04:08 pm Mithilesh, a pipe fitter from Baniyapur's Simari village, modified his Tata Nano car by incorporating a helicopter's basic design features as his dream of designing and flying a helicopter could not be fulfilled. The look-a-like helicopter car i now becoing an attraction centre. It took Mithilesh and his brother nearly seven months to finish the design and, moreover, seven lakh rupees were invested in the project. A 12th class passes away, the youngster has always dreamed of making helicopters and is happy to drive his "helicopter car" on the road even if he can't fly one.
02:07 pm Kanpur, The scientists at the IIT-Kanpur have ventured into the world's first robot hand for the rehabilitation of stroke patients and have finished their tests on it. The device is a two-finger robotic hand (exoskeleton) that uses a four-bar mechanism and has four degrees of freedom (DOF). Professor Ashish Dutta and Professors K S Venkatesh who have achieved this feat, explain that "The exoskeleton can be used by a patient on the hand. It uses brain signals, with the help of the brain computer interface (BCI) that is worn on the head, and helps paralysed patients to open and close the movement of their thumb, forefinger and middle fingers for physical practice." The exoskeleton is operated by an MEGA microcontroller of 300 Mhz and powered by a battery. The teachers say that the device will cost around Rs 15,000. For the exoskeleton, the duo has partnered with the University of Ulster, based in the United Kingdom, and their teacher Girijesh Prasad, who belongs to Gorakhpur. The device has sensors that control the pressure of the fingertip applied by the patient. If the patient can close or move the finger, the device follows the movement passively. If it does not, then the device actively forces the finger to close, while taking BCI instructions using signals. Regarding the design of the device, the movement of degrees of freedom of the exoskeleton is based on the movement of the human finger while manipulating a coin in the hands. The joints in the device consist of four bars to give a human movement. The design and development of an exoskeleton robot for the support and rehabilitation of human hands is a Rs 55 lakh MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Department) and the British Council (the UK) project which was approved in 2018. The research has been published in leading journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Biomedical and Health Informatics, Haptics and Engineering in the Medical and Biology Society.
09:07 am Gurugram, Seventy-nine per cent smartphone users in India are using over-the-top (OTT) apps for entertainment and as many as four out of five users have at least one OTT entertainment platform on their device, a new report said on Thursday. Hotstar is the most-penetrated OTT entertainment app with 49 per cent of smartphone users having it installed on their devices. The OTT platforms installed on the devices are in addition to the casual entertainment apps such as YouTube and UGC (User Generated Content) platforms like TikTok and with such as penetration, OTT entertainment apps have become the 'most-penetrated' app category for smartphone users in India after social networking, chatting and e-commerce Apps, revealed the report by market research firm techARC. "Over the past three years, we have seen a lot of enablement both from the smartphone OEMs as well as operators' sides. This has facilitated the growth of OTT entertainment services as well as consumption. "While 4G has undoubtedly created this category, it has been complemented by the smartphone industry that has innovated to save every micron on the screen for full-screen viewing, backed by a powerful battery and stereophonic sound," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC. One of the main factors for Hotstar's growth has been its sports content, especially cricket. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video has slightly better penetration than Netflix in India. Prime Video penetration is 15 per cent as compared to 13 per cent of Netflix. This is a result of Amazon's close relationship with some smartphone OEMs where Amazon apps like Amazon Shopping and Amazon Prime Video come pre-loaded in the device.
05:07 pm Jerusalem: In a warning, an Israeli cyber body has unearthed a new type of attack where hackers are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to impersonate senior company executives. The main innovation is the attacking software, which learns to mimic the voice of a person defined for it and makes a conversation with an employee on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The most common types are phishing messages and an invoicing fraud in which the attacker impersonates the vendor, submits an invoice to the company and tries to motivate an employee under time pressure to make a bank transfer, provide information or allow access to the company's network, informed the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD). In this method, instructions are given to the companies staff members to perform transactions such as money transfers, as well as malicious activity on the company's network. Reports on cyber attacks of this kind were received at the operations centre of the INCD, reports Xinhua. The new offensive is of the business email compromise (BEC) type -- frauds by email against commercial and government organizations to motivate employees using social engineering methods to act for the attacker's benefit. The method of attack escalates and includes the use of the AI-based software, which makes voice phishing calls to senior executives. Today, there are already programmes that, after listening 20 minutes to a particular voice, speak in the voice everything that the user types. According to the INCD, for an organization that falls prey to such fraud, economic damage may be high. In its announcement, the INCD also issued suggestions for taking precautions and raising awareness among organizations -- such as training employees, paying attention to deviations in organizational processes, verifying instructions and using technological means to prevent misuse of email.
05:07 pm San Francisco/New Delhi: Third-party contractors working for Google are recording and secretly listening to your bedroom conversations via Google Assistant on smartphones, home speakers and security cameras, a new report has claimed, stressing that such recordings raise serious questions about privacy of users. According to Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS, users' conversations with Google Home speakers are being recorded and audio clips are being sent to sub-contractors who are "transcribing the audio files for subsequent use in improving Google's speech recognition". VRT NWS, with the help of a whistleblower, was able to listen to more than 1,000 excerpts recorded via Google Assistant. "In these recordings, we could clearly hear addresses and other sensitive information. This made it easy for us to find the people involved and confront them with the audio recordings," said the report on Wednesday. The transcribers heard just everything: personal information, bedroom talks, domestic violence and what not about Google Assistant users in Belgium and the Netherlands. VRT "overheard countless men searching for porn, arguments between spouses, and even one case in which a woman seemed to be in an emergency situation". What is more worrisome is that the platform that the whistleblower showed to VRT had recordings from all over the world. In India, Amazon Echo led the Indian smart speakers market with 59 per cent share in 2018, followed by Google Home with 39 per cent unit share, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). A total of 753,000 units were shipped in 2018 in the country. Google Home Mini outsold all other smart speaker models, emerging as a top seller. The Belgian broadcaster said the recordings were done despite the fact that some of Google Home users did not even say the wake word, "Ok Google". In a statement, Google said it only transcribes and uses "about 0.2 per cent of all audio clips", to improve their voice recognition technology. "The company has launched an investigation because the contractor breached data security policies," said the Google spokesperson. The news comes at a time when Amazon Alexa is already facing scrutiny for allegedly recording conversations at home. Amazon has been sued by a Massachusetts woman on behalf of her 10-year-old daughter and children from eight other US states. Filed in a federal court in Seattle, the lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving "voice prints" of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices, reports Vox news. Earlier in May, US Senators and a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates accused Amazon for recording and saving conversations that take place around its smart speakers, urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate into the case. Amazon has time and again denied the charge that Alexa records private conversations. The company, however, admitted it does not always delete the stored data that it obtains through its voice assistant Alexa and Echo line-up of smart devices. As reported by the CNET, Brian Huseman, Amazon's Vice President of Public Policy, responded to Delaware Senator Chris Coons on June 28, informing that Amazon keeps the transcripts until users "manually delete the information".
05:07 pm Jerusalem: Researchers have developed an innovative dog vest which allow users to transmit communications and command their dog via haptic technology. According to the study, dogs can be trained to respond to haptic vibration commands while wearing a modified canine vest developed at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Haptics technology simulates the senses of touch and motion, which is especially helpful in a remote operation or computer simulation where the user is not able to interact with and feel physical objects. The technology might be useful for delivering remote commands to dogs for use in search and rescue, assisting disabled handlers and other service animal applications. "Our research results showed that dogs responded to these vibrotactile cues as well or even better than vocal commands," Amir Shapiro, Professor at Ben-Gurion University said in a paper to be presented at World Haptics Conference on Friday in Tokyo. "Our current proof-of-concept study shows promising results that open the way toward the use of haptics for human-canine communication," he said. According to the researchers, the modified, commercially available mesh canine vest contains four small vibrating motors positioned over a dog's back and sides that can be used to train or direct dogs to respond to different vibrations sent via wireless remote control. The handler can elicit different commands by controlling the site and duration of vibrations. In this demonstration video, Tai, a six-year-old Labrador retriever/German shepherd crossbreed, responds to several distinct commands, such as "spin", "down", "to me" or "backpedal". The haptic vest may also be used with existing dog training devices that detect posture and automate reward systems. "Integrating devices will allow us to further advance the potential of fully or partially autonomic dog training to assess general behaviour, responsiveness to commands and the effectiveness of rewarding dogs for desired behaviour," Shapiro said.
05:07 pm New Delhi: In what could be bad news for the tech industry, Apple has reportedly shelved plans to develop its Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. According to Taiwan-based portal DigiTimes that cited people familiar with the situation, the Apple team working on the AR/VR project has been temporarily disbanded and "reassigned to other product lines". "Supply chain-related companies said that Apple is adjusting R&D resources, and the development team for AR/VR headsets has been disbanded and transferred to other product lines," claimed the report. It suggests that the discontinuation of the AR project happened after Microsoft HoloLens co-creator Avi Bar-Zeev left as Apple's AR headset development team in January. Several reports in the past have claimed that the iPhone maker is serious about launching AR glasses as early as 2020, including the Apple famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple's launch of ARkit for iOS developers has been seen as a big step for the company to enter the AR industry. "Apple's temporary termination of hardware development of AR/VR headsets does not mean that it is not optimistic about the prospects of AR/VR," said the report, adding that the timing may not be ripe at this stage. Apple CEO Tim Cook has always been bullish on AR. "AR and ML will be key to delivering the right information to the right person at the right time," Cook said recently as he announced expanded partnership with SAP. In the new update, Apple ARKit, the company's AR development platform which could only recognise horizontal surfaces while placing virtual objects, gets support to identify vertical objects. "ARKit can now recognise and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces. Using advanced computer vision techniques to find and recognise the position of 2D images ARKit can integrate these real world images into AR experiences," the Cupertino-based giant said. ARKit 3, RealityKit and the Reality Composer are other advanced tools designed by Apple to make it even easier for developers to create compelling AR experiences for consumer and business apps.
05:07 pm San Francisco: Microsoft is planning to make computers running Windows 10 operating system password-less and replace it with Windows Hello face authentication, fingerprints, or a PIN code. While the company has been working on removing passwords from Windows 10 and its Microsoft Accounts for a several months now, the next major update to Windows 10 in 2020 would go one step further, The Verge reported on Thursday. The software giant believes that a PIN code is far more secure than a password, even if it seems more simple to use a four-digit code with far less risks of it being leaked online. For an individual user, Windows 10 stores a private key on a device with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is a secure chip that keeps a PIN local to the user's device only and while servers can be compromised and passwords stolen, a Windows Hello PIN would not be affected, the report said. In addition, Microsoft's decision of making Windows 10 powerless would also extend to business users through Azure Active Directory, allowing businesses to go fully password-less with security keys, the authenticator app, or Windows Hello. If the feature is finally rolled-out next year and it works as intended, the password option would simply disappear from the login screen, if users decide to opt in to this new "make your device password-less" option.