Tag Archives | Android

The FBI Can Remotely Activate The Microphone In Your Android Phone

android

The Wall Street Journal reports on the amazing capabilities of your smartphone:

The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.

Court documents and interviews with people involved in the programs provide new details about the hacking tools used by federal agencies, including spyware delivered to computers and phones through email or Web links—techniques more commonly associated with attacks by criminals.

The FBI has been developing hacking tools for more than a decade, but rarely discloses its techniques publicly in legal cases.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Three-Quarters Of All Smartphones Contain NSA Code In Operating System

androidGoogle confirms that Android phones come with “Security Enhancements” added by the NSA, Bloomberg reports:

Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. “All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,” Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

Through its open-source Android project, Google has agreed to incorporate code, first developed by the agency in 2011, into future versions of its mobile operating system, which runs on three-quarters of smartphones [globally].

NSA officials say their code, known as Security Enhancements for Android, isolates apps to prevent hackers and marketers from gaining access to personal or corporate data stored on a device. Eventually all new phones, tablets, televisions, cars, and other devices that rely on Android will include NSA code, agency spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said in an e-mailed statement.

In a 2011 presentation obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek, the NSA listed among the benefits of the program that it’s “normally invisible to users.” Vines wouldn’t say whether the agency’s work on Android and other software is part of or helps with Prism.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What Should Robots Smell Like?

thesmellofcontrol1It depends on what purpose we want them to serve. we make money not art looks at plans for several robots equipped with odor-emitting “sweat glands” which both make the machines seem more organic/alive and effect how people react to them:

Three existing industrial robots have been augmented with ‘sweat glands’. Each uses a specific property of human sub-conscious behavior in response to a chemical stimulus: one makes humans about to undergo surgery more trustful, another one makes women working in production line more focused and the third one is a bomb disposal robot that emits the smell of fear.

The contrast between the physical anti-anthropomorphic nature of the machines and the olfactory anthropomorphism highlights the absurd nature of the trickery at play in all anthropomorphism.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Ultra-Realistic Robotic Mouth Moans Nursery Rhymes

small_bht96voreeoOnce again, the creepiness threshold in robotics has been shattered. Developed by Professor Hideyuki Sawada at Japan's Kagawa University, this robotic mouth is singing the traditional children's song "Kagome Kagome". It's the most accurate android simulation of human vocal abilities to date, with artificial vocal cords, an artificial nasal cavity, et cetera. It's designed to somehow help hearing-impaired people improve their speech, and to haunt your dreams.
Continue Reading

Joint Stockings Are Eerie

joint-stockings-are-creeping-me-out-20203-1309986702-9As androids/dolls/CG figures become more lifelike, flesh-and-blood humans may desire to head in the other direction. Girls (and boys) can now pick up chic joint stockings to give themselves the look of a robot/figurine attempting to mimic a human being. Asiajin provides some explanation and unsettling photos:

Kyutai Kansetsu Sutokkingu (Spherical Joint Stocking) is a coterie stocking sold at Bungaku Furima (literature flea-market), a dojinshi sale dedicated for literature-related things only, by circle Ojosama Gakkou Shojo Bu (preppie school girls section). The stocking has globe joint painted on knees, to make your leg like real figure.

The stockings, 2,000 yen(US$25) seems sold out on their online shop, currently on order.

But why? I guess some people might love figures too much so that now they want to become like that. It is interesting because those joints originally showed their incompleteness of mimicking human beings.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Japanese Pop Star Outed As Computer-Generated Creation

20110619_eguchi2-600x449Has CGI technology become super realistic? Or is it more that actual famous people now resemble virtual creations to the extent that the difference is hardly noticeable? Kotaku reveals:
AKB48 is Japan's most popular female pop group. With give-or-take 48 members, its latest member is Aimi Eguchi, who has rocketed from obscurity to become the poster girl for a Japanese ice candy, Ice no Mi. Now revealed as a computer composite of other girls in the group, she appears 4 seconds in below.
Continue Reading

Meet The Germinoid DK, A Frighteningly-Human Android

Built in (obviously) Japan by Hiroshi Ishiguro, the Geminoid DK is an ultra-realistic automaton designed to perfectly resemble a Danish university professor named Henrik Scharfe. Chillingly, the Geminoid is outfitted with a goatee, allowing it to blend unnoticed into the general male population should it escape from its handlers. Even more chillingly, with the fake flesh removed it's a dead ringer for the T-800 from the Terminator movies.
Continue Reading

South Korean Schools Introduce Egg-Shaped Robot Teachers

capt.photo_1293513487866-1-0

Each android teacher is equipped with a screen displaying the face of a human avatar, and is controlled remotely by an actual instructor in the Philippines. It’s a way of outsourcing a job (educating children) that one would have thought had to be done in person. The Daily Mail reports:

Pupils often assume their teachers don’t really exist outside the school gates, now robot classroom assistants could make this a reality. Almost 30 egg-shaped robots have started teaching English at primary schools in South Korea.

The 3.3ft high machines have a TV panel that displays a female Caucasian face and can wheel around the classroom while speaking to the students. The robots are also able to read books and dance to music moving their head and arms.

But despite appearances the robots, developed the Korea Institute of Science of Technology, are not autonomous beings. They are actually controlled remotely by English teachers living in the Philippines, who can see and hear the children via a remote control system.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is the Google Phone an Unauthorized Replicant?

Stories about Philip K. Dick’s daughter taking aim at Google’s deep-pockets for naming the “Google Phone” Nexus One have been all over tech blogs during the last week or so. Now that it seems the phone is truly about to come to market, maybe they’ll have to take her seriously. This summary story in the New York Times captures the issues fairly well:

Motorola tugged at the hearts of science-fiction fans everywhere when it announced that its first smartphone using Google’s Android software would be called Droid, the name given to the lovable robots in “Star Wars.”

Google appears to be trying the same tactic with its own soon-to-be-released Android phone. The device is called Nexus One in at least two government filings.

As many bloggers have noted, the name Nexus One seems to be a reference to the cyborgs in the dystopian movie “Blade Runner,” which in turn was based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by the late Philip K.

Read the rest
Continue Reading