As smartphone users have grown more comfortable forking over information about their bank accounts and physical whereabouts to mobile applications, a growing group of app developers are betting health-related data will be next. The Washington Post reports.
Consider Bethesda-based M3 Information. The company has created an app that asks patients a series of nearly 30 questions designed to assess whether they exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
But the app, known as WhatsMyM3, stops short of a definitive diagnosis. Instead, it issues a score that suggests the patient may be at an elevated risk and recommends they discuss the results with a primary care physician.
In some ways, the app is indicative of the broader mobile health market. Applications are being built to assist physicians at a patient’s bedside or help remotely monitor chronic conditions, but remain somewhat limited by concerns about their ability to ensure patient safety and privacy.
That’s caught the eye of federal regulators. The FDA will likely finalize its first-ever guidance on mobile health applications later this year, giving the agency at least some oversight of mobile products that replace or complement other medical devices, such as a stethoscope or EKG machine.
The unwelcome messages that have been clogging e-mail inboxes for two decades have made the jump to handsets, as more people use smartphones in place of personal computers and texting becomes more popular. Bloomberg reports.
The number of U.S. spam text messages rose 45 percent last year to 4.5 billion messages, said Richi Jennings, an industry analyst. Spam phone calls also are proliferating. The surge is costing carriers money and frustrating users, who must pay for the messages and deal with potentially fraudulent texts.
Spammers can get phone numbers from the Internet, or use software or websites to randomly generate thousands or even millions of numbers in a particular area code. Often using prepaid phones that can’t be traced back to the sender, they can then use auto-dialing technology to reach recipients.
It's well-known that using a cell phone while driving can lead to motor vehicle crashes. New research -- to be presented April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston -- shows that even anticipating calls or messages may distract drivers, increasing the risk of a crash.
Cell phones with sensors capable of detecting deadly chemicals in the enviornment, or silicon chips that can be embedded in cell phones to detect and map gas leaks are all in development, and have been written up before, but this is the first time someone has come up with the idea of detecting cell phone radiation - with an app. TheNextWeb reports.
tawkon app for Android which launched yesterday at TNW conference in Amsterdam, provides alerts when radiation levels spike and simply suggests you make a quick change — as you begin a call or while you’re in the middle of one. Once you make that change, tawkon confirms that you are once again in low exposure and ready to ‘talk on’.
According to mobile app developer Gil Friedlander, radiation can be affected by such variables as usage minutes, handset placement, distance to the cell phone towers, weather conditions, number of users in a specific cell area and intensity of the cellular signal.
The two key and most straight forward suggestions tawkon provides are changing your location (just a few feet away and the phone radiation can drop) and distancing the phone from head/body — using a speaker phone headset or Bluetooth.
The cost of cellphone-based services is hurting huge swaths of the developing world. Slate reports.
Despite the hype, a harsh new reality is unfolding. Take the case of the often glamorized M-PESA, Kenya’s popular mobile-phone-based payment and money transfer system. In only four years, M-PESA has grown to 14 million users. It now processes more transactions domestically in Kenya than Western Union does globally.
The use of mobile phones to transfer money and manage personal finances has provided a speedier and more cost-effective delivery system for millions of Kenyans. The Economist reported in 2009 that Kenyan households using M-PESA saw their incomes increase—anywhere from 5 percent to as much as 30 percent—after beginning to use mobile banking. By the end of 2009, M-PESA had reached 65 percent of Kenyan households.
But there’s a downside to this program—and others like it—that’s too often ignored: Access. Telecom companies have relatively little incentive to build out infrastructure, especially in poorer, rural markets.
Africa is the continent where “mobile money”—monetary transactions on mobile phones—is by far the most advanced. According to a new survey of financial habits by the Gates Foundation, the World Bank and Gallup, in 20 countries more than 10% of adults said that they had used mobile money at some point in the previous 12 months; 15 of those countries were in Africa. For the most part, mobile phones are a substitute for traditional banks, enabling people who live miles from a branch or ATM to use financial services.
Kurt Mix is charged with obstruction of justice and allegedly deleting over 200 text messages from his iPhone pertaining to the explosion and repair of the oil well and rig in what became America's worst offshore oil spill.
Forensic experts apparently recovered a deleted text from Mix's iPhone from the first day of BP's Top Kill effort saying "Too much flowrate—over 15,000."
If convicted, Mix faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the two counts with which he's charged.
A scientific conference starting in London today will urge governments across the world to support independent research into the possibility that using mobile phones encourages the growth of head cancers. The Daily Mail reports.
The ONS figures show that the incident rate has risen from two to three per 100,000 people since 1999, while figures from Bordeaux Segalen University show a one to two per cent annual increase in brain cancers in children.
Scientists and academics have long argued over the suggestion that radiation from mobile phones causes cancers. Those who believe there is a link say that - with five billion mobile phones being used worldwide - urgent research must be carried out to establish the risk.
But not everyone agrees. While governments, phone companies, and health agencies give precautionary advice about minimising mobile phone use, the Health Protection Agency is likely to conclude in a report due on Thursday that the only established risk when using a mobile is crashing a car due to being distracted by a call or text.
Professor Denis Henshaw, emeritus professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University, is opening the three-day conference in Westminster today.
He has previously advocated cigarette-style warnings on mobile phone packets and urges more independent research.
The Ministry of National Defense on Tuesday denied accusations that troops engaged in a recent military exercise had used cells phones to contact each other, in violation of the rules. Focus Taiwan reports.
The use of cell phones during the war games, which simulated an attack by China, opened the risk of leaking classified information to China, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsueh Lingsaid.
However, the ministry denied the accusation, saying that military regulations bar personnel from carrying cell.
The annual Han Kuang exercises, involving Taiwan's three armed services, were held April 16-20 this year.
There is a massive demand for location-based mobile services worldwide, according to the findings of a new TNS report, which found that the services are the most sought after by mobile users across the globe. TheNextWeb reports.
‘Mobile Life‘, the firm’s latest report, concludes that almost two-thirds of mobile users that don’t have location-based features would like to start using the feature, showing that there is huge untapped potential for check-ins, mobile maps and other services.
The TNS survey — which gauges the interests and activity of 48,000 mobile users from across 58 countries worldwide — found that, while 62 percent of phone owners want location services, 19 percent already use the feature and associated services.
Times of India reports on a vaccine box that sends you an SMS everytime the temperature in it rises, threatening the quality of vaccines in it. Indian scientists are calling it "a thermometer with a SIMCARD in it"
In what will greatly reduce vaccines going bad due to temperature fluctuations - a phenomenon that could endanger the life of a child injected with the vaccine, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is just four weeks away from field testing a unique temperature measurement system which will sense the temperature in the vaccine box and on an hourly basis send an SMS to a server in charge of temperature reading.
... "We have tested the technology before and recorded results with close to 100% accuracy," said Kanav who has worked with Nobel laureate Dr Lee Hartwell at the Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute on creating persuasive technology.
In China, one of the world's largest cell phone markets, a vast "e-waste" problem must be addressed as 100 million cell phones are discarded each year, according to Shangai Daily.
Citing a United Nations report, the paper said e-waste from discarded mobile phones has grown about sevenfold in China since 2007. That volume is expected to increase as phone use rises and the blitz of newer, fancier models on the market makes last year's phones unfashionable.
About 10 percent of Chinese give away old cell phones to relatives or friends, 40 percent toss them in boxes at home and about half sell the used electronics to second-hand cell phone dealers, according to the newspaper.
Shanghai people are estimated to replace about 6.9 million phones a year.
... Many think that recycling old phones is the answer to the mounting problem. If so, that concept is off to a slow start.
MTN Ghana has combined philanthropy with commerce - by offering 150 solar powered motorized tricycles to disabled people, that would serve as sales points for airtime, SIM cards, and SIM and mobile money registration.
The project would provide 150 MTN motorized custom tricycles to physically challenged persons in high traffic locations across the country.
Mrs Cynthia Lumor, Corporate Services Executive-MTN, launching the project said, the project formed part of MTN’s effort at promoting employment in the country.
President Obama will issue an executive order Monday that will allow U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, from cellphone tracking to Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses, reports The Washington Post.
Social media and cellphone technology have been widely credited with helping democracy advocates organize against autocratic governments and better expose rights violations, most notably over the past year and a half in the Middle East and North Africa.
But authoritarian governments, particularly in Syria and Iran, have shown that their security services can also harness technology to help crack down on dissent — by conducting surveillance, blocking access to the Internet or tracking the movements of opposition figures.
... Although the order is designed to target companies and individuals assisting the governments of Iran and Syria, they said, future executive orders could name others aiding other countries through technology in crackdowns on dissent.
France's efforts to prevent premature leaks of its first-round presidential election results set the world of Twitter alight with jibes, jokes and cryptic messages recalling coded second world war radio transmissions. "Netherlands-Hungary qualify for return leg," said one tweet playing on the name of the Socialist challenger François Hollande and the origin of Nicolas Sarkozy's father. The Guardian reports.
Some tweets even referred to the coded messages broadcast by the Free French Force over Radio London to resistance fighters in France during the last war.
Twitter users had a field day concocting new names for candidates, imaginary news headlines of outcomes and officially unverifiable reports of partial results from remote overseas territories where voting took place on Saturday.
"According to observers returning from Syria, Russian tanks left at dawn, due to arrive in Paris at 20h," read one entry, alluding to a possible leftwing victory and closing time at polling stations.
The DrawBraille Mobile Phone is a cell phone that uses a braille board and finger pads that allow the blind to communicate efficiently. And this isn’t any old phone either – the design includes a book reader, text messaging, email, and even music capabilities.
The DrawBraille Mobile Phone has two main pieces. The first is comprised of 35 braille buttons in five rows. Since the main keyboard cannot hold the entire braille text, there are also raised “scroll up” and “scroll down” buttons for more options. The second piece is similar to the touch screen on many smart phones, but with a unique raised surface for information input. The user can tap and drag and even create their own shortcuts and words through a combination of commands.
Ottawa police have adopted the homeless person ruse as an unconventional way to catch drivers who use their cellphones while behind the wheel. Ottawa Citizen and CTV Canada reports.
Officers have been patrolling intersections dressed as panhandlers to catch unsuspecting drivers as they break the law by using their phones. "I mimic panhandling at the corner," said Cst. Dan Jesty. "It gets me in close to the vehicles. I can look inside to see if they're talking on a cell phone or texting on a cell phone."
Since launching the operation three days ago, Ottawa police have laid 97 distracted driving charges.
Barclaycard is targeting the contactless payments market with a stick-on credit card that users can attach to their mobile phones, or other devices, to complete wave-and-pay transactions in store. PaymentEye reports via Paul Swansen+.
The firm is hoping that its new PayTag cards, which are a quarter of the size of traditional credit cards and are linked to user's Barclaycard accounts, will accelerate the uptake of mobile payments.
So far, the mass take-up of contactless payments has proved elusive as rival services compete to dominate the market, with the adoption of technologies such as NFC remaining low.
Aiming to provide a new solution to the lack of currency in Zimbabwe, local startup Yo Time offers an internet platform that allows retailers to give change in the form of mobile airtime instead. Springwise reports.
... Currently, shoppers whose purchases don’t add up to a whole-dollar amount are often forced either to buy an extra item to make the total round up, or to accept a credit note that’s typically good only at the store that issued it. With Yo Time, however, participating retailers can issue change in the form of PIN-less airtime credited directly to the shopper’s mobile phone number. The service can handle credits of any value between 10 cents and USD 50. Once sent, the shopper receives the airtime within eight seconds along with a confirmation message.
Yo Time has already been embraced by several leading retail chains and supermarkets in Zimbabwe, the company says.
The FCC has launched a website tracking wireless carriers' efforts to alert consumers if they approach the limits of the cellphone and data plans.
The "bill shock" website features a checklist for voice, data, SMS/text and international roaming, highlighting whether each wireless company offers alerts to customers who may go over the peak of their phone plans.
The famous design company has come up with a notebook that allows text messaging without the need for a SIM card —or even a mobile phone. GMA News reports.
On its website, Moleskine said that it decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of SMS texting —the first text message was sent in 1992— with a limited-edition notebook that becomes "a ballistic device for launching analog text messages".
Here's the fun part: to launch the message, the user must fold the paper in four, then load it onto a “slingshot” attached to the notebook cover.
The launching pad even has three notches indicating how far the message can be launched —up to 5.18m away, according to the company.
The notebook includes 56 pieces of paper ammunition, including pre-printed messages such as "I love you," "call me," "the answer is...," etc.
Moleskine's new notebook's brand of short messaging system allows the sending of texts the old-fashioned way, tech site ForeverGeek.com reported.
There were 21 million new mobile subscriptions in the U.S. during 2011, bringing the total number of mobile connections to 331.6 million, a 7% rise and reflecting a 104% penetration rate for the nation, according new figures released by CTIA.
Some highlights of the report:
-- SMS sent and received: 2.304 trillion; Dec. 2010: 2.052 trillion (12 percent increase)
-- MMS sent and received: 52.8 billion; Dec. 2010: 56.6 billion
-- Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice and data service): $47.00; Dec. 2010: $47.21