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New standard unveiled for universal laptop charger

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ITU has approved a new environmentally friendly standard for a universal charger for laptops and other portable devices.

The new standard provides for improved energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to lead to significant reductions in e-waste.

The new international standard – officially known as Recommendation ITU-T L.1002 “External universal power adapter solutions for portable ICT devices” – was developed by the ITU standardization expert group for ICTs, the environment and climate change, ITU-T Study Group 5.

One million tons of external power supplies are manufactured each year. ITU-T L.1002 specifies principles for the eco-design of laptop chargers to reduce no-load power consumption five times lower than the norm. When multiplied by the millions of such chargers in use this will greatly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by these devices. The applicability of the charger to multiple devices, as well as design principles for the efficient use of raw materials, will greatly increase their lifetime and reduce the e-waste resulting from their disposal.

ITU-T L.1002 builds on ITU standards providing universal chargers for handheld devices such as mobile phones (ITU-T L.1000) and stationary devices such as xDSL modems (ITU-T L.1001) first adopted by ITU members in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

“e-Waste has grown into a significant challenge to environmental sustainability,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The L.1000 series of standards will contribute to the achievement of the targets set out by Goal 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns.”

“The ITU-T L.1000 series of standards will assist in meeting the e-waste target of the Connect 2020 Agenda, a shared vision for the sustainable development of the ICT sector adopted by ITU Member States in 2014,” said Ahmed Zeddam, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 5. “This agenda includes the commitment of the ITU membership to reduce the volume of redundant e-waste by 50 per cent by 2020.”

ITU-T’s work on e-waste is driven by Resolution 79 adopted by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Dubai, 2012). Resolution 79 calls on ITU-T Study Group 5 to develop international standards, methodologies and other publications relevant to the reduction and responsible management of e-waste.

The 2016 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) will be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 25 October to 3 November. Learn more about the upcoming Assembly in an ITU media advisory.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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