Friday, 6 May 2016

Google, Fiat Chrysler Working on Self Driving car Deal

self driving

Google & Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV – Developing Self-Driving Cars

Google together with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are almost on the point of agreeing on a partnership which could break barriers between Silicon Valley and the auto industry in competition of developing self-driving cars, according to sources familiar with the discussion. The announcement of the partnership deal would be out soon as disclosed to Reuters on condition of anonymity by three people familiar with the situation, since the discussions seemed to be private.

The talks at first were reported on Thursday by blog Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. as well as Fiat Chrysler, refrained from commenting on this issue. Google has stated that it does not desire to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored deals with auto companies though none have been confirmed. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive stated recently that the company was in talks with an advanced technology company, though had not offered any details. The executives at the other auto makers, together with Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Daimler AG, have shown wariness regarding alliances with Alphabet or other technology companies which could demote them to the role of hardware suppliers.

Marchionne Interested in Partnership with Google/Apple

Auto executive had informed that they do not want to stand by while Alphabet gains richer profits from the data created by vehicles and their passengers. GM has indicated that it intends to go its own way on driverless car technology, going ahead in buying self-driving vehicle start-up, Cruise Automation. After Fiat Chrysler had issued quarterly earnings on Tuesday on a conference call, Marchionne had repeated that he was interested in partnerships with Google or Apple Inc. Marchionne had stated in response to a question regarding working with non-traditional automakers that `dialogue continues with people who are interested in exploring their relevance in the automotive world and would continue to help them find their way out’. A former auto executive, John Krafcik, who tends to head Alphabets’ self-driving car project, at a conference in Detroit in January, had made a public pitch for partners. Fiat Chrysler officials in Michigan as well as Italy had refrained to comment on assumption that the technology of Google would ultimately be offered on the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan launched in February.

Self-Driving Vehicles, Minivans – Ride Sharing/Shuttle Fleets

Marchionne together with the other FCA officials are scheduled to visit the Windsor, Ontario plant which builds the Pacifica on May 6. The auto as well as the technology industry executive had stated that the self-driving vehicles, probably the minivans would hit the roads first in ride-sharing or shuttle fleets. Among the models which Alphabet has been utilising in its self-driving project, is the Lexus RX450h, which is a hybrid sport utility vehicle, manufactured by Toyota Motor Corpn. Alphabet intends to have the first driverless minivans on the road by this end of this year but has not commented on a timeline for all 100 vehicles. On increasing the test fleet, the agreement would be helpful to Alphabet’s mission to automate the world’s vehicles. Its present fleet of 70 self-driving cars has driven over 1.5 million miles in California, Washington, Texas and Arizona.

British Inventor Builds Incredible Working Hoverbike


Colin Furze’s incredible Working Hover-bike

Colin Furze, Lincolnshire plumber, garage inventor and YouTuber, has developed a working hover-bike, which is an unhinged flying bike/human blender which unbelievably tends to get off the ground and truly flies, as per Furze. Furze’s YouTube video that shows his attempts at flying the bike had been posted on Thursday which has been viewed already almost 1.7m times in less than 24 hours.

The self-taught engineer who features on the Sky 1 program Gadget Geeks had built the machine in his garage. It does not have brake or seat but has two accelerators and can be navigated. As mentioned in the video, Furze does not have any formal engineering qualifications and has never flown before and that makes the achievement all the more appealing.

When the hover-bike tends to be manoeuvrable, it evidently seem to have trouble landing and Furze has to use his feet in order to stop the vehicle and jump off to avoid being injured by the whirring propeller blades. The bike seems to have gone through a range of various prototypes that have been featured in the video. Furze constantly tends to break and mangle many earlier models since he tries to land unsuccessfully.

Project Sponsored by Ford – Unlearn Campaign

This does not seem to be the first outing as a mad stuntman of Furze but he has utilised his plumbing experience to build several machines, inclusive of the world’s longest motorbike, the world’s fastest stroller made with turbojet engine as well as a jet-powered motorcycle made with pulse jet engines.

His latest project had been sponsored by Ford as part of the Unlearn campaign that tends to motivate innovation by telling people to try entirely new things. As part of the same campaign, in January, he had asked the public to recommend their craziest ideas for new kinds of transportation and had promised to build the winners.

He had received around 10,000 suggestions in less than 24 hours from Britons comprising of a heli-helmet, a turbine-powered quadcopter as well as a hovercraft-helicopter hybrid. Furze who had shared the video of his latest innovation had gone viral on social media. It is a metallic hoverbike which tends to use propellers to float a few inches off the ground level.

Bike without Seating/Brake/Steering Mechanism

Most of the people would have left it half way but not Furze who used rotor blades and two engines to make his glider. He states that it is the most outrageous thing ever ridden. Feeling it lift for the first time was a strange experience. It only just seems to lift a person off the ground.It had taken him four to five weeks in constructing the prototype.

But the bike is without proper seating, brakes or a steering mechanism, since all these substances would have made the vehicle too heavy to fly. It is incredible that Furze seems to be a plumber and not an engineer, considering that he has never created any kind of flying machines earlier.

Furze has said that his invention was intended to show that a person does not need advanced tools and degree in creating marvels. He had mentioned on his website that `the things he make are made with tools that proper engineers would laugh at but he is proof that one does not need an expensive lathe and huge welder in creating something amazing’.

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’.