“‘With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,’ Obama said. He bemoaned the fact that “some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction,” in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets.”
From my Boston Globe column this week, Northeastern’s latest robotic-mechatronic assistive aid (a breathtaking amount of GNR –genetics, nanotechnology and robotics — research, here):
“Given America’s growing ranks of aging boomers and wounded vets, it looks like the folks at Biomedical Mechatronics Laboratory (www.robots.neu.edu) at Northeastern University have a moneymaker on their hands.
Last week, the lab reported progress on its smart-gloves technology, the ATLAS Bimanual Rehabilitation System, which stroke patients can use to retrain their arms, hands, and fingers.”
A new, cellular network-connected picture frame is a receptacle for your shots from the street. From my Globe column, this week:
Called the Vizit, the sleek device is prettier and more powerful than the cheap digital frames we have seen lining the shelves at CVS and Costco. It comes in a half-dozen finishes. And you can use the frame to form a network that includes your friends’ and family’s mobile phones and PCs, and perhaps even their own Vizits.
The National Institute of Justice is seeking proposals for a device that can immediately scan crime scenes — bodies, suspects, CCTV camera data recordings, blood traces, you name it — and prisoners, for evidence in investigations.
The device should meet the following requirements:
1. Detection of the “broad spectrum” of contraband, including metallic and nonmetallic weapons, at any controlled access point. The preferred solution would be a product that, once commercialized, would be commercially available for under $25,000. To prevent contraband from entering correctional facilities, the preferred technology will be a portal that can also detect contraband concealed within body cavities. 2. Noninvasive, continuous monitoring of a subject’s use of both illegal and prescription substances. 3. Detection of trace blood at crime scenes from a distance of 5 feet or greater. 4. Accurate detection of gunshot residue in the field in real time. 5. Ability to extract full streams of digital multimedia evidence (DME) from incompatible systems, while maintaining the integrity of the metadata.
I smell a setup, but I know Swann Security will deny that “Willy Wu” (who is this guy?) wasn’t paid to “rob” its CES booth earlier this month.
One thief was either not paying close attention to the booth he decided to target or he was just very confident. What the thief didn't realize was his whole act was caught on camera at the booth he had stolen from.
It’s a “me too” market grab for the Dutch electronics maker.
But Gizmag greets the announcement with this ludicrous, blanket, windbag statement:
Remarkably, for all the knowledge we have accumulated as a species, one of humanity’s primary aspects, our sexuality, remains shrouded in veil of political correctness, awkwardness and misunderstanding.
The post celebrates Philips for making sex less shameful–as if our culture could get any more debased around the issue. In fairness, the author of this particular post (excerpted, above), might himself have a dating life plagued by miscues. It happens.
Universal Hub relays the news that Boston’s languishing municipal Wi-Fi project–that is, its government-run wireless internet service–has been reinvented as an ad-hoc, mesh network:
The effort initially focused on traditional wireless access points (like the ones you can see on lightpoles all over Brookline), but organizers realized that would prove impossibly expensive and so are now using a “mesh” approach, in which each subscriber’s computer is essentially equipped to act as an access point through a cheapo router. The result: Free WiFi in parts of the Fenway.
This is not likely to be good news for individual privacy and security.
First, consider the following:
Muni Wi-Fi projects in other cities have been marred by conflicts of interest and mismanagement
Users in other cities are already being charged for what they were told was going to be “free” access
Boston is among the cities planning to piggyback police and other government communications onto its muni Wi-Fi network. (This “dual use” for the network has the potential to bring Homeland Security dollars into the city’s coffers.)
Ad-hoc networks were not created with privacy and security in-mind. Rather, the technology was first deployed in vineyards and parking lots.
Ad-hoc wireless networks are more prone to unreliable connections and speeds–which means the folks on Mission Hill, and in Boston’s other poor neighborhoods, will be getting less service for their money.
Cheap wireless equipment might also be more vulnerable to backdoor attacks.
Augmented reality: Headgear is an issue. Photo: CC/Régis Gaidot
There’s another dimension present, everywhere we go, that a growing number of technologists are working to uncover. These people aren’t talking about theoretical physics or a magical world of fairies and gnomes – they’re talking about information that could offer more context to traditionally physical lived experience. Augmented Reality (AR) is the phrase being used and this practice of making layers of data available on top of real world experiences could be a big one soon.
Actually, there may be another dimension present, but that isn’t what the technologists are uncovering. Rather, they are helping to impose someone else’s messages onto what we experience through our eyes and ears.
Update: My favorite feature on the Axon: its “Privacy Mode” switch, which automatically suspends recording during an arrest.
Because dashboard cameras catch only a part of the beat-down action, cops now use a new technology, from the makers of the not-so-less-than-lethal Taser: the Taser Axon. A cop wears the Axon over his ear, super soldier-style, while a device on his chest records the action, including all police radio calls. More on this to come.
On the street, law enforcement officers have seconds to make life-and-death decisions. In the courtroom, lawyers, administrators and jurors have years to analyze and second-guess those decisions. How do you protect the truth when officers have to defend their actions? The AXON (Autonomous eXtended On-Officer Network) by TASER. Only AXON protects the truth … because it provides a full-motion recording of exactly what the officer saw and heard, from the officer’s visual perspective. AXON offers audio-video recording of an incident from the point of view of the officer with pre-event video capture. AXON’s evidence-gathering capabilities can help streamline report documentation to maximize police-work efficiency.