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UJ raises identification bar

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A company established as a joint venture by the University of Johannesburg, has developed identification technology that simulates human cognition – and it works off a smart phone.

The company,  aiThenticate Computervision Labs, has developed a technology called aiDX to answer one of the most difficult, challenging and urgent questions of our time: “Who is someone… actually?

Says André Immelman, CEO of aiThenticate Computervisio Lads, “With identity theft now representing the foremost white collar crime in the world – fuelled largely by the exponential growth in mobile communications – the technology has been engineered as the next generation authentication technology.”

The failure of conventional authentication methods such as signature, identity artefacts, passwords, and PINs, to effectively arrest identity theft, has seen a rapid shift towards biometrics means of authenticating a person. These include fingerprints, faceprints, voiceprints, and irisprints.

“Last year, the global loss from identity theft was about $2-trillion, and it is doubling every year,” says Immelman. “In South Africa alone, R1-billion was lost in SIM card swaps last year. These figures go to show just how ineffective conventional biometrics are in the post-9/11 world, where someone sitting at his PC in one country is able to hack into a bank account in another country, even on a completely different continent.

“Conventional biometrics are based on simple geometry: connecting key features to form a pattern that is then associated with a particular individual. It’s a bit like a child’s game of ‘connect the dots’ to form a picture. However, while conventional biometrics may be sufficient for the purposes of unlocking a smart phone, the scarcity of key features that are generally visible in a latent fingerprint or a faceprint, for example, means that this system tends to fail rapidly with larger population groups.

“The simple mathematics that underscore conventional biometrics explains why misidentification is a very real problem with fingerprint, faceprint, voiceprint and irisprint solutions, rendering conventional biometrics inadequate as a real-world authentication solution.”

For that reason, aiThenticate Computervision Labs turned to “deep science” for an answer to the all-important “Who?” question. Using proprietary algorithms that simulate human cognition, aiThenticate computervision scientists – who analyse digital images – have successfully managed to develop the next generation of authentication technologies.

“The human brain simply operates at a much deeper, far more advanced level than what is possible with conventional authentication methods. Extensive field tests have shown that, as the next generation authentication technology, aiDX eclipses, and in fact, surpasses the overall performance of conventional authentication methods by a factor of some 20x on average*.”

Making the technology universally accessible, aiDX can be deployed on any device that’s equipped with a digital camera, including the one device we all carry with us all the time: a standard, off-the-shelf Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

“aiDX makes it possible to do what conventional authentication methods are simply not able to do under the rigours of real-world conditions: answer the ‘who’ question accurately and conveniently,” says Immelman.

“We anticipate that it will have applications in a wide variety of industries and market sectors, including financial services, access control, identity management, e-commerce, authorisations, grants, law enforcement, and much more – in fact any situation where the ‘who’ question is fundamentally important.”

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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