"hardware" entries

Four short links: 21 April 2016

Four short links: 21 April 2016

BitCoin with Identity, Hardware is Hard, Data Test Suites, and Internet Voting

  1. Bribing Miners to Regulate Bitcoin — interesting! A somewhat conspiracy-theoretical take on an MIT proposal to layer identity onto Bitcoin. Features repurposed DRM tech, no less.
  2. Tesla Model X Quality Issues (Consumer Reports) — hardware is hard.
  3. Data Proofer — open source software that’s test cases for your data, to help ensure you’re not pushing corrupt data into production.
  4. Internet Voting? Really? (YouTube) — TEDx talk by Andrew Appel comparing physical with online voting. Very easy to follow for the non-technical.

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Four short links: 7 April 2016

Four short links: 7 April 2016

Fairness in Machine Learning, Ethical Decision-Making, State of Hardware, and Against Web DRM

  1. Fairness in Machine Learning — read this fabulous presentation. Most ML objective functions create models accurate for the majority class at the expense of the protected class. One way to encode “fairness” might be to require similar/equal error rates for protected classes as for the majority population.
  2. Safety Constraints and Ethical Principles in Collective Decision-Making Systems (PDF) — self-driving cars are an example of collective decision-making between intelligent agents and, possibly, humans. Damn it’s hard to find non-paywalled research in this area. This is horrifying for the list of things you can’t ensure in collective decision-making systems.
  3. State of Hardware Report (Nate Evans) — rundown of the stats related to hardware startups. (via Renee DiResta)
  4. A Recent Discussion about DRM (Joi Ito) — strong arguments against including Digital Rights Management in W3C’s web standards (I can’t believe we’re still debating this; it’s such a self-evidently terrible idea to bake disempowerment into web standards).
Comment: 1
Four short links: 6 April 2016

Four short links: 6 April 2016

Hi-Techtiles, Recreating 3D, Mobile Deep Learning, and Correlation Games

  1. U.S. Textile Industry Turns to Tech as Gateway to RevivalWarwick Mills is joining the Defense Department, universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and nearly 50 other companies in an ambitious $320 million project to push the American textile industry into the digital age. Key to the plan is a technical ingredient: embedding a variety of tiny semiconductors and sensors into fabrics that can see, hear, communicate, store energy, warm or cool a person, or monitor the wearer’s health.
  2. 2D to 3D With Deep CNNs (PDF) — source code on github.
  3. Squeezing AI into Mobile Systems (IEEE Spectrum) — Sze, working with Joel Emer, also an MIT computer science professor and senior distinguished research scientist at Nvidia, developed Eyeriss­, the first custom chip designed to run a state-of-the-art convolutional neural network. They showed they could run AlexNet, a particularly demanding algorithm, using less than one-tenth the energy of a typical mobile GPU: instead of consuming 5 to 10 watts, Eyeriss used 0.3 W.
  4. The 8-Bit Game That Makes Statistics Addictive (The Atlantic) — that game is Guess The Correlation. “As a researcher, you read papers and a lot of the time, you eyeball the figures without even reading the text,” he says. “You see a plot—it could even be your own plot—and make a judgment based on it. Contrary to what people believe, they’re not very good at this. And I have the data to prove that.”
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Four short links: 4 April 2016

Four short links: 4 April 2016

Verilog to DNA, Crypto Sequencing, How-To Network, and Quantified Baby

  1. Cello CAD — Verilog-like compiler that emits DNA sequences. Github repo has more, and Science paper forthcoming.
  2. Privacy-Preserving Read Mapping Using Locality Sensitive Hashing and Secure Kmer Voting — crypographically preserved privacy when using cloud servers for read alignment as part of genome sequencing.
  3. How to Network in Five Easy Steps (Courtney Johnston) — aimed at arts audience, but just as relevant to early-career tech folks.
  4. Quantified BabyThe idea of self-tracking for children raises thorny questions of control and consent, Nafus said. Among hard-core practitioners, the idea has not really taken off, even as related products have started hitting the market.
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Four short links: 25 March 2016

Four short links: 25 March 2016

Intro to Statistics, Automatic Lip Reading, Outdoor Range Finding for $10, and Wrongful Takedowns

  1. Intro Statistics with Randomization and Simulation — free PDF download as well as book for purchase. (via Flowing Data)
  2. Automated Lip Reading Invented — press release, but interesting topic. The research will be presented at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP) in Shanghai.
  3. A Smartphone-based Laser Distance Sensor for Outdoor Environments (PDF) — We present a low-cost, smartphone-based planar laser distance sensor design for outdoor use with 6 cm accuracy at 5 meters, 30 Hz scan rate, and 0.1 degree resolution over the field of view. The cost of the hardware additions to the off-the-shelf smartphone used in our prototype is under $50.
  4. Internet Archive Seeks to Defend Against Wrongful TakedownsIn its submission, the Archive goes to some lengths to highlight differences between those engaging in commercial piracy and those who seek to preserve and share cultural heritage. As a result, the context in which a user posts content online should be considered before attempting to determine whether an infringement has taken place. This, the organization says, poses problems for the “staydown” demands gaining momentum with copyright holders.
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Four short links: 21 March 2016

Four short links: 21 March 2016

Legacy Tech, Gender Prediction, Text Generation, and Human Performance

  1. Ten More Years!my brand spanking new chip card from a UK issuer not only arrived with a 2000s app of a 1990s implementation of a 1980s product (debit) on 1970s chip, it also came with a 1960s magnetic stripe on it and a 1950s PAN with a 1940s signature panel on the back. It’s no wonder it seems a little out of place in the modern world.
  2. Age and Gender Classification Using Convolutional Neural Nets — oh, this will end well.
  3. The Uncanny Valley of Words (Ross Goodwin) — lessons learned from an NYU ITP neural networker making poetry and surprises from text.
  4. The Paradox of Human Performance (YouTube) — Human dexterity and agility vastly exceed that of contemporary robots. Yet, humans have vastly slower “hardware” (e.g. muscles) and “wetware” (e.g. neurons). How can this paradox be resolved? Slow actuators and long communication delays require predictive control based on some form of internal model—but what form? (via Robohub)
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Four short links: 15 March 2016

Four short links: 15 March 2016

Car Hackers Handbook, Exoskeleton Regulation, Pythonic Spreadsheet, and AI Myths

  1. The 2016 Car Hacker’s Handbook (Amazon) — will give you a deeper understanding of the computer systems and embedded software in modern vehicles. It begins by examining vulnerabilities and providing detailed explanations of communications over the CAN bus and between devices and systems. (via BoingBoing)
  2. More Exoskeletons Seeking FDA ApprovalThe international group of exoskeleton providers with various FDA or CE certifications is growing and currently includes: Ekso in the US; Cyberdyne in the EU and Japan; ExoAtlet from Russia; and Israel’s ReWalk. Other providers are in the process of getting approvals or developing commercial versions of their products. My eye was caught by how global the list of exoskeleton companies is.
  3. Dirigible Spreadsheet — open source spreadsheet that’s not just written in Python, it exposes and IS python. See also Harry Percival talking about it.
  4. Everything You Know About AI Is Wrong (Gizmodo) — an interesting run-through of myths and claims about AI. I’m not ready to consider all of these “busted,” but they are some nice starters-for-ten in your next pub argument about whether the Matrix is coming.
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Four short links: 14 March 2016

Four short links: 14 March 2016

Measure What Matters, Broken Laws, Password Recovery Questions, and 3D Object Tracking

  1. What Thomas Hardy Taught MeIn educational research, perhaps the greatest danger lies in thinking “that which I cannot measure is not real.” The disruption fetishists have amplified this danger, now evincing the attitude “teaching that cannot be said to lead to the immediate acquisition of rote, mechanical skills has no value.” But absolutely every aspect of my educational journey — as a student, as a teacher, and as a researcher — demonstrates the folly of this approach to learning. (via Dan Meyer)
  2. Why Anti-Money Laundering Laws and Poorly Designed Copyright Laws Are Similar and Should be Revised (Joi Ito) — Just like with the Internet, weaknesses in networks like the blockchain propagate to countries and regions where privacy risks to users could cause significant risks to human rights workers, journalists, or anyone who questions authority. The conversation on creating new AML and KYC laws for new financial systems like bitcoin and blockchain needs to be a global one.
  3. Secrets, Lies, and Account Recovery: Lessons from the Use of Personal Knowledge Questions at Google — Adrian Colyer summarizes a paper from Google. Using a crowdsourcing service, the authors asked 1,000 users to answer the ‘Favourite Food’ and ‘Father’s middle name’ questions. This took less than a day and cost $100. […] Using a single guess, it turns out, you have a 19.7% chance of guessing an English-speaking users’ answer to the favourite food.
  4. Clever MEMS 3D Object Tracking — early Oculus engineer has invented a nifty way to track a tagged object in 3D space. Worth reading for the description of how it works.
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Four short links: 8 March 2016

Four short links: 8 March 2016

Neural Nets on Encrypted Data, IoT VR Prototype, Group Chat Considered Harmful, and Haptic Hardware

  1. Neutral Nets on Encrypted Data (Paper a Day) — By using a technique known as homohorphic encryption, it’s possible to perform operations on encrypted data, producing an encrypted result, and then decrypt the result to give back the desired answer. By combining homohorphic encryption with a specially designed neural network that can operate within the constraints of the operations supported, the authors of CryptoNet are able to build an end-to-end system whereby a client can encrypt their data, send it to a cloud service that makes a prediction based on that data – all the while having no idea what the data means, or what the output prediction means – and return an encrypted prediction to the client, which can then decrypt it to recover the prediction. As well as making this possible, another significant challenge the authors had to overcome was making it practical, as homohorphic encryption can be expensive.
  2. VR for IoT Prototype (YouTube) — a VR prototype created for displaying sensor data and video streaming in real time from IoT sensors/camera devices designed for rail or the transportation industry.
  3. Is Group Chat Making You Sweat? (Jason Fried) — all excellent points. Our attention and focus are the scarce and precious resources of the 21st century.
  4. How Devices Provide Haptic Feedback — good intro to what’s happening in your hardware.
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Peter Hoddie on JavaScript for embedded systems

The O’Reilly Hardware Podcast: Hardware abstraction, scripting languages, and user experience.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Hardware Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing. Find us on TuneIn, Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, RSS.

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This will be a breakout year for JavaScript on embedded systems. Our guest on the Hardware Podcast this week is Peter Hoddie, who founded Kinoma, which makes software and hardware for building JavaScript-powered prototypes. Previously he was one of the original developers of QuickTime at Apple.

Computing power has become so inexpensive, and the JS developer community so large, that the accessibility and fast development times of JavaScript will outweigh the efficiency advantages of C and assembly for all but fairly specialized projects.

Discussion points:

  • Scratch, which begat Blockly, which begat KinomaJS Blocks, which can be used to program the Create embedded platform.
  • Transitioning from software development to hardware development.
  • The importance of developing hardware that is flexible, modular and abstracted. “Why should you throw out your hardware because the software is obsolete?” Hoddie asks.
  • Tools: Hoddie swears by profilers, including Apple’s Instruments and the Kinoma Studio profiler
  • Writing your own JavaScript engine—in this case, Kinoma’s XS6

Read more…

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