With the first week of February coming to a conclusion, we at IndianWeb2 have compiled a list of the top 10 things that happened in the tech world this week.

1) India’s Largest Banks To Test An Interbank Blockchain Platform

Some of India’s largest banks have joined hands to build a consortium aimed at testing an interbank blockchain platform. The Indian banks which are actively involved the pilot are currently working with MonetaGo, a New York-based startup, which will be providing the platform.

The names of all the members of the consortium are still unknown, but according to experts there would soon be an announcement about the same when the pilot gets officially kickstarted. However, MonetaGo’s CEO in his conversation with ET revealed that all the banks involved in the consortium make up for more than 80 percent transactions in the country.

According to MonetaGo’s CEO Chenard, since his startup’s platform integrates with the banks’ existing technology systems, it makes it easier for the banks to adopt the platform. He also added that the pilot, which he expects will be lasting about nine to twelve months, would be costing a bank a fraction of a million dollars.

2) Apple Will Start Building iPhones In India By April, Says Karnataka IT Minister

After a lot of back and forth, Apple seems to have finally seen some light at the end of the tunnel. According to a recent statement given by Karnataka IT minister Priyank Kharge, the tech giant will soon start assembling its much-famous iPhones in the country.

Reportedly, the tech giant is joining hands with Taiwanese contract manufacturer major Wistron for successfully executing its India manufactured iPhones.
In a tweet, Kharge said, “Apple’s intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state.” In an interview with Bloomberg News, he had even said that all the iPhones manufactured on the Indian soil will be solely used to meet the demands of the Indian market.

The manufacturing is expected to begin in Karnataka’s state capital Bangalore, also known as Bengalaru, by the end of April 2017.

3) India’s Central Bank Issues Public Notice Against Bitcoin

In a recent notice issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to the users of virtual currencies in the country, the Central Bank has urged them to be extra cautious while engaging in any digital currency-related activity.

The notice reads, “The Reserve Bank of India advises that it has not given any licence / authorisation to any entity / company to operate such schemes or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency. As such, any user, holder, investor, trader, etc. dealing with Virtual Currencies will be doing so at their own risk.”

RBI has always been sceptical about bitcoin usage in India and has always made it opinion known to the Indian citizens. In 2013, it had said that it was closely following the developments relating to “Decentralised Digital Currency” or “Virtual Currency” (VCs), such as Bitcoins, their usage or trading in India.

4) An Anonymous Group Took Down A Fifth Of The Dark Web

The morning of 3rd Feb, 2017 saw visitors of more than 10,000 Tor-based websites waking up to an alarming announcement reading: “Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.”

According to sources, the group that had been successful in compromising the servers at Freedom Hosting II, which is an extremely famous service for hosting websites accessible only through Tor, identified itself with Anonymous.

The group even left a message on the hacked website stating that it is open to selling the compromised data back to Freedom Hosting II in exchange for 0.1 bitcoin, or just over $100.

According to an earlier report, the Freedom Hosting II made up roughly 20 percent of dark web sites, including a number of bitcoin escrow services, Ponzi schemes and hacking forums.

5) uBeam Finally Shows Its Futuristic Wireless Charging Tech In Its First Ever Public Demo

uBeam, the famous Silicon Valley-based wireless charging company claims that they have successfully developed a way to charge electronic devices using ultrasonic waves, meaning a truly cord-less way of charging regardless of what surface the smartphone is touching.

In the past, the company has been highly criticised for not organising detailed discussions and demos of its technology, with some even going ahead and comparing the company to the disgraced blood-testing firm Theranos.

The firm finally debuted its wireless charger this week at Upfront Summit in Los Angeles in an “off the record" demonetisation.

6) Google Sells Satellite Imaging Business Terra Bella To Planet Labs

The week saw Alphabet Inc's Google announcing that it has decided to sell its satellite imaging business to San Francisco-based private satellite operator, Planet Labs. The financials of the deal weren't revealed by either of the two parties involved.

Planet Labs will be taking over the Terra Bella business including the SkySat constellation of satellites. After the deal closes, Google will enter into a multi-year contract to purchase Earth-imaging data from Planet Labs. The deal will help Planet Labs to broaden the horizon of its available data and add quite a few new customers.

7) Mozilla Gives Up On Firefox OS; Lays Off Team

Mozilla seems to have finally given up on its Firefox operating system originally aimed at powering 'connected devices'.

Reportedly, the nonprofit organization has told its employees this week that it has decided to eliminate the entire team working on bringing Firefox to connected devices. According to sources, some 50 employees will be affected by Mozilla's this sudden decision.

In a statement given to CNET, the company said, "We have shifted our internal approach to the internet-of-things opportunity to step back from a focus on launching and scaling commercial products to one focused on research and advanced development, dissolving our connected devices initiative and incorporating our internet-of-things explorations into an increased focus on emerging technologies."

8) Toyota, Suzuki Might Soon Announce Technology Partnership

According to an article published in the Nikkei, Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp are in the midst of finalising a partnership deal to develop technology, including self-driving.

The partnership will also be covering areas such as development and procurement, which includes applications for information technology and sharing sources for parts in Japan and abroad, said the Nikkei report.

The report also said in order to avoid any risks related to antitrust laws, Suzuki and Toyota's unit Daihatsu Motor will continue selling automobiles under their separate brands. The companies will be collaborating in ways that they could completely avoid antitrust risk.

9) Introducing A Wearable AI System That Detects The Tone Of Conversations

A team of researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Institute of Medical Engineering and Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston have been successful in developing an artificial intelligence system that can easily detect the tone of conversations and analyze speech. The invention can prove to be very helpful for people suffering from anxiety disorders or Asperger's.

A single human conversation can be interpreted in a number of ways. The new AI system will be emulating the human ability to identify emotions and the tone of speech to establish whether conversations are sad, happy or neutral. This will bring scientists much closer to developing a potential solution.

The new AI system takes the form of an application that can be loaded into a smartwatch or wearable device. The scientists have tested the system on participants wearing a Samsung Simband wearable.

10) Tech That Can Decode The Thoughts Of Those Who Can't Even Blink

A team of scientists have been successful in developing a brain-computer interface that can read the brain's blood oxygen levels and enables communication by deciphering the thoughts of patients who are unable to talk or are totally paralyzed.

The brain-computer interface, which is non-invasive, could help in completely transforming the lives of such patients and allow them to express their feelings and opinions. The BCI technique makes use of technologies called near-infrared spectroscopy and electroencephalography to measure blood oxygenation and electrical activity in the patient's brain.

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