Author Archives: evmatvienko

3D printing, prosthetics and animatronic limbs or how the small goals boost the big world

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When ideas are limited with technology, we strive. Always looking forward, we create technology to match our dreams.’ – Easton LaChappelle, UNLIMITED TOMORROW

Selecting materials for this post I have come across, in my opinion, a very inspirational example and would like to share it with you. Although the scale of the enterprise I will talk about is incommensurable to the changes that big companies have been doing and difficult to put it on the same level with the famous brands, I believe such little kind of things truly change our world for the better. This is the case when human’s curiosity, different thinking, and good intentions make things possible turning daring technologies to the stuff that empowers people.

When Easton LaChappelle was a teenager, he was eager to do something outstanding and for a long time was cherishing this idea in his mind. Now he is a 20-year-old young man, he makes people talk about his inventions, has worked at NASA, President Obama shook his hand, has traveled around the world sharing his ideas about wide opportunities to learn outside of the general educational system, he considered the prosthetics pioneer and established his own company Unlimited Tomorrow.

At the age of 14, he has built his first robotic arm out of LEGOs, fishing wire, and electrical tubing. He didn’t have a lab, coworkers, and any university knowledge, obtaining all needed information from the Internet. The turning point was when he met with a 7-year-old girl at a science fair who had a prosthetic arm. It cost $80,000, could only open and close and would need to be replaced several times when she outgrew it. He decided that he can do the prosthesis in better quality and at an affordable cost. During the years, he has been working on his model and now advanced robotic limb has more functionality than a traditional prosthesis and is purely 3D-printed.

The full robotic arm has 9 degrees of freedom (DOF). Each DOF allows the robotic arm to move in a different direction. V 1.0 of the robotic arm features finger control, wrist and bicep rotation, elbow articulation, and shoulder flexion and extension movements. Each section of the arm is interchangeable so large amounts of DOF are possible. With interchangeable parts, you can make this project as big or small as you can handle.
Almost every component can be printed on a consumer FDM 3d printer. This includes fingers, palm, forearm, elbow, bicep, shoulder, and gears. An entire arm uses about 2kg of PLA plastic.’ – UNLIMITED TOMORROW
On the company website, everyone can access all instructions for how to create your own robotic arm for free (all is needed to agree to a Creative Commons License). All the tools, print settings, and steps are freely available as well. It was estimated that the appropriate cost of Easton’s artificial hand is $350. Besides this, the more prices for 3D printing are going down with the years, the less will be the producing cost of the robotic hand.
Currently, Easton LaChappelle with the Unlimited Tomorrow team is developing a new concept of an exoskeleton to help people with paraplegia walk again. Unlimited Tomorrow has a goal to make technology accessible to those who need it most and enable humans to perform otherwise impossible tasks. Also, through the opening and sharing all information free of charge Easton looks forward to others who willing to extend and improve his inventions what in its turn will enhance the lives of everyone.

Here is the link to the Easton LaChappelle speech on the TED Talks:


What3Words – ambitious British start-up due to which everyone and everywhere now has an address

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Per the data put on the What3Words’ website about 75% of the world (135 countries) suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.

What does it mean? Lots of places and locations remain unaddressed; ≈ 4 billion people are unseen; a vast number of individuals are not able to communicate where they live; have no possibility to inform about a crime or ask/get help; unable to send or get deliveries; and just simply can’t use many of their rights. The British project aims to change this situation through the easy to use the app.

The solution. What3Words is a global addressing system, which provides the unique and exact physical addresses to the places. At the same time allowing unmistakably find any location and communicate it quickly. It is an algorithm that weight less than 10 Mb so it can freely use on most devices including practically all smartphones. It is equally useful for individual and business purposes.

Originally, the founders have divided the whole globe into 57 trillion 3x3m squares (global grid). Then they assign each square a fixed, permanent and unique 3-word address, using a sanitized pool of 25-40,000 dictionary words, depending on which of its nine currently supported languages the user prefers. The particular algorithm – geocoder transforms geographic coordinates into these 3-word addresses and backward.

What is the power of the words? The thing is that to remember 3 words much easier than various figures which define the geographical location. Imagine, if the person got to the trouble, being under stress making the situation even worse and the probability to mistake in numbers is higher than in a few words. “If you have an injury on the slopes, it’s incredibly difficult to describe where you are. The problem with using GPS coordinates is that if I’m trying to shout 18 digits on a telephone while I’m incredibly stressed, errors creep in.” – chief marketing officer, Giles Rhys Jones. Also, the usage of words makes non-technical people feel more comfortable with the application.

What is more, this service works without a data connection; that is crucial in the case when a person is in remote deserted place or the area with poor connectivity.

To sum up, the project has a tremendous potentiality, and no doubt goes beyond just business purposes addressing essential problems.

The good news is that what3words is a free app for individuals to use so that you can try it right now.


White Ops has uncovered the largest and most profitable ad fraud operation – Methbot

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American cybersecurity company White Ops claims it has exposed one of the biggest online scam – Methbot. The first suspicious activities under a unique bot signature were noticed in September 2015. On October 2016, Methbot began to scale aggressively.


Controlled by a single group based in Russia and operating out of data centers in the US and Netherlands, this “bot farm” generates $3 to $5 million in fraudulent revenue per day by targeting the premium video advertising ecosystem.


Current digital advertising market relies on the electronic auction system that helps to conduct operations between advertisers and media companies. Advertisers employ a large number of ad buyers to purchase advertising time on websites on the Internet. These processes automated via software exchanges that connect buyers and sellers of online video. The vast number of transactions happen each second there. So, it is such kind of marketplace where both sides meet to make a deal. The process itself was subjected to attack: Methbot provides fake advertising inventory into the system and then produces false views of the advertisements aiming to get money from the unwitting buyers of the ad.

Methbot infrastructure, Source: White Ops

All actions of the scams were well thought out: created fake records of users’ online activities, which make to believe that the bots are real humans; used dedicated servers to run proxies, thus it was almost impossible to notice that all traffic was coming from one place (800 – 1,200 dedicated servers operating from data centers in the US and the Netherlands); used falsified documents to gain access to real IP addresses, so it seemed that ad traffic was coming from actual Internet providers (800 – 1,200 dedicated servers operating from data centers).

Compared to similar ad and click-fraud operations, Methbot is unique because it relied on data center servers, instead of botnets of computers and smartphones infected with malware, such as ZeroAccess, Chameleon, Ponmocup, Million-Machine, and HummingBad.” – , (December 20, 2016)

The scale of results is striking:  200 – 300 million video ad impressions generated per day on fabricated inventory; 250,267 distinct URLs spoofed to falsely represent inventory; 6,111 premium domains targeted and spoofed. Among their targets were expensive ad spaces and prestigious sites such as ESPN, Fortune, Huffington Post, Economist, CBS, Fox News, and Fortune.

Per the White Ops report the financial losses many times as large than those done by earlier discovered botnets.

Methbot’s profits as compared with different ad bots that wielded before it , Source: White Ops

White Ops published information on their website about what additional actions advertisers, agencies, platforms, and publishers can undertake to protect themselves from this scams.

What do you think about cybersecurity? Do you feel safe online?


The entire report of White Ops is available at this link – The Methbot Operation, December 20, 2016

Next year Microsoft will make available 3D technologies for everyone

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This year Microsoft has announced that it is going to make available 3D technologies to everyone.

Microsoft Paint 3D – the simple computer graphics app. It will be completely integrated into a future update of the operating system (Windows 10 Creators Update), which is planned for spring 2017.

Microsoft created the application as an easy-to-use tool for non-professionals. As well as, it should be equally inspiring for the professionals who get used to working with the sophisticated design programs. Paint 3D allows for the creation of fully 3D objects using mouse and keyboard, touchscreen or stylus inputs. It also provides a library of basic shapes to work with – spheres, cubes, cones and whatnot – as well as a few generalized objects. There is an additional option to import own 3D objects as well as 2D images to use as labels, colors, and textures within the creations. Along with this, it enables users to create their own thematic emojis.
In the beginning, will be possible to upload 3D pictures to the web to Microsoft’s new 3D community, but further to exchange and share through social networks, messaging apps, email and everything else. It will include capture apps for phones and tablets. One more remark, at startup only Microsoft phones will have the app and just later it will be launched on iOS and Android. Word documents and PowerPoint presentations will include the new tools for handling 3D content as well. Microsoft Paint will empower not only 3D modeling but 3D printing too. The new 3D tools are also planning to be incorporated into the Edge browser, Skype, and OneNote and even might be connected to Minecraft. The company is cooperating with the numbers of manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo to make available the 3D experience through the virtual reality on any PC running the Windows 10 Creators Update. Simultaneously, Microsoft is working on an augmented-reality component to its 3D solution. Again, the important thing is that the 3D objects will work not just with Microsoft’s advanced and expensive HoloLens, but also on regular PC screens.

You can watch one more preview video about how the Microsoft Paint 3D works using the following link


How new technologies transforming retailers.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are some discussions around the raising competition between offline and online shops, and easy to find a lot of evidence in favor of e-commerce, and the fact is, that it is getting more popular. Along with that, exists enough acknowledgments that offline store experience is still in great demand of customers. In addition to this, there are some researches that have revealed a tendency among customers to combine online and offline shopping habits. As a result, a significantly larger number of the store owners and managers should consider an opportunity of switching to the omnichannel strategy.
The developing of the internet and technology are pushing businesses to find new solutions and think ahead in order to survive. In such way, more and more retail companies are pursuing to interconnect the online and offline “worlds”, although, many of the attempts to bring technologies to the physical retail fairly often lose out. The reason is that retailers or tech entrepreneurs frequently do not determine three main requirements for technology adoption: the technologies should assist customers during their visit the shop and help to achieve the main goal to find and experience products; the ROI for the retailer must be clear and compelling; the exciting customer experience should be enhanced with the technologies, but not distract.
On the one hand, technologies adopted in the store should be smoothly integrated into the physical ambiance, facilitate shopping process, save customers time and increase their impressions. While it is not supposed to look like hard using technology, rather it has to be intuitive and easy, likewise the excellent personal guide within the store. On the other – support retailers with a better understanding of customer behaviors, what is work what is not, allowing to get meaningful data.
There are some companies who have made a considerable contribution to the developing of this area. Retailnext offers in-store analytics solution which integrates with the largest number of physical and digital data sources inside and around the store. Newstore is a company who has created a mobile platform which links online and offline activities of store customers. Slyce provides a visual product-search portfolio to retailers, helping them convert photo searches to instant purchases.
Here is another company, who was one of the first pioneers who has brought interactive technologies in retail stores, to be more precisely, smart interactive mirrors – Oak Labs . As stated on Oak Labs website – ”The Oak Mirror is an interactive, touch-screen mirror that empowers shoppers to customize their fitting room’s ambiance, explore product recommendations and digitally seek assistance from store associates.” The Oak Mirror is such kind of device that replaces a usual fitting room mirror. Through the usage of Radio Frequency IDentification technology (RFID) that tracks items via their tags it can detect the number of products in the premise, it also synchronized with the retailer’s inventory system and can provide product information – image, color, and size available, gives intelligent product recommendations (such as combination of colors and additional products) and seamlessly connect shoppers with sales professionals via dedicated mobile or wearable devices. So, customers are able to send the request for other size or/and color to sales associate’s device. Along with this, it allows to control the lighting in the fitting room to place the customer in specific moods and moments for example: ”Street-Style”, ”Candlelight Dinner” or ”Dress-Up”. Another function is an opportunity to choose between languages: German, English, Spanish or Russian.

Additionally, retailers can benefit from data gathering, its analyzes and receiving actionable knowledge. For instance, tracking each item that enters a dressing room allows to understand how shoppers are interacting with the clothes, what looks are most popular and vice versa, which models fit more and which less, what clothes are bought and what get back on the shelves, how customers interact with the touchscreen (mirror) and send help requests to the sales associates, whether customers buy recommended items or not.
No doubt, that such technologies brought new opportunities to the retailers, although, they may raise the engagement of young customers, but to be not so easy to adopted in the stores which target older customers, for the reason that their shopping habits are different and they will need some time to learn and get used to them.

Online and offline are no longer discernible spaces and we can assume, it is just a beginning.