Just in time for the weekend, we’ve gathered some of the week's most interesting Wi-Fi and tech-related stories and packaged them up for your reading pleasure.
Passive Wi-Fi. It’s a Thing.
Engineers at University of Washington have developed Wi-Fi technology, which they call Passive Wi-Fi, said to consume 10,000 times less power than traditional Wi-Fi. The technique is to split the Wi-Fi radio into its constituent parts, of the lower power digital baseband and the higher power RF section. This technique is appropriate for a low throughput application such as IoT and may compete with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee. It's not useful, however, for high bandwidth streaming or file sharing, but because the additional BLE or Zigbee radio don't need to be included in an access point, it might advance IoT.
Stumping the Smartphone
Vkansee, a New York-based sensor manufacturer, claims to have tricked a smartphone's sensor using a fingerprint made from Play-Doh. The company's president made a mold of his finger using dental paste, then pushed Play-Doh into it to replicate his fingerprint. By simply touching the Play-Doh to his smartphone’s sensor, he was able to unlock the device. This experiment brings to light potential shortcomings of a security measure we’re seeing on more and more devices.
3D-Printing in the Medical Field
Last week we shared a story about virtual reality playing a critical role in a neurological procedure for the first time in history. This week 3D-printing is at the center of another medical breakthrough. During a 15-hour-long surgery, a neurosurgeon in Australia removed cancerous vertebrae from a patient with an extremely rare form of spinal cancer, and replaced them with 3D-printed vertebrae. The use of artificial body parts, which are often made from acrylic, titanium or porous polyethylene, could allow for the successful execution of procedures that were once considered unthinkable.
We’re only partially apologetic for that pun. 247 Security, a South Korea and Silicon Valley-based security company, has unveiled the Volt, a smartphone case that is part stylish phone protector, part phone charger, and part 50,000 volt (!) stun gun for security purposes. Here’s how it works: The Volt is controlled by an app using a Bluetooth connection, which the user can activate in the event of an emergency or attack. Within two seconds of activation, the phone case will begin recording audio and video, and enable the super-powerful stun gun. It will also send a distress text to friends and call the police, who can find your location using the product’s GPS. Volt will be available in the US this summer.