Author Archives: Walczak Jakub

Garmin data used to convict a runner for murder

Recently a British runner was convicted for life in prison for murder of two gangsters. Mark “Iceman” Fellows was under investigation for killing a crime boss and his associate. The nail to Fellows coffin was his Garmin watch. Garmin wathces can measure a lot of parameters such as blood pressure and heart beat, but can also show the GPS location of the watch.

The suspect was seen wearing one of these watches during a marathon in 2014. Police found the watch and checked it’s location history. Data showed that months before the crime was commited Fellows was doing reaserch in the area. Route from the day of the murder was used to support evidence that Fellows was guilty of the commited crime. This case is one of the examples how technology, smart watches, home devices like Alexa or even our mobile phones can help our catch a criminal. In my opinion this is great but there is also a bad side of the story. For us everyday users of smart watches and smart phones it is not that good of a story, unless you like to be stalked all the time. Those devices spy on us constantly, they know our location, they can predict if we are scared or excited based on our heartbeat. It just shows how expensive is information today. Companies go to every measure possible to know the most about customers. For me it looks very grimm that every piece of technology will constantly monitor me, the worst case sceniario is for me Alexa, it can record without your knowledge your whole day schedule, making it easy for someone to hack it and rob the house when you are not at home.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/18/18188205/garmin-data-iceman-murder-mr-big-amazon-alexa

Repairing broken satelites in space

In recent years more and more satelites reach their destination in space and serve their purpouse. Sometimes unfortunately something brakes and it may no longer be used as intended. Recently this happened to a satelite called WorldView-4 owned by Maxar. It provided images of the Earth for example for Google Maps and generated $85 million in revenue. Due to a gyroscope failure it is no longer able to collect data and function properly.

But now there might be a chance for satelites to stay in space and be repared. A company called Astroscale with a mission to clean up space debris. They want to bring back to Earth all satelites that are malfunctioning or not in use anymore to make space around our planet safer and less polluted with space junk. But there is a better idea by Altius Space Machines, what they want to do is selling a service of fixing satelites without dragging then back to Earth. Alitus want to send a robotic satelite to space, that would be capable of grabing the repairing kit when necessary and than carry the fixing proccess on a broken unit. They want to use some kind of grabbing device, possibly magnets, to stabilize while repairing. This however creates some issues.

 

The docking would need to be done very delicately so that none of the components are damaged, when you add the fact that satelites are traveling at the speed of 17,000 miles per hour or more it makes quite a difficult job to be done remotely or by a autonomous robot. There are no sensors and cameras that would suite the job. Another problem is that satelites were and are built without any docking possibilities, even with the technology to repair such a unit it may be impossible, or perhaps new components will be mounted on the outside of the satelite. Altius not only wants to repair broken satelites but also maintain and service ones that are functional, that will mean for example refueling.

As for now the future of WorldView-4 does not look bright, it will be kept in space but now it serves no purpose. This will of course mean losses for Maxar but getting it back to Earth is even more expensive.

This whole situation shows us how the space around our planet will be more and more poolluted with space debris. It gets crowded up there and if we don’t find any way to clearn that up we might end with a giant metal sphere around Earth.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/10/18173600/worldview-4-satellite-servicing-repair-gyroscope-space

 

Another Facebook breach

Lately we can see a lot of controversy surrounding Facebook. From Mark Zuckerberg being interrogated to multiple safety breaches. This time the problem is similar. Photos of 6.8 million users have been leaked to other apps due to a bug. Facebook’s bad streak does not seem to end, they lose popularity among users and do not seem to have any ideas to invite new people to use their app. They are starting to look like a not reliable source.

This incident happened from 12 to 15 September and has recently been announced. It is estimated that over 1500 apps from 876 users may have been granted access to privete pictures of users. The bug occured in Facebook login option that was supposed to use only photos intended for certain apps. The reason I bring this up is because many people use Facebook to log into different apps or platforms and Facebook shows how dangerous can it be. Imagine if someone can find your bank account informations or photos that are private and can be used against you. The worst think about most of these incidents is that they are not caused by hackers or people from outside of Facebook but from the inside. Even though company says that safety of your information is their priority it does not look like a safe platform to put a lot of information about yourself on. Every user whose photos were have recieved a message on how to proceed.The interesting fact is that some sites in their articles provide you with a tutorial about how to suspend or delete your account, this shows how much trust is Facebook losing after so many breaches and scandals. I wold recommend everyone not to login into sites using Facebook account bcause it may seem faster but in the long run we never know what kind of brach will hit Facebook in the future.

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/14/18140771/facebook-photo-exposure-leak-bug-millions-users-disclosed

https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/facebook-data-breach-exposed-private-photos

Michelins revolutionary tire

Michelin, the French tire manufacturer has recently presented what they think will replace currnent rubber tires used by everyone.

On their Movin’ On conference in Montreal they showed what they say is not only a concept but something they can achive in a couple of years. This new strange looking tire is inspired by coral.

As you can see it does not require any air at all and it is supposed to be made out of materials that are bio-sourced or biodegradable, such as: bamboo, wood tin cans or used materials. They want you to have only one set of tires that will last forever, but of course that seems a bit impossible because as we all know tires tend to run out of tread. That’s where this concept breaks conventional ways even more. Michelin will fit those with RFID sensors that will monitor usage of your tires, modern cars also come with this technology, but in this case you will reprint your tire. In dedicated stations or even at home you can rebuid your tread or even change it to suit current road conditions.

By using machinery provided by Michelin you can choose whatever tread you can find. For example you want to go off-roading and you leave your home with tires that only match driving on tarmac, you can stop on your way to your destination reprint the tire and continue as if nothing happened. This fits into a trend in automotive world that includes reinventing everything that we have in our cars. Because technology is developing extremely fast it can be slowly applied into different areas of our life. Michelin presented us with this concept with autonomous cars in mind. Where the whole reprinting would be planned by your computer while you do not have to even touch the steering wheel. Even though this is quite a brilliant idea, it saves a lot of resources, is more eco-friendly than regular tires and probably will save you money in the long run it has some difficulties to face. For instance one of the aspects that one of the executives has mentioned was preventing the tire from degradation while it is in use. It will also need a big network of reprinting stations and it may take some time to develop those. This solution will drastically change the way tire manufacturers operate, they can sell only one set of tires to one customer and then base their profits on materials or services provided to keep those tires on the road. Overall this concept is one of few I think we will see in the near future. Michelin predicts that they may be able to send this into production in 2023.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/24/16126356/michelin-3d-printing-reinvent-the-wheel-driverless-age

https://www.michelin.com/eng/media-room/press-and-news/michelin-news/Innovation/Concept-tire-our-vision-of-the-future

Ford and Walmart testing new self-driving delivery

Recently Walmart has announced that they are joining forces with Ford and Postmates in order to fully autonomize grocery delivery. Up to this moment online delivery was already easy, you just waited for someone to deliver your shopping and leave it in your home or even fridge. Technology is developing rapidly, everyone is crazy about having their own autonomous product, it can be a car, a bus or a vacuum cleaner. It is no longer surprising that companies are racing in order to achive that.The newest program presented by Ford, Walmart and Postmates is being tested in Miami.

The main goal of this is to see how customers would interact with autonomous cars, and what advantage they can give to the world of delivering. In my opinion such system has a long way to go before it can be implemented everywhere. The question is how would the car unload your grocery when you’re not at home, it would require help from someone from the delivery service, which already is against the whole purpose of having self-driving cars. Of course now these test deliveries have safety drivers ready to intervine if something goes wrong and they can do the job, but who or what will do it in the future?We can make assumptions what delivery will look like in the future but we need to remember that is a part of online shopping which according to a recent report done by CNBC will grow very fast. They estimete that by 2025 American consumers will spend up to $100 billion and that is just in grocery. It is fully understandable then why everyone is trying to prepare themselfs in the best possible way to offer the best delivery service. This phenomenon of fully autonomizing every aspect of our lifes is growing faster and faster and this idea of delivering if executed correctly will be part of our life soon on my opinion. Especialy that Ford and Walmart are not the only companies trying to develop self-driving deliveries.

Sources:

https://news.walmart.com/2018/11/14/walmart-and-ford-to-test-grocery-delivery-with-self-driving-cars

https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/14/18087898/ford-walmart-postmates-self-driving-grocery-delivery-miami

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/30/online-grocery-sales-set-surge-grabbing-20-percent-of-market-by-2025.html