New Worlds: Technion is heads up

Racing technology coming from the Technion and a new way to login to your online accounts?

A woman shops for a bicycle helmet (photo credit: REUTERS)
A woman shops for a bicycle helmet
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A helmet with a heads-up display, which allows the driver to read the state of the vehicle without taking their eyes off the road, has been incorporated by engineering students into the Third Technion- Israel Institute of Technology Formula Championships that will be held in Arno, Italy in September.
It is the third racing car built by Technion students, after the two previous ones recorded impressive achievements. Two years ago, the Formula One team took first place in the “Rookies” category, and last year, a Technion team won first prize in the vehicle design category.
This year, a record number of 11 mentors and 57 students from the mechanical engineering faculty are participating. Undergraduate student Yvgeny Guy, who led the engine unit at last year’s competition, heads the group this time.
“Participating demands great investment of effort, but there are things worth more than a few points higher in grades. The practical experience we gain is one of them.”
This year’s Technion vehicle underwent significant improvements such as a 15 percent reduction in weight, improved aerodynamics, sensors to gauge steering wheel angles, speed of wheels and more.
A group headed by Michael Kotzenko developed the heads-up display, similar to that used by fighter pilots. Guy Ben-Haim, who heads engine division, said “the project is an opportunity for practical application of theoretical studies, along with other crazy people who share the same love of motor sport.”
Is your brain overwhelmed by all the passwords you have to use at every turn? You might not need to remember those complicated e-mail and bank account passwords for much longer. According to a new study at New York’s Binghamton University, the way your brain responds to certain words could be used to replace passwords.
Researchers recently published a study in the journal Neurocomputing on their observation of the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD. They recorded the brain’s reaction to each group of letters, focusing on the part of the brain associated with reading and recognizing words, and found that participants’ brains reacted differently to each acronym – enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer with 94 percent accuracy. The results suggest that brainwaves could be used by security systems to verify a person’s identity.
According to psychology and linguistics Prof. Sarah Laszlo, who co-authored the article, brain biometrics are appealing because they are cancelable and cannot be stolen the way a fingerprint or retina pattern can be.
“If someone’s fingerprint is stolen, that person can’t just grow a new finger to replace the compromised fingerprint; it is forever at risk from then on and is ‘non-cancelable.’ Brainprints, on the other hand, are potentially cancelable. So, in the unlikely event that attackers were actually able to steal a brainprint from an authorized user, the authorized user could then ‘reset’ their brainprint,” Laszlo said.
Electrical and computer engineering Prof. Zhanpeng Jin said the brainprint is not a system that would be mass-produced for low-security applications (at least in the near future), but it could have important security applications.
“We tend to see the applications of this system as being more along the lines of high-security physical locations, like the Pentagon or Air Force Labs, where there aren’t that many users that are authorized to enter and those users don’t need to constantly be authorizing the way that a consumer might need to authorize into their phone or computer,” Jin said.