Are Tesla’s Solar Roof Panels Finally Ready?

Tesla, a Silicon Valley-based electric car and now clean energy company, has started taking $1,000- reservations for its power-generating solar roofs. Founded by billionaire and Tech influencer Elon Musk, the solar roof panels are priced competitively: $21.85 per square foot, with 35% of the roof covered with solar tiles.

Mercury News reports that Tesla’s stocks climbed 1.2% on Wednesday. The surge is riding on the popularity of the solar roof panels, and the scheduled release of two more designs by 2018. Orders are being accepted for the “black glass smooth” and “textured” varieties. The curved, reddish Tuscan panels and slate rock designs are still under development.

Tesla is confident that they have a target audience for their pricey solar roofs. The company had earlier acquired SolarCity, one of the leading solar installers in the country, in an effort to secure its footing in the residential solar industry.

Musk’s bold roof shingles are composed of three layers and come “with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” CNBC.com quoted the company.

The first component is the high-efficiency solar cell; then there’s a film that makes the cell invisible to viewers on the ground. The final layer is made of tempered glass. The roofs will be sold along with various products and accessories, including the Powerwall battery.

Musk’s latest offering is another bold product innovation. The solar roof panels are meant to become an alternative energy solution, much like the electric cars that the company is known for producing.

“with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first”

However, like its expensive cars, Tesla’s solar roof panels are beyond the reach of average consumers. Their market is very niche: residents with a passion for energy saving measures and very deep pockets.

At the moment, Tesla is accepting reservations for their solar roof panels online. Later on, the products will be displayed and sold in its stores alongside their electric vehicles. But this is only the beginning for Tesla, as it looks to develop an energy ecosystem, from its solar rooftops to its Powerwall battery storage to electric vehicles.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/energy/are-teslas-solar-roof-panels-finally-ready/

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Smart Testbed: Transportation Innovation With UF, City Of Gainesville And FDOT Partnership

A bold new approach in transportation research and testing is now happening in Florida. Recently, the University of Florida (UF), the City of Gainesville and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) have formed a partnership to further research on transportation. Considered as a “smart testbed” of ideas, the research will make use of Gainesville for the real world data and research.

UF and FDOT have been working together on multiple transportation research projects for several years. The new researches will be in the evolving fields of connected and autonomous vehicles, the use of sensors and of smart devices. Of particular interest is in integrating these technologies for new applications in transportation.

The Gainesville neighborhoods along the UF campus will be used to test these new ideas, reports said. The area itself is well-suited for the testing as there is an existing transport network considered as one of the most heavily used in Florida, as well as facilities for bicycle, mopeds and scooters, with low road speeds, and plenty of pedestrians.

This is the first time a university, a state DOT and a city have signed on to a project program in Florida. Transportation projects, as a general rule, need real-world testbeds in order to validate new approaches to solve traffic solutions. It is expected to greatly benefit the community, UF students and Gainesville residents. The researches are also going to have a huge effect on other urban areas in the country. These are the same pressures and challenges being experienced elsewhere, and the aim is to come up with bold solutions which are flexible for adoption in other cities.

The FDOT is providing the funding for the program. UF officials, and staff from the UF Transportation Institute are at the early stages of the program, where they are reviewing literature related to transportation. The various researches will be based on the studies from earlier programs and will be integral in developing better and more advanced transportation for the future.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/transportation/smart-testbed-testing-technology-with-uf-city-of-gainesville-and-fdot-partnership/

Test Tracks, Roadshows, Now What About The Hyperloop Launch?

The Hyperloop is fast, it is cool and it is expensive. It also does not exist yet. The most that has been done so far is a half-kilometer test track north of Las Vegas, and a traveling show soliciting for proposals for the first routes. And yet, government officials and bureaucrats want it to work, in the hopes that it would improve transportation and infrastructure.

However, for all the enthusiasm about the hype of the Hyperloop- including being hailed as the future of transportation – no state or local government has come forward and offered money to do it.

A recent study has shown by the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that it would require more than $2 trillion over ten years for infrastructure. Although President Trump has promised to allocate the money, it is unclear how the U.S. government will raise the necessary funds.

The Hyperloop One team boldly kicked off a roadshow in Washington. D.C. to raise awareness and get a read from government representatives. One aim of the event was to solicit ideas and plans for the Hyperloop One’s first implementation. Officials and planners from the U.S. and across the world attended and joined in the discussion about the best Hyperloop routes, The Verge reported.

The infrastructure for Hyperloop One does not yet exist, however, the theoretical basis of the bold technology has been in discussion since the 1970s and earlier. The main idea behind the 700 mile speeds is to have the vehicles or capsules to travel in a tunnel with a partial vacuum. In ideal conditions with as much vacuum as possible, you can transport an object inside an airless pipe or tunnel and it would zoom from one end to the other with almost no energy expenditure.

Although this has been proven in the lab with pipes and pingpong balls, it is another matter to scale up with vehicles the size of train cars. Underground tunnels would have to be dug, a low friction rail system set in place, and then a vacuum has to be maintained, in order to reach near supersonic speeds. In addition, vehicles have to withstand the stress of a quick acceleration and deceleration that the system will create. On top of that, the passenger safety factors have to be considered. Whiplash can be a regular occurrence.

The Hyperloop is an investment in an expensive infrastructure and regulations heavy industry. However, it has not been lacking in private investments. What it is lacking is government support and a clear cut go signal from interested parties. There are dozens of cities and states interested in the project but so far none have shown anything more than attendance in conferences.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/transportation/test-tracks-roadshows-now-what-about-the-hyperloop-launch/

How Secure Are Fingerprint Sensors?

Fingerprint sensors are a big security risk. Researchers from New York and Michigan State University recently made the bold pronouncement after successfully creating “Master Prints” – digital fingerprint templates – which fooled mobile finger print scanners 65 percent of the time.

“If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds”

The digitally manufactured prints were tested in computer simulations and were able to “unlock” countless pass codes. In the real world, this could mean millions of unlocked phones, purchases, and access to sensitive information and supposedly secure transactions.

The “master prints” were created by combining common features of human finger prints, but they didn’t push through with testing on actual mobile devices and live accounts. However, the results of the study already raised red flags on how secure fingerprint sensors are.

“It’s almost certainly not as worrisome as presented, but it’s almost certainly pretty darn bad,” Andy Adler, a professor of systems and computer engineering at Carleton University in Canada, who studies biometric security systems was quoted in a New York Times interview, adding: “If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds.”

While it would be difficult to fake a full human fingerprint, scanners on mobile phones and biometric systems only read partial prints. A finger swipe matches any one of the stored images needed to unlock your phone, but this leaves it dangerously vulnerable to false matches.

This development leaves phone companies with plenty of room to improve by implementing newer biometric security options. Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 phone will feature an iris scanner, and there are talks of incorporating newer and larger fingerprint sensors on future phone iterations.

In the meantime, users who are concerned about security can switch off the functionality when it comes to sensitive financial transactions. While we’re all for convenience, it would not hurt to be a bit more careful and not just jump on the bandwagon of fingerprint scans and tie all of your phone’s security features to it. Remember that phones are still prone to theft and cloning. There are companies developing a self-destruct feature in the event that phones are lost or stolen.

Earlier this week, Mastercard announced that it will be rolling out cards equipped with both a security chip and fingerprint sensor. This is a promising development and a bold idea that could help answer the problem of financial security. Having two security systems instead of just one may be redundant but it is a necessary measure to keep financial and personal information secure.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/communications-security/how-secure-are-fingerprint-sensors/

Mobile Phone Security Questioned As Google Finds Another Vulnerability

In another case that highlights the importance of mobile phone security, Google’s Project Zero has found a chip vulnerability in a commonly used Wi-Fi chip in Android and iOS devices, Digital Trends reported.

Built by Broadcom, the Wi-Fi Full MAC chips are used by mobile devices for Wi-Fi communications. The Wi-Fi tasks on cellphones are usually offloaded to such chips in order to save on battery life. Unfortunately, there is a vulnerability in the chip which could enable the hijacking of the mobile device.

The chip handles all the Wi-Fi communications, however, its stack could be overloaded, and when that happens, privileges could be elevated and this could lead to access to the kernel. With the proper privileges, a small program can be used to rewrite the kernel or to include malicious code without the owner’s knowledge.

Android and Apple operating systems are known to be strict about allowing root access to specific parts of the system. Even a root or admin user still has to key in the password before any system app is run. This vulnerability is deeply embedded, that strictly speaking, it is not even a part of the operating system. The vulnerable code resides on a separate chip which the OS communicates only via an API.

Computer developers, in general, look for vulnerabilities within the system code, or any other user created code interacting directly with the OS. It is seldom that embedded codes have these vulnerabilities. Or even if they did, these could not be exploited because of the nature of the larger systems. Security in computers is checked with almost every instance of a system call.

However, in the case of cellphones and other mobile devices, there is a degree of integration which is not found in computers. The embedded systems themselves communicate with one another. This method is done to save code space, faster execution, and ultimately saving on battery life. If the same chip were installed on a computer or laptop, there would have been no problem even if there was a stack overflow.

Some mobile devices which use the Broadcom chip include Samsung cellphones, Google’s Nexus phones, and Apple mobile devices. The chip is also used in Wi-Fi routers.

Project Zero

Project Zero is a Google program which aims to catch security vulnerabilities in operating systems before they can be used in a malicious manner. So far, the Wi-Fi Full MAC vulnerability has been patched up by Apple. IOS devices which were formerly vulnerable to this included iPhone 5 and later, 4th generation iPads and later, and the 6th generation iPod Touch.

Broadcom Takes Bold Steps To Improve

Meanwhile, Broadcom has already been informed about the chip vulnerability and have implemented a bold solution with its newer versions. Called the Memory Protection Unit, it manages user access privileges, including other hardware-embedded security features.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/communications-security/mobile-phone-security-questioned-google-finds-another-vulnerability/

Are Tesla’s Solar Roof Panels Finally Ready?

Tesla, a Silicon Valley-based electric car and now clean energy company, has started taking $1,000- reservations for its power-generating solar roofs. Founded by billionaire and Tech influencer Elon Musk, the solar roof panels are priced competitively: $21.85 per square foot, with 35% of the roof covered with solar tiles.

Mercury News reports that Tesla’s stocks climbed 1.2% on Wednesday. The surge is riding on the popularity of the solar roof panels, and the scheduled release of two more designs by 2018. Orders are being accepted for the “black glass smooth” and “textured” varieties. The curved, reddish Tuscan panels and slate rock designs are still under development.

Tesla is confident that they have a target audience for their pricey solar roofs. The company had earlier acquired SolarCity, one of the leading solar installers in the country, in an effort to secure its footing in the residential solar industry.

Musk’s bold roof shingles are composed of three layers and come “with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” CNBC.com quoted the company.

The first component is the high-efficiency solar cell; then there’s a film that makes the cell invisible to viewers on the ground. The final layer is made of tempered glass. The roofs will be sold along with various products and accessories, including the Powerwall battery.

Musk’s latest offering is another bold product innovation. The solar roof panels are meant to become an alternative energy solution, much like the electric cars that the company is known for producing.

“with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first”

However, like its expensive cars, Tesla’s solar roof panels are beyond the reach of average consumers. Their market is very niche: residents with a passion for energy saving measures and very deep pockets.

At the moment, Tesla is accepting reservations for their solar roof panels online. Later on, the products will be displayed and sold in its stores alongside their electric vehicles. But this is only the beginning for Tesla, as it looks to develop an energy ecosystem, from its solar rooftops to its Powerwall battery storage to electric vehicles.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/energy/are-teslas-solar-roof-panels-finally-ready/

Rise Of The Machines: New Era For Technology

The inevitable has arrived. We’re now at what is called “the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, a phase where a confluence of technology is making a remarkable and bold impact on how society operates. It dictates how people live and work, and changes lifestyles, economies, as well as industries. The question is: should people do something to prevent the machines from truly ‘taking over’?

Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm that focuses on strategic and operational CEO-agenda issues facing businesses, governments and institutions around the globe, discussed how the current “tsunami of technological change” is re-shaping everyday life and painting a very different picture for the future.

“Disruptive technologies are dictating a new future for humankind. Almost every day we hear of new advances that blur the lines between the realms of the physical, the digital and the biological”

In a We Forum article, Aurik cited artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality and advanced biology as among the technological developments to watch out for in the fourth industrial revolution.

“Although at different stages of development and adoption, as these technologies bed in, becoming more widespread and convergent, we will see a radical shift in the way that individuals, companies and societies produce, distribute, consume and re-use goods and services,” Aurik said, stressing: “Disruptive technologies are dictating a new future for humankind. Almost every day we hear of new advances that blur the lines between the realms of the physical, the digital and the biological.”

The article mentioned robotic surgery, automation of industries, and even growing human bone extracted from a patient’s own stem cells with the use of 3D imaging. Additionally, it noted how 3D printing is altering the way raw materials are used and recycled – even repurposed in order to minimize waste.

Aurik also wasn’t afraid to address the elephant in the room: the fear that industrial revolution will make humans obsolete in the workforce. There are two factions in this issue, one side that believes humans should work with machines and not against them; and another that aims to challenge the mighty machines by merging withTechnological Developments Fact Box them.

Billionaire and tech proponent Elon Musk belongs to the latter, and his bold concept of becoming “one with the machines” is reportedly coming to fruition soon. Musk was said to have formed a company called Neuralink which endeavors to merge the human brain with a robot or artificial intelligence.

Aurik, however, is optimistic that automation and human workers will co-exist.

“It’s impossible at this point to predict what the overall impact on employment will be. Disruption will happen; of that we can be certain. But before we swallow all of the bad news, we should take a look at history. Because this tells us that it is more often the nature of work – rather than the opportunity to take part in work – that will be impacted,” he said.

It is undeniable that there will be visible disruptions brought about by the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, but humans have survived and moved on from the first three. Aurik believes that workers should be re-educated and re-skilled to take advantage of new opportunities and fields opened by these new technologies. He likewise stressed on the role of the government and the business sector in ensuring that the technological advancements become an economic advantage which benefits everyone.

The time has indeed come for the machines to take their rightful place in society. There are countless more bold ideas which can become real and tangible in the next few years. It may do us good to welcome these advancements with optimism rather than fear.

Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/digital-transformation/rise-machines-new-era-technology/