Tag Archives: techcrunch.com

Researchers find a way to snoop on you through your phone’s vibration motor

Cover up your webcam, disable microphone access and put on your tinfoil hat — but it won’t make any difference, because the Illuminati can get at you through your phone’s vibration motor now. Well, kind of, anyway. Your best defense? Talk in a high voice. The “VibraPhone” research comes from Romit Roy Choudhury and Nirupam Roy, associate professor and PhD candidate, respectively, at the Electrical and Computer Engineering school of the University of Illinois at Ubana-Champaign. It’s a surprisingly simple idea, really: A vibration motor is really like a tiny speaker. And every speaker can be a microphone. Think about it. Okay, if it’s not obvious — a magnetic surface that has its position controlled by an applied voltage can also be arranged so that its own position changes that voltage instead. One way it’s a speaker, the other way it’s a microphone. So it’s not “fundamentally surprising” that the vibration

Waking up with Pavlok’s wrist-shocking wearable alarm clock

I can’t help but think about shock collars when I wrap the bright orange silicone around my wrist. They’ve always seemed fairly cruel. And yet, here I go, putting one on myself — not for barking or wandering out of the yard, but for the crime of having a hard time getting my butt out of bed at 6AM. And while I certainly have more agency in the matter, the comparison isn’t entirely inappropriate. After all, even the name “Pavlok” brings to mind a pack of dogs salivating in anticipation of mealtime. What the name is meant to invoke is a sort of forced conditioning. The full version of the hardware is designed to curb all sorts of bad habits, with a “manual zap” button users press when bad thoughts enter their head. The Shock Clock version that launched on Indiegogo this spring is focused largely on helping people get out

$30M Stampede 2 supercomputer will provide 18 petaflops of data crunching power to researchers nationwide

Watch out, global supercomputer top 5, there’s a new contender. Or at least there will be soon, once the $30 million Stampede 2 is up and running. With 18 petaflops peak processing capacity, the new system will stand shoulder to shoulder with Cray’s Titan and IBM’s Sequoia — though a good deal behind China’s Tianhe-2. The idea then, as now, was to create a world-class supercomputing platform that could be accessed by any researcher with a problem requiring intense number crunching. Things like atomic and atmospheric science simulations, for instance, that would take years to grind through on a desktop but can be turned around in days on a supercomputer. Just imagine accounting for all the movements and interactions of the 750,000 particle analogs in this simulation of a colloidal gel! Or tracking the entropy of every pseudoparticle (?) in this 2000 cubic-kilometer general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic rendering of a supernova

Photo-sharing app for health professionals, Figure1, adds direct messaging

Figure1, which started out as a photo-sharing app for medical professionals, has quietly added direct messaging to its platform, showing signs the startup wants to be more of a Facebook and less of an Instagram in its field. Toronto- and New York-based Figure1 only allows full access to its platform to users who are verified medical professionals or students, including: doctors, nurses, dentists, physicians’ assistants, x-ray and lab technicians, pharmacists, medical students or residents. The app has 1 million registered users to-date and, on average, 10,000 unique users check in to use Figure1 every hour according to co-founder and CEO Gregory Levey. Users typically share images of challenging or classic cases, and often seek help from the Figure1 community about how to treat patients, or even diagnose them. The app includes a “paging” feature that lets users solicit help immediately with time-sensitive cases from specific specialties. Patients’ personal information is

T-Mobile is giving every customer a share of its stock

T-Mobile had another of its un-carrier events today, which now have so many regular giveaways they are starting to look like an episode of Oprah. First, the company announced that every current T-Mobile account holder on a postpaid plan will get one share of common stock in the company, which is currently worth about $43. New qualifying customers will also get one share once they sign up with T-Mobile. Plus, existing customers will be able to earn another free share (or two if you’ve been a customer for over five years) for each new customer they refer to the company — maxing out at 100 shares a year. The prospectus for the offering is here, and gives a little more color on how exactly the promotion will work. Once a customer redeems the share via T-Mobile’s new app, the security will be held in a brokerage account at LOYAL3 Securities. Stockholders can then hold on

Facebook Live attacks Twitch with game streaming

If people spend a lot of time doing something on the Internet, you can bet Facebook wants a piece. Its latest conquest attempt is the video game streaming business ruled by Twitch and YouTube. Today, Facebook announced its working with World Of Warcraft maker Blizzard to build social login and Facebook Live video streaming into their games, starting with its new blockbuster Overwatch. Blizzard gamers will be able to login with Facebook so they can easily find friends to play with and share in-game content back to the News Feed. Thanks to the Facebook Live API, that includes live-streamed footage of them playing. Facebook users will be able to watch their gamer buddies battle monsters and compete for glory while leaving real-time comments. 100 million people use the Amazon-owned Twitch service each month, while 650 million play Facebook-connected games, showing huge potential for this new feature. Video games have become

Dashlane launches a password management tool for the enterprise

Keeping your passwords safe, updated, strong and less vulnerable to hacks is a challenge for everyone – even a few of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s online accounts were hacked over the weekend, for example, likely due to the new dump of LinkedIn account data. That’s where password management software can help. Today, the company behind one of the more popular solutions for helping consumers manage their online accounts, Dashlane, is making its move into the enterprise. The company this morning announced the launch of its new software called Dashlane Business, aimed at corporate customers. Much like the consumer-facing solution, the software uses the same security architecture which requires users to type in a master password that’s never stored or transmitted by Dashlane. It also uses local encryption to secure the data. The software, like the consumer version, includes a password generator that suggests unique, hard-to-crack random passwords, and a changer tool that

The Alfieri Firenze brings a bubbly touch to the traditional watch

Like tea and toddler’s birthday parties, everything is better with bubbles. This interesting new Kickstarter watch has a unique “bubble” or convex track around its face, a feature that will be familiar to folks who like De Bethune and may want something similar… but much, much cheaper. <input type=”hidden” name=”fallback” value=” This embed is invalid “/> [embedded content] The watch comes in two styles – standard and with a lunar calendar – and runs a Ronda quartz movement. The current model, called the Firenze, is $175 for early birds. The Lunar model is $199 and includes a date window at 6 o’clock and a large moon phase readout at noon. The moon phase is an homage to more complicated watches that were able to display the phases of the moon using a perpetual calendar complication with a delightfully complex set of gears and cogs. The pieces also have a complex,

Bose’s QuietComfort headphones finally go wireless

The Bose name has more or less been synonymous with the words “noise cancelling.” As for wireless? Not so much. The headphone maker has dragged its feet when it comes to cutting the cord, even as the competition has flooded the market with Bluetooth solutions. The company, thankfully, is finally ready to take that leap, bringing wireless connectivity to its flagship QuietComfort brand. Not surprisingly, the new QuietComfort 35 headphones aren’t much of an aesthetic departure from the company’s signature mainstays. The around-ear headphones feature multiple microphones to offer up active noise cancelation. The cans feature buttons for music control and picking up calls and a rechargeable battery that promises up to 20 hours of music playback, or as Bose puts it, “longer than a flight from New York to Hong Kong.” Fair enough. The headphones are available as of today for $349.95. The new QuietComforts are also being joined by

Atari is embracing the Internet of Things with new smart home devices

Admittedly, Atari isn’t the entertainment powerhouse it once was. The company has spent the last few years digging attempting to reinvent itself after declaring bankruptcy in 2013, focusing largely on mobile gaming plays and casino deals. Now the one-time gaming juggernaut is lending its legendary name to a line of connected home devices. It’s not exactly a new console, sadly, but the iconic brand will grace “a wide range of new Atari products” created by French wireless networking company, Sigfox. There’s not a lot in the way of details surrounding what appears to largely be a licensing deal, but the initial products will include low priced home, pet, lifestyle and safety devices, featuring Sigfox’s low-energy technology. The products are said to be targeted toward both at mass-market consumers and charity organizations. via Engadget Source: TechCrunch.com Gadgets

How chief information officers become chief innovation officers

Jai Das Crunch Network Contributor Jai Das is a managing director at Sapphire Ventures. How to join the network In the early 1900s, large organizations needed another type of CEO: Chief Electricity Officer. Before there was an accessible and reliable power grid to plug into, organizations that needed electricity employed a CEO to make sure they had steady and cheap access to this vital commodity. Given the aging data center architecture, it’s now the Chief Innovation Officer who is increasingly becoming the Chief Electricity Officer of the past, responsible for keeping the lights on of their IT infrastructure. According to industry analysts, 80 percent of IT spend worldwide is allocated for maintenance, while only 20 percent is devoted to driving innovation. I believe that ratio needs to shift dramatically to enable enterprise IT to spend less time “keeping the lights on” and more time rolling out new services and apps, testing new business models and

Facebook is disabling messaging in its mobile web app to push people to Messenger

Facebook is removing the messaging capability from its mobile web application, according to a notice being served to users: “Your conversations are moving to Messenger,” it reads. Welcome news to the millions like me who switched to the web app in order to avoid Messenger in the first place! At the moment, you can just dismiss the notice and go about your business. But soon the warning will become an impenetrable wall, and your only option will be to download the official Messenger app. I’m a little worried about this, because surely the mobile site is much used by people who have good reason not to download the app. People whose phones don’t have official clients, for instance, or who can’t upgrade to the latest version of an OS, and must access via the web. And really, it strikes me as quite a hostile move, as it did before when

Drones: Putting China’s economy on autopilot

Hugh Harsono Crunch Network Contributor Hugh Harsono is a former financial analyst currently serving as a U.S. Army Officer. More posts by this contributor: Embracing the sharing economy for growth in China How to join the network The global drone market has been rapidly expanding, attracting loyal consumers while integrating itself as an emerging pillar in the technological sector. One country that has seen an extremely rapid rise in drone growth in terms of usage and production is China. Already heavily invested in producing intermediate parts for other aerospace vehicles, the Chinese are starting to prove themselves a drone-manufacturing powerhouse — and eager consumer base. As an up-and-coming sector of technological innovation, in which China invested 1.3 trillion yuan in 2015 (comprising over 2 percent of the GDP), drones are set to bolster the growth of the Chinese economy in the future. Drones and economic growth Drones will continue to support economic growth in China because it

Navy researchers develop ‘Iron Man’ style in-helmet HUD for divers

Researchers at the U.S. Navy have created a high-tech, in-helmet display for divers in the service that looks like something out of “Iron Man” — perhaps one of Stark’s early prototypes. The invention could make divers safer and more effective, and it definitely looks cool. Related Articles Autonomous Boats Are Helping The Navy Swarm On Threats In a VR world Microsoft doubles down on VR and AR, positioning Windows 10 as the “the only mixed reality platform” If you’ve ever been diving, you know it’s (usually) a pleasant experience, but a clumsy and isolated one: you mask restricts your field of view and, often, your hands are encased in thick neoprene gloves. Especially for professionals, anything that streamlines the experience is welcome. And the ability to check your location or view satellite and sonar data without fiddling with a wrist-mounted display is definitely streamlining. “By building this HUD directly inside

Instagram’s new algorithm that puts the best posts first goes live for all

If you’re looking at your Instagram today, you might notice something has changed: older posts from friends and other accounts you care about are now appearing above those that were shared more recently. Yes, the new Instagram algorithm that rearranges the order of posts to show you the “best” posts first is now live for all. We already knew that the company was planning to reorder our feeds. In March, Instagram announced plans to move away from showing posts in strict reverse chronological order, and instead boost those based on the “likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post,” as it explained at the time. If you think that sounds a lot like parent company Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, you’d be right. As Facebook came to understand long ago, the posts people want to see aren’t necessarily those that are the