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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

New technology can see your body through walls

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has created a system that can see your body through walls, recreating your poses when you walk, sit, or simply stand still. It uses RF waves to sense where you are and then recreates your body as a simple stick figure. It’s called RF-Pose.

From the release:

The researchers use a neural network to analyze radio signals that bounce off people’s bodies, and can then create a dynamic stick figure that walks, stops, sits and moves its limbs as the person performs those actions.

The team says that the system could be used to monitor diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS), providing a better understanding of disease progression and allowing doctors to adjust medications accordingly. It could also help elderly people live more independently, while providing the added security of monitoring for falls, injuries and changes in activity patterns.

The team is primarily interested in using this system for healthcare, allowing for passive monitoring of a subject inside a room without cameras or other intrusions. “All data the team collected has subjects’ consent and is anonymized and encrypted to protect user privacy,” wrote the researchers. “For future real-world applications, the team plans to implement a ‘consent mechanism’ in which the person who installs the device is cued to do a specific set of movements in order for it to begin to monitor the environment.”

The researchers trained the neural network by showing a machine a video of a person walking next to the RF interference they made as they moved. They then overlaid stick figures on the movement and trained the network to do the same automatically. Because RF signals are ubiquitous, it was easier to use than other sensing technologies.

Interestingly the researchers never trained the system to see through walls but it was able to “generalize its knowledge to be able to handle through-wall movement.”

“If you think of the computer vision system as the teacher, this is a truly fascinating example of the student outperforming the teacher,” said researcher Antonio Torralba. There is no word if the system will be used other commercial purposes.


Source: TechCrunch

Apple takes a stance on cryptocurrency, Snapchat to allow deletable messages video – CNET

In today’s biggest stories, Apple makes some changes to its app store guidelines that impact cryptocurrency apps. Meanwhile, a new feature for Snapchat lets users get rid of messages they already sent.
Source: CNET

Facebook cracks down on ads from e-commerce scammers flagged by new reviews

Facebook is cracking down on Chinese shopping sites and others that bait and switch customers by delivering lower quality products than what they advertised on the social network. Today, Facebook launches a new e-commerce review option inside its “Recent Ads Activity” dashboard that lets buyers give feedback about slow shipping times, weird smells, and junky merchandise.

Users are able to access the ads that they have clicked, and provide feedback, by clicking on their Ads Activity, where they can also provide feedback on any ad they may have intentionally or unintentionally clicked on. Now, those responses will be tailored when they are related to ads that have resulted in a purchase, and they will also get fed back to advertisers as well as Facebook itself. Facebook is also expanding feedback options to more areas for those who have purchased items on the back of ads: for example, with prompts in their notifications.

There appear to be two aims to the new feedback option. On the more optimistic side, for those advertisers who are selling but not managing customers’ expectations well enough, they are able to get more information to modify their practices. On the more practical (and pessimistic) side, if a business receives a critical mass of bad feedback, Facebook will notify them with an ultimatum to improve. If they don’t, Facebook will refuse to run their ads.

Facebook’s efforts as an e-commerce platform are relatively young: it was only last week that it launched a way for those posting items in its community-focused Marketplace to advertise them also in the News Feed; and in May it expanded its Craigslist competitor also to include home services professionals. So, to make sure that its e-commerce advertising doesn’t die on the vine, it has to boost trust, or else its 2.2 billion users might stop clicking its shopping ads for fear of getting burned.

“We’ve all had negative customer experiences with businesses,” Sarah Epps, product marketing director for Facebook, said in an interview. “Sometimes they’re hard to reach, late shipping items, or ship you low quality goods. What we hear from people is that bad shopping experiences cost them money and are really inconvenient. They’re bad for people, bad for good businesses on Facebook, and they’re bad for Facebook.”

There is another reason for making the experience better for both users and advertisers: there has been research that indicates that some companies, which have grown entire businesses on the back of selling items via Facebook ads, are now looking for alternative platforms after the ads started to become too expensive.

While policing the claims of every sketchy e-commerce vendor would be impossible, it can at least use negative reviews to choke off their traffic and absolve itself of profiting off their scams. Today’s announcement is a start to balancing reliability with avoiding censorship or unscalable enforcement.

In that regard, it’s similar to the approach that Facebook has been taking with regards to offensive posts and outright fake news: rather than expecting or hoping that its algorithm can identify everything accurately, it’s also trying out upvotes and downvotes on comments, and currently works with third parties to fact check and flag news.

Facebook’s move to let users’ experiences shape how advertisers sell products — and in the worst cases whether they sell them at all — stems from two years back, when Buzzfeed first brought to light an ongoing issue among those who were clicking on Facebook ads for merchandise — specifically clothes — and getting products that were far from what they expected.

Facebook says that it’s taken two years to roll this out because of the nature of how things are purchased off the back of ads on Facebook.

“We were exploring this issue before it was surfaced by the press,” a spokesperson said. “The biggest challenge is that this activity was happening off of Facebook — we only have limited ability to understand what you do once you leave Facebook from an ad. So it took us time to develop the proper feedback mechanism to solve this problem, and we wanted to make sure it was fair to businesses and helpful to people.”

He added that the company already had policies in place that prohibit things like online scams, publishing ads with text that misrepresent products, and Facebook had already been proactive in enforcing against landing pages that do not represent an ad. “We enforce against businesses all the time when we learn they do these things. But now we want to get this feedback directly from the community,” he said. “Sometimes ads are totally in line with our policies but those businesses don’t provide shoppers with the best experiences after people have purchased with them — or once they’ve left Facebook. We spoken to people around the world to solve this problem.”

What’s important to note here is that this is not a slam-dunk, where banning advertisers or certain ads from Facebook is the inevitable outcome. Facebook says that it’s just as likely that advertisers are making bad choices in how they present or run their businesses; not that they are intentionally misleading people. A bulk of the ads originally identified by BuzzFeed were found to be coming from companies out of China, pointing both to logistical and language challenges, among other issues.

“We give businesses time to act on the feedback,” said Epps. “Of the hundreds of the businesses we’ve shared negative feedback with so far, many have taken steps to change. If they don’t show improvement over time, their ads won’t deliver to people’s news feeds. The reaction from businesses has been positive so far. That’s been surprising for us. There are some bad actors out there to scam people, but [most businesses do want to offer a good experience].”

Updated with more comment from Facebook


Source: TechCrunch

Uber Lite is a 5MB app that brings ride hailing to any Android phone – Roadshow

Not every phone has a capacious storage, and Uber knows it.
Source: CNET

Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay vs. Google Pay video – CNET

How does Apple Pay compare to its rivals from Samsung and Google? We test them all to find the best mobile payment system.
Source: CNET

5 things Apple has to do to win with Macs this fall – CNET

Ignored at WWDC, MacBook laptop and Mac desktop hardware can still take big steps before the holiday shopping season.
Source: CNET

More 'proof' that the 2018 iPhone X Plus may get a third camera – CNET

This week’s iPhone news begins with a bang.
Source: CNET

LA Is Doing Water Better Than Your City. Yes, That LA

With climate change on the horizon, Los Angeles is rushing to pull water from surprising sources. The goal: aqueous independence.
Source: Wired

The Hustlers Fueling Cryptocurrency’s Marketing Machine

As Google and Facebook ban ads for cryptocurrency projects, and the SEC cracks down on hype, backers are employing unconventional strategies to find investors.
Source: Wired

The Crazy Hacks One Woman Used to Make Money on Mechanical Turk

A new book describes how a Mechanical Turker used alarms and shortcuts to make $20 an hour, at the cost of her health.
Source: Wired

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