Tag Archives | Gadgets

NYPD Is Beta-Testing Google Glass For Law Enforcement

google glassSoon police may instantly know the identity and personal background of everyone they see, VentureBeat reports:

Google Glass may soon become a favored tool for law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The New York City Police Department’s massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit is evaluating whether Google Glass is a decent fit for investigating terrorists and helping cops lock up bad guys, VentureBeat has learned.

The department recently received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out. “We’re trying them out, mostly for patrol purposes,” a ranking New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat. Wireless facial recognition software is one potential use.

The glasses are currently only available through Google’s Glass Explorer program, in which people who interested in acquiring them first apply and then receive notification from Google on whether it accepts or denies their application. Respondents who get the green light must pay $1,500 for the privilege.

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Polish Company Developing A Star Wars-Style Hologram Phone

Leia Display Systems is working on reducing the size of their impressive hologram-video machines to the point where you will make three-dimensional phone calls. Via the Mirror:

A Star Wars-style phone which allows users to see 3D hologram images of the person on the other end of the line has been pioneered by experts at Leia Display Systems, a Polish company named after the film’s heroine.

To make a call, the person sits in front of a camera which has two lenses and a microphone. The two images formed by the lenses are streamed through to the person on the other end. A hologram machine then projects them onto a screen of water vapour.

“At the moment, our holograms are made using machines that are more than six feet high but we are designing smaller versions. We hope to sell hologram telephone devices within the next five years,” Chief executive Marcin Panek said.

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A Hacker Drone That Turns Other Drones Into Zombies Under Its Control

dronesBasically, envision Alfred Hitchcock’s The Byrds but with Amazon delivery drones suddenly turning against you. Ars Technica reports:

Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.

“How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages… or take over any other drones and make them my little zombie drones,” Kamkar asked rhetorically in a blog post.

Dubbed SkyJack, the contraption uses a radio-controlled Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter carrying a Raspberry Pi circuit board, a small battery, and two wireless transmitters. The devices seek out wireless signals of nearby Parrot drones, hijack the wireless connections used to control them, and commandeer the victims’ flight-control and camera systems.

Kamkar is the creator of the infamous Samy worm, a complex piece of JavaScript that knocked MySpace out of commission in 2005 when the exploit added more than one million MySpace friends to Kamkar’s account.

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Sony Files Patent For “SmartWig”

smartwigIf technology did not already make you feel insane enough, Engadget reports that Sony wants you to wear a wig that gives you GPS directions and vibrates when you receive an email:

Sony’s trying to patent what it calls a “SmartWig.” The application describes a standard wig that could “be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair or any kind of synthetic material,” with a circuit board hidden among those luscious locks.

That board can talk to a “second computing device” wirelessly — such as a phone or even a pair of smartglasses — and actuators embedded in the hairpiece could “provide tactile feedback to the user.” In other words, the wig could vibrate when you receive emails and the like. The wig-chip could also include GPS and an ultrasound transducer, with different regions buzzing to give navigation cues.

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Denver Police To Use “Nasal Ranger” To Track Sources Of Marijuana Smoke

nasal_ranger

Alternet notes the latest advance in being a narc – cops prowling the streets holding up what appear to be hair dryers in front of their faces:

Denver, Colorado—one of the cities in the country to legalize marijuana use—has passed a new “odor ordinance” with a potential $2,000 fine for anyone found guilty of polluting the atmosphere with high concentrations of cannabis. And the police department’s plan for enforcement is a strange-looking device called an olfactometer, or more collquially, the “nose telescope.”

According to the odor ordinance, the smell is viewed as problematic if it is detectable once the smoke is mixed with seven times the volume of clean air. Denver police plan to use the “nose telecope” to enforce the ordinance.

The most sophisticated version of the “Nasal Ranger” nose telescope has the ability to record both the concentration of marijuana in the air, as well as the GPS coordinates of where the smell is emanating from—available for $3,500.

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Man Implants Bluetooth-Connected Computer Chip In His Arm

biohacker

Via Motherboard, a preview of where you will be in ten years:

Tim Cannon got what is likely the first-ever computer chip implant that can record and transmit his biometrical data. With a battery that can be wirelessly charged, Cannon had it implanted directly under his skin by a fellow biohacking enthusiast, not a doctor, and without anesthesia.

Called the Circadia 1.0, the implant can record data from Cannon’s body and transfer it to any Android-powered mobile device. In a few months, the first production series of the Circadia chip should be ready. With an expected price of around $500, the chip should be relatively accessible for just about any enthusiast, and will mainly be distributed through the networks of the body modification community.

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David Cronenberg’s POD Implant For Your Brain

david cronenbergDavid Cronenberg has a new multimedia project involving a fictional mobile body-add-on gadget called “Personal On-Demand,” or POD for short, ostensibly created by biotech startup firm BODY/MIND/CHANGE. Are you ready for your fitting?

MEET POD (PERSONAL ON-DEMAND), THE ULTIMATE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE. POD IS AN EMOTIONAL SENSORY LEARNING AND DATA-MINING ORGANISM. WE’VE REDESIGNED THE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE TO MAKE DISCOVERING THE THINGS YOU NEED, LOVE OR DESIRE EFFORTLESS. POD GROWS WITH YOU TO BECOME AN INTUITIVE COMPANION, FULFILLING YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES ON DEMAND.

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Senator Raises Concern That The FBI Could Access iPhone Fingerprint Data

fingerThose who find Apple’s new fingerprint reader disturbing apparently include members of Congress. Ars Technica reports:

On Thursday, the Minnesota senator Al Franken, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, published a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent,” wrote Sen. Franken. “If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What’s more, a password doesn’t uniquely identify its owner—a fingerprint does.”

He also has specific questions for Cupertino:

Is it possible to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format that can be used by third parties?

Is it possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone? If so, can this be done remotely, or with physical access to the device?…

Under American intelligence law, the FBI can seek an order requiring the production of “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)” if they are deemed relevant to certain foreign intelligence investigations.

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E-ZPass Is Being Used To Track Your Car Far From Tollbooths

Via Forbes, a video from a Defcon conference presenter who hacked his E-ZPass and found that his car’s location was being tagged continuously while he drove through New York City:

He hacked his RFID-enabled E-ZPass to set off a light and a “moo cow” every time it was being read. Then he drove around New York. His tag got milked multiple times on the short drive from Times Square to Madison Square Garden in mid-town Manhattan…and also on his way out of New York through Lincoln Tunnel, again in a place with no toll plaza.

At Defcon, where he presented his findings, Puking Monkey said he found the reading of the E-ZPass [in non-toll situations] “intrusive and unsettling.”

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When Your “Smart Home” Gets Hacked

smart home

Via Forbes, Kashmir Hill reveals that the “demonic house” horror archetype may soon be coming true:

“I can see all of the devices in your home and I think I can control them,” I said to Thomas Hatley, a stranger in Oregon who I had rudely awoken with an early morning phone call.

He and his wife were still in bed. Expressing surprise, he asked me to try to turn the master bedroom lights on and off. Sitting in my living room in San Francisco, I flipped the light switch with a click, and resisted the Poltergeist-like temptation to turn the television on as well.

Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web.

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