GhostSwimmer, BPG, QSA to Battle Credit Card Fraud and a New Image Format


Today looks interesting.

First LaWS, now robot sharks


If you thought LaWS (Laser Weapon System) was cool, think again. The US Navy now has in their arsenal Robot sharks.Christened GhostSwimmer, these are UUV or unmanned underwater vehicles based on the biometric design principles where scientists can create machines based on animals or natural processes.

According to Michael Rufo, who is the director of engineering at Bostons Engineering’s Advanced Systems Group, the GhostSwimmer maneuvers just like a normal fish would; by oscillating a tail fin back and forth.

What plans for said GhostSwimmer you ask? Well it will be primarily used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions and also as a tool to test hull integrity of friendly ships. With the ability to operate autonomously via battery for an extended period of time, it can also be controlled via a 500 ft. tether.

While the Navy isn’t going to reveal how GhostSwimmer communicates and receives new data, information gathered from its press material suggests that the machine would have to surface at regular intervals in order to sync data with the controller and host.

In addition to its primary use as reconnaissance, GhostShark will also be used to locate underwater mines, thus replacing bottlenose dolphins and sea lions which the Navy use for the task; a relief for those involved in the NMMP (Navy Marine Mammal Program).

Step aside JPEG, BPG is here


A French programmer b the name of Fabrice Bellard has invented a new graphics file format titled BPG, which he hopes can replace the venerable JPEG image format. The Better Portable Graphics, or BPG format essentially cuts the file size of images in half whilst preserving the quality and freeing up space on your hard drive.

In addition to being smaller in file size, BPG files are also transparency compatible akin to GIF and PNG files whereas JPEG is not.

However, as with any new technology, there are a few factors against it. The simplest being that JPEG has become the go-to, trusted file format by most designers. It’s compatible with pretty much anything and with the proliferation of high speed internet, even downloading JPEGs is not exactly an issue. Then there is also Google with their WebP format which similar to BPG, compresses the image file better when compared to JPEG and also supports transparency. It also handles moving images better than GIF does and is already compatible with web browsers Google Chrome and Opera. Not to mention that it’s also released by Google via free BSD licence. Lets just see how things pan out shall we?

Quantum physics to battle against credit card fraud


It does seem a bit far fetched and somewhat of an overpowered approach but not according to a team of scientists from the Netherlands who are proposing the use of quantum physics in credit cards and passports. Titled QSA or quantum-secure authentication, the technology would use a strip of nanoparticles on the card making them virtually unhackable.

Most if not all credit cards utilize a magnetic strip that is swiped when used. This is the main method that hackers use to exploit your credit card. Once hacked, your details can be easily copied and/or emulated.

This is where QSA steps in. The card would have a nanoparticle strip which is then infused with a laser to create a unique pattern that cannot be cracked. The reason for this being that the system makes use of the qualities of light in the quantum state by which photons can exist in multiple places at the same time. The event that created the pattern simply cannot be duplicated.

Sounds too techy? Well it kind of is, and to fully understand it would require a several years invested in a Ph.D in theoretical physics. So for now we’ll leave it up to the scientists in the Netherlands to sort things out.

Asia to overtake N. America in terms of e-Commerce


According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Asia is all set to exceed North America and become the world’s largest e-commerce market for 2014. In the research carried out, it is estimated that retail sales in Asia will grow by an average 4.6% to $7.6 trillion, compared with 2.5 percent in North America and 0.8 percent in Europe by 2015. It also shows that the Asian consumer market was and is largely driven by the consumer power of females in Asia with female consumers displaying an unmatched enthusiasm for online shopping

With the rise in platforms such as Alibaba which is wildly popular in India and a huge demand for e-commerce generated in China both of which when amassed count for about three billion people, its not difficult to see why Asia is set to do so

According to surveys carried out in light of this research it was revealed that almost half of the women agreed or strongly agreed that they preferred online shopping rather than store shopping and around 63% of those under survey stated that they browsed the Internet for products at least once a day almost 30% doing so twice or more per day.



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