Here's once again with its Top 10 tech news for this week. So, no need to dig or surf anywhere else, statiate your tech hunger for tech in this week roundup article.

1) Meet Lakshmi, India’s First Robot to Be Appointed as Customer Care Executive at a Bank

Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank recently debuted Lakshmi, India’s very first banking robot. It took the bank more than six months of hard work to develop Lakshmi, an artificial intelligence powered robot that is the country’s first on-site bank helper. The robot is capable of answering intelligently on more than 125 day-to-day bank related subjects.

Whether you want to know about the current interest rates on home loans or even know your current account balance, Lakshmi can tell you all. Apart from this, it has also been programmed to connect to the core banking solution.

All around the world, very few banks have employed robots at their branches to help both their staffers and customers. With Lakshmi, City Union wants to bring a whole new experience to India.

2) This Tiny WiFi Device Developed By Stanford Engineers Supplies Missing Link For the Internet of Things

Conceived by a Stanford University research team led by Sachin Katti, an associate professor of electrical engineering and of computer science, and Pengyu Zhang, a postdoctoral researcher, HitchHike is a tiny, ultra-low-energy wireless radio that promises to be the thing that the Internet of Things was looking for since long.

The 2 in 1 Hitchhike prototype is a processor and radio all in one. Although it is about the size of a regular sized postage stamp, but its engineers still feel that it can be made smaller so that it can be easily implanted in bio-devices like a wireless heart rate sensor.

HitchHike is being termed by its developers as the first and only self-sufficient WiFi system that has the power of enabling data transmission by making use of just micro-watts of energy—almost zero. Further, one of its many plus points, is that it can be used as it is with the existing WiFi without any additional equipment or any major modification.

3) Google, Microsoft and Others Create Guidelines For Improving IoT Security

Nowadays, personal computers are no more the only devices connected to the internet. A variety of devices embedded with Internet connectivity and functions have also joined the party. This very class of devices, famously known as the Internet of Things or IoT, and has ended up giving birth to a new level of security and privacy risks.

In order to curb these, the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group or the BITAG- an alliance formed by world technology giants Microsoft, Google, Verizon, Intel and a number of other players in the tech industry- has laid out a set of guidelines so as to improve the security on Internet of Things devices.

They are as follows:

a) IoT Devices should make use of the best current software practices. This should include a strong mechanism for secure, automated software updates.

b) IoT Devices should use strong authentication by default and not use common or easily guessable user names and passwords (e.g., “admin”, “password”).

c) IoT Devices manufacturers should follow best security and Cryptography practices by securing communications using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Lightweight Cryptography (LWC). If devices rely on a public key infrastructure (PKI), then an authorized entity must be able to revoke certificates when they become compromised, and manufacturers should take care to avoid encryption methods, protocols, and key sizes with known weaknesses.

d) IoT Devices should be restrictive rather than permissive in communication.

e) IoT Devices should continue to function even if the internet connectivity is disrupted.

f) IoT Devices should continue to function even if the cloud back-end fails

g) IoT Devices should ship with a privacy policy that is easy to find and understand.

The report has also recommended that IoT devices manufacture should make sure that the devices are not reachable via inbound connections by default. Since BITAG is just an advisory group, it can’t legally enforce any of its recommendations on IoT device manufacturers, but can only give them crucial points to think on and act.

4) Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017, By Gartner

Gartner’s Vice President and a Gartner fellow himself David Cearley has come up with top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for the year 2017. Mesh, intelligent and digital-are the three main themes that forms the basis of Cearley’s list, which he announced at the recently held Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

5) Its Official, Facebook Internet Drone Aquila Is Not For India, Says Facebook India Chief

The Mark Zuckerberg led company has decided not bring its unmanned solar-powered drone, Aquila, to the Indian subcontinent. Aimed at providing infrastructure for affordable internet connectivity in remote areas all around the world, Aquila could have made substantial difference in India’s below-average internet connectivity scenario.

The social networking decision to not bring Aquila to India was recently confirmed by Facebook’s India and South Asia managing director, Umang Bedi to a website.
Though Aquila might not be coming to India, Facebook is still looking at a sustainable development effort in the country via one of its new initiatives called the Express Wifi. The project is in its early stage pilot, with the social networking giant working with telcos and entrepreneurs.

Express Wifi is going to allow users to purchase internet from local data providers, and according to a leading daily, it has already successfully been offered at 125 rural Wifi hotspots as part of the pilot. As soon as the pilot materialises, we can expect more details on the project.

6) This New Technology Could Light The World Using Gravitation

Gravity is the miracle that keeps us grounded on this very planet Earth, but years pass by that we even acknowledge its presence. But, did you know this marvelous downward force also has the potential of lighting the whole wide world?

The GravityLight Foundation is focused at bringing a safe and bright future to all those areas of the world with limited or no electricity access through its innovative GravityLight lamps, which make use of the power of gravity. The Foundation, which is a UK Registered Charity, is working towards alleviating poverty and protecting environment through innovative designs.

Developed by designers Jim Reeves and Martin Riddiford, GravityLight is a simple, low-cost gear-train and generator that makes use of a descending weight to power a perpetual light source. The lamps give people who are currently living in a dark after the sun goes down a possibility to add new possibilities and dimensions to their lives.

7) The supercomputer of the future is nearer than we thought

Scientists at the prestigious Sussex University have recently claimed that they are almost close to building a large scale quantum computer. According to the Professor Winfreid Hensinger, the technology can prove to be a real game changer since quantum computers could be capable of solving in milliseconds the problems that are estimated to take even the fastest supercomputer millions of years.

8) Dutch scientists make use of color-changing graphene bubbles to create ‘mechanical pixels

Researchers from Netherlands' Delft University of Technology have discovered what could one day most possibly give birth to a new type of display technology: bubbles of graphene that change color as they keep expanding and contracting.

According to the researchers, these ‘mechanical pixels’ could have the potential of making screens that are more durable, flexible and energy efficient than the current LED technology in the market.

9) Google’s AI has developed more proficiency at lip reading than humans after watching thousands of hours of TV

Researchers from tech giant Google’s Artificial Intelligence division DeepMind and the University of Oxford have used artificial intelligence to create what they claim is the most accurate lip-reading software that the world has ever seen.

By making use of thousands of hours of BBC TV footage, the scientists have successfully trained a neural network to annotate video footage with a decent 46.8% accuracy. Though that might not seem very impressive at first, but when the same footage is tested on a professional human lip-reader, he can only get the right word 12.4% of the time.

10) China's LingLong launches DingDong smart home speaker to take on Amazon Echo

LingLong, a China based tech firm, has launched the country's first voice-activated smart home speaker, DingDong, which tech experts consider can give Google's Home and Amazon's Echo a run for its money.

The device, which understands Mandarin, Cantonese and basic English, makes use of voice interaction to do various tasks such switching on home appliances and playing videos/music.

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