• How Will the Pandemic Affect National Security Innovation

    The second week of March was an inflection point for many across the world. Rachel Olney writes that as a founder of a tech company with commercial and defense customers, she has concerns for the early-stage companies with defense applications. With the massive economic downturn came panicked investors trying to determine which companies in their portfolios would survive. “They reached out to learn how much cash we have, if we can do layoffs, and if we would ultimately survive,” she writes. “My experience was not unique.”

  • Israel Launches New “Contactless” Roadside CPVID-19 Testing Booths Which Have Zero Contact between Nurse and Patient

    Israel has launched a network of new ‘contactless’ roadside covid-19 testing booths which have zero contact between nurse and patient. The Daily Mail reports that the country has offered to share the design, which is relatively cheap and easy to produce, with other countries as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The booths, produced by healthcare companies together with civilian and military partners, provide an entirely sealed, sterile environment for the medic, and can be quickly disinfected between patients. Tests are carried out using two rubber gloves which are attached to the outer wall with airtight seals. Results are processed in a matter of hours and reported directly via the patient’s electronic health record.

  • Toward an Unhackable Quantum Internet

    A quantum internet could be used to send un-hackable messages, improve the accuracy of GPS, and enable cloud-based quantum computing. For more than twenty years, dreams of creating such a quantum network have remained out of reach in large part because of the difficulty to send quantum signals across large distances without loss. Researchers have found a way to correct for signal loss.

  • Increasing Fire Protection through Virtual Reality

    Fire is one of the most dreaded anxieties in households worldwide. In 2018 Dutch insurance companies registered no less than 80,000 domestic fires. The most common cause is smoking, followed by technical malfunctions in appliances and cooking. Preventive measures can avoid many of the consequences and there is a lot to be gained.

  • The Coronavirus Contact Tracing App Won't Log Your Location, but It Will Reveal Who You Hang Out With

    The Australian federal government has announced plans to introduce a contact tracing mobile app to help curb COVID-19’s spread in Australia. Roba Abbas and Katina Michael write in The Conversation that rather than collecting location data directly from mobile operators, the proposed TraceTogether app will use Bluetooth technology to sense whether users who have voluntarily opted-in have come within nine metres of one another. Contact tracing apps generally store 14-21 days of interaction data between participating devices to help monitor the spread of a disease. The TraceTogether app has been available in Singapore since March 20, and its reception there may help shed light on how the new tech will fare in Australia.

  • Strengthening Mobile Device Email Security and Privacy

    Large and small organizations alike now rely heavily on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets to enable their workers, customers and management to connect and collaborate, even when some or all of them are working remotely. But device users may prioritize convenience over strong security, accidently share sensitive information with unintended audiences, or use their corporate- or government-owned devices in contexts in which sensitive business information should not be shared.

  • System to Locate Rescue Forces in Distress

    In the event of fires, earthquakes, or in other emergency situations, rescue forces are often called to free persons caught in buildings. These rescue missions are very risky: Dangers are difficult to assess in advance and the helpers themselves may suddenly need help. To support them as quickly as possible, researchers have developed a system to locate injured or buried rescue forces in buildings. For positioning, no GPS signal is needed.

  • Tools to Help Volunteers Do the Most Good after a Disaster

    In the wake of a disaster, many people want to help. Researchers have developed tools to help emergency response and relief managers coordinate volunteer efforts in order to do the most good. The researchers used advanced computational models to address these areas of uncertainty in order to develop guidelines, or rules of thumb, that emergency relief managers can use to help volunteers make the biggest difference.

  • 5 Burning Questions about Tech Efforts to Track COVID-19 Cases

    The pitch from technology companies goes something like this: We can tap phone data to track Covid-19 infections in U.S. communities and swiftly warn people about potential exposure, all without ever compromising anyone’s privacy. Casey Ross writes in STAT that Apple and Google turned heads a few days ago when they announced a joint effort to bolster this public health service — a task known as contact tracing — by building software into smartphones that relies on Bluetooth technology to track users’ proximity to one another. Facebook is participating in a similar effort led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While their brands give them instant credibility in the business world, infectious disease experts aren’t convinced the technology offers a tidy solution to such a complicated public health problem.

  • The Challenge of Proximity Apps For COVID-19 Contact Tracing

    Around the world, a diverse and growing chorus is calling for the use of smartphone proximity technology to fight COVID-19. In particular, public health experts and others argue that smartphones could provide a solution to an urgent need for rapid, widespread contact tracing—that is, tracking who infected people come in contact with as they move through the world. Proponents of this approach point out that many people already own smartphones, which are frequently used to track users’ movements and interactions in the physical world. But it is not a given that smartphone tracking will solve this problem, and the risks it poses to individual privacy and civil liberties are considerable.

  • Bluetooth Signals from Your Smartphone Could Automate COVID-19 Contact Tracing While Preserving Privacy

    Imagine you’ve been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. Health officials begin contact tracing to contain infections, asking you to identify people with whom you’ve been in close contact. The obvious people come to mind — your family, your coworkers. But what about the woman ahead of you in line last week at the pharmacy, or the man bagging your groceries? Or any of the other strangers you may have come close to in the past 14 days? Researchers are developing a system that augments “manual” contact tracing by public health officials, while preserving the privacy of all individuals. The system enables smartphones to transmit “chirps” to nearby devices could notify people if they have been near an infected person.

  • Deepfakes 2.0: The New Era of “Truth Decay”

    Deepfake technology has exploded in the last few years. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) “to generate, alter or manipulate digital content in a manner that is not easily perceptible by humans.” The goal is to create digital video and audio that appears “real.” Brig. Gen. R. Patrick Huston and Lt. Col. M. Eric Bahm write that a picture used to be worth a thousand words – and a video worth a million – but deepfake technology means that “seeing” is no longer “believing.”  “From fake evidence to election interference, deepfakes threaten local and global stability,” they write.

  • The Coronavirus Crisis: A Catalyst for Entrepreneurship

    Throughout human history, crises have been pivotal in developing our societies. Pandemics have helped advance health-care systems, wars have fueled technological innovations and the global financial crisis helped advance tech companies like Uber and Airbnb. The present coronavirus pandemic will arguably not be an exception; entrepreneurs can be expected to rise to the challenge. Businesses play a key role both in helping society get through an economic crisis and in creating innovations that shape society after a crisis. So one key question is: how will the ongoing crisis influence future society? While it’s hard to predict the future, we can develop an understanding of what is ahead by analyzing current trends. It’s clear the post-pandemic future will be different. What’s happening during the crisis will have a lasting impact on society. Current signs of entrepreneurial initiative and goodwill give us some cause for optimism. In the words of Stanford economist Paul Romer: “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”

  • Quantum Computers Will Break the Internet, but Only If We Let Them

    Tomorrow’s quantum computers are expected to be millions of times faster than the device you’re using right now. Whenever these powerful computers take hold, it will be like going from a Ford Model T to the Starship Enterprise. Hackers may soon be able to expose all digital communications by using advanced quantum computers. A new form of cryptography would stop them, but it needs to be put into place now.

  • Lasers to Detect Weapons-Grade Uranium from Afar

    It’s hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you can’t get close? A technique for detecting enriched uranium with lasers could help regulators sniff out illicit nuclear activities from as far as a couple of miles away.