Magic Leap

magicleap.r1x392Logically, I know there isn’t a hulking four-armed, twisty-horned blue monster clomping in circles in front of me, but it sure as hell looks like it.

I’m sitting behind a workbench in a white-walled room in Dania Beach, Florida, in the office of a secretive startup called Magic Leap. I’m staring wide-eyed through a pair of lenses attached to what looks like metal scaffolding that towers over my head and contains a bunch of electronics and lenses. It’s an early prototype of the company’s so-called cinematic-­reality technology, which makes it possible for me to believe that the muscular beast with the gruff expression and two sets of swinging arms is actually in the room with me, hovering about seven feet in front of my face.

He’s not just visible at a set distance. I’m holding a video-game controller that’s connected to the demo station, and at the press of a button I can make the monster smaller or larger, move him right or left, bring him closer, or push him farther away.

Of course, I bring him

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge New Flagship Phones Bring Amazing New Features

galaxiIf there’s been a more leaked phone than the Samsung Galaxy S7 then I can’t remember it. Samsung’s new flagship, which will replace the S6 next month, is easily one of the most discussed and hyped handsets of recent times. So let’s look at the S7 and S7 Edge and see what Samsung has achieved with the new handsets.

Firstly, the size difference between the S7 and S7 Edge is noticeable. The S7 is 5.1-inches, while the S7 Edge is 5.5-inches. Samsung has opted to make the Edge model larger, presumably to end the need for the S6 Edge+ which clearly didn’t invigorate the market in the way the company had hoped. The 5.5-inch screen is a smart move too, because it will attract those who are used to phablets, but likely not put off those who are used to smaller phones.

There’s an always-on display too, as was rumoured. Samsung confirmed that it would use less than 1% of the battery per hour, although if you consider a day of 10 hours, that’s still 10%

Cowin Ark Bringing the Boom to Bluetooth Audio

blothoth spekerEven the best portable Bluetooth speakers struggle to replicate the kind of bass performance you experience with a typical home stereo system. I’m not talking just about low frequency sound reproduction (many higher end speakers are tuned to deliver in this respect), but the kind of booming bass you get from an audio system equipped with a subwoofer. That’s difficult to duplicate in a portable — the space needed for a subwoofer works against portability, while the power needed to drive it eats into battery life. Cowin Ark is a new Bluetooth speaker that solves this problem using a novel approach: rather than trying to cram a subwoofer into a portable speaker case, it splits the system into two components. There’s a battery powered, portable speaker called the Cruze Sound Bar. And there’s also the Bass Station, a largish cabinet housing a 3.5-inch ported subwoofer.

The Cowin Ark is a successfully funded Kickstarter. It reached its campaign goal after just three days, which shows there are definitely a lot of music lovers out there looking for better bass in a

WiFi signals can be exploited to detect attackers

Physical attacks on devices connected to the Internet can be detected by analysing WiFi signals, computer scientists have discovered.

Wireless devices are increasingly used for critical roles, such as security systems or industrial plant automation. Although wireless transmissions can be encrypted to protect transmitted data, it is hard to determine if a device — such as a wirelessly connected security camera protecting critical buildings in airports or power stations — has been tampered with. An attacker may simply rotate a camera’s view away from the area it is guarding without triggering an alert.

Researchers at Lancaster University, in their study ‘Using Channel State Information for Tamper Detection in the Internet of Things’ have created a method that analyses WiFi signals at multiple receivers to detect physical attacks. A change in the pattern of wireless signals — known as Channel State Information (CSI) — picked up by the receivers can indicate a tamper situation. The algorithm detects attacks despite signal noise caused by natural changes to the environment such as people walking through the communication paths.

Dr Utz Roedig, Reader in Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications and one of the report’s

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power and more secure way to communicate information between wearable electronic devices, providing an improved alternative to existing wireless communication systems, researchers said. They presented their findings Aug. 26 at the 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in Milan, Italy.

While this work is still a proof-of-concept demonstration, researchers envision developing it into an ultra low power wireless system that can easily transmit information around the human body. An application of this technology would be a wireless sensor network for full-body health monitoring.

“In the future, people are going to be wearing more electronics, such as smart watches, fitness trackers and health monitors. All of these devices will need to communicate information with each other. Currently, these devices transmit information using Bluetooth radios, which use a lot of power to communicate. We’re trying to find new ways to communicate information around the human body that use much less power,” said Patrick Mercier, a professor

Wi-Fi achieved at 10,000 times lower power

The upside of Wi-Fi is that it’s everywhere — invisibly connecting laptops to printers, allowing smartphones to make calls or stream movies without cell service, and letting online gamers battle it out.

The downside is that using Wi-Fi consumes a significant amount of energy, draining the batteries on all those connected devices.

Now, a team of University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers has demonstrated that it’s possible to generate Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods.

The new Passive Wi-Fi system also consumes 1,000 times less power than existing energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, such as Bluetooth Low Energy and Zigbee. A paper describing those results will be presented in March at the 13th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

The technology has also been named one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016 by MIT Technology Review.

“We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. “That’s basically what Passive Wi-Fi delivers. We can get Wi-Fi for 10,000 times less power than the

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents

With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. In the journal ACS Nano, they describe new spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Joseph Wang and colleagues point out that titanium dioxide is one of the most promising materials available for degrading chemical and biological warfare agents. It doesn’t require harsh chemicals or result in toxic by-products. Current approaches using titanium dioxide, however, require that it be mixed in whatever solution that needs to be decontaminated. But there’s no way to actively mix titanium dioxide in waterways if chemical and biological agents are released into the environment. So scientists have been working on ways to propel titanium dioxide around to accelerate the decontamination process without the need for active stirring. But approaches so far have required fuel and other compounds that hinder neutralization. Wang’s team wanted to fix this problem.

To give titanium dioxide a source of thrust, the researchers coated it over a magnesium sphere core. When put in a watery environment, a single hole

Why facial recognition tech failed in the Boston bombing manhunt

In the last decade, the US government has made a big investment in facial recognition technology. The Department of Homeland Security paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to state and local governments to build facial recognition databases—pulling photos from drivers’ licenses and other identification to create a massive library of residents, all in the name of anti-terrorism. In New York, the Port Authority is installing a “defense grade” computer-driven surveillance system around the World Trade Center site to automatically catch potential terrorists through a network of hundreds of digital eyes.

But then an act of terror happened in Boston on April 15. Alleged perpetrators Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were both in the database. Despite having an array of photos of the suspects, the system couldn’t come up with a match. Or at least it didn’t come up with one before the Tsarnaev brothers had been identified by other means.

For people who understand how facial recognition works, this comes as no surprise. Despite advances in the technology, systems are only as good as the data they’re given to work with. Real life isn’t like anything you may have seen on NCIS or Hawaii Five-0. Simply

A Caltech scientist creates tiny lattices with enormous potential

To visit the lab of Caltech materials ­scientist Julia Greer is to enter a realm where the ordinary rules of physical stuff don’t seem to apply. Greer designs and builds nanomaterials that behave in ways surprising to those of us who spend our days in a world where strong materials like ceramic and steel tend to be heavy, while lightweight ones are weak. When Greer controls architecture at the nanoscale, the rules change.

Conventional ceramics are strong, heavy, and (as anyone who has dropped a plate knows) brittle, prone to shattering. But last year Greer created a ceramic that is one of the strongest and lightest substances ever made. It’s also not brittle. In a video Greer made (you can see it below), a cube of the material shudders a bit as a lab apparatus presses down hard on it, then collapses. When the pressure is removed, it rises back up “like a wounded soldier,” she says. “It’s unreal, isn’t it?” Greer often rushes to meetings around campus on Rollerblades and talks so fast that she demands focused listening. Peering into this beautiful, otherworldly nanolattice on her computer screen, she slows down for a while.

If materials like Greer’s could

Windows PowerShell Peering Through the Pipeline

You’ve probably done at least a little pipeline work with Windows PowerShell. Did you get the expected results every time? Timothy Warner, author of Sams Teach Yourself Windows PowerShell 5 in 24 Hours, points out how most of us go wrong when piping. Learn more powerful ways to use the pipeline.

Okay, PowerShell enthusiast. You say you’re ready to embrace the “secret sauce” that gives Windows PowerShell its power? I’ve found that once an IT pro begins to understand the pipeline, his or her effectiveness with PowerShell makes dramatic gains.

By the time you finish reading this article, you should have the following PowerShell skills under your belt:

  • Listing and using the properties and methods of PowerShell objects
  • Intelligently piping the output of one PowerShell command to another
  • Troubleshooting when PowerShell gives you unexpected output

Let’s begin!

The ‘Pipeline’ in

The Windows command processor, Cmd.exe, provides a tremendously rudimentary pipeline—specifically, what’s called “standard in” (STDIN) and “standard out” (STDOUT). There’s also a STDERR output, but we won’t worry about that here.

In a limited number of cases, we can redirect the current command output (STDIN stream) to another output in addition to the screen

How IT Pros Can Automate the Employee Onboarding Process

Adam Bertram explains the advantages of automating the processes involved in onboarding a new employee. Most of the initial steps in outfitting a new staffer are identical, regardless of the new hire’s position. So why are we repeating those steps by hand when we could automate the process?Any growing organization hires new people; depending on size, possibly a lot of people. The employee onboarding process is typically cut-and-dried, the same across all employees. The process can be run off a checklist and followed the same way for every employee. If your organization has an IT staff, why not take advantage of their expertise, and automate as much of your onboarding process as possible?

Once employees are hired, the onboarding process usually includes the same basic needs for each employee:

  • HR setup
  • Employee badge
  • Company key
  • Computer and software
  • Active Directory (AD) user account and security groups
  • Email mailbox
  • Home folder

And so on. Every employee’s onboarding process is probably the same, making this kind of scenario ripe for automation. Unfortunately, the entire process cannot be automated, due to the physical nature of certain tasks, but an astute IT professional will automate wherever possible. Fully automating a process like this requires five steps:

  1. Document the current manual process.
  2. Eliminate tasks you

Mining and checking paired functions in device drivers using characteristic fault injection



Device drivers often call specific kernel interface functions in pairs to allocate and release resources, and these functions can be called as paired functions. But due to poor documentation and carelessness, developers sometimes misuse paired functions in drivers, which causes resource-usage violations.


Many dynamic approaches have been proposed to mine API rules and check resource usage for user-mode applications, but they are rarely applied to kernel-mode device drivers due to their designs. Meanwhile, most existing dynamic approaches lack systematic mechanisms to cover error handling code, which limits their availability and scalability. Our goal is to improve dynamic analysis to solve these problems.


In this paper, we propose PairCheck, a novel approach for mining and checking paired functions in device drivers, using three techniques. Firstly, we design a characteristic fault injection framework to generate test cases, which simulates occasional errors and covers most error handling code with little effort. Secondly, complete runtime information is recorded through call interception during test-case execution. Thirdly, we mine and check paired functions based on collected runtime information, name patterns and statistical analysis.


To validate the availability of PairCheck, we evaluate it on 11 Linux Ethernet card drivers. PairCheck mines 37 and 43 real paired functions in Linux 3.1.1

BJP IT cell founder Prodyut Bora quits party attacks PM Modi Amit Shah’s style


Disillusioned by the “subversion of democratic tradition in the government and party”, young BJP leader from Assam Prodyut Bora, who founded the highly successful IT cell of the party, resigned from National Executive Committee and primary membership of the party.

He said that the party was no more a party with a difference. “Madness has gripped the party. The desire to win at any cost has destroyed the very ethos of the party. This is not the party I joined in 2004,” Bora told ET on Wednesday after sending his resignation letter to BJP president Amit Shah

He said he had lost hope from the BJP under its present dispensation. “The country needs a different kind of political alternative. It is up to the BJP to be that or people will look for choices,” Bora said, adding that though he had got offers from the Assam units of Congress, AAP and the AGP to join, he was not keen to take them up.

In his four-page detailed resignation letter, 40-year-old Bora raised uncomfortable questions about the style of functioning of Narendra Modi and Shah. He said that Modi had “damaged the democratic tradition of the country where the PM is the first among

Railway opts for online fuel management system

Indian Railway is firming up a proposal to develop an online fuel management system, a first of its kind for the national transporter, to check pilferage and bring transparency in fuel consumption.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is likely to announce the fuel management system in the Rail Budget 2016-17 on February 25, indicating the expansion of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) basket in the public sector behemoth.

Prabhu has laid emphasis on maximum use of Information Technology in the railways and this will reflect in his second Rail Budget this year.

CRIS, railways technology arm, will develop the online fuel management system at an estimated cost of Rs 21 crore, said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding once the system is operational, fuel-related information including consumption and expenditure will be known on real-time basis.

At present the railways monitor use of fuel and expenditure of diesel manually which leaves scope for pilferage as well as excess expenditure.

There are railway diesel installations (RDI) across the country where fuel is dispensed for rail use.

With the implementation of fuel management system in RDIs, the complete activity of fuel receipt to issue to locomotive will be

IT to get Rs 600 crore more in UID project

The Prime Minister’s prime projec, the Unique ID rollout, is likely to be allocated almost Rs 1,300 crore for distribution among states under its current budgetary provision.

But information technology, which will form a key component of the Unique ID project, is likely to get an allocation of Rs 500-600 crore, over and above the current budgetary allocation to Unique ID Authority of India, sources close to the development told ET.

The total budgetary provision for UIDAI is Rs 1,900 crore under the Union Budget for this year. However, a detailed titlewise allocation of the Rs 1,900 crore shows ‘information technology’ to be allotted Rs 130 crore under the planned allocation.

“We plan to go about technology rollout in a phased manner. The technology behind UID project will include new data centres, and also cloud computing technologies. We plan to concentrate on the technology. Right processes will automatically follow,” an official involved in the rollout said. The UIDAI may get more allocation as it rolls out more IT tenders.

The UIDAI has also invited the open source and global developer community to participate in the project. Currently the Authority is seeking client software developed for any of the operating systems in Java,

Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2015

SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology.

Editor’s note: Today the World Economic Forum‘s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies, one of the organization’s networks of expert communities that form the Global Agenda Councils, released its Top 10 List of Emerging Technologies for 2015. Bernard Meyerson, chief innovation officer of IBM and author of the following essay, is chair of the Meta-Council. Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina is serving as vice-chair. 

Technology is perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world. Although never without risk, technological breakthroughs promise solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time. From zero-emission cars fueled by hydrogen to computer chips modeled on the human brain, this year’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies list—an annual compilation from the World Economic Forum (WEF)—offers a vivid glimpse of the power of innovation to improve lives, transform industries and safeguard our planet.

To compile this list the WEF’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies, a panel of 18 experts, draws on the collective expertise of the Forum’s numerous communities to identify the most important technological trends. In doing so, the Meta-Council aims to raise awareness of their potential and contribute

16 iPhone 6S Tricks And Tips You May Not Know About

What distinguishes the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus from its predecessors — aside from the faster chipsets and the major camera upgrades — is the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch feature. The 3D Touch feature supports a new dimension of functionality such as “peeking” at content by applying a light push on the display and “popping” it open with a deeper press. There are many obvious 3D Touch uses like the ability to quickly call a contact by pushing down on the Phone icon, but there may be several iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus features that you may not know about. Below are 16 examples:

1.) 3D Touch Sensitivity Control

Within the settings of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, you can adjust the sensitivity of 3D Touch. This means that you can press on the display using various degrees of pressure to handle content previews, actions and contextual menus. The options are Light, Medium and Firm. Light sensitivity reduces the pressure required and Firm increases it. There is also a 3D Touch sensitivity test where you press a sample image to see the pressure sensitivity changes while using Peek and Pop. This feature is located under Settings > General > Accessibility > 3D Touch.


Some Key Issues In The Apple iPhone Decryption Matter

As many people are well aware, on February 16 a U.S. magistrate issued an order compelling Apple to assist the government in bypassing the security features of an iPhone 5C used by one of the perpetrators of the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. Apple responded with a strongly worded statement from CEO Tim Cook calling the order a “dangerous precedent,” and is expected to file its formal opposition with the court by February 26.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the key points of dispute that are likely to be argued as this plays out:

  1. Whether the All Writs Act applies

The February 16 court order asserts that the All Writs Act, which dates from 1789, provides the authority to compel Apple’s assistance. That act states that the “Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” The scope of the government’s authority under the All Writs Act is unclear (see Orin Kerr’s very good discussion on that topic here), as it has never been fully tested in

To Adapt You Need To Evolve

When scientists decoded the human genome in 2001, they found something astounding. While our DNA provides the blueprint for everything about us—from how we develop in the womb to eye color and personality traits—it takes only 20,000 genes to do so, less than one fifth of what had previously been thought.

What was even more mindblowing was the reason that they had been so off the mark. While our genome would seem to be the model of efficiency, squeezing all that information into a microscopic nucleus, 98% of our DNA is “junk” that doesn’t code for anything. How could our biology be so wasteful?

In The Selfish Gene, the eminent biologist Richard Dawkins explains that the confusion arises because we assume that DNA exists for our sakes rather than the other way around. We, he argues, are mere vehicles to propagate genes. Much the same can be said about ideas in an enterprise. All too often, we fail to recognize what our business’s DNA is telling us.

The Purpose Of An Enterprise

Chester Carlson was a prototypical inventor. Self taught and brilliant, he worked for years tinkering with his invention even while holding down

The Debate At The Heart Of The Digital Age

As we’ve all seen by now, last week the US Government made an unprecedented request to Apple: help create software to bypass the iPhone’s self-destruct capabilities, thus weakening the security protections its customers (consumers, businesses, and governments) have come to trust and rely on.

The horrible and saddening events surrounding the phone, and the potentially important information the device may contain, undoubtedly weighs on everyone involved in this situation. Law enforcement especially has an incredibly difficult task ahead, and one that only gets more complicated as we settle into the digital age.

As individuals and businesses increasingly rely on digital platforms to communicate, collaborate, and transact, the trust we put into modern technology is becoming one of the most important drivers of our future economic growth, shared prosperity, and societal progress. Modern platforms are powering innovation and gains in productivity with profound impacts on people’s lives. Just one category of technology, cloud computing, for example, is now powering major medical discoveries, delivering immediate patient care anywhere, helping startups launch on an unparalleled scale, and serving as the primary means for how businesses collaborate globally.

More than anything else, what these advances all rely on is

Bitcoin Agreement Promises To Break Impasse Leads To Jump In Value

On Friday and Saturday, a group of key players in Bitcoin met in Hong Kong and came to an agreement over some questions that have divided the community for more than a year and caused it to split into factions.

The accord represented a first step in breaking through the impasse, and afterward, the currency, which had been rising over the previous week when the event details had been finalized, reached a value of around $430, a level last seen in mid-January.

It was then hostility over the debate reached critical levels when one of the most prominent developers declared Bitcoin a failure and announced he was quitting it altogether in a widely publicized blog post that coincided with a New York Times article. The currency immediately shed 15% of its value, demonstrating one of the persistent threats to the currency – the issue of governance. The fact that Bitcoin is not controlled by any one entity but by a sprawling group of developers and other economic actors means that it is not always obvious how problems will be resolved or who is responsible for resolving them.

However, the new statement by the group calling itself the

The Debate At The Heart Of The Digital Age

This column was posted today on the Box blog here.

As we’ve all seen by now, last week the US Government made an unprecedented request to Apple: help create software to bypass the iPhone’s self-destruct capabilities, thus weakening the security protections its customers (consumers, businesses, and governments) have come to trust and rely on.

The horrible and saddening events surrounding the phone, and the potentially important information the device may contain, undoubtedly weighs on everyone involved in this situation. Law enforcement especially has an incredibly difficult task ahead, and one that only gets more complicated as we settle into the digital age.

As individuals and businesses increasingly rely on digital platforms to communicate, collaborate, and transact, the trust we put into modern technology is becoming one of the most important drivers of our future economic growth, shared prosperity, and societal progress. Modern platforms are powering innovation and gains in productivity with profound impacts on people’s lives. Just one category of technology, cloud computing, for example, is now powering major medical discoveries, delivering immediate patient care anywhere, helping startups launch on an unparalleled scale, and serving as the primary means for how businesses collaborate globally.