Google Bars Facial Recognition Apps for Glass
AT LEAST FOR NOW, ON PRIVACY CONCERNS
(NEWSER) – Google doesn’t want users of Google Glass to be able to get the lowdown on people they encounter, at least for the time being. In a blog post last night, the company said it would not allow facial recognition apps for the device, reports Mashable. “As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place,” reads the post. “With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.”
Engadget notes that a few startups already have such apps in the works, including one called MedRef for Glass that would allow doctors to snap a photo of a patient and use it to call up medical records. Google’s move should cheer privacy advocates, but maybe not too much. “Without approval, we don’t expect to see any standard apps with the API built-in,” writes Richard Lawler. “However with the headset’s current wide open nature, we assume interested hackers will be able to get the software running if they so desire.”
World Gets Its Most Accurate Clock
LOSES JUST ONE SECOND IN 50B YEARS
NEWSER) – Most clocks lose minutes over time and need to be reset—but if you’re a scientist or an engineer, you need clocks that are just a bit more reliable. And now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have created the world’s two most accurate atomic clocks. The next time they’ll need to be reset—for a mere one-second delay—is in 50.8 billion years. The researchers’ paper describes the significance of the development: It’s like “specifying the age of the known universe to a precision of less than one second or Earth’s diameter to less than the width of an atom.”
The clocks, as all atomic clocks do, keep time using light frequencies and the fluctuation of atoms. But small movements of the atom or stray electric fields can interfere with the frequencies, so the new design—known as an optical lattice clock—minimizes these problems, holding the atoms in a vice-like grip, MIT Technology Reviewreports. And while you’re probably thinking no one should be that obsessed with being on time, there are real-world applications. As Smithsonian explains, the clocks may help measure small changes in glacier ice thickness or tectonic plate movement; they’re even useful for GPS systems.
Tattoos, Pills Might Someday Replace Passwords
MOTOROLA TESTING THE TECHNOLOGY ON PHONES
NEWSER) – Fact: Passwords suck. So Motorola is looking into technology that will allow its phones to use “Biostamp” tattoos or computer chip pills to identify their owners instead, the company told the D11 conference this week. Executive Regina Dugan even showed off her own Biostamp, a bendable silicon chip originally developed for medical purposes by MC10, reports Help Net Security. She promised that the company wouldn’t be put off by people who found the technology “creepy.”
If Biostamps don’t catch on, Motorola’s also testing the Proteus Digital Health pill, which uses stomach acid to power a computer chip that produces a unique ECG trace, the Telegraph explains. The FDA already has approved it, as have European regulators. Motorola has “tested it authenticating a phone, and it works,” the company’s CEO said, though he admitted that neither experiment was terribly close to coming to market. The news makes sense, in light of parent company Google’s professed interest in finding an alternative to passwords.
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