• Lend Me Your Ears: Securing Smart-Home Entry with Earprints

    Fingerprints and DNA are well-known forms of biometrics, thanks to crime dramas on television and at the movies. But as technology drives us toward the Internet of Things—the interconnection of computer devices in common objects—other forms of biometrics are sure to enter the cultural consciousness beyond use as forensics tools such as face recognition and retinas, veins, and palm prints. Researchers say that “earprints” could one day be used as person identification to secure smart homes via smartphones.

  • COVID Is Ushering in a Surveillance State That May Never Be Dismantled

    Is the “new normal” to be a surveillance society, with tracing apps and facial recognition health passports? Philip Johnston writes in The Telegraph that the British government insists not; but if we are hit by a second wave of COVID-19, the temptation to extend the monitoring will be hard to resist.

  • New App Helps Combat Climate Change

    Researchers studying the relationship between road designs and conditions and excess fuel consumption and environmental impact, designed an app aiming to reduce carbon pollution, conserve fuel, and minimize the environmental impact of driving.

  • Harnessing Wave Power to Rebuild Islands

    Many island nations, including the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are facing an existential threat as a result of a rising sea level induced by global climate change. Researchers are testing ways of harnessing nature’s own forces to help maintain and rebuild threatened islands and coastlines.

  • New AI Diagnostic Can Predict COVID-19 without Testing

    Researchers at King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company ZOE have developed an artificial intelligence diagnostic that can predict whether someone is likely to have COVID-19 based on their symptoms. Their findings are published today in https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0916-2. Click or tap if you trust this link.">Nature Medicine. King’s College London says that the AI model uses data from the COVID Symptom Study app to predict COVID-19 infection, by comparing people’s symptoms and the results of traditional COVID tests. Researchers say this may provide help for populations where access to testing is limited. Two clinical trials in the UK and the US are due to start shortly.

  • BGU Scientists Develop Anti-Coronavirus Surface Coating Based on Nanomaterials

    In light of the possibility that the virus can spread through contaminated surfaces, it is important to be able to sterilize surfaces with high contamination potential, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons or handrails in public areas in general, and in hospitals and clinics in particular. However, current disinfectants are mainly based on chemicals such as poisonous sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or alcohol, both of which provide only a temporary measure until the next exposure to the virus. Israel’s Ben Gurion University said that Prof. Angel Porgador, from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at BGU and the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), and Dr. Mark Schvartzman, Department of Materials Engineering at BGU, are developing novel surface coatings that will have a long term effect, and contain nanoparticles of safe metal ions and polymers with anti-viral and anti-microbial activity.

  • Enhancing Privacy Protections for Android Applications

    From navigation to remote banking, mobile device users rely on a variety of applications to streamline daily tasks, communicate, and dramatically increase productivity. While exceedingly useful, the ecosystem of third-party applications utilizes a number of sensors – microphones, GPS, pedometers, cameras – and user interactions to collect data used to enable functionality. Troves of sensitive personal data about users are accessible to these applications and as defense and commercial mobile device users become increasingly reliant on the technology, there are growing concerns around the challenge this creates for preserving user privacy.

  • Speech Recognition Techniques Help Predict Volcanoes’ Behavior

    Researchers are aiming to automatically analyze volcanic activities to develop early-warning models that could save the lives of people living near volcanoes. Machine learning has been used for  pattern identification in speech recognition, and researchers say the same technique can be used to understand patterns of volcanic “behavior.”

  • All’s Clear for Deep Fakes: Think Again

    A few analysts are claiming that the bark of deepfakes is worse than their bite. Robert Chesney, Danielle Citron, and Hany Farid disagree, writing that “Now is not the time to sit back and claim victory over deep fakes or to suggest that concern about them is overblown. The coronavirus has underscored the deadly impact of believable falsehoods, and the election of a lifetime looms ahead. More than ever we need to trust what our eyes and ears are telling us.”

  • Web App Helps Truck Drivers Move Critical Supplies

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, a patchwork of well-intentioned, state-level restrictions has emerged. They have impeded interstate commerce and the rapid delivery of critical food, medical and sanitation supplies. As truckers work to move products throughout the country, they are often confronted with closed rest areas, local curfews, and in some cases, 14-day quarantines. INL researchers developed a web application to visually display route restrictions, alternative routes and other pertinent information pulled from publicly available sources, including state websites and databases.

  • Second Skin Protects against Chem, Bio Agents

    Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations. Researchers have developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

  • Wobbly” Tracing App “Failed” Clinical Safety and Cybersecurity Tests

    The government’s coronavirus contact tracing app has so far failed the tests needed to be included in the NHS app library, HSJ understands. Jasmine Rapson writes in HJS that the app is being trialed on the Isle of Wight this week, ahead of a national rollout later this month. Senior NHS sources told HSJ it had thus far failed all of the tests required for inclusion in the app library, including cyber security, performance and clinical safety. There are also concerns at high levels about how users’ privacy will be protected once they log that they have coronavirus symptoms, and become “traceable,” and how this information will be used. Senior figures told HSJ that it had been hard to assess the app because the government was “going about it in a kind of a ham-fisted way. They haven’t got clear versions, so it’s been impossible to get fixed code base from them for NHS Digital to test. They keep changing it all over the place.” HSJ’s source described the app as “a bit wobbly.”

  • A Face-Recognition Tech that Works Even for Masked Faces

    In these corona days, face-recognition technologies — used for a variety of security purposes — are severely challenged by the fact that everyone’s wearing protective masks. The Israeli company Corsight says it has solved that problem with autonomous artificial intelligence.

  • Researchers Release COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App

    A consortium of scientists with expertise in big data research and epidemiology recently developed a COVID Symptom Tracker app aimed at rapidly collecting information to aid in the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As reported in the journal Science, early use of the app by more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. and the U.K has generated valuable data about COVID-19 for physicians, scientists and public officials to better fight the viral outbreak.

  • Monitoring COVID-19 from Hospital to Home: First Wearable Device Continuously Tracks Key Symptoms

    The more we learn about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the more unknowns seem to arise. These ever-emerging mysteries highlight the desperate need for more data to help researchers and physicians better understand — and treat — the extremely contagious and deadly disease. Northwestern University says that Researchers at Northwestern and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago have developed a novel wearable device and are creating a set of data algorithms specifically tailored to catch early signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 and to monitor patients as the illness progresses.