Wireless & Internet Tech

Wifi-Enabled Objects With No Battery Required!

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Researchers at the University of Washington solve one of the issues the Internet of Things poses by 3D-printing plastic objects with built-in wifi capabilities-- no power source or electronics required!

Wifi object"Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices," a team member says. "But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with wifi using only plastic? That's something that no one has been able to do before."

The team 3D-printed three wifi-enabled objects-- a weighing scale, a flow sensor and an anemometer able to measure wind speed using commercially available plastics and wifi receivers. A combination of 3D-printed springs, gears and switches (based on the same principles allowing battery-free watches to keep time) translates motion into antenna-transmitted data, while backscatter techniques reflect radio signals emitted by a wifi router or other devices.

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KRACK Attack Affects Wifi!

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Researchers warn of a serious flaw in the WPA2 protocol securing all wifi networks-- one allowing attackers to steal passwords, emails and other supposedly encrypted data!

Kracks Dubbed Key Reinstallation Attacks (or KRACKs), such attacks even allow those with malicious intent to inject ransomware and malware into a website a user is visiting, all while simply being in range of a vulnerable device. These can be any wifi-capable device, although the flaw is "particularly devastating" in the case of Linux and Android 6.0.

How does KRACK works? As the researchers put it, attackers can duplicate a vulnerable WPA2 network, impersonate the MAC address and change the wifi channel. The fake network acts as a "man in the middle," forcing devices to connect to the rogue network instead of the protected original.

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Bluetooth Getting Mesh Capability

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) add a new capability to the wireless connectivity standard-- mesh networking, enabling many-to-many (m:m) capability and the creation of large-scale device networks.

Bluetooth MeshThe technology is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 and higher, and operates on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). It is ideal for building automation, sensor networks and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications involving tens, hundreds or even thousands or devices. According to the SIG, Bluetooth-based mesh networks are inherently self-healing, with no single point of failure, scalable to thousands of nodes and include "industrial-grade" security.

In addition Bluetooth offers global interoperability, since multi-vendor interoperability testing is conducted during the specification development process, not after the release of the specification.

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A Universal Language for the IoT

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The ZigBee Alliance takes to CES to unveil Dotdot-- a "universal language" for the devices making the Internet of Things (IoT), first seen at the show running over a Thread IP-based network.

ZigBee DotdotAs announcement release puts it, the majority of IoT devices do not "speak" the same language, even if they use the same wireless technology. This leads to arguably needless complexity for developers, while limiting customers to single-vendor systems. Enter Dotdot, an application layer at the heart of ZigBee technology developers can apply across other IoT networks.

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ABI: IoT Drives Bluetooth Smart Devices

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According to ABI Research, 2017 will mark another milestone in Bluetooth technology through the release of Bluetooth 5 specification, further pushing wireless networking technology as the leading connectivity solution for the IoT.

Bluetooth automationThe analyst forecasts 2021 Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready device shipments reaching 5 billion units, the result of technical enhancements opening new opportunities, use cases and device types. Outside of mobile space, key IoT market growth areas include smart home and smart lighting, beacons and wearables, among others.

“While smartphones and audio accessories remain Bluetooth’s largest markets, the technology is becoming more attractive to low-power IoT applications,” ABI says. “Though Bluetooth still faces strong competition from the other standards, mesh networking will enable new opportunities for the technology in the smart home, building automation, and emerging IoT markets in which robustness, low latency, scalability, minimal power consumption and strong security are all additional critical requirements.”

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