Microsoft releases new version of Windows 10 IoT: Microsoft has announced the October 2018 Update for Windows 10 IoT, its operating system for embedded intelligent devices. The update brings “edge intelligence with machine learning, industrial strength security, diverse silicon options, and new monetization models for distributors and resellers”, writes Microsoft’s Dan Harman. Other changes include support for Azure IoT Edge, for secure cloud intelligence and analytics at scale, hardware-accelerated machine learning, support for the NXP i.MX 6, 7, and 8M processor series, improvements to the system’s kiosk and assigned access functionality, support for both Azure IoT Device Management and Microsoft Intune, and new servicing options that are specific to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. There also will be a Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release of Windows 10 Enterprise, knwon as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019.
California bans default passwords: California’s weak password ban, which is part of a law targeting improved online security, will come into effect from 2020. The bill effectively bans pre-installed and hard-coded default passwords. It only took the authorities about two weeks to approve the proposal made by the state senate. The new regulation mandates device manufacturers to either create a unique password for each device at the time of production or require the user to create one when they interact with the device for the first time. According to the bill, it applies to any connected device, which is defined as a physical object that is capable of connecting to the Internet, directly or indirectly, and that is assigned an Internet Protocol address or Bluetooth address. The law is clearly aimed at stopping the spread of botnets made up of compromised network devices, such as routers, smart switches or even security cameras and other IoT equipment.
Alibaba is betting on AI: China’s Alibaba has announced a subsidiary that that will develop computer chips specifically designed for artificial intelligence. Alibaba aims to put Chinese microchip manufacturing on the map and make China less dependent on foreign silicon for its products. The new company was introduced by CTO Jeff Zhang at the Alibaba Computing Conference in Hangzhou on Wednesday. The company’s name is Pingtou Ge, meaning “honey badger,” an animal notorious for fearlessly facing up to larger animals.
Ford patents control app for autonomous vehicles: Ford has recently obtained a US patent for two driving modes that would use a touchscreen device to steer an otherwise autonomous vehicle once the driver receives permission. The first mode, as Autoblog pointed out, would mimic the tilt-to-steer mechanic from video games. The second mode wouldn’t be quite so involved: Users can use their finger to turn an on-screen steering wheel. In both cases, the driver wouldn’t necessarily have full control of the car. The vehicle would control acceleration, braking or both, leaving the human to decide where it’s going.
Majority of wireless routers contain security holes: The non-profit American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research (ACI) has tested the latest available versions of the firmware of 186 Wi-Fi routers present in the US market, and found that 155 (83%) of them contain known open source vulnerabilities. While most of the vulnerabilities within the sample are considered medium risk, 28% of them are high-risk and critical. The reason for this egregious number of open source vulnerabilities is because router manufacturers often use open source components in the firmware, but fail to keep the firmware updated as fixes become available.
Dresden: Stolen e-bike found through IoT tracking dnn.de
Autonomous driving: Honda and Toyota are piling billions of dollars into autonomous cars independent.co.uk
“Jarvish”: Jarvish’s smart motorcycle helmets will offer Alexa and Siri support and an AR display theverge.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
According to estimates by market research firm Research In China, the market volume for service robots – everything from medical devices to vacuum cleaner rovers – will increase to the equivalent of 4.16 billion euros by 2022. In 2017 it amounted to about 910 million euros.
IoT in the vineyard: Winemaking is getting smart, or at least sensorized. In Pago Ayles, a winery in Zaragoza that produces vintages ranking at the top of the Spanish wine-quality pyramid, they’ve turned to sensor technology to improve production. Working with remOT Technologies, a spin-off of the University of Zaragoza in northeast Spain specializing in agricultural measurement, Pago Aylés has embarked on an IoT project to model the future. The project aims to obtain predictive behavior patterns in the vineyard relating to grape quality, production, biological cycles, potential pests, and plant diseases. Using the data obtained, winemakers can optimally time routine measures such as watering or fertilizing. The evaluations of the sensors are transmitted in real time to the farmer’s smartphone.
Tetris using telepathy: Using a tool they dub “BrainNet”, neuroscientists have managed to connect the brains of three different people and allowed them to communicate without seeing each other or speaking a single word. The BrainNet system combined two existing technologies — electroencephalograms and transcranial magnetic stimulation — to allow three participants to passively send brain signals to each other. In this case, the three brains were linked for the purposes of playing a Tetris-like game in a very non-traditional way. The system, while complex, was actually fairly simple for the participants to use. One individual was tasked with actually controlling the falling blocks in the Tetris clone, while two others had to tell the player whether the blocks needed to be rotated as they fell. To do this, they looked at one of two flashing lights situated on the sides of the game screen. The player could sense these flashing lights even though they couldn’t directly see them, thanks to the special skull cap that relayed the brain signals of the two other participants. The person controlling the block could see whether the placement of the block was successful but could not see the blocks before they were placed.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
First fully autonomous farm: Start-up Iron Ox created a fully autonomous farm near San Francisco, California. The hydroponic indoor farm relies on two robots to plant, care for and harvest produce. The farm is currently growing a number of leafy greens, including romaine, butterhead and kale, in addition to basil, cilantro and chives. The robots tending these plants are Angus, a 1,000-pound machine that can lift and move the large hydroponic boxes in which the produce is growing, and Iron Ox’s robotic arm for harvesting the produce. As a tray of plants matures, the mobile robot carries it to the processing area. Here, the robotic arm moves baby plants in densely packed trays to containers with more space. This optimizes space efficiency, because throughout their life cycle, plants are only given the room they need. All of this is overseen by a computer program (nicknamed “the Brain”) that monitors the growing conditions in each pallet and adjusts their balance of gases and nutrients for optimal growing conditions.
cnbc.com, techcrunch.com, theverge.com
“We are already late in the game. But we can still correct the mistake.”
Ralph Dommermuth is the CEO of United Internet AG and this year’s winner of the Social Market Economy Prize of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. He called for investments in the groundbreaking fast 5G network and warned that Germany might otherwise miss out on developing IoT technologies.
Texas halts plans for robot brothel: Plans to open the US’s first so-called sex robot brothel in Houston have been put on hold by officials in the city. Toronto-based company KinkySDollS announced last month it was preparing to launch a store in Texas, which would rent and sell dolls to clients from an office space. However, the project has reportedly hit a snag after it was discovered business owners had not submitted an application for permits to convert the building, on Richmond Avenue in the east of the city.