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iPhone 6 Hacked into a Digital Scale

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Apple’s iPhone 6 series introduced 3D Touch, a hardware function that measures the hardness of a press on the screen.

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Such a feature can be handy for all sorts of developers, especially game developers. It gives them the ability to measure both length and depth of a press. Android devices already have the same functionality, including the Huawei Mate S.

A developer in the UK has taken the concept and made a digital scale out of it. Called the “plum-o-meter,” the code has been made available to the public via Github.

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Writing about the project on his blog, FlexMonkey, Gladman claims that the reason for the creation was in order to ensure that his significant other always gets the largest plum. Silly as it may seem, it’s as good a reason as any to develop a piece of useful code.

Being a generous sort of chap, whenever I pull a pair of plums from the freshly delivered Fortnum & Mason’s hamper, I always try to ensure she has the larger of the two.

Also read: Apple Boots 256 Privacy-Infringing Apps from Its App Store

Near the end of the post, he confesses that the code was originally developed to weigh grapes, but that grapes were too light to activate the feature. There is also a fatal flaw with it being used as a digital scale, in that it responds to other forces applied to the screen. After all, the phone was not designed to be a digital scale, so drug dealers can put their excitement away (one more part of the operation replaced by the iPhone).

It’s interesting to see that it changes depending on other forces acting upon the screen which to me indicates that the 6s isn’t going to replace your high precision electronic scales. What this demo does show is that the 6s can handle multiple touch points each with a decent value for their relative forces.

Given that it doesn’t function perfectly and makes obvious that the iPhone has magical powers of force measurement, it would likely be rejected from the official App store. Nonetheless, jailbroken users can compile the code into an App and use it themselves.

Image from Shutterstock.

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Finally: The Flying Car, Courtesy of Uber

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Uber Elevate

When we imagined the 21st century in the late lamented sixties, two features were always there: the cities on the Moon and the planets, and the flying cars. Much to our chagrin, neither materialized. But now SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to build cities on Mars, and Uber is envisioning a fleet of flying cars, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Fun Hacks

British Whizz Kid Hacks Pokemon Go; Catches Monsters Without Breaking a Sweat

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Pokemon Go

A 25-year-old British former computer science student has discovered a loophole in the popular Pokemon Go allowing him to catch Pokemon without leaving the comfort of his home.

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According to reports, players of the game have resorted to donating thousands of pounds to keep Mark Gore’s ‘bot’ running. Five lawyers are alleged to have urged him to remove the programme.

Mr Gore has stated that his loophole wasn’t designed to take the fun out of the game, which is reported to have seen users harassed by police for walking into restricted areas, according to the British tabloid newspaper, the Sun.

He stated that it was easy exploiting the game, which was created by Niantic. Gore said that over 24,000 people worldwide had been using his site to take advantage of his ‘bot’.

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He said:

I don’t think I’m spoiling people’s fun. If you look at the age bracket of people playing this game, it’s not all teenagers playing. There are a lot of people who work all day and don’t have the time to spend hours each day going out and catching Pokemon.

He added that those who want to can run the program in the comfort of their own home for two hours a day and still maintain the same level of fun to those who walk around collecting Pokemon.

While it certainly adds a level of safety to the game, does it not take away the authentic feel of it too?

Featured image from Matthew Corley via Shutterstock.

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Artificial Intelligence

Consumer Drones Outfitted With Geofences Around Restricted Air Space

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A project called Airmap has made life easier for two of the major consumer drone producers, DJI and 3D Robotics. The purpose of Airmap is to provide real-time, reliable access to no-fly-zone data. In the case of consumer drones, this can mean a lot more than simply military bases and airport areas.

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A football arena can be off-limits because it is full of patrons, for instance, or potentially could be off-limits to drones all the time anyhow. Residential areas could eventually make use of the technology to politely tell drone operators to keep out, in another example.

In Airmap’s own words:

AirMap makes it easy to operate your drone safely, legally, and hassle-free.

Drone operators using custom-built rigs or brands other than DJI and 3D Robotics can still make use of Airmap, if they choose. The software has a mobile-friendly web interface that tells the user
what locations in their area of operation are off-limits.

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No drone zoneFor many involved in the expensive hobby, Airmap can help mitigate the risk of losing their property to overzealous security forces or otherwise unpredictable elements. Events such as California firefighters complaining of interfering drones could be a thing of the past if Airmap and technologies like it become commonly used by drone enthusiasts.

While homebrew drone operators will always have the final decision as to whether or not they should use Airmap or something like it, technologies like this have a way of making the government think about regulation. For if the operator has the ability to know he is not supposed to be operating in a certain location but is doing so anyway, perhaps there’s an element of criminality afoot (goes the thinking of the regulator).

For their part, commercial drone manufacturers aren’t willing to risk it. By default, several models of DJI’s geofencing program, dubbed GEO or Geospatial Environment Online, which utilizes Airmap’s API, will prevent operators from flying into no-fly-zones. In many locations, users will still have the ability to override the block, but one of the places expressly forbidden is Washington, DC.

One would presume that military bases might also be on such a list. Further, the no-fly-zone list includes places that one might not ordinarily think of, such as prisons and hospitals. The override will require the user to enter sensitive information about themselves, such as a credit card number, in order to increase accountability in the event of incident.

3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson is on record as saying how important it is to end the “mass jackassery” of drone operators, referring to the reckless flights that some have engaged in. In September, Anderson said:

If we don’t do something about it, no one’s been killed yet, but someone’s going to do something really stupid.

Anderson’s company believes that the ease of drone use which has come over time, with lots of technological innovation along the way, has helped to this end. He told Robotics Trends “we want to make flying as safe as it is easy.”

The move by the companies to implement Airmap technology is no coincidence, in that the Federal Government via Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are FAAcurrently looking into successfully mandating drone registration.

Like all new technologies, consumer drones are subject to scrutiny not experienced by more traditional hobbies, and to mitigate the inevitable regulations, companies within the industry must act responsibly to appease regulators ahead of time.

Images from Shutterstock and Wikimedia.

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