Apple Buys Transit App Company Embark
August 23, 2013 9:20 AM
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Apple adds another map company to its portfolio
Apple this week purchased another map company called Embark. Embark builds free transit apps to help smartphone users navigate public transportation in several cities around the country. Sources claim that Apple plans to integrate Embarks technology directly into Apple Maps.
The electronics giant continues to build up its maps in an effort to erase memories of disastrous launch of its Maps application in 2012. In fact, Apple's original software offering was so bad that Tim Cook told people to
use Bing or Google
until Apple's own mapping solution improved.
However, it didn't take long for Apple to get curate Maps into something that was actually usable. Apple has continued to purchase other mapping companies to further flesh out its map services. Back in March, Apple
an indoor mapping company called WiFiSlam for $20 million to add indoor map coverage to its offerings.
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the deal saying, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
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RE: Top Secret
8/26/2013 2:07:57 PM
Many fingerprint scanners use an optical technique that either images a whole fingertip at once or in slices as you slide your finger over a small sensor gap. These do work, pretty reliably...though it has been noted that variability in the sensor production can seriously affect the final device accuracy, and that a clever enough criminal could spoof the scanner with an image or a reconstruction of a finger. This is basically because to fool an image-sensitive system you only need the right kind of image.
Recently Apple patented a new sort of fingerprint sensor clearly based on the AuthenTec technology. Details here
In the Authentec/Apple patent a fingertip is imaged via a different technique: Radiofrequency scanning. Skin and flesh, thanks to the cocktail of chemicals they contain, have their own electrical signature--meaning a human body can in fact block a radio signal of the right frequency, while other frequencies sail right through us more or less unaffected. The sensor in the new patent makes use of this fact by sending out very precise radio signals over a very short range and detecting the signals that have been affected by the bumps and gaps in a human fingertip. Basically the tiny ridges of flesh in a fingerprint affect the electrical signals coming from the sensor array in a measurable way, allowing the device to calculate the position and alignment of all the whorls and loops.
The advantage of this system is that you couldn't fool it with an image of a fingerprint or a latex cast of a fingerprint because the RF signals from the sensor have to interact with a material that has a flesh-like radio response in order to register the print. It's suggested that the sensor can also detect live tissue beyond the simple skin of a fingerprint, which removes the one scary scenario of fingerprint tech: The idea that a really determined thief would also have to "steal" the finger in question.
RE: Top Secret
8/26/2013 4:34:11 PM
If it actually works and can detect live flesh vs. a copy or severaed finger, that is pretty cool. One nice feature doesn't make up for the vast array of missing ones, but its a start. I don't personally see any need for it on a phone, but high security level users could benefit.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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