Why your mobile phone will never run out of battery again

Mobile phones and gadgets running out of battery life halfway through the day is one of the smartphone age’s biggest frustrations, but soon we will be able to charge our devices using natural light.

Watching movies, playing games and frantically refreshing emails have made our gadgets battery-intensive, leading to many people carrying spare charging cables and extra batteries.

Now two companies have created an ultra-thin transparent layer that can be embedded into electronic displays to power-up the phone and make charging routines a thing of the past.

The technology will effectively turn any surface on a mobile device into a solar panel – which will allow charging in natural or artificial light.

Three unnamed, but leading, device manufacturers are said to be working with the technology and are set to sign licences to use it at some point during in the first half of this year.

3M, who were formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, and French solar technology company SunPartner Technologies teamed up to create Wysips Crystal – an acronym which they say stands for ‘What you see is photovoltaic surface’.

The crystal surface is bonded to devices using 3M’s adhesives that are precision manufactured to eliminate common problems such as bubbling, which can distort the display, and are designed to work with existing materials and screen technologies.

The continuous charge is hoped to make devices always ready-to-use whether indoors or outdoors and eliminate the need to charge devices from a physical power source. This will not only help to preserve natural resources but also make the excuse of not answering phone calls due to a drained mobile phone battery non-existent.

Vice president and general manager of 3M’s Electronics Markets Materials Division, Herve Gindre, said: “It is exciting to see both an innovative and sustainable solution for this industry.

“We are thrilled to leverage our technical materials expertise, along with SunPartner’s unique solutions, to enable key customers worldwide to bring new and exciting possibilities to the next generation of electronic devices. This team effort aligns well with 3M’s commitment to collaborative innovation, sustainability, and improving business and people’s lives.”

While it has been around and tested for some years, experts have predicted that 2014 will see wireless charging really cut the cord and become used in the mainstream markets. Qi wireless charging is currently included with more than 60 different phones and at least 40m of them have been sold so far.

Where 3M and SunPartner Technologies’ product will be ahead of pre-existing wireless charging methods is that it will not need to be placed on a pad, or specific area to provide power, making wireless charging not dependent on a traditional power source.

Ludovic Deblois, president and co-founder, SunPartner Technologie said: “We see strong synergies to serve our customers in consumer electronics markets with the help of 3M as a trusted partner and expert in materials excellence.”

China uses facial recognition to monitor ethnic minorities

China has been criticised for adding facial recognition to an already obtrusive surveillance system in Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the country's far west. The "alert project" matches faces from surveillance camera footage to a watchlist of suspects, and supposedly is designed to thwart terrorist attacks.

Source: Engadget

Microsoft execs say the ultimate form of AI is a digital assistant

In an interview with Business Insider, Microsoft president Brad Smith and EVP of AI and research Harry Shum have said the ultimate manifestation of AI in 20 years will be in a digital assistant that will serve as an "alter ego." The two argue that we need to set ground rules for our AI assitants while we still can.

Facebook’s head of AI isn't impressed by Sophia the robot

Facebook's head of AI, Yann LeCun, isn't happy with Sophia the robot. Following a Business Insider interview with Sophia, LeCun took to Twitter to call the whole thing “complete bullsh*t”. He went on to say Sophia masquerading as a semi-sentient entity was "to AI as prestidigitation is to real magic”.

Source: The Verge

Drone saves the lives of two swimmers

Two teenage boys were rescued by a brand new lifesaving drone in Australia, while lifeguards were still training to use the device. When a member of the public spotted them struggling in heavy surf about 700m (2,300ft) offshore the drone was sent out and dropped an inflatable rescue pod, which allowed the pair to make their way safely to shore.

Source: BBC

Google defends the right to not let people be forgotten online

Google is going to court to defend it's right to not abide by "the right to be forgotten", which it says “represent[s] a serious assault on the public’s right to access lawful information. Two anonymous people want the search engine to take down links to information about their old convictions because search engine results attract “adverse attention”.

Source: Bloomberg

UK Police delivering daily briefings via Amazon Echo

Lancashire police have begun streaming daily briefings straight to peoples' homes through Amazon Echo. Users will get hourly updates as well as pictures of wanted and missing people sent directly to their devices. "Alexa works alongside traditional policing methods to inform the public about the important issues in their neighbourhoods," said PC Rob Flanagan.

Source: BBC

A quarter of ethical hackers don’t report cybersecurity concerns because it’s not clear who they should be reporting them to

Almost a quarter of hackers have not reported a vulnerability that they found because the company didn’t have a channel to disclose it, according to a survey of the ethical hacking community.

With 1,698 respondents, the 2018 Hacker Report, conducted by the cybersecurity platform HackerOne, is the largest documented survey ever conducted of the ethical hacking community.

In the survey, HackerOne reports that nearly 1 in 4 hackers have not reported a vulnerability because the company in question lacks a vulnerability disclosure policy (VDP) or a formal method for receiving vulnerability submissions from the outside world.

Without a VDP, ethical, white-hat hackers are forced to go through other channels like social media or emailing personnel in the company, but, as the survey states, they are “frequently ignored or misunderstood”.

Despite some companies lacking a VDP, the hackers surveyed in the report did say that companies are becoming more open to receiving information about vulnerabilities than they were in the past.

Of the 1,698 respondents, 72% noted that companies have become more open to receiving vulnerability reports in the past year,

That figure includes 34% of hackers who believe companies have become far more open.

Unlike a bug bounty program, a VDP does not offer hackers financial incentives for their findings, but they are still incredibly effective.

Organisations like the US Department of Defence have received and resolved nearly 3,000 security vulnerabilities in the last 18 months from their VDP alone.

India (23%) and the United States (20%) are the top two countries represented by the HackerOne hacker community, followed by Russia (6%), Pakistan (4%) and the United Kingdom (4%).

The report revealed that because bug bounties usually have no geographical boundaries the payments involved can be life changing for some hackers.

The top hackers based in India earn 16 times the median salary of a software engineer. And on average, top earning hackers make 2.7 times the median salary of a software engineer in their home country.

In terms of which demographics are attracted to a life of ethical hacking, the report found that over 90% of hackers are under the age of 35, and unsurprisingly the vast majority of hackers on the HackerOne platform are male.