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Police detectors to warn mobile phone-using drivers

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Mobile phone detectors are to be used by police to find drivers using devices at the wheel.

The Thames Valley and Hampshire forces are rolling out the technology to show when motorists are using their phones.

A sign will flash at the driver telling them to stop using their mobile – but the detectors cannot tell if it is a driver or passenger using the phone.

The mother of Aimee Goldsmith, 11, killed by a driver using a phone, said it was a “step in the right direction”.

Phone detector
Image captionThe detectors are the first of their kind to be used by police in the UK though a similar system has been tried by councils

The technology will not be used as an “enforcement tool”, the forces said, but was instead aimed at educating motorists and identifying offending “hotspots”.

Kate Goldsmith’s daughter was one of four people killed in the crash when lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was using his phone at the wheel in 2016.

She said Aimee’s death was “completely avoidable”.

“Most mothers look forward to planning their daughter’s weddings. I had to plan Aimee’s funeral,” she said.

Ms Goldsmith said she had confronted drivers using their phones behind the wheel since her daughter’s death.

“I have stopped a few people and said, ‘you’re using a mobile phone – it’s actually a driver like you that killed my daughter’,” she said.

She said the detectors were “not a perfect solution” to convict offenders but were “a step in the direction”.

Goldsmith family
Image captionAimee Goldsmith with her mum Kate and brother Jake

Kroker killed Aimee, her stepbrothers Ethan Houghton, 13, Joshua, 11, and their mother Tracy, 45, when he ploughed into stationary traffic at 50mph on 10 August 2016.

He was jailed for 10 years after admitting four counts of causing death by dangerous driving and footage showed him on his phone at the moment of impact.

A judge said the 30-year-old’s attention had been so poor he “might as well have had his eyes closed” before the crash on the A34 near Newbury.

Tracy Houghton, Ethan Houghton, Aimee Goldsmith and Josh Goldsmith
Image captionTracy Houghton, her son Ethan, stepdaughter Aimee Goldsmith and younger son Josh were all killed in a crash
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How does the technology work?

Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary have developed the technology with Westcotec Ltd.

The system, which cannot record footage, was initially tested in Norfolk last year.

The detector picks up 2G, 3G and 4G signals and will therefore flash to alert people in cars who are using phones to call, text or data.

If people are using a Bluetooth hands-free device, the detector will recognise this and not flash.

The technology cannot distinguish if a passenger or a driver of a vehicle is using a phone and so the sign will be activated regardless of who is using the mobile.

The forces say the two detectors, which cost £6,000 each, will be located on the A34 in Oxfordshire but will be posted at different locations throughout the Thames Valley and Hampshire to start – but more could be rolled out.

Drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving are currently fined £200 and given six points on their licence.

Matt Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said the system was “not fool-proof”, but added the police needed to “make it as socially unacceptable to use your mobile whilst driving as it is to drink and drive”.

PC Liz Johnson, a roads safety officer, said research suggested a driver was four times more likely to crash if they were using a phone and twice as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when texting compared with drink-driving.

“It is vital that people take notice and stop using their mobile phones whilst driving,” she added.

Media captionDash-cam footage shows Tomasz Kroker at the wheel of his lorry before the crash on the A34 in Berkshire

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-47896472

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Samsung rolls out beta version of ethereum blockchain development kit

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South Korean electronics giant Samsung has released a beta version of ethereum blockchain-based software development kit (SDK) for partner developers.

The kit provides “a full set” of functions that are required to build decentralized apps (dapps), the company said, adding that it also offers a payment gateway for cryptocurrency remittance with its user interface.

“Samsung Blockchain SDK is available to communicate with external blockchain node providing payment solution. It can reduce costs to build your dapp except in case if you have your own wallet logics already,” Samsung explained.

The kit currently only supports five devices: Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S10 5G and the Galaxy Fold. The official version of the kit is expected to be released by the end of this year.

Galaxy S10 was launched earlier this year, which supports several dapps as well as features a Samsung crypto wallet supporting ether and ERC20 tokens. The giant was also planning to bring blockchain solutions to more budget-friendly Galaxy models.

Recently, there were also reports that Samsung is creating its own Ethereum-based blockchain network and may be planning to issue its own token too.

Source: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/tiny/samsung-rolls-out-beta-version-of-ethereum-blockchain-development-kit/

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How you charge your mobile phone could compromise its battery lifespan

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Researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have found that use of inductive charging, whilst highly convenient, risks depleting the life of mobile phones using typical LIBs (Lithium-ion batteries)

Consumers and manufacturers have ramped up their interest in this convenient charging technology, abandoning fiddling with plugs and cables in a favour of just setting the phone directly on a charging base.

Standardisation of charging stations, and inclusion of inductive charging coils in many new smartphones has led to rapidly increasing adoption of the technology. In 2017, 15 automobile models announced the inclusion of consoles within vehicles for inductively charging consumer electronic devices, such as smartphones — and at a much larger scale, many are considering it for charging electric vehicle batteries.

Inductive charging enables a power source to transmit energy across an air gap, without the use of connecting wire but one of the main issues with this mode of charging is the amount of unwanted and potentially damaging heat that can be generated. There are several sources of heat generation associated with any inductive charging system — in both the charger and the device being charged. This additional heating is made worse by the fact that the device and the charging base are in close physical contact, any heat generated in one device may be transferred to the other by simple thermal conduction and convection.

In a smartphone, the power receiving coil is close to the back cover of the phone (which is usually electrically nonconductive) and packaging constraints necessitate placement of the phone’s battery and power electronics in close proximity, with limited opportunities to dissipate heat generated in the phone, or shield the phone from heat generated by the charger. It has been well-documented that batteries age more quickly when stored at elevated temperatures and that exposure to higher temperatures can thus significantly influence the state-of-health (SoH) of batteries over their useful lifetime.

The rule of thumb (or more technically the Arrhenuis equation) is that for most chemical reactions, the reaction rate doubles with each 10 °C rise in temperature. In a battery, the reactions which can occur include the accelerated growth rate of passivating films (a thin inert coating making the surface underneath unreactive) on the cell’s electrodes. This occurs by way of cell redox reactions, which irreversibly increase the internal resistance of the cell, ultimately resulting in performance degradation and failure. A lithium ion battery dwelling above 30 °C is typically considered to be at elevated temperature exposing the battery to risk of a shortened useful life.

Guidelines issued by battery manufacturers also specify that the upper operational temperature range of their products should not surpass the 50?60 °C range to avoid gas generation and catastrophic failure.

These facts led WMG researchers to carry out experiments comparing the temperature rises in normal battery charging by wire with inductive charging. However the WMG were even more interested in inductive charging when the consumer misaligns the phone on the charging base. To compensate for poor alignment of the phone and the charger, inductive charging systems typically increase the transmitter power and/or adjust their operating frequency, which incurs further efficiency losses and increases heat generation.

This misalignment can be a very common occurrence as the actual position of the receiving antenna in the phone is not always intuitive or obvious to the consumer using the phone. The WMG research team therefore also tested phone charging with deliberate misalignment of transmitter and receiver coils.

All three charging methods (wire, aligned inductive and misaligned inductive) were tested with simultaneous charging and thermal imaging over time to generate temperature maps to help quantify the heating effects. The results of those experiments have been published in the journal ACS Energy Letters in an article entitled “Temperature Considerations for Charging Li-Ion Batteries: Inductive versus Mains Charging Modes for Portable Electronic Devices.”

The graphics with this press release illustrates three modes of charging, based on (a) AC mains charging (cable charging) and inductive charging when coils are (b) aligned and (c) misaligned. Panels i and ii show a realistic view of the charging modes with a snapshot of the thermal maps of the phone after 50 min of charging. Regardless of the mode of charging, the right edge of the phone showed a higher rate of increase in temperature than other areas of the phone and remained higher throughout the charging process. A CT scan of the phone showed that this hotspot is where the motherboard is located

  • In the case of the phone charged with conventional mains power, the maximum average temperature reached within 3 hours of charging did not exceed 27 °C.
  • In contrast this for the phone charged by aligned inductive charging, the temperature peaked at 30.5 °C but gradually reduced for the latter half of the charging period. This is similar to the maximum average temperature observed during misaligned inductive charging.
  • In the case of misaligned inductive charging, the peak temperature was of similar magnitude (30.5 °C) but this temperature was reached sooner and persisted for much longer at this level (125 minutes versus 55 minutes for properly aligned charging).

Also noteworthy was the fact that the maximum input power to the charging base was greater in the test where the phone was misaligned (11W) than the well-aligned phone (9.5 W). This is due to the charging system increasing the transmitter power under misalignment in order to maintain target input power to the device. The maximum average temperature of the charging base while charging under misalignment reached 35.3 °C, two degrees higher than the temperature detected when the phone was aligned, which achieved 33 °C. This is symptomatic of deterioration in system efficiency, with additional heat generation attributable to power electronics losses and eddy currents.

The researchers do note that future approaches to inductive charging design can diminish these transfer losses, and thus reduce heating, by using ultrathin coils, higher frequencies, and optimized drive electronics to provide chargers and receivers that are compact and more efficient and can be integrated into mobile devices or batteries with minimal change.

In conclusion, the research team found that inductive charging, whilst convenient, will likely lead to a reduction in the life of the mobile phone battery. For many users, this degradation may be an acceptable price for the convenience of charging, but for those wishing to eke out the longest life from their phone, cable charging is still recommended.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190626124943.htm

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Surprise! Many Americans don’t know what phone they own, think it has 5G

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According to survey results published by refurbished products site Decluttr, many smartphone users based in the United States don’t know very much about their own phones.

Decluttr’s survey polled 2,000 U.S.-based smartphone owners of all ages (18+). The results present a sobering look at just how little smartphone users seem to care about what phone they’re using, how it works, or what features it does or does not have.

Probably the most overall surprising result of the survey is that only about half of respondents were able to correctly identify their current smartphone when shown a promotional image of that phone amongst other phones from the same manufacturer.

Diving further into that, it appears smartphone users with Samsung Galaxy S line devices are much better at recognizing their phones as compared to Apple iPhone owners. Check out the graph below:

A chart showing how many smartphone users can correctly identify their own smartphone.

However, just because Samsung owners are good at identifying which phone they own doesn’t mean they are good at knowing what their phone does. According to the survey, around 40 percent of Samsung Galaxy S owners are completely unaware their device supports wireless charging.

On the Apple front, only 14 percent of iPhone owners know their phone features an NFC chip and only a little less than half of iPhone users know their smartphone is water resistant.

The most alarming result from the survey is how many people think their smartphone supports 5G connections. About one-third of respondents think their smartphone can connect to a 5G network, even though it most certainly cannot. What’s worse, of those people who say their phone is 5G ready, a whopping 62 percent say that they’ve seen a notable speed increase while using 5G — even though they have likely never seen 5G service.

Survey results showing how many smartphone users think they have 5G service.

The rest of Decluttr’s survey results focus on misconceptions smartphone users have when it comes to buying refurbished devices, which naturally ties in well to the company’s business. You can see the full page of survey results here.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/smartphone-users-survey-2019-1004535/

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