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A Smartwatch that can detect objects, read new Applications and Monitor vibrations

A ViBand-enabled watch can tell if someone is tapping on the forearm, the palm of the hand or the back of the hand

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Smart Watch, Pixabay
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New York, October 18, 2016: What if your smartwatch can help tune a guitar, displaying the note transmitted as you pluck and adjust each string? This is the future with a software upgrade that repurposes a smartwatch’s existing accelerometer.

A smartwatch is capable of detecting and distinguishing a variety of taps, flicks and scratches by the hands and fingers.

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The new functionality makes possible new applications that use common gestures to control the smartwatch and, ultimately, other objects connected through the internet of things (IoT).

By monitoring vibrations that occur when people hold objects or use tools, the smartwatch would also be capable of recognising objects and activities, said the team from Carnegie Mellon University.

“It’s as if you’re using your hand as a detection device. The hand is what people use to interact with the world,” added Gierad Laput, PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie.

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This new technology, dubbed ViBand, was developed by Laput and Robert Xiao from the HCII’s Future Interfaces Group, along with adviser Chris Harrison, assistant professor of human-computer interaction.

Normally, a smartwatch accelerometer is used to detect when a person lifts an arm so the screen can activate, or sometimes to count footsteps.

To do so, the accelerometer only needs to take measurements about 100 times a second.

But when researchers increased the sampling frequency to 4,000 a second (4 kHz), they found it acted like a vibrational microphone.

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“ViBand isn’t just a way to control your smartwatch,” Harrison said. “It enables you to augment your arm. It’s a powerful interface that’s always available to you.”

A ViBand-enabled watch can tell if someone is tapping on the forearm, the palm of the hand or the back of the hand. It can detect finger flicks, scratches and other motions.

It also can sense if a person is holding various mechanical and electrical tools, such as an electric toothbrush, power drill or handsaw. Each body tap, device or activity has distinctive bio-acoustic signals.

The team developed several demonstration apps for ViBand, including the use of hand gestures in the area around the watch to control apps on the watch.

The team is set to present a paper at the Association for Computing Machinery’s User Interface Software and Technology (ACM UIST) Symposium in Tokyo this week. (IANS)

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  • Diksha Arya

    Well, a smartwatch capable of tuning my guitar would be awesome..

  • Antara

    A “smart” invention indeed!

  • Ruchika Kumari

    Sounds interesting. I think everyone want this smartwatch with them.

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google's new tool can help you make our planet healthy. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?