With another busy week coming to a wrap, here we give you a quick lowdown on the top 10 happenings in the tech world this week.
Our Smart TVs aren’t that smart after all. While the whole debate around Smart TVs being prone to hacking has been going on since the advent of the technology, but now a researcher named Rafael Scheel has discovered something that could cause some major troubles for the Smart TV industry. The Oneconsult security researcher has brought to fore an attack that is capable of controlling smart TVs by embedding code into digital (specifically, DVB-T) over-the-air broadcasts. Yes, that means, exploits can now attack your smart TV through over-the-air signals.
According to Scheel, during the attack, the hackers take advantage of the shortcomings in a set’s web browser in order to get a grassroot-level access and issue virtually any command that they like. One is only required to have a transmission that is capable of reaching compatible TVs, and at least one attack will function without even revealing that something is a miss.
One of India’s premier institute, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has given bibliophiles around the world the gift of accessing 65 lakh books, research papers, theses, journals and periodicals absolutely free of cost with the help of just one app. Called the National Digital Library of India (NDL), the exhaustive knowledge repository can be accessed by anybody owning a smartphone or desktop.
The app, which comes with features to search, browse, filter, tag, comment and view metadata, has already recorded 9 lakh users. It also comes with an ‘Advanced Search’ feature which will help bibliophiles find the exact book/information they’re looking for.
Two Indian techies have decided to control the fake news scenario before it gets out of hand. The Bengaluru duo, Bal Krishn Birla and Shammas Oliyath, have built a website called check4spam.com that will help detect fake messages that are being widely shared on WhatsApp and Facebook. The site checks a particular story/message on the basis of both the research and investigation done by the check4spam team along with some volunteer users.
A self-funded project for now, check4spam is working with a vision of providing unconditional service to humanity. It’s mission is to make life easy for the common man and trouble for the spammers. According to their official website, with check4spam, the duo have taken upon themselves to educate people in India that fall prey to the fake messages on social media, and then end up circulating those messages.
The temperature of produce is crucial for its shelf-life. Not only does the wrong temperature make for a lot of percentage of food wastage, but it also makes it difficult for the consumers to trust the used by date written on the produce. And since, food produce travels around the world, this problem arises more often than we would want.
In order to solve this problem, Switzerland’s Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology has devised an interesting approach. They have developed a sensor in the shape of a piece of fruit so that it can travel alongside real fruit and gather information on the conditions present in the crate or pallet in which the produce is travelling from point A to point B.
Another firm that is focused towards really solving the world’s food wastage problem is, California based Zest Labs. According to their website, they provide an end-to-end solution for managing freshness of produce, using automated data capture and Cloud-based, real-time analytics to enable workers to make the best decisions.
Chinese smartphone-maker Huawei has won a patent case against its South Korean rival Samsung in a Chinese court in Quanzhou for infringing the firm’s smartphone cellular technologies.
The two smartphone giants are currently also in the midst of suing each other over patents in other courts. Huawei has alleged that more than 20 model of Samsung’s phones and tablets make use of its technologies without permission.
With the whole fake news debate heating up like never before, Search giant Google has decided to join the march against fake news by highlighting “authoritative sources” in its search results, with a short summary of claims that they have been fact-checked.
The websites will be classified authoritative by an algorithm and Google will not be fact-checking each news story itself.
A computer interaction researcher named Denys Matthies has successfully created prototype earbuds that can detect the wearer’s facial expressions — and turn those facial expressions into commands for one’s smartphone. The earbuds have special electrodes inside of them that helps them in recognising the shape of the user’s ear canal by just using an electrical field. The technology can prove to be a great help for people with disabilities or in hands-free situations.
Social networking giant recently announced that its AI assistant, known as M, will soon pop into the Messenger chat windows of its users in the US and suggest them actions that it can take on their behalf. The feature will be rolled out to both, iOS and Android users and will soon be available to users around the globe.
M’s suggestive capabilities includes initiating payment requests through Messenger, sending stickers on the user’s behalf, booking a ride-hailing app like Uber etc., starting a poll for group chat participants, and sharing the user’s location with friends and acquaintances.
Scientists have given birth to small, palm-sized swimming robots made out of soft, transparent silicone that are equipped with video cameras and can one day be used for underwater research or surveillance.
The little ray-bot can move more than five inches per second, when it’s connected to an electrical tether. When the tether is replaced with a battery pack, it gives the robot more freedom to roam. However, adding the battery does slowdown the little ray-bot down to half speed.
The week saw Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcing his plans to sell $1 billion worth of stock in the e-commerce giant every year in order to help fund his spaceflight company Blue Origin.
The funds will help Blue Origin stay competitive with Elon Musk’s SpaceX as the two companies continue with their efforts of pioneering privatised space transportation, both for the tourism and commercial industries.