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— Science

Forensic tech would link sex offenders to condoms

Sexual offenders are increasingly using condoms when committing their assaults, both to reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, and to avoid leaving their DNA at the crime scene. While an offender might still leave their fingerprints behind, that often only proves that they were at a given location, and not that they were involved in any wrongdoing. Researchers from the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, however, have recently developed technology that detects condom lubricant in fingerprints. If a suspect could be tied to a crime scene by their fingerprints, and be shown to have handled a condom at that location – well, they’d have a lot more explaining to do. Read More
— Digital Cameras

HIIDE portable biometric device scans iris, fingers and face

It’s billed as “the most powerful tool ever developed for biometric identification,” and it could well be. L-1 Identity Solutions’ HIIDE is a rugged, portable device that can establish and then verify peoples’ identities using three separate biometrics - iris, fingerprint and facial recognition. It must be pretty impressive, as the US Department of Defense recently ordered ten million dollars worth of the suckers. Read More
— Good Thinking

Novel process lifts fingerprints based on geometry, not chemistry

If shows like CSI have taught us anything about lifting fingerprints, it’s that we do it by dusting them with powder or fuming them with chemicals... and that we have to turn on blue accent lighting and play moody electronic music while we’re doing it. Approaches like these rely on chemical reactions with the deposited finger skin oil to provide the print. A new method developed at Penn State University, however, lets the physical geometry of the print do the talking. The oils are left unaltered, which could make all the difference in a criminal investigation. Read More
— Military

Armatrix SmartGun safety system uses wristwatch to authenticate weapons

Stopping weapons from falling into the wrong hands is a major problem for law enforcement agencies all over the world. But if keeping weapons out of the clutches of the criminal element proves too difficult, the next best thing is ensuring that such weapons can’t be used if they do. That’s just what the Armatix SmartGun concept does by disabling the pistol unless it's in the hands of someone wearing a custom wristwatch that sends a signal to arm the gun. Read More
— Computers

Kohjinsha DZ dual-screen laptop released

First shown at the CEATEC trade show in October, Kohjinsha's dual screen laptop/netbook is now on sale in Japan. The combination of an ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics processor and an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 1.6 GHz chip gives the DZ the power to offer independent or combined dual screen action. The first full dual screen laptop to the marketplace also benefits from a 160Gb SATA HDD, an integrated TV card and a multi-touch, gesture sensitive touch pad. Read More
— Mobile Technology

SurroundSense uses your phone's sensors to figure out where you are

Smartphones use GPS locating for a variety of functions but mainly they're used on the road where their accuracy - only within 10m - is basically a case of 'near enough is good enough'. But try using one indoors. They don't work! Nor can they distinguish between two adjacent environments, however different. And 10m can make a big difference inside a shopping complex or multi-roomed office block. In a research jointly sponsored by Microsoft, Nokia, Verizon and the National Science Foundation, a group of computer engineers from Duke University is working on achieving better indoor localization using a combination of sounds, lighting and accelerometer data picked up by a mobile phone. They hope it will supplement the use of GPS systems, which most users know, have their limitations. Read More
— Automotive

Calling all cars – futuristic cop cruiser takes to LA streets

A new vehicle billed as the most technologically advanced police car in the world is due to begin testing in the US. Based on the Australian-built Holden Commodore, which were rebadged as Pontiac G8s in the US, the car aims to turn a standard vehicle into a ‘virtual office’ for emergency services personnel. It replaces the cluttered, cockpit-style gadgets that abound in current police cars with a large single touchscreen display embedded in the passenger dash and throws in some Bond style crime fighting gear like an air gun that fires a laser guided GPS tracking device onto fleeing vehicles. Read More
— Computers

Move over mouse: HP TouchSmart tx2 multi-touch notebook

There once was a time when screens were purely for viewing - not anymore. The rise of multi-touch technology has delivered far more intuitive and creative ways to interact with and manipulate content, so if it works for pocket-sized devices like the iPhone, why not a notebook? HP has claimed an industry first with its new TouchSmart tx2, a convertible notebook PC featuring capacitive multi-touch technology that allows the mouse touchpad to be by-passed in favor of simultaneous input from more than one finger with gestures such as pinch, rotate, arc, flick and drag. Read More