Posted by & filed under COVID-19, Emerging Technologies.

Raspberry Pi 400

This is the Pi 400. It’s the latest product from Raspberry Pi, the organisation founded to get children coding.

And the £67 device ($87) – or £95 ($125) with a mouse and cables – may help answer the challenge of getting cheap computing to youngsters affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The idea, says the organisation’s founder Eben Upton, is to mirror the simplicity of those 1980s devices.

“It gets into your life as a utility device, as a thing that you buy to do your schoolwork or play games on,” he explains.

“But it’s bundled with everything that you need and it kind of sidles its way into your life.”

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 17th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54782255

Discussion

  1. What sort of business or service could you build around a $125 computer?
  2. Why is this billed as “A computer for the coronavirus age”?

Posted by & filed under Facial Recognition.

Melanie Clapham has spent the last three years snapping images of grizzly bears at Knight Inlet, on the B.C. coast, using small camera traps housed in metal and strapped securely to the forest branches.

Three years and thousands of images later, the behavioural ecologist and postdoctoral student at the University of Victoria has partnered with two software developers living in Silicon Valley and a grizzly research centre in Alaska to develop facial recognition technology used to identify the bears.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: November 11th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/grizzly-bear-facial-recognition-software-1.5797525

Discussion

  1. People. Bears. What else could you apply facial recognition software to in order to do useful research?
  2. What sort of company or service could you set up around this?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, COVID-19.

woman coughing

An algorithm developed in the US has correctly identified people with Covid-19 only by the sound of their coughs.

In tests, it achieved a 98.5% success rate among people who had received an official positive coronavirus test result, rising to 100% in those who had no other symptoms.

The researchers would need regulatory approval to develop it into an app.

They said the crucial difference in the sound of an asymptomatic-Covid-patient cough could not be heard by human ears.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 10th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-54780460

Discussion

  1. This is an application of AI – Artificial Intelligence. “MIT lab has collected about 70,000 audio samples each containing a number of coughs. Of those, 2,500 are from people with confirmed cases of coronavirus.” How do you think the AI might work?
  2. Why do you think that this app ” would need regulatory approval to develop it into an app. “?

Posted by & filed under 5G.

Super fast 5G connectivity provided by a continually airborne fleet of pilotless planes would be a “breakthrough”, said the team developing it.

Engineering firm Cambridge Consultants has been working on an antenna system that, once mounted to specially designed aircraft, can provide data speeds of over 100 megabits per second.

Richard Deakin, chief executive of Stratospheric Platforms near Cambridge, which has also been working on the project, says each plane would be able to provide signals that cover land areas of about 140km (85miles) in diameter, from a height of 60,000ft.

“With the aircraft up very high, you have an unobstructed view of the ground,” he said, adding that buildings and trees would not get in the way, as is the case with normal terrestrial masts.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 10th, 2020

Link to video (3 minutes): https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-cambridgeshire-54792528

Discussion

  1. ” 100 megabits per second ” data transfer speeds. Is that good? What is it good enough for, and what is it not good enough for?
  2. Why is 5G 60,000 feet-in-the-air internet going to be a gamechanger?

Posted by & filed under Automation, Future of Work.

Statistics Canada says domestic firms that invested in robots since the late 1990s have also expanded their human workforces, suggesting a less than “apocalyptic” result for workers overall.

The findings released today show that over two decades, firms that invested in automation had workforces 15 per cent larger relative to other companies in the same industry.

Overall increases were from bumps in high-skilled jobs, such as programmers, that require university degrees, and low-skilled workers with high-school diplomas or less.

Those in the middle, such as trades workers, were more likely to not be replaced once a robot arrived.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: November 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/robot-workers-statscan-1.5786528

Discussion

  1. This is a similar result that was found for companies that did outsourcing and offshoring to India and China: those that did it actually hired more workers locally. Why might this be? (The answer is that outsourcing, offshoring, and using robots locally means the company frees up capital (money) to spend on other workers that they can’t do this for).
  2. Why is it that “trade workers” get hit so hard by robots being introduced, and what should be done about this?

Posted by & filed under Green Technologies.

Woman taking a selfie

Not only have smartphones crushed all other phone technologies, they have upended dozens of other industries too. They’ve killed the camera and powered the rise of social media and dating apps. They’ve decimated the traditional taxi industry.

So what has this got to do with energy?

It proves an important point about all successful new technologies: it is easy to see why they were so transformative in hindsight, much harder to predict how they will reshape our world in advance.

Which brings us to green technology – wind turbines, electric vehicles, solar panels and batteries, that kind of thing.

If you still think adopting these new technologies will be an expensive chore, think again.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54723147

Discussion

  1. ” The world’s best solar power schemes are now the “cheapest source of electricity in history”, the International Energy Agency (IEA), which analyses energy markets, said this month. ” What impact might this have for massive datacenter / cloud providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft?
  2. Google has promised to be “net-negative emissions by 2030.” First off, what does this mean?
    Secondly, how might they get there?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Privacy.

The real estate company behind some of Canada’s most popular shopping centres embedded cameras inside its digital information kiosks at 12 shopping malls in major Canadian cities to collect millions of images — and used facial recognition technology without customers’ knowledge or consent — according to a new investigation by the federal, Alberta and B.C. privacy commissioners.

“Shoppers had no reason to expect their image was being collected by an inconspicuous camera, or that it would be used, with facial recognition technology, for analysis,” said federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a statement.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: October 30th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cadillac-fairview-5-million-images-1.5781735

Discussion

  1. “Cadillac Fairview said it used AVA technology to assess foot traffic and track shoppers’ ages and genders — but not to identify individuals.  The company also argued shoppers were made aware of the activity through decals it placed on shopping mall entry doors that warned cameras were being used for “safety and security” and included the web address for Cadillac Fairview’s privacy policy.”
    Why is this not enough?
  2. Would it likely have made any difference at all to users if there were clearly displayed warnings on the shopping mall directory kiosks where the cameras were?
  3. Why is that people don’t seem to care about their privacy?

Posted by & filed under Networking.

Wireless mesh networks: 4 things you need to know - Asurion

THERE ARE AREAS in my life where I’ve spent too much money and time trying to be cheap. My reward: steady aggravation—until I spent a bit more to get the right solution.

Which brings me to home networking technology. Most of us spend some $500 a year or more for internet broadband service. The problem: Many families are still living with old networking gear that’s slower than it should be, sometimes unreliable or provides poor wi-fi coverage in parts of their house.

Networking technology can get complicated pretty fast, so internet service providers try to simplify their customers’ lives by integrating four separate networking functions into a single internet gateway device (IGD) that they give you upon installation—and for which you pay each month

Source: HumbleDollar

Date: October 30th, 2020

Link: https://humbledollar.com/2019/05/making-a-mesh/

Discussion

  1. What sort of home/dorm network do you have, and why?
  2. Could you set up a business helping people sort this out?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Fraud, NFC/Near-Field Communication.

Beat the cheats - fixing the issue of 'gamed' consultations

U.S. CREDIT CARD fraud topped $8 billion in 2015 and should surpass $12 billion next year. You can reduce your exposure to such incidents with a few simple steps. Why bother? Won’t the bank pick up the tab when unauthorized purchases show up on your account? Generally, yes, thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. But there may be limitations on that protection, based on how quickly you notify your bank when you discover unauthorized charges.

There are two well-established ways your credit card information can be stolen and used.

Source: HumbleDollar

Date: October 30th, 2020

Link: https://humbledollar.com/2019/07/beat-the-cheats/

Discussion

  1. Why is ” near-field communication (NFC) mobile tap-to-pay technology ” the ” most secure option ” for using a credit or debit card?
  2. What is near-field communication (NFC) mobile tap-to-pay technology?