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Month: December 2017

Exploding Samsung Galaxy phone leaves teenager with third degree burns and smelling like a ‘burnt pig’

A Swiss teenager suffered second and third degree burns when her smartphone apparently exploded in her pocket.

Fanny Schlatter, 18, was injured when the Samsung Galaxy S3 allegedly blew up in her trouser pocket.

She claims to have been left with no feeling in her right thigh and said she will be launching a criminal complaint against Samsung

French language paper Le Matin reported that Ms Schlatter was working as an painting apprentice when she heard a large bang.

She told the paper: ‘All of a sudden I heard the sound of an explosion – like a firecracker.

‘Then I noticed a strange chemical smell and my work trousers began to catch fire.’

By the time Ms Schlatter’s boss, Stephane Kubler, had come to her assistance, the flames had reached her shoulders.

She was rushed into the nearest bathroom where colleagues doused the flames before driving her to hospital.

Ms Schlatter explained: ‘Luckily my hair was tied up and my sweater didn’t have time to catch fire.’

However, she added that her burns were severe enough to make her smell like a ‘burnt pig’.

The burns have left Ms Schlatter with no feeling in her right thigh and the teenager has been signed off work until 15 August.

She now plans to file a legal complaint against the Korean phone maker.

In a statement, a Samsung spokesperson told the MailOnline: ‘Once we have gotten hold of the product in question, we will conduct a thorough examination to determine the exact cause of this incident.

‘We would like to assure our customers that we have always employed strict quality control and safety standards to ensure a safe and pleasant user experience.’

This is not the first time a Samsung Galaxy S3 battery has supposedly exploded.

In May this year, Reddit user Vizionx1208 posted pictures of his destroyed Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, claiming he was ‘awoken by a loud noise and a weird squeaking sound.’

He states the phone was on the verge of setting alight and his bedroom had filled with smoke and had a ‘pungent smell.

He was able to put out the smouldering phone by chucking a glass of water over it but the phone had already burnt his mattress cover and left a small burn on his finger.

Last year, an Irish Samsung S3 owner claimed his handset burst into flames as he was driving his car.

However, it was later discovered, following tests by the Fire Investigations UK (FIUK) team, that the phone had been previously placed in the microwave to remove water damage and this may have been the cause of the fire.

It isn’t just the S3 model that has this supposed fault either.

In South Korea in 2011, the battery from a Samsung Galaxy Note allegedly exploded in a man’s pocket as he walked along the street.

The explosion caused second degree burns and a one-inch wound to his thigh

It was the second time that year a battery from the Galaxy Note was said to have exploded in South Korea.

Elsewhere, a phone battery spontaneously caught fire in a man’s back pocket at the Defcon hacking conference in the U.S in 2010, and in 2009, a man was killed when his exploding phone severed his neck artery.

Last month, a fire in a Peterborough house was thought to have been caused by an exploding phone battery after a handset was left on charge overnight.

The fire crews did not release what make or model the battery came from but said damage was caused to the bedroom, where the phone was on charge, including the bed, furniture and serious smoke damage to the walls

How Portable Power Helps Planes Take off More Efficiently

When you’re settling into your seat at the airport, you’ll notice some interesting mechanical sounds coming from outside the plane. If you’re afraid of flying, this mystery can cause a great deal of anxiety. It’s a good thing there’s nothing to worry about pre-flight checks. In fact, you want everything to go smoothly during this time frame. One of the methods airports use to keep planes ready to go is by supplying portable power supplies that literally jump start the plane on the runway.

According to Start Pac, that’s the mechanical sound you hear in many cases.

Standard airplane battery packs function like a car, so the plane needs to be moving in order for the pack to charge. Unlike a car, a plane’s battery must power a great deal of electronics so passengers can sit comfortably prior to takeoff. These systems power everything from air conditioning to in-flight movies.

In order for the plane to function properly, it needs a jump start from a portable battery pack. This will also give the turbine engines a boost, which enables the plane engines to turn over and the plan to function properly.

Airports service many planes in a single day, so portability is key. There are power packs embedded into the concrete, but many commercial airports will taxi a portable unit to the runway and charge the plane through that method. Portable power can also recharge quickly, so multiple units can be used for a boost while others are charging for the next shift.

Crowdsourcing iPhone App Lets Sighted People Lend Their Eyes to the Blind

With VizWiz, the blind can take a picture, ask a question, and get an answer back from a real person in seconds.

What’s the News: With the web as their eyes, the blind will able to read menus, identify canned foods, and tell whether that park has any free benches without having to walk over. That’s the vision of a team of computer scientists behind an iPhone app called VizWiz, which lets people take a photo of whatever’s perplexing them, record a question like “What denomination is this bill?” and send it off to real people online who’ll respond in a matter of seconds with “That’s a 20.”

How the Heck:

  • Blind people have workarounds for the kinds of tasks the sighted use their eyes for—folding dollar bills in certain shapes, keeping the cans of tomatoes separate from the cans of beans, and so on—but these measures often require the input of a sighted person at some point, and they’re not very efficient. An app like this would give the blind more independence.
  • Many simple tasks, like reading an address off a letter, are phenomenally difficult for computer intelligences. So the scientists are working with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a system that employs people around the world to do odd jobs computers can’t, like choosing the best picture for a product website or reading signs in photographs.
  • Then, to solve the problem of speed, the team wrote a program called quikTurkit that works to recruit people even before the question is sent, so there’s always someone on hand to answer. In the latest version of VizWiz, the average turnaround time on a question was 27 seconds. Not bad.

The Future Holds: VizWiz, which is being tested by teams of blind volunteers, hasn’t left the lab yet. But the volunteers are fans: it would be “very useful,” one said (via New Scientist), “because I get so frustrated when I need sighted help and no one is there.” Though an in-depth study [pdf] on VizWiz was released last year, there’s no word yet from the scientists on when this will hit the market. Soon, one hopes.

The App That Lets Users Lend Their Eyes, And Blind People See Things In A New Way

It’s always nice when you can lend a hand to someone in need, but this new app takes that idea to another level: Thanks to Be My Eyes, you’ll now be able to actually lend your eyes to a visually impaired person.

The new iOS app provides a video stream, similar to Apple’s FaceTime video calling, that connects someone visually impaired with someone able to see and willing to help out. The app’s inventor, Hans Jørgen Wiberg, was inspired by FaceTime and how some of his blind friends were using it for visual help.

“With FaceTime, you can’t call a random volunteer,” says Wiberg. “That’s where I came up with the idea of making this group of volunteers who can easily answer a question whenever they have time and if not, someone else will step in.”

The examples the company shows in its product video include visually impaired users getting help with things like reading an expiration date, figuring out what a photograph looks like, and reading signs in an unfamiliar location. The app is more about helping with particularly difficult moments, rather than long periods of assistance.

Opening the app, you’re prompted to select if you are sighted or if you need help (assuming you have accessibility features turned on), and then sign up for an account. If you sign up as a helper, that’s it, you wait until you get a notification to be someone’s eyes. You can share that you’re using the app across social media to gain points in the app, which you also gain for successfully helping someone. The points are used to create a rating system for determining the best helpers. If you need help seeing you’ll be taken to a screen that says “connect to the first helper available.” The screen automatically enables voiceover (reading text on the screen) from this point on as well.

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that it’s a little incompatible that someone who can’t see—or has trouble with their vision—would be using a touch-screen mobile phone to begin with. That’s not the case at all; Apple has been particularly aggressive with its accessibility features. “From what we find, a clear majority of blind smartphone users are on iPhone—in Europe almost exclusively,” says cofounder Thelle Kristensen. “IOS has had accessibility functions for the blind since iOS 3 that came with iPhone 3GS in 2009 and has since gotten continuously better.”

Be My Eyes is currently only available for iOS, but Kristensen hopes to add Android in the future through grant funding. The nonprofit also has a GitHub repository for developers interested in speeding the process along for another mobile operating system like Android or Windows Phone.

Of course, beyond the platform issues one of the main challenges a service like this faces is having someone available to help when they’re needed. “We do not have a clear picture of how many helpers are needed, but our estimate is that if we have two helpers per blind person we should be good,” explains Wiberg. “And right now it is more like 10 to 1.”

Within 10 hours of the app’s launch, the service already had about 4,000 helpers and about 500 visually impaired people signed up. In the small-scale testing done prior to launch there weren’t any problems reaching helpers when they were needed. Wiberg is visually impaired himself and came up with the idea for the app when he was a consultant in the Danish blind community. He first gave a TEDx talk about Be My Eyes back in September of 2013.

Be My Eyes is just one of the ways mobile devices are helping assist those in need. Apple, for one, touts its accessibility features, not only for vision, but also for hearing, physical and motor skills, and learning and literacy. And there are other third-party developers building things like a Braille keyboard or light sensor. The Light Detector app, for instance, uses the phone’s camera to turn natural or artificial light into sound so someone knows if an area is dark or light.

For now, Wiberg does not have plans to evolve Be My Eyes to products like Google Glass, but he hasn’t written off the idea entirely: “We would love to try it out,” he says.

New technique controls crystalline structure of titanium dioxide

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature. The development should make titanium dioxide more efficient in a range of applications, including photovoltaic cells, hydrogen production, antimicrobial coatings, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.

Titanium dioxide most commonly comes in one on of two major “phases,” meaning that its atoms arrange themselves in one of two crystalline structures. These phases are “anatase” or “rutile.” The arrangement of atoms dictates the material’s optical, chemical and electronic properties. As a result, each phase has different characteristics. The anatase phase has characteristics that make it better suited for use as an antibacterial agent and for applications such as hydrogen production. The rutile phase is better suited for use in other applications, such as photovoltaic cells, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.

“Traditionally, it has been a challenge to stabilize titanium dioxide in the desired phase,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. “The material tends to transform into the anatase phase below 500 degrees Celsius [C], and transform into the rutile phase at temperatures above 500 C.

“We have now developed a technique that precisely controls the phase, or crystalline structure, of titanium dioxide at room temperature — and stabilizes that phase, so it won’t change when the temperature fluctuates. This process, called phase tuning, allows us to fine-tune the structure of the titanium dioxide, so that it has the optimal structure for a desired application.”

The process begins by using a widely available sapphire substrate that has the desired crystalline structure. Researchers then grow a template layer of titanium trioxide on the substrate. The structure of the titanium trioxide mimics the structure of the sapphire substrate. The titanium dioxide is then grown on top of the titanium trioxide template layer.

The structure of the titanium dioxide differs from the titanium trioxide — but is dictated by the structure of that template layer. This means that you can create the titanium dioxide in any phase, simply by modifying the structure of the titanium trioxide and sapphire substrate.

This works because of a process called domain matching epitaxy (DME). In DME, the lattice planes in the template layer line up with the lattice planes of the material being grown on that template. Lattice planes are the lines, or walls, which constitute a crystal.

The researchers have also demonstrated how this technique can be used with silicon computer chip substrates, which can be integrated into electronics such as smart sensors.

Youngsters ‘addicted to mobile phones’

The addiction of children to their mobile phones could threaten the very fabric of society, a study suggests.

Many teenagers are fanatical about being always available and are extremely uneasy if unable to contact their friends countless times each day.

If the trend continues, young people will soon be incapable of forming and maintaining relationships without the help of a mobile, the study by a leading sociologist concludes.

One British child in four between the ages of five and 16 now has a mobile phone.

As well as making calls, youngsters are using their handsets to send millions of text messages to friends each day.

The study’s author, Dr Hisao Ishii, said: ‘Teenagers can be seen taking advantage of every spare minute to touch base with their friends.

‘It is not the content of the communication but the act of staying in touch that matters.’

And he warned: ‘Genuine conversation will be driven out by superficial communication, in which the act of contacting one another is all that matters, leading to a deterioration in the quality of relationships. Indeed, the very fabric of society may be threatened.’

Although Dr Ishii’s research was based on children in Japan, British experts confirmed that the same trends apply in the UK.

Child psychologist Dr David Lewis said: ‘The mobile phone, like the Furby or the Rubik’s Cube before it, has developed into a playground craze in this country.

‘Children hate to feel as if they are not in the “in group”, and think that without a phone they will be left out.

‘It is like an electronic tribal drum. Children use it to keep up to date with a wide group of acquaintances, so that when they meet up they know the latest news and gossip.’

Dr Lewis endorsed the warning that, in conjunction with home computers and video games, the mobile is having a detrimental effect on children’s social skills.

‘The mobile now often substitutes for physical play,’ he explained.

‘To develop proper friendships you have to invest time with people, doing things together.

‘Speaking on the phone and sending lots of text messages will give children many more acquaintances but fewer friends. They are replacing quality with quantity.’

Sociologists have also warned that the popularity of e-mailing, text messaging and playing games on mobile phones is affecting other important activities such as recreational reading and studying.

A third of those aged between 16 and 20 prefer text messaging to all other means of written communication, according to a survey last year by Mori for Vodafone.

Handset manufacturers claim, however, that they are not out to market to the under-16s.

A Government report last year highlighted the increased risk to children under 16 using mobile handsets and a circular sent to schools suggests that children below this age should be allowed to make calls only in emergencies.

Tiny, blurry pictures find the limits of computer image recognition

Computers have started to get really good at visual recognition. They can sometimes rival humans at recognizing the objects in a series of images. But does the similar end result mean that computers are mimicking the human visual system? Answering that question would indicate if there are still some areas where computer systems can’t keep up with humans.

So, a new PNAS paper takes a look at just how different computer and human visual systems are.

The difference really boils down to the flexibility that human brains have and computers don’t. It’s much the same problem that speech recognition system face: humans can figure out that a mangled word “meant” something recognizable while a computer can’t. Likewise with images: humans can piece together what a blurry image might depict based on small clues in the picture, where a computer would be at a loss

The authors of the PNAS paper used a set of blurry, tricky images to pinpoint the differences between computer vision models and the human brain. They used pictures called “minimal recognizable configurations” (MIRCs) that were either so small or so low-resolution that any further reduction would prevent a person from being able to recognize them.

They created this set of images by presenting a series of gradually smaller and lower-resolution pictures to thousands of people on Amazon Mechanical Turk, identifying the last level at which images could be recognized. This last recognizable level was identified as an MIRC; anything at a lower, unrecognizable level was called a sub-MIRC.

The first and most obvious comparison is whether humans and computers have similar levels of recognition of MIRCs and sub-MIRCs. To test this, the researchers identified all the MIRCs that humans could identify correctly more than 65 percent of the time and a group of sub-MIRCs identified correctly less than 20 percent of the time. The computer models didn’t perform very well on these images. They could accurately classify only around seven percent of the MIRCs and two percent of the sub-MIRCs. That’s a win for the humans.

There was also a dramatic difference in the way that computers started failing. For people, the recognition of MIRCs suddenly fell off a cliff at a particular level. The last recognizable image might be identified correctly by 93 percent of people; after a tiny change, the sub-MIRC could be identified by only three percent.

Computers didn’t show this sharp drop-off. “None of the models came close to replicating the large drop shown in human recognition,” the authors write.

The computer models did better after they were trained specifically on the MIRCs, but their accuracy was still low compared to human performance. The reason for this, the authors suggest, is that computers can’t pick out the individual components of the image whereas humans can. For instance, in a blurry picture of just the head and wings of an eagle, people could point to the smudges that represented the eyes, beak, wing, etc. This kind of interpretation is “beyond the capacities of current neural network models,” the authors write.

Overall, this means that computers can do really well at image recognition, but the processes they’re relying on to do so aren’t a very close approximation of how humans would handle the same task. They don’t use the individual components in an image to work out what it means, and so they aren’t as good as we are at figuring out an image based on minimal information.

Ultimately, we may need to figure out what’s going on in our own brains in order to get our computer models working better. It’s possible that humans first figure out what an image might be and then look for individual features that confirm or contradict this initial idea. If this is the case, then it’s clear that current computer models work very differently.



HistoryInventor of the first mobile phone system is Martin Cooper, a Motorola employee on April 3, 1973, although widely touted is the inventor of the cell phone of one of a team of Motorola division (division where Cooper worked) with the first model is the DynaTAC. Idea proposed by Cooper is a communication tool that is small and easy to carry travel flexibly.Cooper and his team faced the challenge of how to include all electronic material into such a small device for the first time. But eventually a first cell phone was successfully completed with a total weight of weighing two kilograms. To produce it, Motorola would cost the equivalent of U.S. $ 1 million. “In 1983, the portable cellular phone worth U.S. $ 4 thousand (Rp36 million) equivalent to U.S. $ 10 thousand (Rp90 million).After successfully producing mobile phones, the next biggest challenge is adapting infrastructure to support the mobile phone communication system by creating a network system that only requires 3 MHz spectrum, the equivalent of five TV channels are channeled to the whole world.Other figures are known to be very instrumental in the mobile communications world is Amos Joel Jr. who was born in Philadelphia, March 12, 1918, he was recognized worldwide as an expert in the field of switching. He received a bachelor’s degree (1940) and master’s (1942) in electronic engineering from MIT.

Not long after studies, he began his career over 43 years (from July 1940-March 1983) at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he received more than 70 U.S. patents in the field of telecommunications, particularly in the field of switching. Amos E Joel Jr., making the system connector (switching) from one area of ​​the cell phone to another cell area. Switching it should work when mobile users move or move from one cell to another cell so that the conversation is not interrupted. Because Joel Amos invention is the use of mobile phones to be comfortable.Functions and featuresIn addition to working to make and receive phone calls, the phone also has the function generally sending and receiving short messages (short message service, SMS). There is also a provider of mobile phone services in some countries that provide third generation (3G) services by adding videophone, as a means of payment, as well as for online television on their mobile phones. Now, mobile phones into multifunctional gadgets. Following the development of digital technology, now the phone is also equipped with a wide selection of features, such as can capture radio and television broadcasts, the software audio players (MP3) and video, digital camera, game, and internet services (WAP, GPRS, 3G). In addition to these features, the phone is now embedded computer features. So on the phone, people can change the function of the phone is a mini computer. In the business world, this feature is very helpful for business people to do all the work in one place and makes the job completed in a short time.Today, the role of mobile phones have become a necessity Everyday Primer, the following categories of mobile phones by Function:Business mobile phone type of this is aimed at people who want a business device in your hand, usually have a phone that has this capability quite smart phones “smartphones”. Beragai business applications contained in this phone and can make your office work can be seen and done in a mobile phone.Mobile Entertainment is a mobile phone type of multimedia manifold, where all activities related to music, art, photos, and other social can be fixed by a mobile phone. Many of these type of phone has its own variants, such as Mobile Music, Mobile Camera, Mobile Internet and Social.Fashion mobile phone type of this greater reliance on zoom, and can make its owner very satisfied though with features that impressed “potluck”. But behind it all, a Mobile Fashion can be worth many times the price of sophisticated mobile phones. Phones today can be found more valuable than the price of a vehicle even more expensive than the price of a house.Standard mobile phone type of this is intended for those who want a phone that is simple, features embedded in this phone is a core feature, no new technology is pinned.

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