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Implanted rfid chip controls office access for Stockholm workers

11/02 12:30 CET


At the newly opened Epicenter office complex in central Stockholm, workers no longer need a badge or pass code to open doors: a microchip implanted in their hand does the trick.

The radio-frequency identification or RFID chip is made of pyrex glass and contains an antenna and microchip, with no need for batteries.

It allows carriers to open doors, operate a photocopier or swap contact details via a smartphone.

Co-founder and CEO of the high-tech office complex, which is home to innovative companies large and small, Patrick Mesterton says it is the ideal location to test such technology.

“The chip is the size of the larger rice grain – it’s about twelve millimetres in size. It’s put in with a syringe and it sends an RFID code, so it’s an identification tool that can communicate with objects around you. So here, you can open doors using your chip, you can do secure printing from our printers with your chip but you can also communicate with your mobile phone by sending your business card to individuals that you meet,” he explains.

While the current range of benefits the chip offers is rather limited, its makers say the aim is to explore possible uses and see how products and services can be developed around the technology. It’s hoped in the future, workers equipped with the chip will be able to purchase food in the canteen and even get health checks.

“Some of the future areas of use – I think, like anything today where you would use a pin code or a key or a card, payments is one area. I think, also, for health care reasons, that you can sort of communicate with your doctor and you can get data on what you eat and what your physical status is,” says Patrick Mesterton.

The chipping is entirely voluntary and, according to its manufacturers, completely safe. But it raises concern among civil liberty groups, worried that such technology is not hacker-safe and could be used without the wearers’ consent to track their whereabouts of gain access to private information.

Unique Russian two-sided mobile phone launched

04/12/14 14:52 CET


A phone and an ereader, that’s the Yotaphone 2, the world’s first two sided smartphone. The unique Russian made handset has just gone on sale in 20 countries with the Asia Pacific, China, US and Canada markets to follow early next year.

In a competitive marketplace Russian retailers are said to be taking a “wait and see” approach. The first model was criticised for having glitches.

“We can’t compare our phone with any other phone. It has an always-on display which consumes substantially less power on the back side of the phone and it gives you tremendous opportunity to read up to five days. You can do a lot of things nobody else can offer to consumers,” explained Vlad Martynov, Yota Devices CEO.

Earlier this year Russia’s state-run technology company Rostec took a 25 percent stake in Yotaphone.

A company-branded store has opened in London and priced around 700 euros, SIM free the phone will be competing at the higher end of the market.

One online review of the Yotaphone 2 said it, “still feels like a work in progress.

Fujitsu Bluetooth ring lets you write in the air

Jan 13, 2015 12:57 am | IDG News Service

The ring has NFC functions and is targeted at maintenance and repair workers

by Tim Hornyak

Fujitsu is continuing its push into wearables for the workplace with a prototype Bluetooth ring that lets users "write" in the air so they can work hands-free.

The gestural device goes on the index finger and can be used to write Japanese characters, Latin letters or numbers in midair. A linked smartphone or other Bluetooth mobile device with a Fujitsu app can instantly recognize numbers written with the ring with about 95 percent accuracy, according to developer Fujitsu Laboratories.

The ring can also be used to select items in a menu shown in a linked head-mounted display and to retrieve information from NFC (near field communication) tags.

It's mainly designed for workers doing maintenance or repairs, and allows them to quickly add written notes while working as well as call up cloud data such as schematics or instructions associated with pieces of equipment that have NFC tags. Often used in smartphones, NFC is a short-range wireless link that allows two devices or a device and an NFC tag to exchange data.

The chunky plastic ring houses motion sensors, an NFC tag reader and a Bluetooth Low Energy module in addition to a battery that lasts about eight hours. The prototype weighs less than 10 grams.

"This ring could be useful in very noisy work environments, for instance, where communication is difficult," said Yuichi Murase, a research manager at Fujitsu's Human Centric Computing Laboratories. "Workers can also use it to write notes on photos they take."

During a demonstration at a press event in Tokyo on Tuesday, a Fujitsu staffer wore a helmet-mounted display linked to the ring. He used the ring to write several Chinese characters, which are used in Japanese writing, such as "new" and "mountain" as well as the characters for "Fujitsu."

A linked laptop traced the movement of his index finger in the air as it went through the strokes. The characters were quite messy since they were drawn in the air, but the system almost always recognized them correctly.

The recognition technology developed by Fujitsu is able to distinguish and ignore the unwanted connections between the strokes. The more strokes a character has, the better the recognition rate, according to the company.

The development follows on the lab's development of a wearable in the form of a mesh-like glove. Unveiled in early 2014, the glove links with a head-mounted display to speed up maintenance work and in other applications where NFC tags are often used.

Fujitsu is continuing to test the Bluetooth ring with an eye to launching it for enterprise users by April 2016.

- See more at: http://www.itnews.com/hardware-systems/87578/fujitsu-bluetooth-ring-lets-you-write-air#sthash.KQ99beTo.dpuf

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