When should you purchase your child’s first smartphone?

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It’s the time of year when kids are thinking about their holiday wish lists. So what’s a parent to do when a child, possibly a very young child, asks for a smartphone?

We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can’t these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?

Read Article:  https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/11/21/564057632/deciding-at-what-age-to-give-a-kid-a-smartphone

 

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This unassuming robot could sneak into your home

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Ghost Minitaur‘ is a 4-legged robot that can traverse tough terrain, jump, climb stairs, open doors, and even climb fences.

The company hopes it could be used as a platform for “developing commercial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), advanced gait and locomotion research, and machine learning and training applications.”

Watch Video:  http://mashable.com/2017/10/11/ghost-minitaur-robot/#Fn2revNR65qd

Read about a smartphone keyboard created for the blind.

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A few things stand out about [Vijay]’s braille keypad for smartphones. One is how ergonomic the plans for the final result are, sitting on the back of the smartphone such that you hold the phone much as you often normally would. Another is that it plugs in just like any other USB keyboard. And the last should make any vi user smile — you don’t have to move your fingers to type. You just press combinations of buttons already under your fingers.

It consists of a custom circuit board with an AtMega32U4, a 16 MHz oscillator, a Micro-USB connector and eight pushbutton switches.  The AtMega32U4 allows him to use the Arduino HID library. After mapping the braille button combinations to keys, the HID library sends the key values over a USB-OTG cable to the smartphone to be accepted as if they were coming from a normal plug and play keyboard.

We have to give kudos to [Vishay] for testing with blind people experienced with braille. For example, he’s learned that if the user presses [Dots 1 2] for ‘b’ followed by [Dots 1 4] for ‘c’, they prefer to not have to remove their finger from the 1 in between the two characters, for more rapid typing.  He also learned that battery management is problematic and that may be why he’s since abandoned the option of communicating over Bluetooth, leaving just USB, and thereby eliminating the need for a battery.

Read Entire Article:  http://hackaday.com/2017/06/29/hackaday-prize-entry-a-braille-keypad-for-smartphone/

How technology based on moth eyes could help design smartphones and tablets that are easier to read outside.

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A stealth trick used by moths to avoid predators could lead to smartphones and tablets that are easier to read outside.

Moths’ eyes are covered with tiny structures that prevent them reflecting light and alerting night-time hunters looking for a meal. They also help the insects see in the dark.

Scientists have copied the moth nanotechnology to produce an anti-reflective film that allows words and images to show up clearly on mobile devices even in bright sunlight.

Read Entire Article:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/22/moth-eye-technology-could-help-read-smartphone-sun/

Read about the biggest technological trends of 2017

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Manufacturing is dirty, dull, and outmoded. It’s a slow-moving industry stuck in the past as new technologies out of Silicon Valley threaten to upend it. Stereotypes are fun, and misleading.

Let’s not forget manufacturing is the industry that made the modern age.

While many were musing about robots in science fiction, manufacturers were putting them to practical use. As tech news headlines hyped up 3D printing, manufacturers had been prototyping with it for decades. And though information technology is the source of the latest revolution, manufacturing is the source of the source. No chip fab facilities, no chips.

Manufacturing is high tech and low tech. Greasy, hands-on problem solving in some places and spotless clean rooms in others. Aging assembly lines and lines of choreographed robot arms. At Singularity University’s Exponential Manufacturing Summit, the industry was in focus, with a good look at what’s coming next. Manufacturing is changing, but that isn’t new.

What’s notable is the quickening pace of change.

The big themes this year: How to sift, identify, and make use of the latest technologies and tools to get nimble, break old habits, and stay ahead of the next big wave. Of course, it’s impossible to fit so much information into so little space, and what matters most depends on your lens.

Read Article:  https://singularityhub.com/2017/05/30/7-big-tech-trends-that-are-changing-the-way-we-make-things/

Read about this serious threat to your smartphone, involving voice commands by a nearby computer.

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You may think watching videos on your phone is a harmless way to pass time, but watch out: Newly discovered voice commands could be hidden inside those videos to hack your smartphone through voice recognition.

To an untrained ear, the message may seem like noise, but for smartphone voice assistants, the message is clear.

“[The command could be in] some popular YouTube video that has this strange noise in the background that a human being would just dismiss as an oddity, but that at the same time that noise could be controlling a cellphone that just happens to be located next to a computer,” said Micah Sherr, an associate professor in Georgetown University’s Department of Computer Science.

 Sherr, along with other researchers at Georgetown and University of California, Berkeley discovered the vulnerability.

How the next iPhone (iPhone 8) may not be available as soon as predicted

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2017 marks the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, and the rumors are that Apple will be releasing three new models to celebrate: two handsets with incremental improvements, and a third, radically redesigned “premium” iPhone. But although the phones will be unveiled at the same time, customers might have to wait until later in the year to get their hands on the high-end device.

Bloomberg reports that the premium iPhone could be delayed by “one or two months” (compared to Apple’s usual launch schedule) because of the difficulty of manufacturing the handset. Japanese website Mac Otakara previously reported a similar delay.

Read Article:  http://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/4/18/15338426/apple-iphone-2017-rumors-release-date-delayed

How your smartphones are vulnerable to attack simply by visiting certain websites.

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Smartphones know an awful lot about us. They know if we’re in a car that’s speeding, and they know when we’re walking, running, or riding in a bus. They know how many calls we make and receive each day and the precise starting and ending time of each one. And of course, they know the personal identification numbers we use to unlock the devices or to log in to sites that are protected by two-factor authentication. Now, researchers have devised an attack that makes it possible for sneaky websites to surreptitiously collect much of that data, often with surprising accuracy.

Read Article:  https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/meet-pinlogger-the-drive-by-exploit-that-steals-smartphone-pins/