MIT engineers have devised a 3-D printing technique that uses a new kind of ink made from genetically programmed living cells. Photo: Courtesy of MIT/the researchers
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed “living ink” tattoos, which contain genetically programmable living cells. When cells are exposed to different chemicals or molecular compounds, they react, causing parts of the tattoo to light up.
The tattoo is made up of bacteria cells, which the researchers were able to 3D print into the shape of a tree.
Each branch of that tree is sensitive to a different reactor, and when the tattoo is placed on skin that has also been exposed to that same reactor (like a certain chemical), the corresponding branch lights up. They can become wearable sensors.
Health is an area where Internet of Things devices are already being used to lower insurance premiums for those who agree to wear the devices and to share data with insurance companies. wearables like FitBit have been tied to several insurance premiums.
Other areas of consumer related lifestyle data include the use of vehicle telematics devices (devices that enhance navigation, safety and communication features). Those who agree to have these devices integrated with their vehicles can see lower car insurance costs.
Networked smoke detectors for informal settlements, in the townships of South Africa have been developed by the company Lumkani. Lumkani is described as “the world’s first networked heat-detector designed specifically for a slum environment.
Lumkani devices are networked to each other using radio frequency. When a fire is detected, the alarm sounds in all homes within a 40 meter radius. A variable sound is used signal to users when a fire is in a separate dwelling.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are tracking livestock for insurance, such as the IFFCO-Tokio system. IFFCO-Tokio is piloting a cattle insurance project targeting more than 25,000 poor farmers and their families in the Indian states of Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Orissa.
Jacquard technology is woven right into the sleeve.
Tiny electronics contained in the flexible snap tag connect the Jacquard Threads in the jacket’s cuff in your mobile device. The snap tag lets you know about incoming information, like a phone call, by giving you light and haptic feedback. The tag also houses the battery which can last up to 2 weeks between USB charges.
Eventually, you will be able to control not just Google services through your clothes, but also third-party services like Spotify and Strava.
Identify theft, data leaks, discrimination from employers and increasing insurance costs are just some of the fallout predicted from the rise of wearable technology.
The use of trackers, smart watches, Internet-connected clothing, and other wearables becomes more widespread, and as their functionalities become even more sophisticated, the extent and nature of data collection will be unprecedented
These data can, in turn, be combined with personal information from other sources— including health-care providers and drug companies—raising such potential harms as discriminatory profiling, manipulative marketing, and data breaches.
According to the Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights in Washington DC records that there were 253 health-care breaches across the United States in 2015 that affected 500 individuals or more, resulting in a combined loss of over 112 million records.
‘The opportunities for data breaches will increase, with hackers accessing medical and health information at insurance companies, retail chains, and other businesses
Many people don’t realize that buying a wearable, baby monitor or a WiFi connectable toy, that they are in fact, potentially exposing themselves to being hacked by e-criminals. Just last week, a complaint was lodged with the US Federal Trade Commission over internet-connected toys recording and transmitting kids’ conversations in violation of privacy rules. In the past few years, many baby monitors have also been reported for hacks, the latest one in the US with a hacker directly spying and talking to the toddler though the monitor.
The average Australian households now have nine internet-connected devices. With Christmas just around the corner many people are going out to buy the latest piece of technology for their friends and family members, while getting the person what they want, they are also potentially exposing them to security issues. Any device that can be connected to the internet, has a Bluetooth signal, or be controlled remotely has a risk of being hacked.
What can you do about it?
- You can lengthen passwords, changing letters to numbers, include a capital letter, not re-using the same password over and over
- Before purchasing a new device for yourself or giving one to another person is searching the name of the device with the keywords ‘hack’, ‘glitch’ or ‘scam’ and seeing what results come up.
- Ensure that before agreeing to any terms of service or allowing apps or programs access to data on your phone you should carefully read through what data they would need access to, and whether they agree to not give provide your data to a third party. This would at least ensure that your data goes no further.
- When giving a new device to your children, make sure that you check what permissions the app wants access to as sometimes an app can request access to things such as your home address, phone number, bank account details and general information that about your private lives.