Hackers could guess your phone PIN using its sensor data

Instruments in smart phones such as the accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensors represent a potential security vulnerability, according to researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), whose research was published in the open-access Cryptology ePrint Archive on 6 Dec.

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New depth sensors could make self-driving cars practical

For the past 10 years, the Camera Culture group at MIT’s Media Lab has been developing innovative imaging systems — from a camera that can see around corners to one that can read text in closed books — by using “time of flight,” an approach that gauges distance by measuring the time it takes light projected into a scene to bounce back to a sensor.

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Boat traffic threatens the survival of Panama’s Bocas Del Toro dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins in Panama’s Bocas Del Toro Archipelago should be designated as endangered say the authors of a new study. Biologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered that the roughly 80 dolphins in the archipelago do not interbreed with other Caribbean bottlenose dolphins. Their low numbers jeopardize their long-term survival, which is threatened by increasing local boat traffic that killed at least seven dolphins in 2012.

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How much soil goes down the drain: New data on soil lost due to water

According to a new study by the University of Basel, the European Commission — Joint Research Centre and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH, UK), almost 36 billion tons of soil is lost every year due to water, and deforestation and other changes in land use make the problem worse. The study also offers ideas on how agriculture can change to become a part of the solution from being part of the problem

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Visitor patterns and emerging activities in Finish national parks revealed by social media posts

Researchers from the Digital Geography at the University of Helsinki have been studying whether social media data could be used to understand visitor’s activities in national parks and most recent results are presented in Scientific reports: Instagram, Flickr, or Twitter: Assessing the usability of social media data for visitor monitoring in protected areas.

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Guanidinium stabilizes perovskite solar cells at 19 percent efficiency

With the power-conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells plateauing around 25%, perovskites are now ideally placed to become the market’s next generation of photovoltaics. In particular, organic-inorganic lead halide perovskites offer manufacturing versatility that can potentially translate into much higher efficiency: studies have already shown photovoltaic performances above 20% across different solar cell architectures built with simple and low-cost processes.

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