World’s First ‘Non-Intrusive’ Smartphone Announced

Tired of smartphone’s intrusion in your personal space? A new device may be your new hope to stay connected without much hassle.Monohm Inc. has announced the creation of Runcible – a personal device modelled on the pocket watch.

Flaunting a high resolution, round screen, the device includes a high-performance phone and camera which is meant to “refocus users’ attention on real people and the real world”.

“People need something to let them control their digital lives in clean, quiet, simple ways,” said Aubrey Anderson, CEO and co-founder, Monohm Inc in a statement.

“Runcible is the alternative to the increasingly invasive and commodified smartphone whose app-centric approach distracts us from our lives instead of helping us live them,” Anderson added.

Runcible is built on top of Mozilla’s Open Source Firefox OS, and KDDI Corporation is Monohm’s first carrier partnership.

runcible_official_2.jpgRuncible’s operating system is based on Open Web standards.

Unlike other systems which rely upon complicated middleware and cannot integrate across platforms, applications and devices, Runcible users can simply access the power of the web to command and control the growing number of IoT devices and connected things around us.

What’s heartening is that unlike smartphones which become obsolete within two or three years, Runcible’s parts can be removed, repaired and upgraded, enabling the device to be kept for decades.

Runcible will never beep, alert or otherwise interrupt us, enabling us to keep our attention where it was always meant to be.

The device would be available by the end of this year.

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Internet Voting a Possibility in Future: Chief Election Commissioner

Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma on Friday said voting by Internet could be a possibility in the future and the first step in this direction is the EC’s plan to make electoral rolls “totally error free”.”Voting by Internet is the next stage. The first step in the direction was the Election Commission’s ambitious plan to make the electoral rolls totally error free,” the CEC said.

He, however, did not give a time-frame for it.

“We need funds, infrastructure and some training. India can do it…,” Brahma said, adding, young voters think that Internet voting can save a lot of time, resources, and energy.

“When I was standing in queue to cast vote in the Delhi Assembly polls, five young voters standing in front of me said casting vote takes a few seconds but standing in queue for two hours is a difficult task…,” he told a press conference in New Delhi

However, only yesterday, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply that there are no plans to introduce Internet voting.

The Election Commission (EC) will launch National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) between March 3 and August 15. As part of the programme, EC will link electoral photo I card with UIDAI number to ensure there is no duplication.

He said that 10 to 12 percent entries in electoral roll are duplicate. There are 85 crore electors in the country as per the latest EC data. A city in one southern state has 42 percent duplicate entries, Brahma added.

The voters will be asked to voluntarily apply for removal of their names from multiple constituencies and such cases will be disposed off within 15 days. If a person deliberately registers as a voter in multiple constituencies, he or she can be punished under provisions of the IPC and election laws, he said.

50 crore voters registered with EC have UIDAI number and the UIDAI has told the poll body that by June, it will further expand its base, he further said.

As UIDAI is voluntary in nature, the names of those not having the Aadhar number will be double checked physically.

Brahma said duplicacy in electoral rolls and flaws have given EC a bad name and there is a case pending against it in Bombay High Court.

“By purifying the rolls, we want to end the chapter of allegations against us for ever,” he said.

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New Nasa Earth Missions Exploring Our Complex Planet

Four new Nasa Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space – with a fifth newly in orbit – after the busiest year of Nasa Earth science launches in more than a decade.On February 27 last year, Nasa and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the Earth-observing Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan.

Nasa’s newest Earth-observing satellite, the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), was launched Jan 31 this year to begin its mission to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed.

Data from GPM and the other new missions are making observations and providing scientists with new insights into global rain and snowfall, atmospheric carbon dioxide, ocean winds, clouds and tiny airborne particles called aerosols, the US space agency said in a statement.

“This has been a phenomenally productive year for Nasa in our mission to explore our complex planet from the unique vantage point of space,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC.

Combined with data from our other Earth-observing spacecraft, these new missions will give us new insights into how Earth works as a system, he added.

With these missions, including two instruments mounted on the exterior of theInternational Space Station (ISS), Nasa now has 20 Earth-observing space missions in operation.

Observations from these missions, like all Nasa data, will be freely available to the international scientific community.

“The highly accurate measurements from these new missions will help scientists around the world tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing,” said Peg Luce, deputy director of the Earth Science Division at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In addition to free-flying satellite missions, Nasa deployed two Earth-observing instruments to the ISS.

These are ISS-RapidScat, a scatterometer that measures wind speeds and direction over the ocean and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) that measures the altitude of clouds and airborne particles.

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Qualcomm Preps Technology to Reduce Burden on Mobile Networks

Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm wants wireless carriers to set up new technology that would offer cellphone users better reception in places like subway tunnels and shopping malls.The San Diego, California company said on Thursday it will start selling components this year featuring LTE technology adapted for a smaller scale than traditional cellphone base stations mounted on metal towers bristling with antennas and other electronics.

LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, is the increasingly common modem technology that cellphones use to communicate with carrier networks. The newer “LTE Unlicensed”, or LTE-U, adapts that technology to be used over short distances by sharing radio spectrum that is used by WiFi.

Qualcomm sees the addition of new technologies like LTE-U to its smartphone chips as key to staying competitive and giving consumers reasons to upgrade their smartphones.

Thousands of LTE-U base stations, which look similar to a wifi router, could be set up in buildings and out-of-the-way places to alleviate poor phone reception and relieve strained carrier networks as people use smartphones to download more and more video and other media.

T-Mobile has said it plans to use LTE-U as the technology matures to improve its mobile network. Intel and other companies are working on their own LTE-U products.

“We have to explore all options to increase network capacity because we’re running out of spectrum, and the amount of data we’re transmitting is going through the roof,” said Tirias Research analyst Jim McGregor.

Some carriers have already augmented their LTE networks by INVESTINGĀ in routers installed around cities to make wifi available to their customers outside of their homes.

Qualcomm and other proponents argue that adopting LTE-U will provide much faster performance for phone users and save carriers money they would have had to spend on additional LTE cellphone towers.

“The performance is better. It’s not a large cost adder and it also provides a lot of advantages flexibility to the operators,” said Qualcomm Chief Technology Officer Matt Grob.

He said Qualcomm has overcome trouble with LTE-U signals interfering with wifi signals, a problem that in the past has drawn criticism of the technology.

Using the 5 GHz band used by wifi and LTE-U does not require a regulatory license but it does require that certain standards be met.

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