Connect with us

Technology

Blind Man Invents ‘Smart Cane’ That Uses Google Maps & Sensors To Identify Surroundings

Published

on

Blind Man Invents ‘Smart Cane’ That Uses Google Maps & Sensors To Identify Surroundings
Photo Credit: WeWalk

This electronic walking stick is revolutionizing the way that blind people can navigate the world.

As a means of protecting people from low-hanging objects and obstacles above chest level, the WeWalk smart cane uses ultrasonic sensors to warn the user of nearby hindrances through vibrations in the handle.

The cane can be paired with a smartphone’s Bluetooth system for easy control. Since it is also integrated with Voice Assistant and Google Maps software, it can use built-in speakers to inform the user of nearby stores and infrastructural details that they may not be able to see.

WeWalk CEO and co-founder Kursat Ceylan, who is also blind, told CNN that he helped to develop the cane out of a desire to use modern technology as a tool for the visually impaired.

 “In these days we are talking about flying cars, but these people have been using just a plain stick,” he told the news outlet.

“As a blind person, when I am at the Metro station I don’t know which is my exit … I don’t know which bus is approaching … [or] which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWalk.”

The WeWalk is currently being sold for $500 a pop. As the Turkish tech start up gains more traction, the developers hope to eventually pair it with ridesharing apps and transportation services to further improve its navigational abilities.

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more like this one, we’d be humbled if you would help us spread the word and share it with your friends and family. Join us in our quest to promote free, useful information to all!

Share This Story
Continue Reading

Technology

Hackers Can Turn Sex Robots Into Killing Machines, Security Expert Warns

According to Nicholas Patterson, a cybersecurity lecturer at Deakin University, humanoid sex robots could potentially murder you.

Share This Story

Published

on

Hackers Can Turn Sex Robots Into Killing Machines, Security Expert Warns
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

According to Nicholas Patterson, a cyber-security lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, humanoid sex robots that have recently hit the market could potentially be hacked and turned into killing machines.

Patterson gave this warning in a string of interviews with various UK publications:

“Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs, and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices. Often these robots can be upwards of 200 pounds and very strong. Once a robot is hacked, the hacker has full control and can issue instructions to the robot. The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots. Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage.”

Similar warnings surfaced last year in response to the growing popularity of Bluetooth-enabled sex toys. It was revealed that hackers could control the devices from remote locations, and even use them to spy on unsuspecting pleasure seekers.

Realistically, any device connected to the internet can be programmed to do harm, or at the very least spy on you. In fact, most smart devices are specifically designed to spy on users for data mining purposes.

The primary reason sex robots evoke a special fear when it comes to hacking potential is because they are made in the likeness of humans. These devices are some of the very first humanoid robots that everyday consumers have the opportunity to interact with, which is naturally causing a great deal of anxiety for some. It has been predicted that humanoid robots will become a part of our everyday lives in the near future, but in reality they are far less dangerous than their formless counterparts.

We have been trained to believe that the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) will come in the form of a Terminator-like robot that looks indistinguishable from an actual human, while invisible AI algorithms have been silently taking over our lives for the past decade, right under our noses. The real AI threat is disembodied, and comes in the form of algorithms that are sending the wrong people to jail, controlling the information you see online, and even writing the news.

The idea of a rogue robot that can walk and talk is indeed scary, but having every service and product being controlled by invisible algorithms is far worse. While this technology could be used to make positive change in the world, it is unfortunately true, as many experts have pointed out, that the ethics of these devices are only as good as the humans who programming them.

An article published last year in Nature, explores the ethical framework of technology like self-driving cars. The article notes that the ethics of self-driving cars are based on the trolley problem, an ethical lifeboat scenario that would prove extremely unlikely in the real world. According to the ethics of self-driving cars, informed by the trolley problem, the lives of old people are less valuable than those of younger generations, and the life of an athlete is likewise more valuable than a “large” woman or homeless person.

A self-driving car has a choice about who dies in a fatal crash. Here are the ethical considerations:

https://t.co/ZcEgDQfxhh #automation pic.twitter.com/XzLWQWDzcr — World Economic Forum (@wef) November 3, 2018

Share This Story
Continue Reading

Innovation

New Device Can Generate Renewable Energy ‘Out Of Thin Air’

Published

on

Photo Credit: EcoWatch

Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch

Imagine painting your home with a special paint that also powers your lights using renewable energy drawn from the air.

That might sound too good to be true, but researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst think it could be one of many future uses for a new technology they have developed — a device called the Air-gen that can, as its name suggests, generate electricity from moisture in the air.

“We are literally making electricity out of thin air,” Amherst electrical engineer Jun Yao explained in a university press release. “The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7.”

The device, explained in a Nature article published Monday, is a unique collaboration between engineering and biology, according to the press release. Its origins lie within a microbe called Geobacter that study coauthor Derek Lovley discovered in the mud of the Potomac River more than 30 years ago. After studying the microbe, Lovley realized that it could produce protein nanowires that conduct electricity. Lovley and Yao then joined forces to see if there were practical applications for the microbe’s power.

It was one of Yao’s PhD students who discovered the key was moisture.

“I saw that when the nanowires were contacted with electrodes in a specific way the devices generated a current. I found that that exposure to atmospheric humidity was essential and that protein nanowires adsorbed water, producing a voltage gradient across the device,” Xiaomeng Liu said in the press release.

Science Alert explained how the device is designed:

“The Air-gen consists of a thin film of the protein nanowires measuring just 7 micrometres thick, positioned between two electrodes, but also exposed to the air.

Because of that exposure, the nanowire film is able to adsorb water vapour that exists in the atmosphere, enabling the device to generate a continuous electrical current conducted between the two electrodes.”

Currently, 17 of these devices linked together can generate enough electricity to power a cell phone, Science Magazine explained. While it requires some humidity, it can work in places as dry as the Sahara Desert.

Guo Wanlin, a materials scientist at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics who wasn’t involved with the study, told Science Magazine it was a “milestone advance” in the study of hydrovoltaics, the molecular generation of electricity from water.

The researchers hope to develop commercial applications for their device, which, Lovley argued in the press release, has major advantages over other sources of renewable energy like wind or solar since it can be used anywhere, even indoors.

Shorter term uses would include an Air-gen “patch” that would power Fitbits or smart watches, or a device that would power cell phones, eliminating the need for re-charging.

“The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems,” Yao said.

These would include the power-generating house paint, or a generator that would produce off-the-grid electricity. All that needs to happen is to find a way to mass produce the wires, and Lovley is headed in that direction with his successful genetic engineering of the fast-growing E. coli bacteria to produce the nanowires, Science Magazine reported.

“Once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, I fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production,” Yao said in the press release.

However, Dirk de Beer of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, who was not involved with the research, expressed reservations. He told Science Magazine that the paper made him “a bit concerned” because he wasn’t sure where the electrons powering the Air-gen were coming from.

“I think a deeper understanding… is needed,” he said.

About the Author

Olivia is a freelance reporter for EcoWatch.

Share This Story
Continue Reading

Space

Mysterious Deep Space Radio Signal Repeats Every 16 Days, Baffling Scientists

Could it be aliens?

Share This Story

Published

on

Mysterious Deep Space Radio Signal Repeats Every 16 Days, Baffling Scientists
Photo Credit: Pexels

Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge

A startling scientific find by space researchers which sounds straight from the plot of the 1990’s sci-fi movie Contact is the last thing you might expect to read on CNN this week.

Mysterious radio signals from space have been known to repeat, but for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth,” the report begins.

The “mystery radio signal” has been recorded as repeating based on a clear discernible pattern according to a new paper by a team of astrophysicists in Canada that pinpointed bursts which are unprecedented, identified as “fast radio burst” — or a short radio emission, with a 16-day cycle.

The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object,” the team of scientists said in the paper. A brief summary of some of the key findings are as follows:

“Between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019, detected a pattern in bursts occurring every 16.35 days. Over the course of four days, the signal would release a burst or two each hour. Then, it would go silent for another 12 days.

…The signal is a known repeating fast radio burst, FRB 180916.J0158+65. Last year, the CHIME/FRB collaboration detected the sources of eight new repeating fast radio bursts, including this signal. The repeating signal was traced to a massive spiral galaxy around 500 million light-years away.”

The team hopes to eventually trace the origin of the mysterious bursts, which has a variety of possibilities, and has even raised the question of alien life “reaching out” to establish contact.

So could it be aliens seeking to establish contact via hidden messages meant to be deciphered from rational patterns?

The MIT Technology Review’s Neel Patel, who first broke the story this week of the research team’s latest breakthrough, thinks it highly unlikely:

Wait, is it aliens? Almost certainly not! The signals are a sign of energetic events that are on the extreme scale of the cosmos. Even a highly intelligent species would be very unlikely to produce energies like this. And there is no detectable pattern so far that would suggest there’s a sentient hand at play.

Patel offers likely scenarios including a celestial body orbiting another object, such as a “low-mass black hole.”

Some analysts have elsewhere suggested it’s the result of a binary system involving two massive stars orbiting each other. And Phys.org described what could be the most mundane theory, that it could be “nothing more than the noise created when two stars collide.”

“Another possibility is that stellar winds might be alternately boosting or blocking signals from a body behind them. Or it could be that the source is a celestial body that is rotating,” the same source offered.

The CHIME telescope in British Columbia will attempt to detect future fast radio bursts (FRBs), via USA Today.
The CHIME telescope in British Columbia will attempt to detect future fast radio bursts (FRBs), via USA Today.

Regardless, the breakthrough observation could help future astronomer’s better map out the universe.

Understanding fast radio bursts can also help astronomers learn more about the universe itself,” CNN concludes. “The more bursts they can trace, the better they may be able to use the signals to map how matter is distributed across the universe.”

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge.com | Republished with permission

The views in this article may not reflect editorial policy of Collective Spark.

Share This Story
Continue Reading

Technology

Apple Fined £21,000,000 For Deliberately Slowing Down Older iPhone Models

Published

on

Apple Fined £21,000,000 For Deliberately Slowing Down Older iPhone Models
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

An investigation launched in January 2018 determined that Apple had used a software update in order to deliberately slow down older iPhone models. Even though Apple admitted to this accusation, they claim it was done in an effort to try and help preserve the battery life of the phone.

The investigation was undertaken by a consumer watchdog from France, and now Apple will face the wrath of France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF), who recently announced this on their website.

“The DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.

These updates, released during 2017, included a dynamic power management device which, under certain conditions and especially when the batteries were old, could slow down the functioning of the iPhone 6, SE models and 7.

Unable to revert to the previous version of the operating system, many consumers would have been forced to change their batteries or even buy a new phone.”

Apple has not yet commented on this conclusion. However according to the DGCCRF, they have accepted the fine.

Apple’s Apology

In 2017, when the investigation began, Apple attempted to save face with their consumers by posting the following apology:

“We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about the issue so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.”

Along with this apology, Apple announced that the company would reduce the cost of the replacement batteries for iPhone 6s and later editions that are out of warranty. They reduced the price from $79 to $29 and this was available anywhere Apple products were sold until December 2018.

Planned Obsolescence?

If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is used to describe a practice companies often use when designing their products, designing them with the intention of having them break down so that consumers will have to repeatedly purchase the product more often. From a business standpoint, it makes sense, if the consumer only had to buy each product once in their life, that wouldn’t be very good for business. But having it deliberately break down every couple of years ensures that the consumer will keep buying it over and over again.

The term ‘perceived obsolescence’ refers to products that are seemingly out of date, and thus the consumer makes the decision to replace the item, even if it’s still in perfect working condition. We all know Apple is famous for this. We see images of people waiting in line overnight, in the cold, just to get the latest model, even though their current model is just fine. Considering Apple comes out with a new model at least every year, all the company would have to do is market it correctly, adding just the right features to persuade the consumer that they must have it. In this day and age, that’s pretty easy to do as we often want the latest and greatest thing to satisfy our constant yearning for more.

Extremely Irresponsible

It is great to know that organizations such as the DGCCRF exist, so that these massive corporations can be held accountable for their actions. Not only are these types of business practices deceptive and unfair to the consumer, but from an environmental standpoint, they are extremely irresponsible. When you consider the amount of resources, manpower, time, and money that are put into these products just to have them deliberately break down, there is very little upside to this tactic. This is a clear example of how our species is disconnected from themselves and the world.

The fact of the matter is that there is technology that exists now that can last much longer than what we currently have available to us. It’s a shame that many of us are so blinded by the latest gadget that we have no concern for all of the effort it took to get that gadget in our hands. As consumers, we have to be responsible, and recognize what we are contributing to with every purchase we make. We have a choice, to be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. Which will you choose?

This article (Apple Fined £21,000,000 For Deliberately Slowing Down Older iPhone Models) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

Share This Story
Continue Reading

Our Facebook Page

Trending Now

STAY AWARE

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!