New Bluetooth-Enabled Smart Shoes Vibrate to Give You Directions

July 27th, 2014

Indian startup Ducere Technologies is about to bestow a new form of high-tech footwear unto the world, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Called Lechal shoes, the Bluetooth-enabled smart footwear will sync up with an app on the user’s phone, which is connected to Google Maps. Once a user inputs their destination, the app will command the left and right shoes to vibrate, telling the user which way to turn to reach their destination.

“The shoes are a natural extension of the human body,” Ducere Technologies cofounder and CEO Krispian Lawrence told the WSJ. “You will leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes.”

If you’re not a fan of the shoes’ look — can we all admit they resemble dorky water shoes? — users can remove the shoes’ Bluetooth-enabled insoles and insert them into a more stylish pair of kicks.  More

Girl’s Samsung Galaxy S4 cellphone catches fire under her pillow

July 26th, 2014

DALLAS – A Texas teen was woken up by her cellphone in the middle of the night and it wasn’t because she had set the alarm to go off by mistake.

Ariel Tolfree had a rude awakening after she placed her Samsung Galaxy S4 under her pillow before going to sleep. The 13-year-old’s “high-tech” phone caught fire and it was burnt to the point where it is barely recognizable.

The phone does come with the following warning: ”Covering the device with bedding, your body, thick clothing or any other materials that significantly affect air flow may affect the performance of the phone and poses a possible risk of fire or explosion, which could lead to serious bodily injuries or damage to property.”

In addition to the phone, all of the other damaged items will be replaced by Samsung.  More

The truth about product registration cards

July 24th, 2014

When you buy a TV, lamp, or even a mesh chair for your teenager to take to college this fall, what business is it of the manufacturer to ask about your income, education, hobbies, and the car you drive? Frankly, none. It’s a tactic called data mining, the harvesting of personal information for companies to sell to marketers.

Companies make money from the data; you get peppered with spam and unsolicited sales pitches. Yet many consumers are scared into filling out those pesky product registration cards (or doing so online), fearing that failure to do so will void their warranty rights.

According to the California-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer education organization, the demographic questions amount to a deceptive data collection practice that has nothing to do with product registration. If you need to file a warranty claim, a sales receipt should suffice.  More

Wall Street Journal Hacked Again

July 23rd, 2014

Hacked again that’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached.

The systems have been taken offline in an effort to isolate any attacks, according to people familiar with the matter cited in a Wall Street Journal article.

The Journal has not found any damage or tampering, these people said, but the matter is not yet closed.

“We are investigating an incident related to wsj.com’s graphics systems,” a spokesperson for the Journal said. “At this point we see no evidence of any impact to Dow Jones customers or customer  data .”  More

Japan Wants Robot Olympics At 2020 Games

July 23rd, 2014

Japan’s prime minister wants to pit the world’s robots against each other when his country hosts the 2020 Olympics.

Shinzo Abe revealed his ambition while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama.

He said a robot Olympics would be a good way to show off advances in the field of robotics around the world.

“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” Mr Abe said.

He did not give details on the type of event he envisaged.  More

Your iPhone may be rigged to spy on you

July 22nd, 2014

NEW YORK — iOS forensic examiner Jonathan Zdziarski may know more about iPhones than any other non-Apple employee. Yet even he can’t find a reason for some of the mystery features buried within the iOS operating system, which look an awful lot like security backdoors that bypass user-designated data protections.

The features could be there to let Apple — or even the National Security Agency or the FBI — get access to most of your iOS device’s data without you knowing it.

In a presentation Friday at the HOPE X hacker conference here, Zdziarksi detailed his discoveries about the data-collection tools hidden on iOS devices. Some tools are listed by name, yet not explained, in the Apple developer manual and do far more than advertised. Others are undocumented and buried deep within the iOS code.  More