Move over Knock Codes and fingerprint scanners, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has unveiled its new Arrows NX F-04G smartphone that uses iris scanning as its security method of choice. The novel smartphone was announced on Wednesday in Tokyo and was developed by Fujitsu.
Not only can the iris scanner be used to unlock the phone, but it is also integrated to authorize mobile payments. The device works with authentication specifications set by the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance, which is supported by Microsoft, Google, PayPal and others.
To save their profile or begin a scan, users simply look at two animated circles on the screen. The scan time takes one or two seconds, making it a tad slower than a fingerprint scanner or traditional pin, but not by enough to make it difficult to use. Fujitsu said that the error rate for the bulkier prototype is about one in 100,000, and the actual product should be even better.
The Arrows NX F-04G also comes with some other high-end technologies. It features a 5.2-inch WQHD (2560×1400) display, 21.5 megapixel rear camera, and a 3,120 mAh battery, housed in a modest form factor that weighs just 155 grams. The smartphone will be release in Japan at the end of the month with a price tag around ¥55,000 (US$460), making it the first handset to hit the market with this technology. However, it won’t see the light of day outside of the country.
We may well see more iris scanning technology in future smartphones, as ZTE has already also shown off a similar eye-based unlocking system with its Grand S3 and Samsung filed a patent for its own iris scanning technology last year.
The common objection to using your phone for purchases is that any sufficiently-motivated criminal could lop off your thumb and go on a spending spree. That’s one of the reasons why Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo and Fujitsu have teamed up to unveil the Arrows NX F-04G. The pair say that it’s the world’s first smartphone with iris recognition technology that can be used to both unlock a device and certify mobile wallet payments.
Spec-wise, the Arrows NX F-04G comes with the usual complement of specs, a 5.2-inch QHD screen, Android 5.0, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. Of course, such a device isn’t likely to make its way over to the west any time soon, but if the iris scanning features work as promised, we may see it pop up in other devices soon. That is, unless, even more motivated criminals decide that they’re comfortable doing Iridectomies on the sidewalk…
Filed under: Cellphones
Smartphones and tablets are no strangers to the limits imposed by heat-constraints. Without proper airflow and limited space for cooling components, mobile devices are stuck balancing CPU clock speeds and component placements to avoid shortening hardware life through overheating. Even so, mobiles today are known to become a little warm when running at full speed.
However, Fujitsu has a solution in the form of the world’s first loop heat pipe that measures less than 1mm thick. The principle of a heat loop pipe is quite simple – collect the heat at one end, move the heat to a dissipater via a fluid and then cycle back the cooled liquid to collect more heat. Closed-loop heat-syncs are typically much larger and often require components to pump the liquid around the system, neither of which make existing designs suitable for small form factor mobile products.
To accomplish this on a smaller scale, Fujitsu designed a porous copper evaporator with holes etched into multiple 0.1mm layer sheets. When stacked together, these layers maximise heat transfer between the metal and the liquid, and creates a capillary action which causes the fluid to circulate throughout the system. The result is a structure that can transfer five times as much heat as current thin heat pipes, without the need for an external pumping system.
The benefits are that SoC components can run a little cooler and heat can be spread throughout a device more evenly, preventing hotspots that are bad for components and that can be uncomfortable for the user.
Unfortunately, Fujitsu is still prototyping the cooling system, improving the design and looking at ways to cut costs for mobile products. A practical implementation is scheduled for fiscal year 2017.
Taxi companies aren’t pleased with Uber and Lyft, but they could be making way better use of ride-sharing technology themselves, according to researchers. A study by MIT and Fujitsu examined why cabs are usually underutilized, but never available during surge periods when you need them. To combat that, they developed on-demand tech that automatically assigns vehicles three possible operating states: taxi, ride-sharing and fixed-route modes. Customers could choose one of those when they order a ride, and immediately receive the boarding times and fares, which would vary by mode. That could save passengers a lot of money, and a test on Tokyo roads resulted in operators making 80 percent more profits too. Fujitsu’s goal is to see it operating in Tokyo by 2016, but it might take some convincing to get it adopted more widely. Still, why not beat the upstarts at their own game?
Microsoft isn’t just supporting White House’s ConnectED education program by lowering the cost of Windows — it’s also giving schools the cash they’ll need to buy Windows PCs. The company is donating $1 billion to make sure that students have the tech they’ll need for both getting online and learning technology skills. The funding comes alongside a new device pricing program that should make the PCs more affordable — to start with, it’s offering sub-$300 systems from Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic and Toshiba.
The company isn’t shy about having a commercial incentive behind its generosity; its Education CTO, Cameron Evans, tells CNET that there’s a hope that kids will become loyal Windows fans down the road. However, he adds that any eventual sales are secondary to the more immediate focus on improving education. The influx of cash should reduce the technology gap for less fortunate students, many of whom could miss out on digital learning without a little help.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
With all of the talk surrounding smartphones and tablets, it’s sometimes easy to forget that desktops still occupy most of our working days. Fujitsu hasn’t forgotten them, however, and is wheeling out a pair of all-in-one units that’ll accompany you on the 9-to-5. The Esprimo X923 comes with a 23-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS LCD and a wide variety of build-to-order options, including a choice of Core i3 – i7 CPUs, HDD or SSD and up to 16GB RAM. It’s so far, so Fujitsu, but the company is also trumping low power active mode, a sleep state that’ll keep the hardware on and connected to your network, but drawing so little power that you don’t actually need to turn it off. The other model that’s been outed today is the X923-T, which, as you can guess, is exactly the same as the 923, but with a touchscreen. Both are available from today, so it’s high time that you started sending flattering emails to your company’s purchasing manager.
Filed under: Desktops
For all the popularity of fingerprint scanners, Fujitsu believes that it can go one better. The Japanese company has been working on palm-based systems for the last few years, and we’ve already seen turnstiles, wallets and tablets that are accessed from your hand. Fujitsu believes that palm vein sensing is around a thousand times more secure than conventional biometric methods and it’s implementing the technology in its next range of business-focused laptops due out this week. We’ve been shown around some of these models, which have the new sensor fitted into an area that is roughly the same size and position as the company’s existing fingerprint scanners, just below the bottom right corner of the keyboard. Using it is simple: Hold your hand a few inches above the sensor and the hardware will quickly scan the unique arrangement of your veins. If it judges you to be the real deal, it’ll open up its secrets for your enjoyment.
Of course, your biggest objection to that would be that, if some nefarious type wanted to get at your Amazon account, all they’d have to do is grab a sword and lop off your hand, right? Turns out, biology has provided us all with a built-in failsafe. Fujitsu’s technology only works while blood is flowing through your veins, so your lifeless limb can’t be used to breach the wall. Having seen this technology in action, we’re reasonably sure that it’s ready for prime-time, and we’re excited to see if this as fool-proof as Fujitsu claims. Even if it is, however, the easiest and least messy way to access someone else’s login will always be to ask them — an approach that worked just fine for Edward Snowden.
Sharif Sakr held his hands in the air (like he just didn’t care) for this report.
Filed under: Laptops
Since Fujitu’s prototype Haptic Sensor Tablet revealed yesterday is all about touch, describing it will be like trying to explain how a steak tastes. But here goes: it works by emitting ultrasonic vibrations below the touchscreen, which can be pulsed with varying force on any region of the screen. Those oscillations actually push your finger off the surface of the tablet and, depending on the force, can give different tactile sensations. For instance, a high pressure layer of air can reduce friction, making the surface of the screen seem slippery. By contrast, rapidly varying the pulses can make the display seem rough or even bumpy.
At least, that’s the theory. After trying it, we found some illusions like the slippery surface to be very convincing, for instance. But the rough texture sensation feels more like the screen is just sticky, and the bumpy experience is even less convincing. When touching the crocodile skin, it just felt like I was moving my finger over slippery and then clingy patches. There’s also a strong buzzing sensation, which is mildly disconcerting. All that said, though, it was still a lot of fun, and it’s hard to see how you could get much more realistic than that with a smooth, 2D surface. There’s a video after the fold showing it in action, but we apologize for the occasionally poor sound quality — as you’ll see, each time the haptics activated, it messed up our camera’s microphone.
Filed under: Tablets
Fujitsu’s evidently so impressed with how its luddite-friendly Stylistic S01 smartphone has performed in France, thanks to a deal with local carrier Orange, that it’s ready to start plugging a follow-up handset. Only, the company doesn’t have a clue on specifics just yet, but we’ll award a few points for enthusiasm, we guess. All we know of the Stylistic S02, assuming that’ll be the device’s name, is that it’s “expected” to wield NFC and LTE chips, an “energy-saving display” and a processor of the quad-core variety. Plans are to launch the smartphone aimed at “mature users” in a number of European locations this autumn. Not a lot to talk about, we know, but Fujitsu had to announce something phone-related at MWC. Otherwise, people’ll just think it makes tablet concepts with scaly touchscreens.
Back in 2012, we were all excited at the idea of haptic technology — touch screens that fool you into thinking that you can feel what’s on display. As quickly as we saw Senseg and NEC’s implementations, however, haptic fell out of the mainstream. Now, however, Fujitsu is working on an ultrasonic system, that varies the friction between your finger and the glass, which could be ready for prime time. In the demonstration, users are apparently able to pluck the strings of a Japanese harp, turn a combination lock and even stroke an Alligator. The company has knocked together a prototype in time for MWC, and Fujitsu has a goal to get the tech into commercial hardware by 2015 — assuming, of course, that realistic lizard stroking is the one feature you’ve been waiting for.