GM Working on Wi-Fi Direct-equipped Cars to Detect Pedestrians

General Motors is expanding its Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication systems. The system is being developed to allow vehicles to share information between vehicles and infrastructure the help provide information such as stalled vehicles, road work ahead with warnings of potential hazards. Also GM wants to add pedestrians and cyclists to the detect service so they can be seen before the driver can see them.

GM is developing a Wifi Direct system for pedestrian detection that allows Wifi devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to connect with each other. The devices will communicate with each other without the need for a wireless hotspot. Wi-Fi Direct offers location data, it is current up to only one second delay.

GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab, Nady Boules said, “This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot,” and “Wi-Fi Direct has the potential to become an integral part of the comprehensive driver assistance systems we offer on many of our Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles.”

“Wi-Fi Direct’s fast connections offer a distinct advantage in vehicle applications,” said Donald Grimm, GM Global R&D senior researcher of perception and vehicle control systems. “The quicker a vehicle can detect other Wi-Fi Direct users, the greater the potential for collision avoidance.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists lost their lives in collisions with motor vehicles in 2010 which is down as much as 25 percent since 1995. GM hopes that this new technology will help to further reduce this number, and I personally believe it will definitely help drivers be more aware.

Wi-Fi Direct devices can reach each other at a maximum distance of 656 feet, according to The Wifi Alliance. This range could enable secure transfers of files such as MP3s or digital address book information between a home computer and the user’s Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicle infotainment or navigation system.

“As we move toward becoming a more connected society, having a self-aware connected car will be increasingly important,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president of automotive industry analysis at Gartner Inc. “Not only can Wi-Fi Direct help vehicles seamlessly communicate with other consumer devices, it can also augment vehicle-to-infrastructure communications as well, which could lead to better traffic management and fewer accidents.”

Source: GM

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Wordpress for BlackBerry Updated to v1.6.3

WordPress for BlackBerry has been updated to v1.6.3 in App World. Change Log is short

• Added Better Support for Stats
• Added More Helpful Error Messages
• Reliability Improvements

The 10″ BlackBerry PlayBook?

The 10-inch version of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has surfaced on Vietnamese forum Tinhte.

There is a Sim-card slot and the device says BlackBerry 4G PlayBook. But other than that there is isn’t a whole lot. Check the above link to see comparison shots with the 7-inch PlayBook.

Real-Time Language Translation Performed with Augmented Reality Glasses

Computer programmer Will Powell has built a prototype real-time language translation system inspired by Google’s Project Glass.

This system listens to the speech using a bluetooth microphone that picks up the signal and connects to a smartphone or tablet. The signal is sent to the Microsoft Translator service, which than transcribes the language into one of 37 languages of the user’s choosing and displays the translation directly on the user’s glasses. The translation is displayed on the lower half of the glasses, so there is basically real-time subtitles showing on the glasses.

On this Video Demo the subtitles are displayed on a TV display which is powered by two Raspberry Pi single-board computers.

The system is still in the works but it is running pretty nicely, according to Powell most of the delay in subtitles is caused by server time needed to process the information and caching the common expressions has a mitigated the problem. The Vuzix Star 1200 glasses used for this project retail for about $5,000 US.

Source: Gizmag

Google Has Retained Street View Data

Google has admitted to the Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office that it has not yet deleted all of the data the company’s Street View cars collected. Google’s Street View cars skimmed unencrypted Wifi data as it passed on the streets, and Google maintains this was done in error and the system was enabled by a lone engineer.

Google has been under investigation, for privacy issues in the Google Street View situation, by multiple governments including the US and United Kingdom. . Google was found guilty of violating UK data protection laws, and the FCC fined the company $25,000 over the data violation. Google has also made a deal with the British Information Commissioner’s Office were Google was to delete all of the collected data from Google Street View cars.

The company admitted that it still has a “small portion” of the data collected by its Street View vehicles in the UK, and the remaining data the Google is storing was uncovered in the course of a manual inspection of its Street View disk inventory. Google says it is in the middle of efforts to notify other governments of its retention of the Street View data.

NFC Exploits in Android & Nokia Smartphones

Security expert Charlie Miller has exploited and demonstrated an NFC attack on Android and Nokia devices at the 2012 Black Hat security conference. Weeks ago I read that Miller, who has become well known for his hacking ability when it comes to Apple products, was planning on demonstrating a vulnerability with NFC technology. He showed how NFC tags can be used to trick people into visiting malicious site without them even knowing. A hacker could carry out an attack like this just by replacing an NFC tag that is meant for say a companies website, and putting an NFC tag that will guide the person to another website.

Miller said in the Nokia N9, which is a Mee-Go powered headset, the NFC vulnerability is when NFC is enabled on the device, it will, by default, accept any NFC request without user permission. Miller was able to exploit this and establish a bluetooth connection even if bluetooth was not turned on, and essentially a hacker can use this to make phone calls, send text messages and even download data.

Miller showed how once directed to a malicious website, he could download and install a virus to attack a security hole in the Android browser to read cookies and view the webpages visited by the user. Miller says that is can ultimately give a hacker complete control over a victims headset. Though this vulnerability has been closed off in Android 4.0 but can affect users running Android 2.3 Gingerbread which is over 60% of users. Also Miller acknowledged this can only be exploited if an attacker was able to get within a few centimeters of affected devices.

Two Criminals Sentenced to Prison in Michaels Stores Scam

The two criminals Eduard Arakelyan, 21, and Arman Vardanyan, 23, who stole 94,000 debt and credit card numbers from 84 Michaels Stores Inc. locations have been sentenced to federal prison.

They were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On March 20, 2012 both plead guilty to the scheme to steal customers card information by removing the personal identification number pads and replacing them with fraudulent ones which downloaded the customers’ card information which the criminals received and used fraudulently.

Around July 2011, they admitted they both used 952 blank Gold and Silver credit card-like cards that had been encoded with bank and personal identification stolen from Michaels Stores customers to withdraw as much money as possible from ATM’s in Northern California.

On July 24, 2012, Arakelyan and Vardanyan were each sentenced yesterday to serve:

•36 months in prison on bank fraud and conspiracy charges,
 
•24 months in prison for the identity theft charge (to be serve consecutively with the prior 36 months)

•5 years of supervised release after serving their prison time.

The two were also ordered to pay $42,043 in restitution.

Foursquare Adds Local ‘Promoted’ Ads

It looks as though Foursquare has followed Twitter and Facebook and now has promoted ads within the application. The ads appear with a local business nearby with special offers, also showing who of your friends has been there.

These ads don’t seem to be causing any upset and they are not really in you face in the application. They only appear when you click on the “Explore” option, which is really a pretty nice feature. Now merchants and business owners are able to send local updates, or specials, and also pictures as well so that Foursquare will promote them to people nearby. For the time being the “Promoted Updates” are only rolling out to large chains such as Gap, Old Navy, Hilton, JC Penney, Best Buy and Walgreens.

T-Mobile BlackBerry Internet Service Outage

It has been a couple of hours now that the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) on T-Mobiles’ network are down. Just before 3:30 P.M. today my Bold 9900 was not connecting to the internet, I could BBM, browse any websites or do anything really. I ran a Diagnostics Test (Options> Networks and Connections> Mobile Network> Menu Key and choose Diagnostics Test and Run). I could see here that my BlackBerry was not connected, although my BlackBerry did register with T-Mobile.

I called T-Mobile’s number that came up when I went into ‘Setup’ and chose ‘Email Accounts’ and the screen says that the BlackBerry Internet Service is Disconnected or Suspended, and the number to call appears there. It was just a response that RIM is aware of the situation and they are working to find a solution. I also say some saying they heard that the problem is on T-Mobile’s side, but who knows. Hopefully they have this issue resolved soon, cause I don’t want RIM having another three day outage.

Nokia Has Officially Acquired Scalado

You will recall the Awesome BlackBerry 10 Camera that was shown off at BlackBerry World 2012. Well the company behind the development of that amazing technology, Scalado, has been acquired by Nokia and the acquisition is now complete. The camera on the BlackBerry 10 will still have this technology and has an agreement to use this feature on upcoming phones. Below is the press release.

Press Release:
Nokia completes acquisition of developers, technologies and intellectual property for imaging from Scalado
Acquisition aims to bring outstanding imaging experiences to Nokia Lumia smartphones
Espoo, Finland and Lund, Sweden: Nokia announced today that it has completed the acquisition of all technologies and intellectual property from Scalado AB, originally announced on June 14, 2012. As part of the transaction, approximately 50 world-class imaging specialists transferred to Nokia.
“We believe that this acquisition will strengthen Nokia’s leading position in mobile imaging and provide us with a great opportunity to create even better imaging products and applications,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president, Smart Devices at Nokia. “We welcome the skilled and passionate professionals from Scalado to Nokia and are excited to have them work with the rest of our talented and dedicated imaging experts to bring world-class imaging solutions to our Nokia Lumia smartphones. The Nokia team is already responsible for many leading innovations in mobile imaging and, together with the experts from Scalado, we aim at astonishing the world with new, outstanding imaging experiences.”
Lund has now become a key site for Nokia’s imaging software for smartphones, in addition to Nokia’s existing locations in Espoo and Tampere, Finland.
“We’re excited to join Nokia at such an important time in its smartphone story,” said Sami Niemi, co-founder of Scalado and now head of Capture & Relive, Smart Devices at Nokia. “The technologies and competences we’ve developed should help move from taking photos to capturing memories and emotions.”

Source: Engadget