Hacking and computer security. Read today's research news on hacking and protecting against codebreakers. New software, secure data sharing, and more.
Updated: 19 hours 10 min ago
Wearable computers or devices have been hailed as the next generation of mobile electronic gadgets, from smart watches to smart glasses to smart pacemakers. For electronics to be worn by a user, they must be light, flexible, and equipped with a power source, which could be a portable, long-lasting battery or no battery at all but a generator. How to supply power in a stable and reliable manner is one of the most critical issues to commercialize wearable devices. Scientists have now proposed a solution to this problem by developing a glass fabric-based thermoelectric (TE) generator that is extremely light and flexible and produces electricity from the heat of the human body.
Scientists have performed a proof-of-concept experiment that will aid the future development of programmable quantum computers. In a new study, the researchers describe an experiment that was performed on a crystal containing trillions, rather than hundreds, of quantum mechanical spins, which replicates some of the features of the current generation of much smaller, specialized computers.
Symmetry is ubiquitous in the natural world. It occurs in gemstones and snowflakes and even in biology, an area typically associated with complexity and diversity. There are striking examples: the shapes of virus particles, such as those causing the common cold, are highly symmetrical and look like tiny footballs.
Your financial advisor calls you up to suggest a new investment scheme. Drawing on 20 years of data, he has set his computer to work on this question: If you had invested according to this scheme in the past, which portfolio would have been the best? His computer assembled thousands of such simulated portfolios and calculated for each one an industry-standard measure of return on risk. Out of this gargantuan calculation, your advisor has chosen the optimal portfolio. After briefly reminding you of the oft-repeated slogan that "past performance is not an indicator of future results," the advisor enthusiastically recommends the portfolio, noting that it is based on sound mathematical methods. Should you invest?
The mediated version of what women should look like has always been under scrutiny, particularly looking at actresses and fashion models. But what about body image from social networks and friends? A recent study found that more time on Facebook could lead to more negative feelings and more comparisons to the bodies of friends.
An effective coupling between magnetism and light can be mediated by sound. This newly discovered phenomenon could be important for recording data on a magnetic device with the help of light.
The willingness of decision makers to take risks increases when they play games of chance with money won earlier. Risk taking also rises when they have the opportunity to compensate for earlier losses by breaking even.
Scientists have recently discovered that some of the most common activities among smartphone users -- scanning 2-D barcodes, finding free Wi-Fi access points, sending SMS messages, listening to MP3 music and watching MP4 videos -- can leave devices vulnerable to harmful 'computer worms.'
When it comes to recognizing complex patterns or to decoding encrypted messages, conventional computers reach their limits. A whole new quality in the communication and processing of data is expected from a technology that exploits the special properties of quantum particles such as superposition and entanglement. Scientists are pursuing a variety of different concepts towards the development of such a quantum computer. One professor follows the strategy of combining two rather dissimilar techniques: quantum communication using photons, and information processing using stationary atoms. His team has now for the first time realized a quantum logic gate between a single photon and a single atom.
Using a laser to place individual rubidium atoms near the surface of a lattice of light, scientists have developed a new method for connecting particles -- one that could help in the development of powerful quantum computing systems. The new technique allows researchers to couple a lone atom of rubidium, a metal, with a single photon, or light particle.
Researchers have developed software that automatically generates images of a young child's face as it ages through a lifetime. The technique is the first fully automated approach for aging babies to adults that works with variable lighting, expressions and poses.
Financial markets generally work better thanks to so called “hedge” funds. “Although hedge funds are not well understood by the general public, they provide many important services to the wider economy,” said an expert.
The effect of migration on biodiversity (intended as the coexistence of different genetic traits) is an open question: does migration increase or decrease the genetic variability of populations? Or is the relationship more complex than that? A team of physicists has developed and analyzed a model that simulates the effect of migration on the genetic biodiversity of populations, and discovered that the effect is all but trivial.
Scientists have successfully designed and fabricated electrical circuits that can operate at hundreds of terahertz frequencies, which is tens of thousands times faster than today’s state-of-the-art microprocessors.
A digging robot inspired by the unique mechanisms employed by the Atlantic razor clam has been created by a group of researchers in the US. The robot, dubbed RoboClam, is able to dig with extreme efficiency by transforming the surrounding soil from a solid into a liquid, and could have a variety of applications from anchoring underwater robots to subsea cable installation and mine neutralization.
The next generation of wearable computing is being trialled for the first time to evaluate its potential to support people with Parkinson’s. Glass is a wearable computer being developed by Google. Likened to the kind of technology fictionalized in the Hollywood Blockbuster Minority Report, at first glance Glass appears to be no more than a pair of designer glasses. But the system works like a hands-free smartphone, displaying information on the lens of the Glass. The technology is voice-operated and linked to the internet.
If you’re like most people, you’ve gone online to find out what’s causing that ringing in your ears or whether a gluten-free diet is worth considering. Be careful. Researchers have found that, as with so much on the Internet, the quality of the information you dig up may depend on what you ask for and the results could be hazardous to your health.
Researchers are asking whether there is a "right" size for the U.S. power grid; they believe that smaller grids would reduce the likelihood of severe outages, such as the 2003 Northeast blackout, likening the grid behavior to sandpiles: “Sandpiles are stable until you get to a certain height. Then you add one more grain and the whole thing starts to avalanche.”
Researchers have broadly envisioned the future of spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory (STT-MRAM), and they have now described how it will radically alter computer architectures and consumer electronics.
Detecting drought before it causes more catastrophe: the news could go down like a cool drink of water for regions feeling the heat. To trace the dynamics around agricultural drought, researchers implemented an Event-based Spatial-Temporal Data Model (ESTDM) to detect, track and monitor conditions. The framework organizes data into objects, sequences, processes and events.