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TrueFace.AI is here to catch the facial recognition tricksters


TrueFace.AI knows if it's looking at a real face or just a photo of one.
Image: ian waldie/Getty Images

Facial recognition technology is more prevalent than ever before. It’s being used to identify people in airports, put a stop to child sex trafficking, and shame jaywalkers.

But the technology isn’t perfect. One major flaw: It sometimes can’t tell the difference between a living person’s face and a photo of that person held up in front of a scanner.

TrueFace.AI facial recognition is trying to fix that flaw. Launched on Product Hunt in June, it’s meant to detect “picture attacks.”

The company originally created Chui in 2014 to work with customized smart homes. Then they realized clients were using it more for security purposes, and TrueFace.AI was born.

Shaun Moore, one of the creators of TrueFace.AI, gave us some more insight into the technology.

“We saw an opportunity to expand our reach further and support use cases from ATM identity verification to access control for data centers,” said Moore. “The only way we could reach scale across industries would be by stripping out the core tech and building a platform that allows anyone to use the technology we developed.”

“We knew we had to focus on spoof detection and how we could lower false positives.”

TrueFace.AI can detect when a face or multiple faces are present in a frame and get 68 raw points for facial recognition. But its more unique feature is spoof detection, which can tell real faces from photos.

“While working on our hardware, we tested and used every major facial recognition provider. We believe that doing that (testing every solution available) and applying facial recognition to a very hard use case, like access control and the smart home, allowed us to make a better, more applicable solution,” said Moore. “All of these steps led us to understand how we could effectively deploy technology like ours in a commercial environment.”

They made their final product by using deep learning. They trained classifiers with thousands of attack examples they collected over the years, and liked the results.

A “freemium” package is available to encourage the development community that helped TrueFace.AI come up with a solution. Beyond that, the Startup Package is $99 per month while the Scale Package is $199 per month. An Enterprise Plan is available via a custom agreement with TrueFace.AI.

While Moore couldn’t divulge exactly which companies are using the technology, he did say some of them are in the banking, telecommunications, and health care industries.

It’s a service that could become increasingly valuable as companies turn to facial recognition technology.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/07/trueface-ai-facial-recognition-photo-attack-detection/

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North Korean hackers blamed for worldwide WannaCry cyberattack

Image: mashable

North Korean hackers are allegedly behind the widespread ransomware attack that hit the UK’s National Health Service, affecting computers and hospitals and doctors’ offices last month, according to the BBC.

The hackers belong to a group known as Lazarus, who is believed to have targeted Sony Pictures in 2014 as it planned to release the movie The Interview.

They used a ransomware program called WannaCry which hit multiple countries across the globe, locking up computers and ransoming access in exchange for large Bitcoin payments.

The NHS wasn’t specifically targeted in the attack and the attack affected organisations from across a range of sectors.

The claim that the ransomware attack originated from North Korea was originally made in May by Google security researcher Neel Mehta, who posted a cryptic set of characters on Twitter together with the hashtag #WannaCryptAttribution.

Kaspersky Lab researchers explained that Mehta has posted two similar code samples, one from an early version of WannaCry, and one originating from Lazarus.

Mehta allegedly found evidence that a variant of WannaCry shares code with the 2015 version of Cantopee, a backdoor used by Lazarus Group.

Moreover, WannaCry’s code contained a kill switch a way to stop the malware from spreading indicating that whoever is behind the attack is not (purely) financially motivated.

Another cybersecurity expert, Adrian Nish, who leads the cyber threat intelligence team at BAE, also noticed the overlap with previous code developed by Lazarus.

“It seems to tie back to the same code-base and the same authors,” Nish told the BBC. “The code-overlaps are significant.”

Lazarus Group is highly sophisticated and very active, according to Kaspersky, who in a blog post called the scale of the group’s operation “shocking”.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), who is part of the GCHQ, led the international investigation.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/16/wannacry-ransomware-attack-north-korea-lazarus-group/

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Apple continues to push into healthcare, this time with developers


Developers working on healthcare will be involved at WWDC this year.
Image: christian BRUNA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Working with Apple every day, as Apple sees it, could help keep the doctor awayor at least well informed.

Apple’s push into healthcare is readying its second gear, and this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference is just the start.

Apple started its push into healthcare when it introduced the Apple Watch in 2015. The wearable device made fitness, and then health software, and then medical research, more central to Apple’s mission.

Since then, Apple introduced ResearchKit in 2015 and CareKit in 2016. The two open-sourced platforms, both included under Apple’s HealthKit category, let nontraditional developers without total coding expertise build apps for both medical research and consumer health. Projects so far have included an app from Penn Medicine for the rare disease Sarcoidosis, an app from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study postpartum depression, and even end-to-end encryption tools available to health apps on the platform.

This year, more of them than ever could be developers working in healthcare, helping to build Apple’s toolsand its growing reputationas a platform for medical research, health management, and caregiving.

There could also be something big in store for this year’s WWDC. Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted wearing a wearable device that tracked blood sugar a sign of Apple’s continued interested in the healthcare space.

Apple likes to talk up its developer community. The tech giant claimed last month that it had created 2 million jobs1.5 million of which were jobs in the “App Store ecosystem,” aka not exactly working for Apple. A few days ago, Apple touted that developers had earned $70 billion through the App Store.

Apple won’t provide those kinds of numbers just for its HealthKit apps just yet. The company says that “millions of people” have used “hundreds of ResearchKit apps.”

But moving into healthcare certainly has an upside for Apple. Wearables and health apps give the company a foothold on a $2.8 trillion industryand access to more data from millions of consumers. It also helps Apple sell more of Apple’s core products.

“Their participation in the market is still fringe. It’s mostly about trying to make devices more attractive to people,” said Andy Hargreaves, an Apple analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.

Penn Medicine’s Sarcoidosis app represents exactly how Apple hopes its platform will work. Dan O’Connor, a medical student at Penn at the time, developed the app in partnership with Misha Rosenbach, an assistant professor of dermatology at Penn Medicine. O’Connor had taught himself a few programming languages and developed apps in the healthcare space before using ResearchKit for this project.

The app has had about 900 downloads and drawn about 500 consented participants for a study. Those numbers might sound miniscule compared to the reach of Apple, but it’s already one of the largest studies ever for the rare disease, O’Connor said. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory condition that affects the lungs, skin, eyes, heart, and brain, and is diagnosed in 11 to 36 of every 100,000 Americans each year.

Through the app, researchers are studying both whether a digital study of a rare disease with patients spread throughout the country and the worldcan even work, as well as the disease itself. The app provides its users information about Sarcoidosis that their local doctors might not be able to give them and then asks them to take surveys about their condition and general health.

“ResearchKit, compared to what we were envisioning initially, enabled us to do more than we ever imagined we could do,” O’Connor said (in what is probably Apple’s dream blurb for the ResearchKit website). “Our initial vision of the app was very simpleto do mostly mobile and web-type programming, simple pages with information and a survey or two. ResearchKit enabled us to tap into data.”

Apple hasn’t revealed any of its specific healthcare plans before WWDC starts on Monday. Most of the conference probably won’t focus on medical research… unless it convinces more people watching to buy a new Apple Watch.

“The data is important, but it’s not important in the way it would be to Google, Facebook, or Amazon,” Hargreaves said. “The Apple business is built around making devices and software.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/05/apple-healthcare-wwdc-apps/

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The teenage developer who quit school to focus on coding

Image: getty images/

Like many developers about to attend their first major developer conference, Amanda Southworth is looking forward to the week-long event. Besides Monday’s keynote, when Apple will unveil the next version of iOS, MacOS and maybe even some new hardware, there will be deep dives into new developer tools and countless networking opportunities.

That’s enough for any developer to get excited about, but Southworth is not like most other developers.

At just 15 years old, Southworth has the distinction of being among the youngest to attend Apple’s developer conference, which awarded her one of its WWDC Scholarships a program that helps “talented students and STEM organization members,” travel to and attend the event.

Though she’s been teaching herself to code for the better part of six years she says it wasn’t until the seventh grade when she really began to throw herself into her coding projects and other “nerd stuff.” Soon, she was spending as much as 30 hours a week to her various projects: first building robots and programming micro-controllers; then picking up web and iOS development.

She was 12 and working on all this on top of her schoolwork. So after about two years of a lot of coding and far too little sleep she decided to leave public school and take up home schooling, which would allow her to spend more time on coding without sacrificing her health.

“Now I do coding about five hours a day and schoolwork for about two hours of the day,” she says.

Much like her, Southworth’s apps are not what you may expect from a young developer. Her first app, AnxietyHelper, is entirely devoted to providing resources for young people facing mental health issues. It has information about conditions like anxiety and depression, guidelines for dealing with anger and panic attacks, as well as links to crisis hotlines.

Image: courtesy amanda southworth

Amanda Southworth was once of the recipients of Apple’s WWDC Scholarships this year.

Image: courtesy amanda southworth

“Basically it’s just to make your life easier because dealing with mental illness as it is sucks,” she says. “This app is kind of reaching out and saying ‘hey, I’m sorry you’re in this predicament but I want to help make this better.’

It’s a message that’s resonated with her peers. The app has around a thousand users and the app’s Tumblr page, where she regularly posts tips on self-care, uplifting memes and words of encouragement, and the occasional baby animals photo, has more than 3,500 followers.

I’m very open and I want to help people

Southworth, who describes herself as a kind of “motherly figure” to her friends and social media followers, says she regularly talks on the phone and exchanges messages with her Tumblr followers and those who use her app.

“I’m very open and I want to help people,” she says of the interactions.

It’s this drive of helping those around her that lead her to create her second app, Verena. Like AnxietyHelper, it’s also focused on supporting young people who may be in distress. But instead of mental health, Verena offers tools for people in the LGBT community who need help feeling safe a kind of “security system for the LGBT community.”

A poster for Anxiety Helper.

Image: courtesy amanda southworth

A diagram Amanda made to help her plan out how her app will work.

Image: courtesy amanda southworth

Seeing her friends many of whom are part of the LGBT community worry the day after the presidential election in November 2016 inspired her to create the app. “That day I saw all of my friends crying and it was really upsetting, you know, when people you love are scared,” she says. “So I decided, I’m going to make something so that I know they’re safe.”

I decided I’m going to make something so that I know they’re safe

Verena, which takes its name from a German name that means “protector,” allows users to find police stations, hospitals, shelters, and other places of refuge in times of need. They can also designate a list of contacts to be alerted via the app in an emergency.

Conscious that some of the app’s users may not be able to be open with their families or those around them about their identity, Southworth included some clever features that help users disguise the app on their phones lest they be caught with an app for LGBT people on their phone.

Go into “incognito” mode and and the app transforms into an app that looks like it’s meant to provide help with math homework (users can get back to the real app by logging back in.) And should somebody need help while in incognito mode, they can hold down the log-in button to automatically send an alert to their contacts.

Image: verena

Though she says Verena is her main priority right now she’s working with translators to make the app available in 10 different languages her ultimate goal is to work in the space industry. SpaceX is her number one choice

“I relate strongly to Elon Musk,” she says of the notoriously hyper-focused CEO.

But with college still two years away she’s content to focus on AnxietyHelper, Verena and her other projects for now in between studying for finals and the rest of her schoolwork.

Even though she sees herself as ultimately having a career in embedded systems, rather than iOS development, she sees WWDC as something of a turning point for her.

“I’m looking forward to meeting people who do the same thing as me because everybody tells me I’m really crazy for like just dropping school and going for this with all of my might.

“But I know there’s other people who do this and I want to meet those people. I want to be inspired and I want to make my app better, so I guess this will help me.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/04/amanda-aouthworth-wwdc-profile/

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How a Silicon Valley veteran created an app that 400 nonprofits use to help refugees

Image: Mashable Composite; RefAid / Trellyz

Shelley Taylor calls herself a Silicon Valley veteran. Veteran, she tells me, “means old.”

Raised in Palo Alto, Taylor has an extensive tech background. She isn’t an engineer, but she wrote the “bible of user interface” back in 1995 at the dawn of website creation, inventing a lot of the language still used to this day to describe websites and ecommerce. She’s launched a bevy of startups and advised companies like AOL, Cisco, Microsoft, and Yahoo in their early days.

“My approach to being a technology founder, which I pretty much have always been, is starting with the user experience and then using that to do product design development,” she says.

That’s exactly what she’s doing with her latest project, albeit with a more humanitarian twist. Taylor is behind the Refugee Aid app, or RefAid, which connects refugees with crucial services when and where they need them most. More than 400 of the largest aid organizations in the worldfrom the Red Cross to Save the Children to Doctors of the Worldall use it.

In many cases, they even rely on it.

Through a simple, easy-to-use interface, the free mobile app uses geolocation to show migrants, refugees, and aid workers a map of the closest services for food, shelter, health care, legal help, and more. Aid organizations can communicate with each otherand touch base with the refugees they’ve helpedthrough a web-based content management system, as well as update and keep track of the services they offer.

The app began as Taylor’s passion project in early 2016. It’s an offshoot of her company Trellyz, formerly known as Digital Fan Clubs, which launched four years ago to help people manage their brands and monetize their fans on Facebook. But about 18 months ago, Taylor, who has lived in Europe on and off for the last 25 years, felt compelled to do something a bit different.

“I was impacted by the horrible images, and just felt a sense of frustration. I just thought, ‘What can we do?'”

“I was struck, like many other people, by the refugee crisis,” she says. “In Europe, it’s much more prominent. Where I am in Italy, just looking out over the sea where I am, there are people who have been drowning trying to get to Europe, to safety. And so I was impacted by the horrible images, and just felt a sense of frustration. I just thought, ‘What can we do?'”

Since Digital Fan Clubs already created geolocation-based apps with real-time data, Taylor wondered how they could adapt that technology for refugees, who she knew were already using smartphones. So she asked a number of large organizations like the UNHCR and the British Red Cross if an app like RefAid would be helpful. They all had the same answer: “That would be great.”

Over the course of just one weekend, Taylor and her team created RefAid using the company’s app creation platform technology. It launched in February 2016, first in the UK and Italytwo countries where refugees can have very different needs. In the UK, many refugees have already reached their destination, and are focused more on integrating into a new society. Many refugees in Italy, meanwhile, are just arriving off boats after extremely harrowing, dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean.

Image: RefAid / Trellyz

Image: RefAid / Trellyz

Nel Vandevannet, director of Belgian projects at Doctors of the World, and Mark Forsyth, refugee support services coordinator at the British Red Cross, both say RefAid has proven extremely useful for their organizations. Spreading awareness of their services has been difficult, but the app has streamlined the entire process.

“I think the application is perfect for very vulnerable groups of people.”

In Belgium, where many refugees are quickly passing through to get to the UK and other parts of Europe, Vandevannet says the app has helped Doctors of the World explain to them their rights. And, in many cases, it helps point them in the direction of life-saving health care. It’s not always easy to translate this kind of vital information and convince refugees of what they need, but tapping into their smartphoneswhich Vandevannet calls “their compasses”has helped develop more trust between aid workers and refugees.

“I think the application is perfect for very vulnerable groups of people, who, because of bad experiences, repression, violence they had through their traveling … don’t really go to services,” she says. “The application is something they can control. If the police would give information, [refugees] would never go. Because they would think that it’s controlled by police, you would have to give your identity, and so on.”

The app protects refugees’ identities by only requiring an email address, not names or other personal information. There’s also a double-login function that protects their accounts, in case they ever lose their phones.

According to Forsyth, the British Red Cross has mainly used RefAid as a directory of relevant services across the country. It enables them to search for up-to-date information about services, such as locations and opening times.

“It’s not uncommon for refugees and asylum seekers to be moved all around the country,” he says. “So it’s really useful that RefAid covers the whole country, so we can contact services in other cities and refer people on.”

RefAid is now available in 14 countries: Greece, the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malta, Turkey, and the U.S.

They weren’t planning to launch the app in the U.S.at least not so soon. But as one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 to create a 90-day travel ban for citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, as well as a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program. (The ban was ultimately blocked by lower courts, a ruling that a federal appeals court upheld just last week.)

“Because I’m an American, I was so upset by the Trump [travel] ban,” Taylor says. “I’m an expat living in Europe, and I’m so proud of our American history of welcoming immigrants. I thought about it all weekend, and I thought, ‘Well, we just have to do it.'”

She invited her team and a group of friends to her house on the following Monday, and they all got on their phones and called as many organizations with real-time legal services as they could. They wanted to make sure that people who were being detained had access to essential phone numbers. Even though the ACLU and others had set up free legal resources at international airports, many people couldn’t even get out of customs to reach them.

“I thought, if we could at least make this available to people so that they can make phone calls, that would be a great start for RefAid in the U.S.,” Taylor says.

In just that one day, RefAid went live in 21 U.S. cities, focusing on legal services in areas with big international airports.

RefAid isn’t the only app on the market helping refugees and immigrants at various stages in their journeys. But it’s especially novel because of the unexpected problems it solves for nonprofits overall: managing their resources.

What Taylor and her team didn’t realize is that most of these organizations didn’t have centralized databases of the services they were offering. Information on the different categories of aid they provided and what satellite offices offered was all in aid workers’ heads, or on pieces of paper filed away in drawers.

“Because it’s on my phone, it’s available wherever, whenever, even if I’m not in the office.”

“The first organization that said they would love to use our system said, ‘We’ll get back to you when we’ve collected all of the services.’ I asked, ‘Well, how many are there?’ And they said, ‘We don’t really know,'” Taylor says.

That same organization, which Taylor didn’t name, had 60 offices in the UK. It took them two-and-a-half months to compile everything and give her an Excel spreadsheet with 300 lines of services.

Forsyth says it’s been a similar case for the British Red Cross.

“Services are changing all the time, especially these days, so paper and PDF directories are virtually obsolete from the second they are made,” he says. “RefAid is updated regularly, and because it’s on my phone, it’s available wherever, whenever, even if I’m not in the office.”

It was a revelation, and Taylor saw a market opportunity. She dropped everything else, changed the name of Digital Fan Clubs to Trellyz, and pivoted toward exclusively helping nonprofits manage their resources.

Now, the company is applying RefAid’s technology to a new app called LifeSpots, in which all nonprofits can compile their services by location, helping people find the assistance they need as well as local volunteer opportunities. It’s expected to launch within the next month. Trellyz also plans to do the same thing for cities, offering another app for local governments to list and manage the public services they offer.

RefAid is updated every few weeks or couple of months, as more nonprofits use it and provide feedback. Even governments are starting to hop on board Washington State uses the app to help distribute information about local services available to refugees, as well as the UK’s National Health Service and cities across Europe.

Doctors of the World is also working with Trellyz to integrate a “medical passport” into RefAid, allowing refugees to put their own medical histories in the app. It’s all secure, staying in the hands of users, and solves the problem of not being able to keep such important paperwork with them as they’re traveling.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what Taylor said about focusing on user experience understanding who’s using the app and then developing it to maximize the impact. And with RefAid, that human-centered approach is clear as soon as you register. You immediately get a short, two-sentence email sent to your inbox.

“Thanks for registering for the RefAid app,” the email reads. “We all hope that you find some support near you, and that you have a safe journey.”

With that attitude and the technology behind it to create real, positive change, RefAid is quickly becoming a must-have addition to any refugee’s phone.

WATCH: This is what refugees face when coming to America

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/29/refaid-refugee-aid-app-shelley-taylor/

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These new 3D scan fit helmets could make football safer


Riddell's next step in football helmet technology includes personalized 3D head scans.
Image: lili sams/Mashable

Helmets already make the violent game of football safer, but one of the biggest equipment makers in the sport is making them even better. It’s developed a new process to create helmets that could play a role in preventing the traumatic head injuries that currently plague the game and threaten its future.

Riddell, the company behind the helmets worn by around 60 percent of NFL players, will use a new 3D head-scanning process on each player who wears its new Precision Fit headgear. To be sure there are other innovations in helmet tech, but unlike just about every other helmet design on the market, which use inflatable pads that are adjusted manually by handheld air pumps, the inside of the Precision Fit models have a custom-fit liner system made of “energy managing materials” built according to the personalized scan data of each player’s head.

The personalization is meant to make players more comfortable and therefore, safer than ever before according to its makers, who call it “the perfect fitting helmet.” While the custom fit will certainly help to prevent injuries that stem from poorly-adjusted headgear, and perform better than helmets mass produced for the general market, it’s important to note that there’s no current tech that can protect against every single injury. Football is filled with collisions that have been measured on the same scale as car crashes, so as long as the sport is played as it is today, head injuries will be an unfortunate, unavoidable reality.

After four years of development and a successful limited run of beta testing at select colleges, Precision Fit will be available to NFL players for the the 2017 season.

The Riddell team stopped by Mashable HQ so I could check out the scanning process for myself. I played the sport through high school, college, and professionally in Germany, so I’ve worn football helmets for my entire life including the Riddell Speed model the Precision Fit system is built on but I’ve never experienced anything like this.

A standard model of the Speedflex helmet.

Image: riddell

When I played youth football, helmets were given out to players without much thought, with a few pumps of air and a hearty slap on the side of the head to check if it stayed in place. Later in my career, as the extent of the danger that comes with head injuries and concussions came to light, I was specially fitted for each helmet I wore but managing that fit throughout the season was largely left to me.

The status of my helmet was always a major concern for me, but it quickly took a backseat to my focus on the field during games. I often found myself playing with a less-than-ideal fit, which might have contributed to my own experiences with concussions. Football players today need to be able to play without those issues with comfort and function which is why Riddell’s new fitting process caught my attention.

Scanning for a perfect fit

I was given a cowl to put on under a demo helmet, which I then strapped on tightly so the scanner could record exactly where it sat on my head.

I got the helmet set comfortably on my head, as if I were putting it on for a game.

Image: lili sams/mashable

The Riddell tech walked around me in a circle to capture a 360-degree scan of my head with the helmet on, using a 3D scanner hooked up to a Surface tablet running the company’s proprietary software.

The scanner captured images of exactly how the helmet sat on my head.

Image: lili sams/mashable

After recording the helmet, a second scan was taken with only the cowl to capture the exact shape of my head for the mold.

After capturing my head in the helmet, a second scan was taken with the lining cap.

Image: lili sams/mashable

My Precision Fit scan experience, which took about five minutes, was only a demo. Riddell won’t be making me a helmet of my own, due to cost and time constraints; players typically get their helmets four to six weeks after the scan.

But a scan is just the start for the players who will depend on the helmets on the field this upcoming season. First, Riddell engineers import each players’ scan data into CAD design software to recreate the exact surface and head placement for production. Using the scan data, the eight-pad custom linings are then machined (cut) from the energy-managing material, which Thad Ide, Riddell’s Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development, told me is a composite polyurethane, engineered to possess “multiple densities tuned to perform the way we want it to perform.”

The liner feels more solid than the air pockets in helmets I wore back in the day, and it’s designed to “grow” to match the surface of its wearers head, kind of like an extra protective layer of memory foam.

The Precision Fit helmet lining.

Image: lili sams/mashable

Ide didn’t share exactly how much a Precision Fit helmet will cost for each individual player because it’s a prototype, but one of Riddell’s standard Speedflex units costs $409.99, so a custom fit would presumably be even more expensive. Instead, Riddell will offer the custom helmets as an option for teams to buy in bulk, which Ide said is standard practice already across all levels of football. He doesn’t think cost will be a problem for smaller programs in the future.

“Scaleability and affordability are important to us on this platform,” he said. “Were rolling it out for large colleges and professional teams, but as we scale it I can see this becoming an affordable option for high schools, junior highs, youth programs these are all things were working on.”

The Precision Fit helmets are made to last for a player’s entire career, too, which could help with affordability. The headgear would be reconditioned and re-certified every year by Riddell which is standard protocol for all football helmets at every level of play already, as Ide said it would be “atypical” for even a high school program to not recondition its helmets every year so the helmets will conceivably perform just as well after a few seasons as it did new.

Smarter innovation

Precision Fit is just a step in Riddell’s plan to bring the football helmet in line with modern technology. Ide said the company has two distinct development paths: one focused on harnessing sensors and computing to capture impact data for future development, another for the more immediately pressing matter of a helmet maker, head protection.

“Riddell invested more than 10 years ago in head impact monitoring and helmet-based sensor technology that can transmit impact data from the field to the sideline,” he said. “Weve collected about five million impacts, and we have enough of a database now that you can really see differences in impact profiles. We think were at the point where we can tune helmets to be optimized for playing position, skill level, because players see different types of impact profiles depending on those factors.”

Ide said integrated sensor tech and position-specific helmets will be expected in helmets in as little as five years, and individual “impact profiles” tracking their on-field collisions will give players, coaches, and medical staffs better insight into each individual’s playing style and how best to protect their heads.

The company has a plan to bring its sensors and head protection together by 2022.

Image: riddell

Riddell is far from the only company working to improve football helmet design its biggest rival, Schutt (which claims 37 percent of the NFL market), released two new models last year, the Vengeance Z10 and the Vengeance Pro, which tout new lightweight builds with high safety ratings. The two companies are currently locked in a legal battle over patent infringement but a new player is primed to enter the scene.

Starting this year, NFL and college players will be allowed to wear headgear made by Vicis, a Seattle-based startup whose Zero1 helmet is designed to yield to contact and “deform” at the point of impact, unlike Schutt and Riddell’s designs, which have rigid outer shells and pads to cushion the head after each collision. The Zero1 was the highest-performing helmet in an NFL-sponsored safety test, so it will likely be adopted by players looking for increased protection.

In this field, competition and new innovations should be more than welcome by the helmet makers and everyone else involved in the effort to make the game safer. For now, though, increased levels of protection is all these helmet makers can offer players and teams.

Concussions, which most typically occur in football when a high level impact causes the brain to strike the skull and begins to swell, can’t just be prevented by a better fitting helmet. They’re an unavoidable reality for the sport as it’s currently played, and no helmet can promise a truly concussion-free football experience so bringing new safety technologies onto the field will be integral to football’s future.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/27/riddell-precision-fit/

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What you should think about while considering a career change to healthcare

Image: PIXABAY

Between now and 2024, the healthcare field is projected to experience the fastest employment growth, which is creating opportunities for people who are passionate about healthcare and considering a career in the industry.

The healthcare field is broad and dynamic, said Doris Savron, executive dean at University of Phoenix College of Health Professions. A career path in healthcare can range from IT to nursing to administrative staff, and each path is unique in what level of degree, time commitment and licensing are required.

For those looking to make a career change, the transition is not always easy. But with a bit of planning, you can remove many of the unknowns. According to Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, program dean at University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences, this transition period can be made less stressful with some preparation.

“The most important thing someone considering a career change is expect a bit of uncertainty during the first few months. Feelings of being anxious or unsure of their decision are normal,” Dr. Dutton says. “It will get better.”

For those looking to make a change to the healthcare field, but dont know where to start, meet Diana Zuniga. She is in the process of making a change to a career in healthcare by furthering her education at University of Phoenix. Shes a great example of how to pivot directions and find a new path.

Diana Zuniga c/o University of Phoenix

Image: University of Phoenix

Discovering her passion

Zuniga says she’s had a passion for healthcare for years. She studied healthcare while she was an undergraduate student, but like many others, she switched her field of study a few times.

Her husband, who works as a research scientist at a cancer center, inspired her to pursue a career in the field. Through discussing his work and seeing the impact he was making, she was motivated to take steps to finish what she started as an undergraduate.

Knowing that there are ways I can help improve the procedures in a hospital, have a more positive impact on patient care and really understand the field has made the change to a new career and all the work involved worth it,” she says.

Taking the leap

When making her career change, Zuniga experienced periods of anxiety and questioned her ability to successfully make the transition.

She was concerned about her peers having more experience.

“I often wondered if it was too late to change careers,” Zuniga says. “But instead I look at this experience as an opportunity to present an outsiders view on some of the things we learn in class.”

Being new to the healthcare field is a hurdle and her biggest asset.

“Having more exposure to the healthcare field and the work I will be doing has shed a light on my abilities,” she explains. “And I now remind myself that if I am truly passionate about it, then nothing will stop me from achieving my goals of helping others.”

Getting the help you need

Zuniga is not alone in this transition. In addition to support at home, she has a team of people at University of Phoenix rooting her on.

“My enrollment advisor has been my confidant and my cheerleader,” she says. “She checks in on me constantly, and I have been able to vent to her some of my frustrations when I do have them.”

She’s also made friends from all over the country through her online course work. Zuniga cites these people as great resources for both aid and support in the pursuit of her dream.

Zuniga plans to complete this round of her education next year, when she will decide whether or not to pursue further classes and earn her MBA. She’s looking forward to entering the healthcare field full time.

If youre considering making a career change to the healthcare field:

1. Identify your passion. Zuniga’s dream of working in healthcare started pretty early in her journey. It may take you a little longer to not only discover what opportunities are available in the healthcare field, and to find what you love.

2. Talk to someone experienced in the field. According to Savron, working in healthcare often means specialized training and credentials will be necessary. By speaking with someone who is working in the specific area youre interested in, you can better understand what level of education is required or which certifications are needed to fill that role. Additionally, you can make sure that the day-to-day work, job opportunities and work requirements align with what youre looking for in your next career. Speaking to someone who is practicing in the field youre considering will give you a chance to ask questions and get meaningful, practical answers.

Image: PIXABAY

3. Save up and explore scholarship opportunities. The choice to go back to school involves important financial planning and decision making. University of Phoenix provides many resources to assist you in considering this decision. Explore financial options and tools that are available to you.

4. Look for flexible education options. Taking classes online means you can pursue your career in your own time, allowing you to keep working during the day and studying at night.

5. Do not give up. Things may seem difficult at times, but keeping your goals in mind and working hard may help provide motivation and encouragement. Its important to remain focused on your decision to enter this field. According to Dr. Dutton, “It may take time to realize the benefits of changing careers and that time varies by specialty and your individual background. You may struggle at the beginning; this is normal.”

For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, visit University of Phoenix’s website.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/26/changing-careers-healthcare/

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Apple working on dedicated AI chip for iOS devices, report says

Image: lili sams/mashable

Apple’s reportedly working on a new kind of chip potentially for future iOS devices that’ll be used just for processing AI, Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg says the chip’s called the Apple Neural Engine internally, and could be used for “offloading facial recognition in the photos application, some parts of speech recognition, and the iPhones predictive keyboard to the chip.”

By moving AI processing to a dedicated chip, battery life in devices could also see a boost since the main CPU and GPU wouldn’t be crunching as much data and gobbling as much power.

The report says Apple plans to integrate the chip into its devices, but it’s unclear when that’ll happen, and if any iOS devices launching this year will have it.

Apple’s work on an AI chip shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s paying attention to the competition. Virtually every tech company is working on improving AI processing on mobile devices.

Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chip, which is already in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, has a special module dedicated to processing AI tasks.

Years ago, Apple started designing its own mobile processors to improve performance and reduce power consumption, and it’s really paid off.

Despite having fewer cores, the iPhone 7 still crushes the Galaxy S8 when it comes to sheer performance.

iPhones and iPads also come with an Apple-designed “M”-branded motion coprocessor to collect sensor data from the various included sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, etc.). It’s this M chip that helps with tracking health and fitness data.

Furthermore, in addition to the main Intel processors in the new MacBook Pros, there’s also a small Apple-made “T1” chip for powering the Touch Bar. Apple’s AirPods also have a custom W1 chip that helps with pairing them to iOS devices.

Clearly, Apple loves making custom chips for things. We’re all for it, especially if that means longer battery life.

If the future is AI everywhere (and it definitely looks like that’s where things are headed), it’s in Apple’s best interests to control the stack (like it always does) with its own AI chip.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/26/apple-artificial-intelligence-chip-iphone/

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NYC is launching a digital tool to fight homelessness


A homeless person sleeps under a blanket outside an Old Navy store window display in New York City.
Image: mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock

New York City hopes an app can help it reduce homelessness.

Around 62,000 homeless people live in New York City, and the city’s “demand for shelter” has shot up 79 percent in the last 10 years. But the city’s government along with community organizations Project Hospitality and BronxWorks hopes an app will help them get a better handle on why the homeless population is growing, and how they might begin to reverse the trend.

The app, as Wired reported, is called StreetSmart. It’s essentially a database that allows city officials and nonprofit employees to compile and share information about individual homeless people that will illuminate what those individuals need.

The app will allow social workers to note a person’s medical needs, housing history, services they’re looking for or may have declined in the past, and any family members that they might be able to contact. Social workers will also be able to access that information in the app if it’s been previously recorded.

“The application will give information to our street workers which will be invaluable to offering options to individual to persuade them to come in,” said Steven Banks, head of the New York City Department of Social Services. “You can see in real time the importance of having this information available at your fingertips.”

Once the database has stored health, demographic, and other data from a wide range of individuals, city officials hope to better understand problems such as growing homelessness in a particular area and health issues among certain homeless residents.

On an individual basis, StreetSmart should help city officials keep tabs on issues faced by people who often find themselves in and out of shelters.

If, for example, a homeless person leaves one shelter and checks in at another several days later, a social worker at the second shelter will theoretically have a better understanding of that person’s needs.

Of course, understanding doesn’t necessarily lead to solving the issues at hand.

“Look, our general takeaway is that this type of program or tech solution is not actually a solution to homelessness,” Giselle Routhier, the policy director at Coalition for the Homeless. She praised the mayor’s office back in 2015 for its plan to build 15,000 supportive housing units, but feels a tool like StreetSmart is at best tangential to the issue at hand. “This type of model doesn’t seem to be getting at the main root of the problem, which is affordable housing.”

If the app doesn’t coincide with an expansion in the number of shelters, its use might amount to little. But Banks sees StreetSmart as a way to streamline the process of getting people into lasting homes.

“It’s not an either-or situation,” Banks said. “The application will actually help connect those individuals to those units so there isn’t adelay in matching people to available units.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/17/new-york-city-homelessness-digital/

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Facebook and The Trevor Project hope to help prevent LGBTQ youth suicides

Facebook has been working to make users feel safer on the platform for years, and in its latest effort to enhance the online community, the social media platform partnered with The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

On Tuesday in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month Facebook announced that users will be able to connect with mental health resourcesfromThe Trevor Project right from their direct messages. The project rolls out over the next few months.

According to The Trevor Project’s website, the rate of suicide attempts is “four times greater for LGB youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth,” so it’s clear how helpful access to a supportive chat bot could be. And though The Trevor Project is aimed at helping suicide prevention in young people, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 40 percent of transgender adult respondents reportedly made a suicide attempt during their lives, so Facebook users of all ages could certainly benefit from the helpful resource.

The messenger crisis support will also expand awareness to other areas of the mental heath community with the help of participating organizations likeCrisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The social media site recently received a great deal of backlash surrounding the spread of live-streamed suicide videos and earlier this month after a violent video of a Cleveland man shooting and killing a 74-year-old man was posted to the site founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted more human intervention is necessary on the site to ensure the safety of users.

The site also collaborated with mental health organizations back in 2016 to launch tools and resources aimed at supporting the mental health community. Users now have easily accessible support groups along with the ability to report concerning posts related to self-injury or suicide directly to Facebook.

Back in March the site was even testing a pattern recognition system that would use AI to identify posts that include certain keywords pertaining to suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that excessive social media us could increase levels of depression, so the more resources the better.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/17/facebook-lgbtq-trevor-project/