Posts tagged: News

Sep 15 2014

A 16-Year Old Invents Device that Converts Breath to Speech

TALK Converting Breath to SpeechA High-school student Arsh Shah Dilbagi has invented a portable and affordable device that converts breath into speech, helping people suffering from different developmental disabilities like locked-in syndrome, Parkinson’s, or ALS to communicate using only their breath.

A 16-year-old Dilbagi who hails from Harayana’s Panipat region in India has come up as the only entry from Asia in the 15 global finalists at the Google Science Fair 2014, a competition open to 13 to 18 year old thinkers.

This augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device, Dilbagi dubbed it as ‘Talk’, can turn breath signals into speech using the assistance of Morse code. This innovative device can be used by people with developmental disabilities whose communication abilities are impaired.

Over 1.4 percent of the world’s total population suffers from some disorder that renders victims almost completely paralyzed, making them difficult in speaking and forcing them to use an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to communicate with others.

EASILY AFFORDABLE – JUST $80
A majority of AAC devices use eye tracking in order to help people communicate with each other, but according to Dilbagi, the amateur inventor, most of those devices are very expensive, very expensive, slow and bulky, so in an effort to create a device that offers faster and more affordable alternative to victims, he invented “Talk.” It took him three months of research and another seven months to build the final prototype.

The device uses a basic $25 Arduino microcontroller, and the total invention costs only $80 (Rs 5000) about a hundred times less than the sort of Augmentative and Alternative Communication device used by Stephen Hawking, making it affordable to the large number of population.

HOW TALK WORKS
The device translates breath signals into electric signals using a special device called MEMS Microphone. This technology uses a pressure-sensitive diaphragm etched directly onto a silicon microchip, and an amplifying device to increase the sound of the user’s breath.

Breath to Speech Converter

The user is required to give two distinguishable exhales, varying in intensity or time, so that they can spell words out using the assistance of Morse code. The morse code can either be translated into English, or specific commands and phrases. The device features nine different voices varying in age and gender.

A microprocessor is used to interpret these breathes into dots and dashes that converts them into words. Once the breath is converted into words, they are sent to a second microprocessor that then converts them into voice.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION
You can see the video demonstration of the device in which Dilbagi is explaining about the device.

Mar 01 2014

Outernet – Free Global Wi-Fi Internet Access from Outer Space

Outernet Free WiFi Internet Access The Outernet is a global networking project currently under development by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a United States-based non-profit organization. The Outernet’s goal is to provide free access to internet data through wifi, made available effectively to all parts of the world.

How Does it Work?
Outernet consists of a constellation of low-cost, miniature satellites (CubeSats) in Low Earth Orbit. Each satellite receives data streams from a network of ground stations and transmits that data in a continuous loop until new content is received. In order to serve the widest possible audience, the entire constellation utilizes globally-accepted, standards-based protocols, such as DVB, Digital Radio Mondiale, and UDP-based WiFi multicasting.

The network would initially support only one-way traffic, with two-way traffic being implemented once adequate funding is raised. Initial prototype satellite deployments is planned for June 2014, with the final deployment run scheduled for mid-2015. According to MDIF, the initial content access includes international and local news, crop prices for farmers, Teachers Without Borders, emergency communications such as disaster relief, applications and content such as Ubuntu, movies, music games, and Wikipedia in its entirety.

MDIF plans to formally request NASA to use the International Space Station to test their technology in September 2014. Manufacturing and launching of satellites would begin in early 2015, and Outernet is planned to begin broadcasting in June 2015.

India based “Spacify Inc” is a private non-profit company by Silicon Valley based technocrat and entrepreneur Siddharth Rajhans along with Space debris mitigation expert Sourabh Kaushal, which is privately working on using this technology to provide global free wi-fi access.

Source: Outernet – Official Website

Feb 28 2014

Tor to Release Instant Messaging Bundle (TIMB)

Tor Instant Messaging BundleThe TOR project is about to join the world of secure instant messaging, laying out a roadmap that would see its first code for a new project delivered by the end of March 2014.

The first aim of the Tor Instant Messaging Bundle will be to get experimental builds happening with Instantbird providing the messaging interface.

As explained, Instantbird was considered to be the best of the three messaging platforms considered by the TOR people. Pidgin/libpurple and xmpp-client were also looked at but didn’t make the cut.

The developers’ “mild preference” for Instantbird is tempered by a couple of open questions. One is what attack profile it presents to the outside world; the other, its OTR support, is being addressed by the TOR developers. Libpurple, which is currenly an Instantbird dependency, is being removed.

As this document notes, the group also plans to have the Tor Instant Messaging Bundle audited so “people in countries where communication for the purpose of activism is met with intimidation, violence, and prosecution will be able to avoid the scrutiny of criminal cartels, corrupt officials, and authoritarian governments.”

With Facebook’s recent US$16bn takeover of the messaging service that has more than 450m monthly users, some of the more worried corners of the online communities have questioned the move and whether this will mean their messages will become more susceptible to being monitored, something Facebook has been accused of in the past.

That is why Tor has timed its announcement perfectly!

Jan 26 2014

Google Pwnium 4 Invites Hackers to Attack Chrome OS at CanSecWest

google pwnium 4 Google holds regular competitions to encourage involvement in improving the security of the Chromium project. Contests like Pwnium helps to better patch specific exploits and issues to make Chromium even more secure.

This year Pwnium 4 will once again set sights on Chrome OS, and will be hosted in March at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver.

With a total of $2.71828 Million USD in the pot, Pwnium rewards will be issued for eligible Chrome OS exploits at the following levels:

— $110,000 USD: browser or system-level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
— $150,000 USD: compromise with device persistence: guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Past Pwnium competitions have focused on Intel-based Chrome OS devices, but this year researchers can choose between an ARM-based Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11 (WiFi), or the Acer C720 Chromebook (2GB WiFi) that is based on the Intel Haswell microarchitecture. The attack must be demonstrated against one of these devices running the then-current stable version of Chrome OS.

Participants need to register in advance for a timeslot. To register, e-mail pwnium4@chromium.org. Registration will close at 5:00 p.m. PST Monday, March 10th, 2014. Only exploits demonstrated on time in this specifically-arranged window will be eligible for a reward.

More Info:
The Chromium Blog : Announcing Pwnium 4 Targeting Chrome OS
Pwnium4@CanSecWest2014 : Official Rules
Chromium OS : Developer Guide

Jan 22 2014

’123456′ Declared Worst Internet Password of 2013

Worst Passwords 2013 The 2013 list of worst passwords, influenced by postings from the Adobe breach, demonstrates the importance of not basing passwords on the application or website being accessed.

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet. For the first time since SplashData began compiling its annual list, “password” has lost its title as the most common and therefore Worst Password, and two-time runner-up “123456″ took the dubious honor. “Password” fell to #2.

According to SplashData, this year’s list was influenced by the large number of passwords from Adobe users posted online by security consulting firm Stricture Consulting Group following Adobe’s well publicized security breach.

“Seeing passwords like ‘adobe123′ and ‘photoshop’ on this list offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the website or application you are accessing,” says Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData.

SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords. Some other passwords in the Top Ten include “qwerty,” “abc123,” “111111,” and “iloveyou.”

“Another interesting aspect of this year’s list is that more short numerical passwords showed up even though websites are starting to enforce stronger password policies,” Slain said. For example, new to this year’s list are simple and easily guessable passwords like “1234″ at #16, “12345″ at #20, and “000000″ at #25.

Sources:
1] SplashData News – Worst Passwords of 2013
2] Stricture Group – Top 100 Adobe Passwords with Count