance PCM does not lose data when it tends to power off unlike DRAM. The technology could endure at least 10 million write cycles in contrast to an average flash USB stick that tends to top out at 3,000 write cycles. The break-through of the research has provided quick and easy storage in catching the exponential growth of data from the mobile devices as well as the Internet of Things.

IBM scientists tend to envisage standalone PCM together with hybrid application that would unite PCM and flash storage together with PCM as an exceedingly fast cache. For instance the operating system of a mobile phone could be stored in PCM permitting the phone to launch within a few seconds. In the initiative space, the complete database can be stockpiled in PCM for fast query processing for time-critical online application like financial transaction.

Two Stable States – Amorphous/Crystalline

Machine learning processes utilising huge datasets would see a rapid boost on reducing the latency overhead while reading the data between iterations. The PCM materials tend to display two stable states, namely the amorphous – without a clearly defined structure and crystalline – with structure phases, of high and low electrical conductivity, respectively. Scientists at IBM and the other institutes had successfully demonstrated the potential to store 1 bit per cell in PCM earlier. However, presently at IEEE International Memory Workshop in Paris, for the first time, the IBM scientists are presenting, successfully stored 3 bits per cell in a 64k-cell array at higher temperatures and after a million endurance cycles.

 Dr Haris Pozidis, author of the paper and the manager of non-volatile memory research at IBM Research – Zurich had informed that `phase change memory was the first instantiation of the universal memory with properties of DRAM and flash, thus answering one of the grand challenges of the industry.

Novel Coding/Detecting Scheme Employed

He further added that reaching three bits per cell seems to be a significant milestone since at this density, the cost of PCM tends to be significantly less than DRAM and nearer to flash. In order to attain multi-bit storage, IBM scientists had developed a couple of innovative enabling technologies, a set of drift-immune cell-state metrics and drift-tolerant coding with detection schemes.

The new cell-state measure a physical property of the PCM cell more precisely, which tends to remain stable over a period of time and are hence insensitive to drift, affecting the stability of the electrical conductivity of cell with time. In order to provide extra strength of the data stored in a cell over ambient temperature fluctuation, a novel coding as well as detecting scheme had been employed.

The scheme tends to adaptively change the level threshold which is used in detecting the stored data of cell so that they follow variation owing to temperature changes. The outcome is that the cell state can be read reliably over long period of time after the memory is programmed and hence offers non-volatility.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Wrist Band Device for Alcohol Monitoring Wins U.S. Prize

Wrist Band

BACrack Wins U.S. Prize for Alcohol Monitoring Device

A U.S. government competition has been won by BACrack, a San Francisco-based company with an alcohol monitoring device which can be worn on the wrist, a latest milestone in the progress of wearable technologies that tends to monitor as well as diagnose medical conditions. The company which is a privately held medical device manufacturer, had taken the top prize of $200,00 in the National Institutes of Health – NIH, Wearable Biosensor Challenge recently with its wristband monitor that tends to measure blood alcohol levels through sweat on the skin.

 The said product named as BACrack Skyn has not been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration yet for marketing approval. The head of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Dr George Koob had stated that he expected the device to be a valuable resource for alcohol research community.

He further added that it could help doctors to precisely measure the drinking history of a patient and not just depend on the most recent test which could help a lot with the treatment. Medical, law enforcement as well as transportation officials have pursued improved technology in detecting blood alcohol levels. The traditional PBTs – portable breath alcohol testers are heavy, costing over $1,000 and does not provide on-going monitoring of alcohol levels.

Blood Alcohol Monitoring Devices – Big & Bulky

The president of BACrack, Keith Nothacker, had informed that the blood alcohol monitoring devices that have been used in legal and medical circles seems to be big and bulky, similar to a ball and chain for the ones utilising it and that they wanted to make something which people would want to wear.

In its present form, the device though will not be an alternative for breathalysers or blood tests utilised by law enforcement since the device does not offer real-time blood alcohol levels. It has been mentioned by Nothacker that it takes around 45 minutes for ethanol to be transmitted through the skin and the device has been designed to offer a recent history of alcohol usage.

The company had been experimenting with consumer-centric alcohol testing for many years and in 2013 had introduced the BACrack Mobile Breathalyser which syncs with the smartphone in order to track blood alcohol content. BACrack had competed with seven other smaller companies and had won the NIH competition.

Skyn Cannot Replace Breathalysers

A Santa Barbara based technology start-up, Milo, had won the $100,000 second-place prize for its design for a wearable alcohol content tracker which tends to also use skin sensor and links with a smartphone, using wireless technology. Skyn, it is said cannot replace breathalysers which the cops tend to use, since it takes 45 minutes for the alcohol to be transmitted through the skin.

 However, authorities or researchers could utilise it to monitor constantly someone’s BAC levels. The device can alert you, if one has been drinking too much particularly if one intends to drive. Moreover, it could also notify member of a family if it senses alcohol in your system while one is supposed to be on a mission for abstinence.

Though the company has not submitted Skyn to the FDA for approval yet, according to Reuters, BACrack state that it would be releasing a restricted amount this fourth quarter. One could sign up on the company’s website to get notification whenever the wearable would be ready for pre-order.

High Efficiency Power Amplifier Could Bring 5G Cell Phones


5G Devices Designed to Download/Transmit Data/Videos Quickly

Latest efficient power amplifier for electronics will assist in making it possible for the next generation cell phones, reduced-cost collision-avoidance radar for cars and lightweight micro satellites for communications. The fifth-generation or 5G mobile devices which are anticipated in 2019 would need improved power amplifiers operating at very high frequencies.

The new phones would be designed to download and transmit data and videos much quicker than the present phones, would provide improved coverage, consume less power and would meet the needs of a developing `Internet of things’ wherein daily objects will have network connectivity, enabling them to send and receive data. Power amplifiers are essential in transmitting signals.

Since the present cell phone amplifiers are made of gallium arsenide, they are unable to integrate in the silicon based technology of the phone known as complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor – CMOS. The latest amplifier design is CMOS-based which means that it enables researchers to integrate the power amplifier with the electronic chip of the phone, thus reducing the manufacturing costs as well as the power consumption while enhancing performance.

Silicon Less Expensive than Gallium Arsenide

An associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, Saeed Mohammadi states that `Silicon is much less expensive than gallium arsenide, more reliable, having a longer lifespan and if one has everything in one chip, it tends to get easier to test and maintain.

The highest efficiency CMOS power amplifier has developed in the frequency range needed for 5G cell phones and the next-generation radars’. Results are detailed in two papers, one which is to be presented during the IEEE International Microwave Symposium on 24 May in San Francisco, authored by the earlier doctoral student Sultan R. Helmi together with Mohammadi. They had authored another paper with Jing-Hwa Chen, the former doctoral student to appear in a future issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques.

The researcher have created the new kind of amplifier by utilising a high performance king of CMOS technology known as silicon on insulator – SOI wherein the design has many silicon transistors loaded together which reduces the number of metal interconnections generally essential between transistors, reducing `parasitic capacitance that hinders performance and could lead to damage to electronic circuits.

Eradicate Metallization between Transistors

The amplifier attains an efficiency of 40% comparable to amplifiers made of gallium arsenide. Mohammadi had commented that they have merged transistors to use less metallization around the device and that they have reduced the capacitance to achieve higher efficiencies. Moreover they are attempting to eradicate metallization between transistors. The latest amplifiers is said to bring low-cost collision-avoidance radars for cars and electronics for lightweight communications microsatellites. The CMOS amplifiers would enable researchers in designing microsatellites which are one-hundredth the weight of the present day technology. Three U.S. patents with regards to the amplifier have been issued. The research was funded partly by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.Researchers have been working on the latest version of the amplifier which would be twice as powerful. Additional work would be essential in integrating the amplifier into a cell phone chip.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

A New In-Ear Devices Promises a Future Devoid of Language Barriers

Instant language translation devices have only been the element of the science fiction literature and cinema. For a long time we have been waiting for such a kind of device which can help in erasing the language barrier. As of now, we have speech recognition and translation technology which does the job fairly well but it means you must have working internet connectivity. Near real-time translation has improved immensely recently due to effort of the Apple, Google and other tech companies but we can’t still convert the videos or audios directly to other language. Over the years, a number of rumors have emerged regarding a so called GoogleX super project which is believed to developing a similar kind of language translation device. A new device has been launched named Pilot which will offer near real time language translation in a seamless fashion.

Problems associated with the development language translation devices

Real-time translation is simply hard to perform even for the machines. It has already taken more two decades to come with advanced and respectable translation services and application in the form Google translation and others. But these application and services takes a small amount of information at a time and translates into another language but accuracy is quite questionable in various cases. In simple words to offer real-time and completely error free language translation we will still require the help from the super-computer which won’t be profitable for any consumer at all.

Second major issue while developing real time language translation device is that whether they will require internet connectivity or huge amount of power or not. In order to use translation apps one is required to have working internet subscription as apps use their online data and language repository to translate the texts. Pilot works in its own unique way by wirelessly accessing the cellphone processor in order to perform the translation exercise seamlessly.

Other problems related to creating universal translator are basically revolves around the design concept and practicality of the device. Should the device be kept online at all times or should it remain offline when not required, automatic and manual functionality is also a concern.

The features of Pilot

Pilot isn’t a single earpiece gadget rather it is a two-earpiece gadget. In order to get instant language translation users has to be give one earpiece to other person who speaks a different language and put other in their own ear. Now both the person can start conversing in the language of their own choice and it will be instantly translated by the device. Sin both other earpiece has translator users will be able to understand each and other in the profound manner.

It is still in its nascent stage so there will be some glitches and shortcoming, which means simply putting the device in your ear, wouldn’t turn everyone speaking in your language. However it appears to be highly ambitious device and thus tend to offer better and more refined instant translation than the present services offered by the Microsoft’s Skype and Google translation.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

FTC and FCC Shine A Light on Mobile Security Updates


Queries Raised on Security Updates on Devices by FTC & FCC

Since the Stagefright bug had been revealed, Google has started issuing monthly security updates for Android with companies like Samsung, LG and Sony dedicated to the program to also issue updates to their Android devices. Some of the queries which the Federal Trade Commission – FTC and the Federal Communications Commission - FCC have raised are – how exactly are these updates moving along, what is the process of deciding which phones tend to get updates, do manufacturers communicate to software developers when there are threatening vulnerabilities?

To seek additional information regarding how they issue security updates to address vulnerabilities in smartphones, tablets together with other mobile devices, the FTC had issued orders to around eight companies and the list of companies were not restricted to Android device manufacturers. The orders had been sent to Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung. The requests for information include topics like `when does a company decides to disclose a susceptibility to consumers, whether companies provide unlocked variants of devices, what security testing procedures should each company follow’ and much more.

Rise in Susceptibilities with Mobile Operating System

The FTC also needs to know how the mobile device companies have responded to each weakness that could end in unauthorized code execution or compromise the confidentiality of consumer data. FCC in a blog post had mentioned that there have been a growing number of susceptibilities linked with mobile operating systems which tend to threaten the safety as well as the reliability of a user’s device that includes Stagefright in the Android operating system that could affect around 1 billion Android devices all over the world.

Yet the way the mobile device manufacturers, OS provider as well as mobile carriers have reacted to vulnerabilities could leave the user defenceless, for long period of time or even indefinitely, according to FCC. According to Google’s second annual Android security report that had been released last month, around 30% of Android devices seemed to be running the older versions of the OS which Google no longer tends to support with security updates.

As for operating system such as Android, the main reason as to why the updates do not tend to reach the consumers is due to carriers. Several of the carriers seem to delay pushing updates for a substantial period of time and generally wait for big operating system updates.

FTC/FCC – Focus on Significant Delays from Device Manufacturers/Carriers

It is said that FCC had send out orders to carriers and in a separate though parallel inquiry. The FTC and FCC intend to focus on the significant delays from device manufacturers as well as carriers in addressing vulnerabilities in order to safeguard consumers from security threats.

If this type of action tends to take place, it would be a boon for Google since it could probably fix Android’s fragmentation problem. Since its launch, security has been an uncomfortable spot for Android and with several manufacturers manufacturing Android devices with their own customization; it has become difficult for Google to control the updates. It has instead been the task of manufacturers to update devices.

Monthly security updates seems to be quite common of late though only for certain devices. Cheaper and older devices are left aside and security seems to be a problem.

Google Patents ‘Sticky’ Cars to Save Pedestrians hit by Driverless Vehicles


Google’s Driverless Cars – Safer than Humans

Google has stated that its driverless cars would be several times safer than humans vividly reducing the millions of road accidents which are seen every year. However, it does not mean that they will not hit someone and many times accidents could be inevitable. Google has patented a design for sticky layer on the front of a car which would tend to defend pedestrians when they get hit by a vehicle. Google’s self-driving vehicles would soon be catching pedestrians like flies which as per the patent granted recently tends to act like flypaper and instead of bodies bouncing off a car and resulting in further injury when hit; they would stay stuck to the vehicle till it slows down and stops.

These vehicles are fitted with sensors, clever lane mapping and networking in order that the vehicles can stay away from obstacles much better than human and also park accurately. The patent reads that `in case of an accident between the vehicle and the pedestrian, injury to the pedestrian takes place not only due to the impact of the vehicle as well as the pedestrian but also by the secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or any other object. The adhesive bonds the pedestrian to the vehicle in order that the pedestrian remains with the vehicle till it stops and is not thrown from the vehicle’.

Work as Human Flypaper

The technology which has been awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO tends to work as human flypaper wherein the front bumper, hood and the side panels of the car would be enclosed with the sticky coating. Whenever a pedestrian is hit, the protective layer would break apart and trap the pedestrian and save the person from be sent skywards which could cause injuries.

It is said that the adhesive layer would cover the complete front area of the car, though would itself be underneath a special coating only activated in case of a collision, preventing bugs, leaves and other deposits from getting stuck to the car.Google’s fleet of 57 self-driving cars had covered over 1.5 million autonomous miles and had been involved in many collisions, most of which have been other drivers rear-ending the vehicles.

Bryant Walker Smith, self-driving car expert and Affiliate Scholar with Stanford Law School’s Centre for Internet and Society informed The Mercury News that there is another issue utilising sticky cars – What if the person tends to obscures the view of the driver thereby resulting in them crashing into another surface or vehicle?

Company Has Targeted 2020 for Public

However, Smith admired Google for its solution. He said that the idea that cars need to be safe for people other than the ones in them is the next generation of automotive safety and I applaud anyone for thinking as they should about people outside the vehicle. As a target date for being made available, the company has targeted 2020 for the public though they still tend to have many technical as well as legal challenges to overcome. Apple, Tesla, Uber together with other has been involved in driverless car research with many trials underway in the UK. Members of the public now can sign up to the first trials to be in London.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Leaks point to two 2016 Moto X phones with modular add ons

Moto X

Leaks reveal that the upcoming Moto X series could up the ante for competitors 

Motorola faced a terrible phase back in 2012 when Android and iPhone won penchant in the market, and Moto failed to compete against the leading manufacturers. However, this international company faced a turning point when Google oversaw the launch of new and improved Moto X series. With Motorola now acquired by Lenovo there are a host of features in the Moto X that is liable to undergo a series of drastic changes. One of the top trends of 2016 is modular phones which is something to be looked forward to with regard to Moto X now.

Some major tweaks are in the offing: 

One of the major revelations is changes to the way looks are likely to undergo tweaks in the Moto X range. One of the major leaks the Moto X range will undergo some serous changes in terms of its look. The flat metal back panel was not much preferred by the Motorola fanatics, and the absence of the Moto dimple made it look even shoddier. Rather, people had expected the Moto X with a panel of curved plastic, leather or wood like finish and hence there has been a re though on this aspect. The dimple was preferred primarily because it allowed a decent finger hold and allowed for a hand held stability.

There was also a leak about the bottom rear panel having connected modular system called amps. Similar accessory attachments have been seen on the LG G5; however the Moto X is slated to be much superior in this respect. This accessory attachment allows one to change from a camera grip to a hi-fi audio module. All in all compared to the G5 the Moto X changes a much more user friendly.

Major enhancements could give competitors a run: 

Reliable sources have disclosed the news that there will be some new and enhanced attachments in the Moto X series. These include a pico projector, extraordinary camera module, optical zooming, and a simple and trendy cover available with the handset itself, stereo speakers, handy battery pack and wide angle camera lens with sturdy case. Leaks have also confirmed that to make it even more user friendly, the accessories can be snapped onto device with any rebooting. The Amps can be fixed onto the rear of the mobile device, and they would be held in place with the help of magnets.

Motorola never fails to surprise its fans, and thus will be launching two different handsets this year will the advanced add-ons. The Moto X Vertex will have Snapdragon 625, 1080p AMOLED, 5.5 inch screen, along with a 3GB Ram. The Moto X Vertex thin will have the flagship 1440p AMOLED, 5.5 inch, a startling 4 GB Ram, and Snapdragon 820. The Vertex thin is super slim, 5.5 mm and thus will have a 2600 mAh battery, however the Vertex will have 3500 mAh and is thicker, 7mm. the latest feature incorporated in both the handsets will be the finger print sensor that will be present on the bottom front of the devices. Even though Vertex comes will 2600 mAh, users can purchase battery Amps for convenience.

Canon's Macro Lens has a Built in Ring Flash


First Macro Lens for EOS M Camera System

The first macro lens for the EOS M camera system, the EF-M 28, f/3.5 Macro IS STM, had been announced by Canon. There are two amazing things regarding Canon’s new EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens.
  • It is an EF-M lens for the EOS M mirror less system and Canon has totally neglected EOS M, releasing only five lens when the system had been launched almost four years back, four slow zooms as well as a 22mm f/2 prime. The macro lens of 28mm is said to be the sixth though it has a trick up its sleeve which is not found anywhere in the extensive DSLR lens line-up of Canon. 
  • It essentially has a pretty innovative design. Several of the macro photographers tend to opt for the relatively long focal lengths, in order not to disturb their subject. For stationary objects also, wider macro lenses seem to cast a shadow since one has to get too close. The EF-M 28mm though tends to get around that with a built-in mini ring flash which features two user-controllable `Macro Lites’. One could utilise both or one at a time and adjust the intensity of the lighting. Canon also mentioned that the lens’ tapered shape whenever extended tends to help to avoid shadows.

Eliminates Shadow/Darkness

The tiny MacroLite electronic flash units tend to curve around the front component of the lens, giving the effect of a ring flash, which helps in eliminating shadow and darkness from subjects. Users could also adjust the brightness and opt whether both units are illuminated together or individually.

The new lens is also said to be the first autofocus lens for exchangeable lens cameras which has the potential of focusing from infinity to life-size – 1x, in usual shooting and 1.2x enlargement in Super Macro mode. The other features comprise of the same Hybrid IS system that is found on the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens to lessen camera shake, a lead screw type STM stepping motor for the purpose of smooth as well as quiet focusing operation while taking videos and an angle of view just like a 45mm standard lens. This enables users to capture videos in near-silence.

Lightweight – 130 g/ Outdoor Trips

The EOS M cameras are lightweight, weighing just 130 g and easy to take it along on outdoor trips. Canon states that the biggest breakthrough of the EOS M is in Canon’s ability to contain an EOS System in a compact body with full compatibility with new and existing EF and EF-S lenses, (with adapters). EOS M is by far the most accessible EOS camera offering the same level of photographic brilliance of a DSLR.

Canon has informed that the new EF-M would be available in June this year from authorized vendors at a price of $299.99. Besides this Canon has also announced the Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash, which is compatible with the majority of EOS cameras. On using the standard AA batteries it tends to increase continuous flash rate by around 1.1 to 1.5 times and up to two times on using the latest Compact Battery Pack CP-E4N.

Friday 20 May 2016

Living with Robots



Robots and Interactive Companions

In a world that has been progressing by leaps and bounds, we now have the entry on robots taking the place of humans. Robots are future machines whose application area seems to be improving. Inventions of robots which tend to imitate human movements are on the rise all over the globe. Technology now has the capability of creating artificial human with bare metal and some electronic chips known as Robots. They are the Autobots who tend to have no real IQ though can think better than the humans, they do not seem to have any power but can perform better than the humans and they have no intelligence but tend to act better than the humans.

One could ask oneself and which Financial Times has asked in their new five-part video series titled `Living with Robots’, regarding robots and their relationship with us mortals. Could they be our friend or foe? The series unfold with the introduction of Zara the robot that seems to work for Spot Digital and is also about the relationship between the robot and man in the 21st century. Some of the robots look like human and could be scared but the big question that arises is `could these machines really have feelings and match up to us mortals?

Robots Helpful or Threatening

Robots could be helpful or threatening and whether we like it not, these machines are becoming common in our daily lives replacing the manual functions done by us humans. FT checks on the roles that robots tend to play in our lives, at home, at workplace and the world around us. Talking to computers is mainly controlled by the human voice for the functions to be carried out by these digital companions. Tech companies have been making progress in providing the smoothest and the most efficient artificial intelligence companions which will make a great impact in our lives.

In an age where popular culture tends to offer vision of intelligent machine that seem to control us; it tends to get difficult to know if artificial intelligence should be embraced or to fear it. Machines have already replaced about 70 to 75% of the work that is done by humans and several of the individuals seem to have meaningless task in their work life only to bring home a salary.

World’s Most Advanced Humanoid

Robots could be an inevitable disaster for many. It could be a friend for some of the rich and the elderly people, impersonal for the assembly-line employees who would welcomeco-bot sometimes and disturbing for the poor as well as for those outside the digital world like those in Africa. Robots have been considered to be the world’s most advanced humanoid robot who can perform any function as well as communicate and interact through its voice and facial recognition systems.

Talking to computers has been a dream of several technologists as well as story tellers for decades which could at time tend to become a bit scary. In the case of digital assistants, intelligence agents and chatbots, there is a grain of ray with these smart companions that are now eager to be our guides in the digital world. Established firmly as manufacturing technology, robots have been gaining acceptance by the labour force, reaping praise for its dependability and is being used more widely in small and medium businesses

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Facebook is bringing 360-degree photos to the News Feed


Facebook’s 360 Degree Photos to News Feed

Facebook has informed that in the coming weeks, it will let you upload and view 360 degree photos on mobile and the web. Facebook has progressively made VR an essential part of its platform and hence this announcement is not much of a surprise of 360 degree photos coming to your News feed. The feature would function identical to a 360 degree video wherein one will be able to click and drag to discover the environment on desktop or move your smartphone around as if its screen were a viewfinder.

The feature is said to be a part of a great mission to frame Facebook as a means of exploring faraway places. Moreover it is also tied directly to Facebook-owned Oculus VR’s push for more live-action photography and video you can experience with the Gear VR and Rift headsets.

With both the device you will also be capable of viewing 360 degree photos that are shared on the social network. Since September of last year, 360 degree video had been available on Facebook and it will still be quite a while before users as well as creators hold the new format in large numbers. Facebook is presently making its platform friendlier to photos that can be shot with smartphone rather than an expensive video rig.

VR – An Integral Part of Platform

We may see a firm uptick in professional grade as well as consumer shot 360 degree content.Update would enable you to upload scenes that have been captured with native smartphone cameras, 360 degree photospheres made with third party apps or photos shot utilising a dedicated 360 degree rig. Facebook has increasingly made VR an integral part of its platform, so today’s announcement isn’t a huge surprise: 360 degree photos are coming to your news feed.

Facebook needs to urge users to create many photos and videos as possible so that it made a camera of its own. At the time of its annual F8 developers’ conference, it had announced a reference design for a new 17 camera array known as Facebook Surround 360. The company expects that the third party manufacturer would develop their own 360 degree cameras utilising the blueprints since at the end of the day, the more photos and videos which make their way to Facebook, the more time users would spend engrossed in social network.

Landscapes Captured on Phone – Better Viewing Experience

Three years ago, Google had first attempted to promote360 degree images with the introduction of Photospheres, but they never caught on much since they were difficult to share. Anticipate that to begin changing now that Facebook tends to support the format. There is no information regarding the release date, though Facebook states that 360 degree photos would be available on mobile and the Web in the coming weeks.

 The landscapes captured on the phone would ultimately provide a better viewing experience both on News Feed and the Oculus powered Samsung Gear VR. For the first time, Facebook would also be releasing Gear VR usage stats, stating that Gear VR tends to have 1 million monthly users and those who seem to use it spend around 25 minutes each day on the device which would encourage developers in building the platform.

WhatsApp now has a Desktop Version for PC and Mac users


WhatsApp desktop App Linked to Mobile Phone

WhatsApp has eventually brought its highly popular messaging platform to the PC for Windows as well as Mac users and a desktop app has been launched, which tends to link with user’s phones so that they can message from their computer. Prior to the launch of its native desktop app, user could only utilise it through third party apps or the web version of the site.

Facebook owned company had informed in an official blog statement that the new app would include all the features such as desktop notifications, keyboard shortcuts and much more. Besides WhatsApp abilities, it brings it in line with other messaging platform Messenger of Facebook that has a native Windows 10 app in addition to web version. Intended to mirror the conversations from the mobile app, WhatsApp desktop app needs the mobile phone of the user to be switched on, close by and connected to the internet in order to function.

The basis for this apparently inconvenient need is to strengthen the security of the app by sending all the incoming messages to a specific device for protection from potential account hacking, according to the independent report. Moreover, account users are compelled to sign in with their phone numbers and forbid users from installing the app on other platforms such as tablets which makes the messaging service essentially mobile first and PC second.

No Calling Abilities

The new app is said to work just the same way as WhatsApp Web, the web browser form of the well-known messaging service. Users could scan a QR code on their computer screen with the phone to connect the two devices which is believed to improve the security of the app.

By providing inroad for PC users, the improvement will further speed up the growth that WhatsApp has seen over the years. Presently, WhatsApp has over a billion users all over the world. Early in the year, in order to improve the privacy of the user, WhatsApp had added end-to-end encryption to its mobile app.

Various keyboard shortcuts, comprising of Ctrl (command on a Mac) +Shift + M to mute a conversation and Ctrl + Shift + U to change the read status of a message, make the desktop app, an improved form of WhatsApp Web. Besides the shortcuts, the desktop app does not provide any new services to set it apart from the web form and does not have calling abilities.

WhatsApp Free to Download

But it does fill a gap bringing the service that has over a billion users, in line with apps like Slack, Messenger and Hangouts. Users will not have to log back in every time they close their web browser; with the desktop app. Desktop App of WhatsAppis free to download and is available for all software types after Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.9. In the meanwhile the release of the desktop app comes at an extremely contentious timing since the company is involved in legal problems with the Brazilian government especially with the law enforcement agencies over debated access to user data. The judge has already suspended the services of WhatsApp, nationwide, twice and has also ordered the jailing of a Facebook executive over its apparent refusal to hand over the requested data mentioned in a report of Venture Beat.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Windows 10 to Kill Wi Fi Password Sharing Option


Microsoft Adds Wi-Fi Sense to Windows 10

When Microsoft had publicized Windows 10, it had added Wi-Fi Sense, which had earlier debuted on the Windows Phone operating system. Wi-Fi had been a password-sharing option which enabled the user to share Wi-Fi passwords with friends and contacts in Skype, Outlook and Facebook. This option is aimed at making it easier to share the Wi-Fi network with family and friends within range and the goal is to eradicate the stress of physically doling out the Wi-Fi password to those you decide to grant access.

When one tends to share Wi-Fi network access with Facebook friends, Outlook.com contacts or Skype contact they are connected to the password-protected Wi-Fi networks which one opts to share and get access to the internet within range of the networks. Similarly you will also be connected to Wi-Fi networks that they tend to share for Internet access also. You only get Internet access but don’t get to see Wi-Fi network passwords. They will not have access to the other computers, or devices or files stored on your home network and likewise you also will not have access to things on their network.

Password-Sharing Option has Raised Concern

But, the password-sharing option has raised concern, at first particularly from people who thought that it automatically shared your network with anyone desiring to access. Wi-Fi Sense tends to offer controls wherein one can choose which networks to share, which contacts could tap into your Wi-Fi. Your contact can gain access to your network but your password tends to be unknown to them.

 Microsoft in the latest preview edition of Windows had intentions of removing the Wi-Fi password-sharing option which was not sufficient in justifying the cost of maintenance, though it will keep the Wi-Fi Sense feature which enables to connect to open networks.

Microsoft VP Gabe Atul had mentioned in a blog recently that `the cost of updating the code in keeping this feature working, together with low usage and low demand, does not make this worth the effort for further investment. Wi-Fi Sense, if enabled will tend to continue to get you connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots which it is aware of, through crowdsourcing’.

Persuading Individuals to Shift to Windows 10

Microsoft has been trying to persuade individuals to shift to Windows 10, in order to make up for the failings of Windows 8 that is available as a free upgrade to those running Windows 7 or 8.1. However that deals is said to be scheduled by end of July 29 and hence before that, Microsoft needs to lure as many users as possible. Moreover, if one tends to choose

Express Settings when Windows 10 is installed, Wi-Fi Sense is turned on by default.The first thing to be done is to turn it off and to do this, you will have to go Settings and then Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Wi-Fi settings and uncheck the option of sharing your networks with Outlook.com contact, Skype contacts and Facebook friends. You can also turn off the ability of automatically connecting to open hotspots here and to connect to networks shared by your contacts.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Google Patents Computer That can be Injected Directly into the Eyeball


Google’s Patent – Device injected in Eye to Improve Sight

Google has been working on a computer which can be injected into the eyeballs of individuals. A new patent filing indicates plan for a device which can be stuck into the eyes of people to improve the sight but also tends to provide extra powers. Though the technology in the patent may not actually be released, it is another example of Google’s obvious interest in getting computers onto and in the eyes of individuals.

The injectable machine is said to be just behind the visible area of the eye, focusing light so that it can rectify poor vision. As described in the patent dated April 28, 2016, the device is said to be injected in fluid which then tends to get solidified to couple the device with the eye’s lens capsule, which is the transparent membrane surround the lens. Injection tends to take place, `following the removal of the natural lens from the lens capsule’.The injected device in the eye contains various tiny components such as storage, sensors, radio, battery as well as an electronic lens. The eyeball device tends to get power wirelessly from an energy harvesting antenna.

Placing Technology onto Eyeball Instead of External Visual Aid

The antenna would enable it to get connected to other device outside the eye which would help in processing the information. The patent defines what appears like an external device to interface with eyeball computer and the two tend to communicate through a radio. The interface device has the process to do the needful computing. As per the patent, the electronic lens would be assisting in the process of focusing light onto the retina of the eye.

This is not the first time that Google has worked on technology where one could stick it right in the eyeball. Earlier, Google had made attempts in creating an eye-linked computer with Google Glass spectacles, though that idea faced problems and is now being re-launched as a product precisely for the workplace. Since then, patents seemed to show that Google is making attempts in placing technology onto the eyeball instead of just an external visual aid. It had filed another patent for smart contact lenses in 2014, which could display information as well as monitor their wearer’s glucose levels.

It had begun talking about the Google Contact Lens which measured glucose levels in tears to help individuals with diabetes. The glucose measuring contact lenses have now been a part of Verily which is the division under the new Alphabet organisation dedicated in life sciences and most probably this type of eyeball device is being worked on by Verily. Andrew Jason Conrad has been listed as the inventor and is the head of Verily. He was connected with Google Contact Lens project.

An article last month in Stat News had described adeparture in talent from Verily due to difficulties working with Conrad. Earlier to Google, he had been the co-founder as well as the Chief Scientific Officer of Laboratory Corporation of America. He also had a PhD in cell biology from the University of California in Los Angeles. The work on the technology in that patent seems to be in progress and the company has been collaborating with a healthcare company in developing similar technology. However, several technology patents do not really make it to the market and hence the injectable computer could not actually be in the eyes of the people in the future.

Saturday 14 May 2016

Survive a Military Grade Bio Attack by Sitting in Your Car


Tesla’s The High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration

According to the company, those intending to buy a Tesla should add the capability of surviving a biochemical attack to the `pro’ column. It is said that Tesla has been examining a new in-car filter to `scrub’ the air inside as well as outside the vehicle in an attempt to fight the increasing issue of air pollution afflicting major cities. Air pollution has an important as well as a prevalent influence on public health.

As per World Health Organization, it is considered as the world’s largest single environmental health risk where over three million people tend to die due to this which is more than twice the number of people that die in vehicle accidents every year. Health and safety is of great importance to us. The HEPA filtration – High Efficiency Particulate Air, had been motivated by technology utilised in hospitals as well as the space industry. As per a blog post by Tesla, it has the capabilities of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria as well as pollution, before the driver enters and systematically scrubs the air within the cabin to eradicate traces of such kind of particles.

Air Pollution more Injurious than Car Accidents

Air pollution, statistically speaking, is more probably to be injurious to the world’s motorists than car accidents, considering the huge number of people residing in cities with the dangerous levels of air pollution which is beinga hindrance to health. The company of Elon Musk is tarnished for tackling some of the major challenges facing humanity; hence the latest feature of the Tesla Model S and Model X should not be surprising.

Irrespective of the outside state of air, drivers will be sitting in an unspoiled oxygen environment. The company has mentioned that the filter system tends to undergo rigorous testing by being placed in what amounted to a bubble full of pollution. The blog post explained that `a Model X was placed in a large bubble contaminated with extreme levels of pollution. The falcon doors were then closed and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode. Within a span of two minutes, it had cleaned the air inside the Model X to enable Tesla workers to sit safely inside the vehicle.

Filter System Very Effective

During the following minutes, the filtration system started cleaning the air outside the car eliminating the number of unwanted particles by around 40%. The company has stated that Bioweapon Defence Mode is not a marketing statement, but is real and one can exactly survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in the car. Revealed first by Musk last year, the mode utilises an extreme level of air filtration to eliminate harmful toxins from the air.

Tesla stated that it was almost 200 times more toxic than the world’s present highest levels recorded in Beijing. The company, in fact claim that their filter systems are so effective that it can even clean the air outside the car. Tesla will tend to continue in improving the micro-geometry as well as chemical passivation defences in the primary and the secondary filters that can be replaced easily and it will get better the long one tends to own their car.

Emoji Feminism

<Emoji Feminism

Emojis Designed to Represent Women Better in Workplace

A set of 13 emojis have been designed by Google engineers and according to them represent women better in the world of work. The designs have been presented to the Unicode consortium which is a body that tends to approve and standardise emojis. The team have mentioned that they hope the samples would empower young women, the substantial emoji users and reflect better the fundamental roles that women seem to play in the world and include healthcare workers, scientists as well as businesswomen.

 Emojis are considered to be icons which are being utilised in mobile and web messaging in order to help tell a story. The terms which means picture (e) and character (moji) in Japanese had been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. A group of four Google employees mentioned a New York Time op-ed known as `Emoji Feminism’ as the inspiration for its new design. Amy Butcher commented that `they were told that they are the new generation of American women, no longer a minority and that they in fact, are the majority of breadwinners in American homes and yet the best that they can get is the flamenco – dancer’.

Search Engine for Emojis – Emojipedia

Research done by Procter & Gamble indicated that 82% of girls in the age group of 16 – 24 tend to use emojis daily. More than half of those who had been surveyed were of the opinion that female emojis were stereotypical. The designs of Google comprise of women in technology, construction, farming as well as the food industry. Female musician emoji includes homage to the late David Bowie with a pink zigzag on her face.

Users have the option of choosing from various skin tone and as well as the generic yellow on some of the devices. A search engine for emojis, Emojipedia, had recently proposed that one should also be able to choose the colour of hair and specify gender. All the emojis should be approved by Unicode to ensure that they are displayed properly on the various platforms.

But emojis could look quite different on competing platforms, where a dancer emoji for instance shows up as a ballerina on LG phones, a man disco-dancing on Samsung devices, a yellow blob with its arm raised on Android and a flamenco dancer on iOS. The next set of emoji candidates is said to be released mid-year though it is not known whether the designs of Google will be approved in time to be included in this.

Empower Girls Everywhere

According to its proposal, the objective of Google is to have these emojis in steady use on smartphone and computers towards the end of the year in order to empower girls everywhere. Presently, there are more than 1,000 standardized emojis that are utilised globally depicting everything from ice-cream to dragon to police cars.

But the current emoji selection feels subtly chauvinist, portraying men running and policing while women dance and cut their hair. Google had mentioned in its proposal that `considering the fact the women seem to be the most regular emojis users and they span a wide professional spectrum which is not yet reflected in the present emojis, we want to help address this pressing matter of equality’.

It is a good gesture though there is yet a long way to go in putting women on equal footing in the workplace. According to the latest data from the National Committee on Pay Equity, women in the U.S. tend to make around 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. The gender pay gap is closing since the early 60s though the change has been quite slow.

Friday 13 May 2016

New LG Tech Hides Fingerprint Sensors Away


LG’s Fingerprint Sensor in Glass Front Panel

Fingerprint sensors seem to be the norm on modern smartphone though they are assimilated with a button of some type. Intending to create smoother and simpler devices, LG Innotek, the division of the company which produces components and materials has integrated a fingerprint sensor in the glass front panel but from beneath the sheet instead of in front or on top. It means that it is totally hidden away; more resistant to damage though crucially tends to have the same level of accuracy expected from a regular exposed fingerprint sensor.

The new fingerprint sensor enables users to only place their finger on the glass of their phone screen and the sensor beneath tends to identify the print. The benefit of this is that in view of LG, is the capability for waterproof of phone as well as better prevention of scratches. LG has crafted a small 0.01 groove on the underside of a glass screen cover to lodge the fingerprint module, as proof of the idea. Having the sensor hidden away on the inner side, phone designers would need to think productively on how to reveal its location. LG states that the module tends to have an accuracy of 99.998% which means that it will only falsely recognize someone else’s print 0.002% of the time.

Fingerprint Sensors on Phones – Immediately Obvious

Fingerprint sensors on most of the phones tend to be immediately obvious since it is being fitted inside button on the front such as the iPhone or Galaxy S7 or in recessed square or circular cut-outs towards the back of a phone such as in most Huawei devices or the LG G5.LG Innotek flipped the glass front panel around, fixed out a piece just 0.3 mm thick, placing the fingerprint sensor inside.

On turning the glass over and there is nothing there to indicate a fingerprint sensor is hidden away, giving a sleeker, less cluttered design and opportunities marking out where to place a finger or thumb utilising subtle graphics or markings. The sensor is protected from water damage while the surface is less likely to be scratched without using sapphire crystal cover such as those used on the Touch ID button of iPhone. Moreover has also dropped a 130 gram steel ball from a height of 20 cm to prove that the thin glass is tough.

Invisible Sensor – False Acceptance Rating – FAR 0.002%

LG asserts that the invisible sensor has a false acceptance rating – FAR of 0.002% which is a possibility of it accepting someone’s fingerprint as your own. Though it is great for our own security, it is an essential if LG prefers to use the new fingerprint sensor on Android phones. According to Googles’ documentation, a FAR rating not greater that 0.002% seems to be a requirement for sensors utilised with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

While the new under glass fingerprint sensor has been announced, with LG Innotek developing a special adhesive in order to stick the sensor to the underside of the panel, there is no sign of when it would go into mass production, ready for the use on a real phone. The G5 had been revealed by LG recently but some have been expecting it to show off a sequel to the V10 later in the year.

AI Patient App Launched at Alder Hey Hospital

Alder Hey

Alder Hey in Partnership with Watson for AI App

The staffs at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool has teamed up with IBM Watson in order to create an app which would be helpful for patients and doctors to work better together. The app would be answering any queries that parents as well as children tend to have regarding their hospital stay. Moreover it will also enable children to create a profile so that clinician will be aware of things like their favourite colour. Later on it could be utilised to provide insights into treatments.

Watson is said to be an AI platform which has been advising doctors on treatment in a dozen cancer hospitals in the US, searching through data and it can read 40 million documents in a matter of 15 seconds and would be offering insights into probable treatment.

It could ultimately do similar things at Alder Hey though has started with more simple patient/doctor app, which has been designed to make the hospital visits function more smoothly. The hospital has been working with the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Councils’- STFCHartree Centre to develop the app.

Helping Patients/Families before Coming to Hospital

Hundreds of Alder Hey patients together with their parents will be asked a range of questions on everything from parking, to what they would like to eat, to their favourite games and films and what they want their bedroom to look like, for the next few months.

Besides this, they would also be asked what questions they have regarding clinical procedures, general anaesthetic as well as surgery. A team of experts from IBM and the Hartree Centre will be utilising this information to train `Watson’ in anticipating and responding to questions from patients and families before they tend to come in the hospital.

A paediatric surgeon and director of innovation at Alder Hey, Mr Iain Hennessey, informed BBC that `helping the patients and their families prepare properly to come into the hospital could reduce their anxiety and would mean that they can get them better and return home faster.

He adds that `so much of medicine is about looking after people and is roughly a third of what is done and it is a neglected part. How we communicate with patients has not changed much over the last 100 years. A leaflet is seen as cutting edge and website of patient information is award-winning’.

AI App – First Project of IBM/STFC Hartree

He stated that later on, the platform may offer `more hard-core diagnostic but informed that governance around using patient data was a nightmare. He wanted to get this off the ground faster and utilising patient records in time consuming, is costly and could cause debate.

Alder Hey is well-known for caring and that is what he wants to build on. The future application would comprise of summaries of patient notes, spotting trends all over the hospital and the AI could also be utilised in providing treatment as well as care options. Paul Chong, IBM’s European director for Watson had stated that he was thrilled to see IBM Watson technology applied to help doctors and the patients in an attempt to enhance the lives of children together with their families.

The AI app is said to be one of the first project that has come out of a wide-ranging £315 million partnership between IBM and STFC Hartree. Contributions from the US tech giant are £200 million while the government has pledged £115 million for research in big data applications. IBM has stated that patients can provide feedback through the app on a voluntary basis.

Turn Your Living Room into a High Tech Paradise

Designers: Homify

Home Tech/Latest Devices/Apps

Living room is agreat place to relax in the midst of family and friends with great number of gadgets that tend to make it much more convenient, enhancing our life and home. Home tech is getting better than ever and the latest devices and apps tend to simplify tasks, making the use of these resources better and alter our way of living. So much so we now find it difficult to do without them. From health and well-being, to home automation, together with personal computing and smart wearable we tend to live in the days of technological revolution. The television is the centre piece of most of the living room and hence tends to be of a high quality placed in the room. Various models have been competing in the market and one can make an appropriate choice based on the budget and models.

Amazon Echo

With achievements done in the technology world, the Amazon Echo is another choice for the living room, which is like Siri. It is just a Bluetooth speaker but then tends to start talking to `Alexa, which is the AI assistant at the core of the device. Besides that, it can do much more. Like Siri or Google Now, or Cortana, it can take down dictated notes, give information regarding the weather, set up alarms, can schedule appointments, read out audio books, add items to a to-do-list or just give random bits of information besides many more tasks. The Echo is said to be better at understanding requests and can get connected to different other smart devices in the home such as Sonos speaker or Philips Hue light. If one intends working on building a smart home, it could be the centre of it all.

TP-Link Archer C9 

Having a reliable Internet connection would enable you to have your connected devices functioning well where the TP-Link Archer C9 has the capability of offering it. It provides fast Wi-Fi speed of over 802.1lac which can manage various devices simultaneously, has good range via its trio of antennas and has various ports for supporting wired as well as wireless connections at the same time. It is also a great mid-tier router available at a good price.


Nest Protect 

This is a smart smoke alarm and carbon dioxide detector that is connected to your home Internet of Things network. It tends to alert you to dangers in any of the rooms it may take place. Smartphone notification makes sure that one is not caught unaware.

Muji Air Purifier 

Muji Air Purifier sucks up dust, pollen etc., filters out the bad air through the three layers of activated charcoal giving out the pure air through the top. The coolest feature is the jet air setting which tends to identify when you are vacuuming around the house and knocks the speed of the fan to a maximum of 30 minutes giving out clean air.

Devices to give us Control of our World

Besides these, there are various other gadgets which have made a great impact in the lifestyle of individuals and the overall way of living. Whether it is a new device which can bring us close together or tend to give us control of our world, we can find a gadget for any purpose one would prefer. The choice is available if the user intends to be in possession of any of them made available in the market.

Thursday 12 May 2016

The German Traffic Light for Smartphone Zombies

Credit: Thomas Hosemann/City of Augsburg

Smartphone Zombie – Substantial Safety Risk

The word `smombie’ is said to be one of the latest addition to the German language. Last November, the term mashup of smartphone and zombie denoting to unaware smartphone users staggering around the cities like the undead had been voted Youth Word of the Year in Germany. Smartphone zombie is a pedestrian who tends to walk slowly and without much attention to their surroundings since they have their focus on their smartphone. It has now become a substantial safety risk since the preoccupied user could result in an accident.

Cities like Chongqing and Antwerp have now introduced special lanes for smartphone users in order to help direct and handle them. China had over 5 hundred million smartphone users, in 2014 and more than half of them had phone addiction. In Chongqing, the government had built a cell phone pavement which separated the phone users and the non-phone users and in Hong Kong, they are known as dai tau juk – the head-down tribe. The disease is said to be infectious. Latest study of 14,000 pedestrians in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome and Stockholm showed that 17% of the people utilised their smartphone while walking and the substantial users were 25 to 35 years old and nearly a quarter of them showed smombie-esque behaviour.

Install New Traffic Light at Ground Levels

Augsburg, a municipality outside Munich has now braced itself for this new public peril and after many smombies had caused accidents by carelessly crossing tram tracks, the city officials had decided to install new traffic light at ground levels. At HaunstetterstraBe station, one of the two location intended for experiment, 16 red LEDs, each of which were the size of a beer mat had been embedded in the pavement next to a tram crossing. Passengers had been divided according to their merits.

Katja Lechner shuttles here daily to university and states that you really do see the lights blinking when the tram tends to approach but that does not stop anybody from crossing since people seem to rush to catch their trains. She is of the opinion that the €10,000 could have been invested in education. Arzu Araz, a hairdresser living nearby with her seven year old daughter seems to disagree and states that `the lights are ideal for kids who seem to notice them instantly’.

Smartphone Enabled with Corresponding App – Watch Out

Augsburg does not seem to be the first city to react. Cologne has prepared three trams crossing with same lights, prompting the creation of another portmanteau - `Bompeln’ which is an abbreviation of `Boden-Ampeln’ – ground traffic lights. In Munich, where a 15 year old girl with her headphones on, was killed by the tram recently, definite dangerous crossings had been fitted with special beacons which send warnings to smartphone enabled with a corresponding app known as `Watch Out’.

Meanwhile in the US, cities like Portland, Seattle and Cleveland have tested with talking buses which alert pedestrians during turns while Rexburg, Idaho have even imposed fines of $50 for walking and texting. A theme park in the Chinese city of Chongqing had experimented that tested with a special `phone lane’ for pedestrians based on an earlier investigation in Washington, DC. Augsburg official, after an experimental period, will be interviewing tram drivers as well as passengers before determining whether to roll the lights out to other stations.