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Lasers can silently issue ‘voice commands’ to your smart speakers

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Laser pointers can apparently trick smart speakers, phones and tablets into following voice commands to open doors or make purchases, even from hundreds of feet away. Researchers from Tokyo and the University of Michigan have revealed that they were able to take over Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa devices by shining laser pointers or flashlights at their microphones. One of the researchers, Daniel Genkin, was also part of the team that discovered the Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities.

The team has published a paper detailing the light flaw after seven months of experimentation. They were able to hijack smart speakers 230 to 350 feet away by focusing lasers using a telephoto lens. In fact, the Google Home they tricked into opening a garage door was inside a room in another building. The laser modulation they beamed at its microphone port through the window is equivalent to the voice command “OK Google, open the garage door.”

They explained that there’s a small plate called a diaphragm inside devices’ microphones that moves when hit by sound. Lasers can replicate that movement and convert it into electric signals that the device can understand. They said opening the garage door by taking over Google Home was easy to do, and they could’ve easily made online purchases, opened doors protected by smart locks and even remotely unlocked cars connected to voice AI-powered devices by using the same method.

The researchers have already notified Tesla, Ford, Amazon, Apple and Google about the issue — a move that’s highly important to get the problem fixed, since simply covering microphones with tape wouldn’t solve it. Most microphones, they said, would have to be redesigned. The team was able to hijack Google Home/Nest, Echo Plus/Show/Dot, Facebook Portal Mini, Fire Cube TV, EchoBee 4, iPhone XR, iPad 6th Gen, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2 devices using the technique. It was much easier hijacking smart speakers from afar, though. The method only worked on the mobile devices from a maximum distance of 16 to 65 feet.

This is far from the first digital assistant vulnerability security researchers have discovered. Researchers from China’s Zheijiang University found that Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants can be manipulated with commands sent in ultrasonic frequencies. Meanwhile, a group from the University of California, Berkeley found that they can take over smart speakers by embedding commands, which aren’t audible to the human ear, directly into recordings of music or spoken text.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/11/05/lasers-voice-commands-smart-speaker/

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#5 Best Gadgets from CES 2020 That Will Blow Your Mind

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The thing about technology is that it never fails to disappoint it, and which CES, the world’s biggest tech show already happening in Las Vegas, we can’t help but appreciate how cool things technology can invent.

Renowned companies like Samsung, Lenovo, LG, Sony like every year has showcased the best of their products. While popular companies always have something to present, we also have companies who have showcased some really quirky products this year making us say, “Isn’t that just so cool?”

From the coolest laptops, phones, drones to foldable laptops, vertical TVs, there is something for everyone. In order to give you a quick update, we have curated a list of some exciting products that will hit the store in 2020. 

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

If experience is something that pleases you Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook might be the best Chrome OS machine to date. A rival to premium Google Pixelbook, this 2-in-1 device sets a higher standard in the mobile computing industry. The device has a 13.3 inch 4k AMOLED display and is powered by the latest 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor along with Intel® Wi-Fi 6. 

Expected Release and Price: 1st Quater of 2020 and will be approximately for INR 72,000.

Harman Kardon Citation Oasis

While the device resembles a lot to Amazon Echo Dot, the thing about Samsung’s Harman Kardon subsidiary is that they know how to set them apart. They have a built-in wireless charging which Echo Dot lack. Citation Oasis, a smart speaker has an LED clock, wireless charging and onboard Google AssistanSo with 8 hours of running time. To be honest, it does slow our two purposes. Some also believe that this would be the best smart clock out there. 

Expected Release and Price: INR 14,230

Suunto 7

Sunnota who are known for their sporty smartwatches presented a wearable that has smart features from Wear OS by Google. The device has a feature of an outdoor map of around 50+ km range letting you follow the location and a wrist-based control for music. The smartwatch also lets you track your heartbeat, has a built-in GPS, something that adventurous people would love. 

Expected Release and Price: 31 January 2020 and will be approximately for INR 34,260

LG Signature RX

When it comes to TV no one can beat LG. Every year the company overtakes its own invention. This year the developers have presented its first rollable TV. is set to hit the market for consumers later this year. The LG Signature RX’s marquee rolls up when your power it down. The AI processor directs your 4K picture behind the scenes and comes with the ability to develop with time. It does redefine your watching experience. However, if you are planning to buy it, the hefty price might make you think.

Expected Release and Price: Third quarter of 2020 and will be approximately for INR 42,89,220 ($60,000).

Welt Smart Belt Pro

A belt is a necessity! However, when it gets combined with technology it just adds more value to a must-have accessory. Welt Smart Belt Pro won the CES 2020 Innovation Awards for its new product and it is kind of a quirky invention. An update of the previous version and first of its kind, it comes with a prevent fall feature. The belt comes with its own app that lets you monitor things like waist size, eating pattern, sitting time measurement, step count and more.

Source:
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/344895

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Samsung’s knife-wielding robotic chef is all flash

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Last year, we asked whether Samsung was getting serious about robotics. A year later, we’re not any closer to answering the question. This year’s presser played out roughly the same as last on the robotics front — all flash and little productizing to show for it.

Samsung’s approach to robotics thus far appears to be the model of many other big electronics companies. It’s flirtation with a technology that brings some sense of showmanship to the stage and booth. There’s no better example than Bot Chef. I got a preview of the tech in Samsung’s booth this week, pitched as “an extra set of hands in the kitchen.”

You can’t fault the technology for not being ready for prime time, at this point, of course. That’s not really the point yet. The question, however, is how serious Samsung is about bringing a pair of robot arms to kitchens across the globe to sauté tofu and liberally apply Sriracha. I would love to say “very,” and that the different demos were things the company was actively pursuing delivering on these products.

The futuristic theme of last night’s keynote, however, implied that the company is offering up hypotheticals for what a future could look like — not what it will. Even Ballie, which seems a more realistic addition to the company’s smart home strategy is also still very much conceptual. As with last year’s robot demos, I wasn’t able to get an answer from the company about how much of the robot’s functions were autonomous and how much were choreographed. It’s a cool demo regardless. But is it a serious one?

At the end of the day, I hope Samsung is getting serious about the category. The company has tremendous resources and a lot of smart people. If it really takes the leap, it could be a key player in making robotics more mainstream among consumers. For now, however, I’m unconvinced.

Source:
https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/07/samsungs-knife-wielding-robotic-chef-is-all-flash/

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Images of Huawei P40 Pro case show a penta camera on the back, flat screen on the front

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Last month we saw the Huawei P40 Pro in some renders by OnLeaks, but they were too dark to gather much beyond the outline of the rectangular camera island. Alleged renders for a protective case now offer a better look at the phone.

The camera hump shows five cameras, matching the rumors so far. The one in the top right appears to be a periscope cam (the P40 Pro is supposed to feature 10x optical zoom), though case renders are not usually reliable about such things. From a recent leak we know that the Huawei P40 will have a triple camera instead.

Huawei P40 Pro case renders
Huawei P40 Pro case renders
Huawei P40 Pro case renders

  
Huawei P40 Pro case renders

The front of the P40 Pro is quite interesting as well. Probably the first thing you notice is the dual punch hole selfie camera, similar to the nova 6 5G. But also have a close look at the screen – its sides are not nearly as rounded as the ultra-curved “Horizon Display” on the Mate 30 Pro.

You can even see traditional hardware keys on the side, rather than on-screen controls (we know not everyone was a fan). For what it’s worth, the OnLeaks renders also hint at a mostly flat display.

There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, that’s probably reserved for the non-Pro model. The top side of the phone seems to house an IR blaster.

The Huawei P40 and P40 Pro will be unveiled at the end of March in Paris with the Kirin 990 chipset on board and likely no Google services.

Source:
https://www.gsmarena.com/images_of_huawei_p40_pro_case_show_a_penta_camera_on_the_back_flat_screen_on_the_front-news-40907.php

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