Drones in Agriculture

While drones are commonly talked about for a multitude of uses, one that is commonly overlooked is their use for farming, despite the fact that agriculture is projected to make up 70% of the unmanned aircraft market; this will be around 32 billion dollars.  Drones could help farmers in many different ways and could allow for healthier crops and less waste in terms of fertilizer as well as water, both of which are would be beneficial for the environment.

Some of these uses could include planting seeds. Drones would have the ability to shoot seed pods into the ground along with nutrients, thus increasing the uptake rate of crops and decreasing the costs. Drones would also be able to help farmers water efficiently by analyzing the health of the crops and determining which crops need water and certain pesticides.

Farms are usually seen as the culprits for multiple sources of pollution, whether it be pesticides or fertilizers. Implementing drones would cut back on this pollution because the drones would ensure that the crops get the nutrients they need but not more. This means the crop will be able to absorb the nutrients in the fertilizer, so it will not run off into nearby waterways and damage the wildlife inhabiting streams and other ecosystems.

http://punchng.com/six-ways-drones-are-changing-the-face-of-agriculture/

http://www.starherald.com/farm_ranch/as-technology-advances-drones-set-to-become-a-crucial-tool/article_7cdf749e-0619-508c-9697-4490cc679e31.html

 

How much is your face worth?

When Apple revealed the face ID on the iPhone X, there were people that feared it would be the gateway to society accepting governments and other companies acquiring very personal information. It turns out, they may have been correct in their assumptions.

 

Apple is sharing the information of people’s facial recognition scans, and while Apple has some privacy contracts in place for app developers, they may not be enough. Whenever you allow an app to have access to the camera, the app also gains access to the TrueDepth camera. This camera creates a wireframe map of your face and can also read out 52 micro movements of your facial features. That is a lot data; the information is enough to create a 3D print of your face.

 

While Apple claims they protect this data by using iOS and keeping it on the iPhone X only, it is possible that people will exploit and sell this data soon. Even if you don’t mind sharing this information with apps, you should recognize the fact that this is a lot of data, worth a lot of money, that could be given to advertisers, the government, and many others. Just be aware of the significance of this data getting out: it will forever change the definition of privacy.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/11/30/apple-is-sharing-your-face-with-apps-thats-a-new-privacy-worry/?utm_term=.f1ee847eec27

 

www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/12/04/report-iphone-xs-face-scanning-data-being-shared-with-apps/

 

Alexa Will Now Send SMS Texts

Amazon is now allowing Alexa to send SMS text messages to any Android device. Previously Alexa was only allowed to send texts to others, via the Alexa app. But, even that feature required that other users have an Alexa as well, and they also  had to have the Alexa app downloaded on their devices.

In order to set up this new feature you “… navigate over to Conversations tab, then “Contacts,” then “My Profile,” then switch the “Send SMS” feature to on. There’s no word as to when or even if similar functionality will be available on iOS devices… Asking Alexa to send “a text”, will cause it to go straight to sending SMS messages”.

Alexa’s have become a household item, and I definitely think this new feature will be a boost to Android sales, since at the moment it exclusively for Androids. After so many people were having issues with their iPhone batteries, this new feature could be a selling point for those debating “Apple or Android”.

Source: 

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/30/16952218/amazon-alexa-sms-messaging-android-phone-update

Amazon to bring opt-in notifications to Alexa

Nintendo’s Smartphone App Was A Bust

Nintendo, a well respected company in the video game industry, decided to switch off the consoles and dabble in a smartphone app. This did not turn out well for them. Nintendocreated the app Miitomo, but they are going to delete it from the App store because it couldn’t get enough users to download and play it. 

Miitomo was designed to be a “game” app but it was perceived as another social media by the public. As a social media app, Miitomo could not compete with Facebook and Twitter to gain a loyal customer base. Basically you are able to create a “Mii”, which is like a virtual character, and interact with other “Miis” in the game.

Since Nintendo couldn’t retain enough users, the app will be officially shutdown on May 9th. They have 3 other smartphone apps called “Super Mario Run,” “Animal Crossing: PocketCamp,” and “Fire Emblem Heroes.” These games have done slightly better, but not really/ Stick to console video games Nintendo.

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/its-game-over-for-nintendos-first-smartphone-app-1516848304

cdn1.twinfinite.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/miitomo.jpg

Crypto Hacks

Image result for coincheck

Coincheck Inc. was the latest cryptocurrency exchange that was hacked. The hacker stole 523 million assets of the coin called NEM, valued at $530 million USD. This is the largest theft of cryptocurrencies in the world in the 9 years of bitcoin exchanges. This tops the fellow Japanese company, Mt. Gox, which was hacked and led to its demise. $450 million worth of bitcoin from the price in 2014 were stolen, but today those $450 million would have been worth exponentially more. Cyber security experts say that Coincheck was hacked because they didn’t have a simple security check called multisignature.

This latest hack just reinforces people’s skeptical view of investing in cryptocurrencies. The price volatility of these currencies is ridiculous, and if you aren’t careful you can lose a ton of money in the blink of an eye. Now more people will probably invest in those offline crypto wallets to add to the protection of just storing their coins on the exchange.

Coincheck does not know who stole the NEM coins yet or even what country the thief is from. They aren’t even sure that investors will be able to get their money back, something that might put Coincheck under. Hopefully these investors will be able to get refunded or else this will put the cryptocurrency exchanges in a bad light.

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cryptocurrency-worth-530-million-missing-from-japanese-exchange-1516988190

https://coincheck.com/images/logos/logo.svg

3D Printing Food?

Coming to a kitchen near you: 3D printed food! While 3D printing food is not a totally new idea, researchers at Columbia University are looking into making it better. They are currently trying to figuring out a way to heat the food while its printing.

According to this video, they plan to make 3D food printers with lasers to heat the food, instead of more traditional cooking methods.The ingredients that go into this machine are the same ingredients used to make regular food, so the concept truly isn’t that foreign. Using the laser will make the cooking more accurate than that of an oven or microwave, down to about a millimeter. While the 3D printer seems like something only a top chef would use, they hope that in the future everybody will have a 3D food printer in their kitchens. They plan to make this 3D printer relatively affordable, thus changing the way we cook today. If implemented, this could affect various food industries. Why go out for a fancy meal when you could make it at home for less money?

When could you expect to see this in stores? The technology has not been picked up by any big businesses quite yet, so it could be a long time before we could see these in our everyday lives.

So enjoy your microwaved mac ‘n’ cheese for now, the future is coming soon.

http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2018/01/26/3d-food-printing-columbias-creative-machines-lab.cnnmoney/index.html

Fog For IoT

cloud computing network connections - IoT - internet of things

IoT is easily the most popular buzzword for 2017. We are seeing increasing interest in what IoT can do. It is rightfully so because it is supposing to make many things automated, bring greater efficiency and convenience to world. Many devices share data with each other, so that decisions, such as turning off certain devices and allocate power to crucial devices in order to prevent a blackout, can be on scale that is meaningful and impactful. We have to ask the question, how can this happen?

In order for devices to share information, they need a network that can transmit data to each other. We already have this in place but it is too small for the many devices that will exist on the network. We are limited by the data transmission capacity and the latency of the network in facture. With the stand model of having a centralized cloud computing where all the data is sent and process is very inefficient. One, it hogs to much bandwidth. Two, increases latency because large amounts of information is buffered and queued, and it can’t be used for time sensitive situations. Three, it is an inefficient way to make decision, and distributing data.

The idea, not a tangible solution yet, to fix these problems is something called Fog Computing. Its goal is to decrease latency, dynamically change each devices’ function, give out data to required devices. How the OpenFog Consortium wants to go about doing is quite complex but simple in its nature. Devices on the network can function independently if they have to. For example, a self-driving car needs to react right away if it senses an accident is about to occur, rather than wasting time by waiting for a server to respond to tell the car what to do. At the same time, it should be able to get input from the server such, as changing speed to avoid congestion. This is a case where it is lowering the latency for the decision-making process to occur, essential is the case of an accident. It is the act of balancing where the computations should be done. It ideally saves time and bandwidth. Using the same case, we can idealize another part of OpenFog Consortium’s idea. The self-driving cars on road, in a case of crash, can immediately talk to cars around it, rather than sending its data through the cloud. This shows that devices can actively choice when to give out point to point communication rather than sending it to a server.

With IoT coming very soon, I think this a is great idea that can speed up the emergence of IoT. Even though the concept seems simple enough, it doesn’t solve how IoT will behave. This idea will make data transfer more efficient, but how do you want data to send and where to send it? There will be so many devices and sensors that knowing what is need to make a meaningful decision is going to be hard too. For example, a car is about to crash into a gas main. A camera records the car, but something has to be able to process the video in way to see the cars trajectory, speed, etc. Then the computer has to communicate to the gas stations’ shut value. At the same time, call the nearest fire engine just incase. Then, there are so many more factors.

Creating a standardized protocol for all IoT is one set in making it work, but something has to be designed so data can be understood in a meaningful way. This is probably were AI will come into play.

 

Butler, Brandon. “What Is Fog Computing? Connecting the Cloud to Things.” ITworld, Network World, 17 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3243111/internet-of-things/what-is-fog-computing-connecting-the-cloud-to-things.html.

 

Picure: https://www.itworld.com/article/3243111/internet-of-things/what-is-fog-computing-connecting-the-cloud-to-things.html

Blockchain Is Here to Stay

blockchain how it works

The words Bitcoin, Ethereum, cryptocurrency seem to be the buzz these days. With the rise of Bitcoin, it has caused a lot of hype and a modern-day gold rush. With some cryptocurrency seeing quick and steep growth, many are flocking to this is new system of money to see if they can also reap the benefits. The main hero giving us the ability to trust the system is Blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology. In simple terms, it is public ledger that all parties hold and it consists of the all the transaction that have ever happen within a system. In way, you can verify and authorize new transaction by comparing all the ledgers.

Even though Blockchain was popularized by Bitcoin, it has many other uses other than for cryptocurrency. In a sense, Blockchain can be compared to administrative record work, so anything that requires record keeping and constant accounting of assets can be replaced with a cost-effective way, Blockchain. Currently, we are seeing Blockchain being used in finance for bank transactions, mobile payments, shipping (a very successful example). We are also seeing some experimentations done in healthcare, company access portals, and in the energy industry.

If it such a powerful tool, why isn’t being widely used or rather, what is holding it back?. One, it is simply misunderstood, and the idea is still in its infancy. There are enough developers working on creating new implementations, creating improved model, or doing research. It is every expensive and hard for everyone get access to the software. Two, just like everything new thing, it will take a long time before it can be adopted. Any rapid change to the system could cause unforeseen consequence. This prevents companies and other organization from adopting it to quickly.

I love the idea of Blockchain technology and its possibilities. Even though, I really don’t know too much about how it works, but I get the gist. I feel like this could potentially bring an aspect of security to the internet of things. With so much data being transmitted online, making ledger that track where data is going would be awesome. The system could authorize “data” transactions, keep track of where the data is going, and keep the data with the selected parties. Perhaps, the system could actively respond to hacks. If the system sees that the data transaction was hacked, it could automatically change protocols, codes, etc…

Even though Blockchain is really slow in its growth, I can see that it going to be like TCP/IP was for the internet.

 

Mearian, Lucas. “What Is Blockchain? The Most Disruptive Tech in Decades.” ITworld, Computerworld, 18 Jan. 2018, www.itworld.com/article/3191077/security/what-is-blockchain-the-most-disruptive-tech-in-decades.html.

 

Picture:https://www.itworld.com/article/3191077/security/what-is-blockchain-the-most-disruptive-tech-in-decades.html

Fridges of the Future

One of Samsung's new "smart" refrigerators the Korean electronics giantannounced Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at its press conference in Las Vegas
preceding the annual CES electronics convention. (Troy Wolverton/Mercury News)

mercurynews.com

Imagine you’re coming home from work after a long day, and you don’t remember if you have milk and eggs for breakfast the next morning…your fridge may now be able to assist. Led by Samsung and LG, the new era of “smart” refrigerators will allow owners to ask their fridge if they’re out of milk, play music, leave digital notes, and even order groceries with just a voice command. With all of our discussion recently on the Internet of Things, this is a great example of a typical home appliance that will revolutionize our daily lives once implemented. The fridges not only can process and assist through only voice commands, they can also respond similarly to an “Alexa” or something else of that communication-natured software.

LG’s featured smart fridge will also have the ability to turn the screen transparent by knocking on it twice, allowing you to see inside the fridge without opening the doors. This will eliminate a lot of the excess cost from heat loss when standing with the fridge open for minutes at a time to see what’s inside. Apps will allow you to send recipes and text messages to your fridge from your smartphone, and cameras inside the fridge can be connected to the app to check the contents of your fridge remotely. The Internet of Things is definitely approaching us very quickly, and appliances with software like this is leading the charge forward.

Your refrigerator is getting a digital makeover

First Detailed Images of the Surface of a Giant Star

sciencedaily.com

This image is the first ever captured of a giant star outside our solar system in detail (even though it looks like resolution from 50 years ago). It is a huge step forward for science’s overall understanding and comparison of the theories and expected behavior of stars different than our own sun. This star is 350 times larger than our sun and resembles what our sun will become at the end of its life (don’t worry, it’s not for another 5 billion years). It is an evolved star in its last phase of life, and believe it or not this simple image gives scientists immense knowledge about the future activity and characteristics of our sun.

Dr. Fabien Baron, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University, stated “There’s a limit to the details we can see based on the size of the telescope used for the observations. For this paper, we used an interferometer. The light from several telescopes is combined to overcome the limit of each telescope, thus achieving a resolution equivalent to that of a much larger telescope.” This picture displays the star having a complex pattern of convection cells on its surface. Convection plays a huge part in processes like energy transport, pulsation, and solar winds. Its surface is also free of dust, a challenge that has plagued many astronomers who have tried to capture images of giant stars in the past.

Astronomers Create First Detailed Images of Surface of Giant Star