Also, the smart gun that won't fire unless it is held by its owner.
By Jason Imms on May 23, 2014 at 10:47 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of the theory that matter can be created from light, the worldwide Blackshades hacking sting, and how explosives can be used to put out fires.
Scientists believe matter can be created from light using current technology
Led by Professor Steve Rose, a team of theoretical physicists from the Department of Physics at Imperial College in London has developed a two-step process for turning matter into light. In a paper published by the team in Nature Photonics, an experiment is documented which shows that by using a rig of lasers and gold, a photon stream can be combined with a thermal radiation shield, which would cause photons to slam into one another, yielding electrons and positrons. In a press release Rose said, “What was so surprising to us was the discovery of how we can create matter directly from light using the technology that we have today in the UK.” The theorists are working with another team to test the theory within 12 months.
More than 100 hackers arrested worldwide in “Blackshades” sting
An FBI-led anti-hacking sting has led to more than 100 arrests worldwide over the use of the easy-to-use hacking tool, Blackshades. The remote administration tool, once installed on a target computer, is capable of capturing images from attached webcams, stealing passwords and personal information, and self-propagating to further machines. Raids were conducted in more than a dozen countries, including Australia. Blackshades is easy to find, cheap to buy, simple to use, and isn’t inherently illegal to own, which makes the success of the sting quite impressive. Those arrested weren’t charged for owning the software, but for installing it on another person’s computer without their knowledge.
Wirelessly charged medical implants could seriously reduce major surgery
The batteries that power pacemakers, nerve stimulators and other medical implants last 5-7 years, necessitating surgery to replace of the entire implant in order to provide continuous service. This could become a problem of the past if the technology being worked on by Stanford electrical engineer Ada Poon makes its way into widespread production. Poon’s team is working on implants that can be charged wirelessly, thanks to the theory that electromagnetic waves travel different depending on the materials they encounter. By using a credit card-sized device, power can be delivered to the circuit while expending roughly as much power as a mobile phone, and subjecting the user to radiation levels well below the threshold for human safety. The technology has been successfully tested on animals, with human trials to come.
Image credit: The Verge
Using explosives to put out bushfires may not be as crazy as it sounds
University of New South Wales scientist Dr Graham Doig recently travelled to an explosives test site in New Mexico to test a theory. In an effort to almost literally fight fire with fire, Dr Doig believes that the shockwave from a controlled explosion could be used to dislodge a fire from its fuel source, in much the same way as one might blow out a candle. The ultimate aim for the technology would be to mount a cannon-like device to a helicopter and use it to blow bushfires out of tree-tops and down onto the forest floor. Once deprived of the fuel and oxygen-rich environment of the tree-tops, the fire would burn much more slowly and allow it to be fought using more traditional, water-based methods.
Smart guns stand to seriously improve firearm safety
Ernst Mauch, managing direct of Armatix GmbH outside Munich has developed a system he calls the “smart gun.” The Armatix iP1 is a pistol with a safety mechanism built in that will stop the weapon firing unless it is in proximity to a paired “Intelligent Watch.” The firing mechanism on the iP1 will be disabled without a nearby watch, which in turn requires a 5-digit code to have been correctly entered by the user. Mauch, who has designed and developed a string of well-known weapons currently in use by military forces around the world, believes that this is a necessary step for the firearm industry which hasn’t seen a meaningful improvement to safety measures in the past century. Read more over at The Washington Post, though prepare to be subjected to a lot of rhetoric and pandering to US gun culture apologists.
Featured image courtesy The Guardian.