Tech Friday

  • What comes next after the smartphone?
    • Pew has reported that 91% of adults under 50 use a smartphone and 95% of teens have access to one
    • After years of incredible growth, smartphone sales are expected to decline 0.7% in 2018 per IDC 
    • IDC expects sales to pickup slightly in the future with the advent of new technologies such as foldable phones and 5G
    • Leaders such as Apple and Samsung continue to release powerful new phones
    • Some analysts are suggesting that something will replace the traditional smartphone in the near future
    • Amy Webb, Future Today Institute founder, said that 2018 "marks the beginning of the end of traditional smartphones" 
    • Webb predicts a new era of devices based on voice, gesture and touch
    • "The transition from smartphones to smart wearables and invisible interfaces -- earbuds that have biometric sensors and speakers; rings and bracelets that sense motion; smart glasses that record and display information -- will forever change how we experience the physical world" - Amy Webb
    • Others disagree and expect more powerful phones to maintain a significant user base
    • ABI Research wrote that "Google and Amazon will lead and drive innovation around smartphones and related ecosystems over the next five to six years"
    • If Amazon becomes the dominant player it will change the landscape because they make many devices, but not a phone as present
    • Expect a battle in this space
  • Never lose that remote again - Samsung working on TVs controlled by your mind:
    • According to reports, Samsung is working on TV's that can be controlled by a user's mind
    • Samsung is working with a team in Switzerland on the technology which is being designed to help those with disabilities
    • Named Project "Pontis", the goal is to allow "users with physical limitations to change channels and adjust sound volume with their brains"
    • Currently, brain-monitoring sensors and eye-tracking hardware provide an interface for a viewer to control the TV
    • Samsung hopes to reach a point where it could be controlled by thought alone
    • They predict a prototype will be tested in 2019
    • As of this writing, there is no indication that this will be a commercially available product
  • Wi-Fi can be used to spy on you inside a building:
    • Researchers from University of California Santa Barbara have shown that a smartphone can read Wi-Fi signals to determine where people are inside a building
    • The concept is not new. 3 years ago MIT researchers demonstrated a device that can determine where you are and even WHO you are inside a building based on Wi-Fi signals
    • Earlier systems had many limitations, but this latest system is more powerful and works with a smartphone
    • The Wi-Fi signals that bounce off of us are used for this technique, think radar
    • In their paper, the researchers wrote "We believe that, by leveraging statistical data mining techniques, even a weak adversary armed with only passive off-the-shelf Wi-Fi receivers can perform invasive localization attacks against unsuspecting targets."
    • The new system is passive and relies on Wi-Fi sniffing and some smart algorithms to filter out noise
    • Human beings distort the Wi-Fi signal and this technique measures that to determine where people are in a building
    • As more Wi-Fi devices such as digital assistants and IoT devices are added to a network, it raises accuracy and makes it possible to locate and track moving users
    • "We found that consistency check across 4 rounds of measurements is sufficient to achieve room level localization of 92.6% accuracy on average." they wrote in their paper
    • Yanzi Zhu and his team demonstrated using a smartphone to track people in 11 real-world locations using Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 smartphones
    • They found that more Wi-Fi devices improve accuracy: "We see that with more than 2 Wi-Fi devices in a regular room, our attack can detect more than 99% of the user presence and movement in each room we have tested."
    • You can learn more about it here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.10109
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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