Search results for: appliance

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Hackers Launch Cyberattack Through Household Appliances

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Internet of ThingsMaybe you didn’t shop at Target, and maybe even the NSA shenanigans don’t freak you out all that much. But what if you learned that your refrigerator or television were spying on you — or, at least, facilitating the spying of others? It seems that all those smart gadgets have made some consumers vulnerable to a recent cyberattack.

Security provider Proofpoint, Inc. recently announced evidence of a cyberattack that exploited the ubiquitous “Internet of Things” (which happened to be the theme of this year’s CES) at some point between December 23, 2013 and January 6, 2014. They believe the global attack came from over 100,000 common household objects, such as networking routers, televisions, and at least one smart refrigerator and resulted in at least 750,000 phishing and spam emails. The malicious emails came three times a day in waves of 100,000, and over 25% of those emails were sent by devices other than computers.

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Traffic Lights Are Frighteningly Easy To Hack

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lightWe all know that any smart device or computer system can be hacked these days, but if you start actually enumerating all of the vulnerable gadgets, it gets a bit overwhelming. Phones, smart appliances, fitness trackers all connect to an app that stores your personal information. But that’s not all. Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published a paper in which they show how easy it is to hack traffic lights. Wonderful.

With the help of a Michigan road agency, the team hacked actual stoplights in a city in Michigan. They demonstrated that the current system of IP-based networked traffic lights that send and receive information from a central point might save money, but that its use of wireless radios is a vulnerability that’s troublingly easy to exploit.

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Smart Grills Are Here, Just In Time For Summer

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smartgrillYou wouldn’t know it by the 50-degree rainy days taunting the Northeast right now, but apparently it’s barbecue season (unless you’ve been bitten by a tick). Short of controlling the weather, one of the ways we can prepare for barbecue season is by practicing our outdoor cooking techniques, making sure we avoid accidentally sticking our food to the grill or overcooking it. Or, for those of us who don’t fancy sweating over flames and coal, we can use a Smart Grill.

I’m actually kind of surprised that it took this long for grills to enter the world of smart appliances, though I guess a grill harbors a little more activity than a refrigerator (unless we’re counting hacking). The gas-powered Lynx Smart Grill will cook your food just as you tell it to; it can also remember how you cooked a particular food last time and repeat the process. It is voice-activated, can ignite and adjust its temperature via a wiring system, and comes pre-programmed with recipes. It will also notify users via an app when the food is ready.

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Is The Blob The Future Of The Housing Market?

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ville savoyeOne of the ways technology will change our lives is by affecting where live. Whether it’s smart appliances or 3D printed houses or micro-houses, our dwellings will evolve with us as we head into the future. While all of the above examples are interesting and impressive, none are really paradigm-shifting, but that is definitely coming too. Case in point: a biogenetically inspired, 3D-printed blob house. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Eat your heart out, Gaudi.

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Meet Ubi, Siri’s At-Home Counterpart

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scaled-2941For people who talk to Siri, a voice-activated computer isn’t anything new. But what about for those of us resisting smartphones, or those of us who don’t want to be tethered to a device? As much as I yell at my computer, it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect (except to make me angry at its perfect ability to remain level-headed). Now the Ubi, short for ubiquitous computer, plugs into the wall, connects to Wi-Fi, and responds to user’s voice commands. The computer is always on and always ready, all you have to do is say “okay, Ubi” and it’s ready for business.

Via voice command, Ubi can play music, send emails or text messages, and use sensors to help users monitor your home. It communicates via built-in speakers, and unlike Siri, has a more mechanized male voice (thus far). It connects with thermostats and other smart devices and appliances.

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World’s First Start-Up Competition For Robotics Is Taking Entries

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robot launch 2014Have you ever been engaged in some dull or repetitive task and thought, “I’d love a robot to do this for me?” If so, you might be able to make your vision a reality. The world’s first start-up competition for robotics is underway, and is accepting entries until March 30.

Robot Launch 2014 is looking for ideas for robot start-ups. They want business models, prototypes, and just plain old great ideas. If you’re wondering what exactly constitutes a robot start-up, their definition is pretty broad. We could be talking about some kind of conventional robot, an appliance, some other connected device, a sensor, an actuator, artificial intelligence — you get the picture.