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Android

Turn Your Android Phone Into a Laptop For $99 With the Superbook (techinsider.io) 62

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: A company called Andromium is attempting to harness the processing power of your Android smartphone and turn it into a full fledged computer. The 'Superbook' consists of a 11.6-inch laptop shell, which you connect to your phone via a USB Micro-B or Type-C cable, and run the Andromium OS application (currently in beta, but available in the Play Store)... The leader of the project and Company co-founder Gordon Zheng, previously worked at Google and pitched the idea to them... They refused so he quit his job and founded Andromium Inc.

In December 2014 the company had introduced their first product which was a dock which used the MHL standard to output to external monitor. That campaign failed, however their newest creation, the Superbook smashed their Kickstarter goal in just over 20 minutes.

And within their first 38 hours, they'd crowdfunded $500,000. In an intriguing side note, Andromium "says it'll open its SDK so developers can tailor their apps for Andromium, too, though how much support that gets remains to be seen," reports Tech Insider. But more importantly, "Andromium says its prototypes are finished, and that it hopes to ship the Superbook to backers by February 2017."
Android

Microsoft 'Patch' Blocks Linux Installs On Locked-Down Windows RT Computers (fossbytes.com) 141

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from fossBytes: Microsoft has released a security update that has patched a backdoor in Windows RT operating system [that] allowed users to install non-Redmond approved operating systems like Linux and Android on Windows RT tablets. This vulnerability in ARM-powered, locked-down Windows devices was left by Redmond programmers during the development process. Exploiting this flaw, one was able to boot operating systems of his/her choice, including Android or GNU/Linux.
The Register points out that since Windows RT is "a dead-end operating system" which Microsoft has announced they'll stop developing, "mainstream support for Surface RT tablets runs out in 2017 and Windows RT 8.1 in 2018. This is why a means to bypass its boot mechanisms is highly sought."
Android

Pokemon Go Leads to Reckless Driving, Injuries, and A Corpse (chicagotribune.com) 130

Since its release Wednesday night, Pokemon Go has already gone on to become the top-grossing game in the three countries where it's available, and Forbes contributor Tero Kuittinen calls it "the first example of an AR product becoming a national obsession." An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Some fans are now tweeting about playing the game while driving, and the Chicago Tribune quotes one user who says "Pokemon Go put me in the ER last night... Not even 30 minutes after the release...I slipped and fell down a ditch." In Australia the game has been leading some players to their local police station, and a woman in Wyoming reports that the game actually led her to a dead body floating in a river. And at least one Pokemon Go screenshot has gone viral. It shows a man capturing a Pokemon while his wife gives birth.
The app's popularity has created lagging servers and forced Niantic to delay its international roll-out, meaning "Those who have already downloaded the game in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can still play it, while those in the U.K., the Netherlands and other countries will have to wait." Meanwhile, Motherboard warns that a malicious sideloaded version of Pokemon Go is being distributed that actually installs a backdoor on Android devices, and also reports that some players are already spoofing their GPS coordinates in order to catch Pokemon without leaving their house.
Australia

Google Searches For 'VR Porn' Increase 10,000% (vrtalk.com) 80

Slashdot reader Bob768 writes: Over the last 20 months, with the rise of virtual reality technology, the number of Google searches for the phrase 'VR Porn' have soared nearly 10,000%. The leading country for these searches is Norway.
Last November searches for the term experienced the "spike of all spikes", according to a post on the VR Talk forum, which also identifies the top cities (two in Australia) for the searches -- Helsinki, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and Seoul.
Businesses

Snapchat Reportedly Acquires Bitmoji Maker Bitstrips For $100 Million (fortune.com) 33

An anonymous reader writes: According to a report from Fortune, Snapchat, the messaging platform which has recently become the number one free app on the App Store, has agreed to acquire Bitstrips, the folks behind the popular emoji-creation service Bitmoji. Fortune's sources has said the deal is "in the ballpark" of $100 million. TechCrunch writes, "The idea behind Bitmoji is simple. Users download the app and create an Avatar that represents them. They can choose from a wide range of options like face shape, hair color and cut, eye shape and color, etc. From there, Bitmoji is added as a third-party keyboard, and the app offers hundreds of options for users to send to their friends, all featuring their avatar." It'll be interesting to see which features of Bitstrips will be implemented into Snapchat, given Bitstrip's experience with keyboard integrations.
Graphics

US Army Creates Virtual Reality Dome To Assess Soldier Thinking During Combat 35

HughPickens.com writes: Bryant Jordan reports at Defense Tech that the Cognitive Science and Applications Team at the US Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is creating a computer-generated reality "dome" to immerse warfighters in a virtual environment that not only tests their skills, but allows Army researchers to assess soldier cognitive abilities and study the impact of real-world operational situations on decision-making, spatial memory and wayfinding. The dome is a concave virtual-reality system that provides a full 180-degree horizontal field, using high-density, front-projection to create a high-resolution, visual world where the simulations will be modeled on real-world locations. "The integration of multiple input modalities, along with multisensory feedback, increases the realism, immersion and engagement on behalf of users subjected to prolonged, workload-intensive activities," says Dr. Caroline Mahoney. "These novel integrations provide unprecedented opportunities to monitor and optimize human behavior during real-world task execution, and to evaluate and predict the impact of innovative human-systems technologies on operational performance." In the virtual dome, users can interact and alter the environment through hand-held and weapon-based devices, which control movement, orientation and weapon aiming. Future additions to the dome will include whole-body motion tracking, low-frequency vibration and directional wind. Vibro-tactile collision feedback — which combines vibration and touch to help give participants a physical sense of constraints in a virtual environment — will also be included.
Displays

Oculus Co-Founder's New Venture: Long-Range Virtual Reality Tracking System (roadtovr.com) 15

An anonymous reader writes: Jack McCauley was among Oculus' founding members and played a seminal role in the development of the Rift DK1 and DK2 VR headsets as the company's VP of Engineering. After departing from the VR firm sometime around the 2014 acquisition by Facebook, McCauley has continued his interest in VR, most recently demonstrating a laser tracking system that makes use of MEMS technology to actively track targets. He says the system's strengths are long range and low cost compared to camera-based tracking solutions, which Oculus currently uses.
Biotech

First Bionic Fingertip Implant Delivers Sensational Results (gizmag.com) 26

Zothecula writes: Dennis Aabo Sorensen may be missing a hand, but he nonetheless recently felt rough and smooth textures using a fingertip on that arm. The fingertip was electronic, and was surgically hard-wired to nerves in his upper arm. He is reportedly the first person in the world to recognize texture using a bionic fingertip connected to electrodes that were surgically implanted above his stump. The device was created by scientists from the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, and Italy's Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna research institute. While it was wired to Sorensen, a machine moved it across rough and smooth plastic surfaces. Sensors in the fingertip generated electrical signals as they deformed in response to the topography of those surfaces, and transmitted those signals to the nerves in a series of electrical spikes -- this was reportedly an imitation of the "language of the nervous system." He was able to differentiate between the two surfaces with an accuracy of 96 percent.
Input Devices

A Phone App Helps Day Laborers Attack Wage Theft (nytimes.com) 101

An anonymous reader writes with this story from the New York Times, excerpting "After three years of planning, an immigrant rights group in Jackson Heights is set to start a smartphone app for day laborers, a new digital tool with many uses: Workers will be able to rate employers (think Yelp or Uber), log their hours and wages, take pictures of job sites and help identify, down to the color and make of a car, employers with a history of withholding wages. They will also be able to send instant alerts to other workers. The advocacy group will safeguard the information and work with lawyers to negotiate payment." Adds the submitter: "Although I completely support the app, personally, I see this encountering some significant legal challenges. Hope they've lawyered up." Though the use case is different, this is similar in spirit to "cop watch" apps, like Cell411 and the ACLU's Mobile Justice. (And of course there's Periscope.)
Input Devices

Robots May Soon Put Surgery Into the Hands of Non-Surgeons (computerworld.com) 82

Lucas123 writes: By 2020, surgical robotics sales are expected to almost double to $6.4 billion, at the same time robots are becoming easier to use. One new robot is so easy to use that even med students can achieve proficiency with a few tries, according to Umamaheswar Duvvuri, director of head and neck surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The robot, a snake-like endoscope that can be directed into any shape through the relative orientations of its linkages, requires only one incision, reducing the number from several involved in typical laparoscopic procedures. Older, and more popular surgical robotic systems, such as the da Vinci Surgical System, are now being tested by physicians who are at controls more than 1,000 miles away. Probably a lot of the same misgivings that people have about autonomous cars apply here, too.
Input Devices

Sony Patents Power Glove-Like Motion Controller For PlayStation VR (hothardware.com) 44

MojoKid writes: With so much of the VR buzz revolving around Oculus, HTC and Google lately, it would be easy to forget that Sony has its own competitor coming, called PlayStation VR. And now, as new patents have revealed, the Japanese gaming giant could have a nifty trick up its sleeve, so to speak. It looks like Sony could developing what some could consider a spiritual successor to the Power Glove, that classic late 80s peripheral for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A diagram pulled from the recent patent filing shows this glove's implementation is straight-forward. However, Sony's glove is not going to be bulky like the Power Glove was. The documents also refer to hand flexor sensors that indicate a level of precision tracking at the fingertip level, as well as some sort of cloud network processing offload.
Input Devices

HoloLens For Developers Available For Pre-Order (thestack.com) 58

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's HoloLens, touted as the world's 'first and only fully untethered holographic computer' is available today for pre-order and will ship on March 30. The HoloLens Development Edition is available for purchase to qualified developer applicants and will cost $3,000. While the augmented-reality headset is still far from a commercial release to consumers, Microsoft will release six applications that run on the holographic platform – a mix of development tools, games, and user programs. From today, developers can access documentation, guides and tutorials for HoloLens. Additional development tools will be made available when the first HoloLens ship at the end of March, including Visual Studio projects and a HoloLens emulator, which will allow testing of holographic apps on a PC without a physical HoloLens.
Security

Mousejack Attacks Exploit Wireless Keyboards and Mice (threatpost.com) 112

msm1267 writes: Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the USB devices that support wireless keyboards and mice that could put a countless number of devices at risk to attack. Seven manufacturers have been informed of the flaw, but as of today, only Logitech has produced a firmware update. Some have no update mechanism and can never be patched. The issue lies in the fact that some of the commands from the peripheral device to the dongle are not encrypted. Most do not authenticate packets and an attacker within close proximity and using a USB transmitting malicious packets over radio frequency can trick the victim's machine into accepting mouse clicks impersonating keystrokes. It would take a matter of seconds for the attacker's code to load a rootkit, malware or additional network access.
China

Backdoor In MVPower DVR Firmware Sends CCTV Stills To an Email Address In China (softpedia.com) 60

An anonymous reader writes: An IoT security research company has discovered that a DVR model manufactured by MVPower includes a backdoor-like feature in its code that takes a screenshot of your CCTV feed and sends it to an email address hosted somewhere in China. The device's firmware is based on an open source project from GitHub that was pulled by its developer when someone confronted him about the backdoor.
Input Devices

Let Your Pupils Do the Typing 49

New submitter s.mathot writes: Researchers from France and the Netherlands have developed a way to—literally—write text by thinking of letters. (Academic paper [open access], non-technical blog, YouTube video.) This technique relies on small changes in pupil size that occur when you covertly (from the corner of your eye; without moving your eyes or body) attend to bright or dark objects. By presenting a virtual keyboard on which the 'keys' alternate in brightness, and simultaneously measuring the size of the eye's pupil, the technique automatically determines which letter you want to write; as a result, you can write letters by merely attending to them, without moving any part of your body, including the eyes.
Security

Push To Hack: Reverse Engineering an IP Camera (contextis.com) 35

New submitter tetraverse writes: For our most recent IoT adventure, we've examined an outdoor cloud security camera [the Motorola Focus 73] which like many devices of its generation a) has an associated mobile app b) is quick to setup and c) presents new security threats to your network. From the article: This blog describes in detail how we were able to exploit the camera without access to the local network, steal secrets including the home networkâ(TM)s Wi-Fi password, obtain full control of the PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) controls and redirect the video feed and movement alerts to our own server; effectively watching the watchers.
Bug

Ask Slashdot: Fixing UVC Camera Issues Under Windows? 148

Khyber writes: I bought some cheap Chinese camera glasses with built-in microphones. These are (supposedly) UVC cameras manufactured in 2015. Under Windows XP, these cameras are seen perfectly fine and work as web cameras; even the microphones work. Under Windows 7, the camera appears to install just fine, however I get the 'This device can perform faster if you connect to USB 2.0' (which it is connected to) and when I try to load it up with any camera viewer such as manycam or any chat program's built-in previewer, I cannot receive any video from the camera. I can get audio from the camera microphones under Windows 7, so I am wondering if the camera device is having problems enumerating as a USB 2.0 device due to some change in Windows 7 (which it doesn't seem to have issues doing under XP,) or if the UVC driver for Windows 7 is missing something in comparison to the one used for Windows XP. Anybody else had issues getting newer UVC cameras to work in newer operating systems?
Input Devices

Low-Cost EEG Head-Sets Promise Virtual Reality Feedback Loops (thestack.com) 35

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the University of Memphis have found that it's possible to use a low-cost EEG device such as the $300 Emotiv Epoc to understand how a user is feeling — opening up the path to genuine psycho-biological feedback in virtual/augmented reality scenarios. The Epoc has been used, in combination with the Razer Hydra, to give users control over VR/AR environments, but integrating emotional feedback into VR environments heralds many new possibilities in the fields of medical research, gaming — and, of course, marketing research.
Microsoft

Microsoft To Acquire SwiftKey Predictive Keyboard Technology Company For $250M (hothardware.com) 118

MojoKid writes: SwiftKey has been one of the more popular predictive keyboard offerings in the mobile space since it was first released in beta form on the Android market back in 2010. What made SwiftKey so appealing was its intelligent predictive texting technology. SwiftKey isn't a simple keyboard replacement. Rather, the software uses a combination of artificial intelligence technologies that give it the ability to learn usage patterns and predict the next word the user most likely intends to type. SwiftKey refines its predictions, learning over time by analyzing data from SMS, Facebook, and Twitter messages, then offering predictions based on the text being entered at the time. It is estimated that SwiftKey is installed on upwards of 500 million mobile devices. According to reports, Microsoft is apparently buying the UK-based company for a cool $250 Million. What Microsoft intends to do with SwiftKey is not clear just yet, but the company has been purchasing mobile apps at a good clip as of late.
Communications

Jailbreak Turns Cheap Walkie-Talkie Into DMR Police Scanner 82

An anonymous reader writes: Last Shmoocon, famous reverse engineer Travis Goodspeed presented his jailbreak of the Chinese MD380 digital handheld radio. The hack has since been published at GitHub with all needed source code to turn a cheap digital radio into the first hardware scanner for DMR digital mobile radio: a firmware patch for promiscuous mode that puts all talk groups through the speaker including private calling. In the U.S. the competing APCO-25 is a suite of standards for digital radio communications for federal users, but a lot of state/county and local public safety organizations including city police dispatch channels are using the Mototrbo MotorolaDMR digital standard.

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