IoT News Roundup

Google adds security feature to Eddystone for beacons; app records diet with a microphone; Bluetooth SIG announces developer training; new IoT-enablement platform from PLAT.ONE; EU Parliament updates privacy laws.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Apr 15, 2016

Google Rolls Out Eddystone Beacon Security Feature

Google this week announced a data security function, called Ephemeral IDs (EID), for Eddystone, the open-source Bluetooth beacon platform it released last year. Until now, the Eddystone platform supported three different formats: Eddystone-UID, whereby a beacon transmits a unique static ID number; Eddystone-URL, which causes a beacon to transmit a URL; and Eddystone-TLM, which enables a beacon to transmit its status. Eddystone-EID was developed in order to provide a means for developers to control who can make use of the beacon signal, for applications in which users need to exchange information securely and privately via the Bluetooth connection between their smartphone and an Eddystone-formatted beacon.

The Ephemeral ID is an eight-byte beacon identifier that changes periodically and is set, along with the key required to access it, when the beacon is provisioned. Applications must use a resolution service, such as Proximity Beacon API, to resolve the key and connect to a beacon provisioned with an Ephemeral ID. Currently, 15 beacon manufacturers, including, Blesh, Gimbal, BlueCats, Bluvision, Sensoro, Radius Networks, Signal360 and Swirl, support the Ephemeral ID function.

Researchers Develop Sound-Based Diet-Tracking System

What does a cookie sound like when it's being chewed? That is an odd question, but its answer may be part of a new approach to therapy designed to help individuals who suffer from nutrition-related diseases, eating disorders or diabetes. A group of researchers and engineers from Northeastern University, in Shenyanh, China, have developed a prototype for a system they call AutoDietary. The solution—consisting of a sensitive microphone worn on a user's neck, near the jaw—collects vibrations from the skin's surface and converts them to acoustic signals. These are transmitted, via Bluetooth, to a smartphone app that compares the sound to a database comprising sound signatures made by chewing and swallowing various foods.

The app aggregates the results to determine caloric intake and, based on the user's condition, makes suggestions regarding how he or she could improve eating habits or nutrition balance. According to an IEEE Explore article by the researchers, AutoDietary's algorithm accurately determines food type 84.9 percent of the time. The researchers also report that most of the 53 participants in a survey reported that the microphone is comfortable to wear. If commercialized, the technology would offer a means of tracking food intake without relying on a user's memory or reporting accuracy.

Bluetooth SIG Offering Developer Training

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which develops interoperability standards and certifications for Bluetooth technology, has announced the 2016 dates for Blue University LIVE, its global series of full-day training sessions for developers new to Bluetooth technology. The events are designed to help developers build and connect Bluetooth-enabled products. The coursework includes instruction on coding, designing mobile applications, meeting SIG product qualification requirements and product marketing. The session dates and locations are as follows: May 5 in Shenzhen, China; May 24 in San Jose, Calif.; June 9 in Berlin, Germany; Sept. 22 in Austin, Texas; Sept. 27 in Seoul, South Korea; Sept. 29 in Tokyo, Japan; and Oct. 4 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Interested developers can register here.

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