Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants

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San Francisco (CNN Business)Usually you have to talk to voice assistants to get them to do what you want. But a group of researchers determined they can also command them by shining a laser at smart speakers and other gadgets that house virtual helpers such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications figured out they could do this silently and from hundreds of feet away, as long as they had a line of sight to the smart gadget. The finding could enable anyone (with motivation and a few hundred dollars’ worth of electronics) to attack a smart speaker from outside your house, making it do anything from playing music to opening a smart garage door to buying you stuff on Amazon.

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Breakthrough research to revolutionize internet communication

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Breakthrough research to revolutionize internet communication

A team of University of Otago/Dodd-Walls Centre scientists have created a novel device that could enable the next generation of faster, more energy efficient internet. Their breakthrough results have been published in the world’s premiere scientific journal Nature this morning.

The internet is one of the single biggest consumers of power in the world. With data capacity expected to double every year and the physical infrastructure used to encode and process data reaching its limits, there is huge pressure to find new solutions to increase the speed and capacity of the internet.

Principal Investigator Dr. Harald Schwefel and Dr. Madhuri Kumari’s research has found an answer. They have created a device called a microresonator optical frequency comb made out of a tiny disc of crystal. The device transforms a single color of laser light into a rainbow of 160 different frequencies – each beam totally in sync with each other and perfectly stable. One such device could replace hundreds of power-consuming lasers currently used to encode and send data around the world.

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Lasers cure nearly 50% of patients with prostate cancer in new study

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Experts have honed a cutting-edge method to kill off tumors with less damage to healthy cells.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and STEBA Biotech have announced the success of the unique method they developed to fight prostate cancer. This treatment, which the group of expects called “transformative,” has shown promising results.

Under development since 2011, vascular targeted photodynamic therapy (VPT), as the procedure is called, is carried out in a two-step process. Patients are first introduced to WST11 — a compound extracted from some benthic bacteria, or bacteria that dwell at the bottom of the sea. These bacteria are particularly special, though, as they are highly light-sensitive.

Optical fibers are then inserted through an area called the perineum, found between the the testes and the anus, and directly into the prostate gland. Afterwards, the scientists turn on a red laser that is induced through the optical fibers. This process utilizes the photosensitivity of the WST11 drug and activates it. Upon activation, free radicals are released within the area, attacking and destroying the tumors. Unlike conventional treatments which might affect a general area of body cells, this treatment is localized. The nearby cells are left more or less unharmed.

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German Rheinmetall showcases new sea-based anti-drone laser system

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German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defense Electronics showcased a new sea-based anti-drone laser system at the Defense and Security Equipment Industry in London,. The system, according to Chinese web site qq.com, features not one but four high energy lasers (HEL) mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser gun.

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Scientists discover way to regenerate teeth with lasers

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Scientists use low powered laser to grow teeth.

Scientists have used a low powered laser to activate and direct stem cells to grow teeth.  It looks as if they did it right in the mouth (of a couple of species)!  That’s a disruptive innovation compared to the way stem cells are typically grown and developed outside the body.

 

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Making a better invisibility cloak with lasers

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Nearly all technological advances in the past century or more have depended on our ability to produce and manipulate the vast variety of materials that nature has given us. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of electronics. From a smorgasbord of semiconductors, polymers, and metals, we’ve been able to create a dazzling array of circuitry that now underpins pretty much every aspect of modern life.

 

 

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Hidden Government Scanners Will Instantly Know Everything About You From 50 Meters Away

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YIKES!

Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 50 meters away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.

And without you knowing it…

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3D printed nanoscale race car measures about the width of a human hair

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3D printed nanoscale race car.

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology decided to print a race car on a nanoscale, using lasers. “The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand.” This is a technique they call “two-photon lithography.” (Video)

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MIT Scientists Create First Magnetic Gas

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For decades, scientists have debated whether or not gasses could display the same magnetic properties as solids. Now, thanks to some MIT scientists, they know the answer is a freezing cold yes.  MIT researchers have observed magnetism in an atomic gas of lithium cooled down to 150 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. This experiment represents a point of unification between condensed matter research and the field of atomic science and lasers, and could influence areas such as data storage and medical diagnostics.

 

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