Scanther Offers Merchant Tags Via QR, SMS and NFC-Enabled Signs

US startup Scanther is raising funds on Indiegogo for a combined mobile website plus NFC tag package for independent retailers.

The service is designed to enable small merchants to market their businesses via QR, SMS and NFC-enabled counter signs, window decals and table top signs that link directly to a custom mobile-optimized website.

Source: NFC World

SecureKey Signs with Enstream to Provide Mobile Credentials

Customers of Canadian mobile operators Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus will be able to use NFC for secure authentication and identification after the EnStream mobile commerce joint venture signed a deal with credential issuer SecureKey.

SecureKey recently launched an authentication service for the Government of Canada that enables Canadians to use their bank authentication credentials to obtain access to online government services like pension, tax and benefits. The initiative is part of the Canadian government’s Federated Identity Management strategy, which promotes the interoperability of security credentials to create a lower cost, more convenient, and more secure authentication ecosystem for consumers and business.

“Our partnership with SecureKey gives Canadians an innovative and valuable solution that can be used with services from government, healthcare providers and financial institutions,” said Enstream’s Almis Ledas. “SecureKey is the first credential issuer to announce that it will make use of our ability to deploy secure credentials on SIM-based secure elements for mobile carriers in Canada.”

Source: NFC World

Microchip Implant Lets Blind Patients See Shapes

An eye-implanted chip from Retina Implant has restored patients’ ability to discern light during its latest trial, according to German researchers.

The device works in a similar fashion to the newly FDA approved Argus II retinal prosthesis to return limited vision in patients with photoreceptor cell diseases like retinitis pigmentosa.

Unlike that system, however, light is picked up via 1,500 pixels on a retinal implant instead of an eyeglass-mounted camera. The signal is boosted by a coil implanted in skin behind the ear and sent back to so-called bipolar cells still active on the retina, which in turn send an image to the brain through regular neural circuits. A small battery mounted behind the ear — the only external sign of the device — contains controls for brightness and contrast.

The recent trial let 8 out of 9 patients see in varying degrees, with three in the study even able to read letters and see the faces of family members. Given that the Argus II finally crossed the FDA’s bionic eye barrier, hopefully we won’t have to wait nearly as long for research like this to become a product.

Source: Engadget