Sci/Tech briefs

Sony develops new biometric system

Sony has developed a security technology, called Mofiria, that uses infrared LEDs and a CMOS sensor to take a picture of one’s veins.

Vein patterns vary from person to person and from finger to finger. A benefit of taking a picture of a person’s vein pattern is that it does not change throughout time.
Mofiria is compact in size because the biometric system uses a reflecting scattering light method.
The Mofiria biometric system offers a quick response, high accuracy, and can be incorporated into small mobile devices like cell phones. Sony plans on rolling out the technology sometime within the year.

Source: Engadget

Scientists find oldest animal fossils

Fossils that were recently found in an oil field in the Arabian peninsula are now considered to be the oldest evidence of animal existence. The fossils found can confirm that animal life existed more than 635 million years ago. These fossils do not look like usual fossils, but are mere chemical traces of a compound.
However, the chemicals resemble those produced by the demosponge, which is considered to be the last common ancestor for all animals.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and the findings were published in a recent edition of journal Nature.

Source: Wired

Colors decide performance in tasks

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have determined that people perform better at different tasks when viewing such colors as red or blue. In the study, conducted on 600 people, participants were shown questions either on a red background or on a blue background.

The results revealed that the red group did a better job recalling details, remembering words, and checking spelling and punctuation. The blue group did better with tests requiring imagination.
Another study that indicates this color dependence was performed in 2004.

In this study regarding Olympic uniforms during the 2004 Olympic Games, boxers and wrestlers wearing red defeated their opponents who were wearing blue 60 percent of the time.

Source:*The New York Times*

Google creates new tracking system

Google has launched software to track users of mobile phones and other wireless devices. Google Latitude allows people to share their location with family and friends in 27 different countries. Users can select who receives the information and when they determine to go offline.

Google claims that since location data can be sensitive information, they have also included a number of privacy controls in the software. The whereabouts of a person can be tracked on Google Maps using a computer or a phone that supports Google maps. Eventually, the device will be compatible with Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as a number of Sony Ericsson devices.

Source: Reuters