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Hardware Hacking Build Technology

Australia's Geekiest Man 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Why have a key to open your front door when you can have an RFID tag implanted in your arm that will do the trick? Computerworld has a story up about the outgoing Linux Australia group president's hacked home, in which just about anything from watering the lawn, to opening his blinds, or checking the mail can be controlled through a software environment. Jonathan Oxer is an electronics and coding whiz who apparently has an RIFD tag implanted in his arm that opens his front door, and his front gate is hooked up with gigabit Ethernet — able to tell him when someone enters the property or send him a virtual email or sms to say he has real mail. Apparently the iPod Touch has just inspired him to begin linking all his little hardware hacks together into the one single, software controlled handheld touch device. I wonder if Steve Jobs ever thought the Touch would end up being used this way?"
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Australia's Geekiest Man

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  • Pretty damn cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Corpuscavernosa (996139) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:08AM (#22417204)
    But I can imagine that you might not always want to have your front door unlocked whenever you're near and I imagine it might be a pain in the ass to get out the Touch and disable it if there were some sort of emergency that required your door being locked.

    • by Gription (1006467) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:15AM (#22417250)
      So a good EMP is the only way to keep the people who kidnapped you out of your house?
    • Then again (Score:5, Funny)

      by fictionpuss (1136565) * on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:25AM (#22417300)
      If you're being chased up the garden path then I'd choose the expediency of an RFID lock rather than fumbling around for keys - seen enough movies to know how that ends.

      What sort of emergency do you have in mind? No home security will deter a determined malicious threat from entering, but a gadgetted up house you could fully control with a device that fits in your pocket, could create enough of a distraction to escape.

      • by Corpuscavernosa (996139) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:35AM (#22417360)
        True, most horror movies would have to skip that scene with this technology in place... sure wouldn't be too tense

        Yeah perhaps I didn't think that one through completely, but I'm just not comfortable with security measures being implemented or disengaged simply by proximity.

        Speaking of your distraction scenario, and clearly because I read too much /., I had a vision of all TVs and computer screens splashing goatse on the would-be evildoer. Something tells me that would at least confuse most anybody's plans.

        • Re:Then again (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tolkien (664315) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:12AM (#22417522) Journal
          More disturbing is that it's not *your* proximity. It's *your arm's* proximity. This technology could bring about a whole new and horribly gruesome form of breaking and entering. :|
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LordMidge (861667)
          I recently had the experience of using a car with a rfid key. It was the most annoying thing to use.
          Basically when you left the car you couldn't test if the car was locked because you had the key that meant it would automatically unlock. Thus someone else had to test to see if you'd locked it.

          If this is fitted to a house then you have the same problems.

          Does everyone who uses the house have to have this e.g. the house lock is fully automated. What happens when you have guests and you want just to leave the d
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by peragrin (659227)
            That's just a bad implementation. I have it as well and love it. the trick is that to unlock the doors you have to press a button which triggers the RFID tag. to start the car once inside it looks for the tag and then allows you to start it up.

            The button is on the door handle and works both ways. press once to unlock twice to unlock them all, if unlocked one press will lock them alll.

            For all RFID systems it shouldn't be all automatic there should still be a physical aspect to work with to unlock the it
          • Re:Then again (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bkr1_2k (237627) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:01AM (#22419280)
            I totally know how to jack with my OCD friend, now. I've been trying to think of a prank for a long time, and now you've come up with it for me. Excellent.
      • by rabbit994 (686936)
        Shotgun can take care of determined malicious threat without having to flee from own house type thing.
      • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @10:45AM (#22420614) Homepage

        a gadgetted up house you could fully control with a device that fits in your pocket, could create enough of a distraction to escape.


        Shhhhh! Do you really want to give the movie studios any ideas and then have to sit through "Home Alone Version 4.0"?
    • by Gordonjcp (186804)
      you might not always want to have your front door unlocked whenever you're near

      This is exactly why UK versions of cars with proximity card ignition keys have this "feature" disabled. Buy a European version and it will unlock when you walk up to it. Buy a UK version, and you need to press the button on the card like pretty much any normal remote central locking. Car owners don't really want it, and insurance companies *really* don't want it.
  • RFID? (Score:2, Funny)

    by calebt3 (1098475)
    How long until this gets hacked?
    • Re:RFID? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:17AM (#22417264)
      How long until someone freaks out irrationally about it?
    • Re:RFID? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:47AM (#22417402)
      I've used the RFID kit [jaycar.com.au] he's installed on his front door before.

      There is absolutely no encrypted handshake between the RFID tag and the reader. Hence an attacker could VERY easily conduct a replay attack using an easily duplicated tag. Given that the tag he uses is implanted into his arm, anyone that walks past him on the street could steal his front door key.

      But I guess this isn't much of an issue for fellow geeks, because what sort of geek walks outside their basement and gets within the vicinity of other people in the first place?
  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:11AM (#22417220) Homepage
    What exactly is a virtual email? Can the system send him one when he gets a real email too?
  • link error (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheSpengo (1148351)
    Pretty cool. I wouldn't worry about people hacking it too much though since it isn't exactly a common thing just yet. :) I should point out though, that the link goes to the 2nd page of the article rather than the first. :o
  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:21AM (#22417278) Journal

    Just as an FYI for anyone considering this, implanted RFID have been known to cause a high incidence of cancer around the implantation area. There's research showing it in animal models, I found out after my pet had to have his RFID tracker replaced (they use this in pets to let vet offices identify your pet if it gets lost).

    Apparently the body doesn't like certain subcutaneous implanted foreign objects and cancerous growths build around it.

    The other issue I would like to point out is that putting RFID chips into people and treating them as cattle has for some time been a dream of the uber wealthy elite classes. This tracks back to the eugenics movement to present day. See Aaron Russo's documentary "America: Freedom to Fascism". [youtube.com]

    As such, I would not be in a hurry to usher in the era of slave I mean people tracking.

    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:32AM (#22417334)
      The other issue I would like to point out is that putting RFID chips into people and treating them as cattle has for some time been a dream of the uber wealthy elite classes.

      Why? By definition, people who are obscenely rich have lots and lots of money, which is a far more effective way to manipulate people than RFID tags. Come on, really, do you picture the super-rich saying, "man, what I'd really like is to be able to implant electronics into the working class so I can watch their every move"? They're rich. They have yachts, and private aircraft, and small islands, and can do anything they want with their lives... do you really think they give a shit about what time Joe Sixpack staggers home with some drunken bar skank?

      • by pembo13 (770295)
        Why? For the pesky few who do not give in to dollar signs of course (or Euros as the case may be).
      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bobNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @04:16AM (#22417798) Journal
        Why? By definition, people who are obscenely rich have lots and lots of money, which is a far more effective way to manipulate people than RFID tags.

        I'm not uber-rich yet, but when I get there, I want my minions to have RFID tags as well as silver lycra bodysuits.

        It's a style thing.

      • "man, what I'd really like is to be able to implant electronics into the working class so I can watch their every move"

        o you really think they give a shit about what time Joe Sixpack staggers home with some drunken bar skank?

        You are taking organizations too simply. Maybe a guy at the top of a company doesn't give a flying fuck about tracking employees. But big organizations have many layers of management and there is a possibility that you can have some people actually reading/managing that RFID data.

        Management drone 1: Hey, I've seen that company X and company Y have mandatory implant policy.
        Management drone 2: Sure, we have to be on the competitive edge. I'll suggest that to my boss.
        Management metadrone1: Great idea, imple

        • Again, exactly what reason would they have for mandating this? Companies can already track employees since most have badge opened doors.
      • No, they seem to enjoy watching the average Joe take a flight with anything electronic manufactured after ENIAC. It must mean he is a terrorist, because Good Little Citizens only bring 4th hand beach novels onto planes. Oh wait. Those could be dangerous too if he has a lighter.
        • If you can get anything manufactured at the time of ENIAC (Including, but not limited to, ENIAC) then i'll be impressed. Most of the security would assume such a complex mess of wires and components in such a non-modern case must clearly be a bomb or some form of cyberterrorism device.
      • by GauteL (29207)
        "By definition, people who are obscenely rich have lots and lots of money, which is a far more effective way to manipulate people than RFID tags."

        This only helps controlling people that play by the rules.

        There has always been a link between economic differences and crime. When the differences are very large, the super-rich are fantastically wealthy at the expense of more crime in society. For some, the solution is to make the economic differences smaller, while for others the solution is to spend more money
    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:33AM (#22417350)
      The notion of people-tracking with RFID is a bit far-fetched, isn't it? These things have a pretty short range, maybe a few meters at most if I recall correctly. Tracking a person isn't going to do much good unless there were sensors everywhere.

      That being said, I'm also in no hurry to have any tracking devices implanted in me either.
      • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @04:51AM (#22417954) Journal

        You know something else that has a pretty short range, the toll pay transmitters you can use for toll roads.

        But guess what I recently found out, plenty of states are installing these detectors on the quiet on all sorts of roads, unmarked.

        The one official explanation I saw was that it was for traffic study...

        Not only is it fairly useless for traffic shaping, but when they pick up your ID off those things, it's linked to your CC or bank account, name address etc. And they are keeping records of where you've been with it. Do a little search I'm sure you can find more info.

      • by S.O.B. (136083)
        I agree that tracking people with RFID would be a challenge but considering the advances in the last 10 years or so it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that in the near future this could be possible.

        Of more immediate concern to me is that an unscrupulous criminal could pick up this guy's RFID as he passes by in a mall or on the street and intercept the RFID signal. He could then follow the guy home to find out where he lives. Then when the guy is not at home he could walk up to the house, re
    • by andersh (229403) * on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:35AM (#22417358)

      implanted RFID have been known to cause a high incidence of cancer around the implantation area

      Known? Implanting "subcutaneous foreign objects" might cause cancer, see the quote below. And the research done on mice indicates it typically happens in one percent or two.

      "It's important to emphasize that those studies are not necessarily sufficient to view these implants as known hazards. The data suggest that the devices foster cancer by causing inflammation of the tissues that encapsulate them. There is a large amount of scientific literature linking cancer and inflammation (the National Cancer Institute has some information on the matter). RFID tags turn out not to be the only form of animal tagging that causes cancer through inflammation; standard metallic ear tags can do so as well. That paper also notes that there have been a number of case reports where human prosthetic implants have induced cancers in the surrounding tissues.", taken from Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]

      • by pembo13 (770295)
        Either way, embedding foreign objects into ones body can't be a good thing. If it was, there would be no need to bother about stem cells to generate replacement body parts.
        • I always wondered why sticking pieces of metal in to your body was fashionable (earrings) or cool (nose, bellybutton, and other places).

          Although I wouldn't mind getting a RFID tag in my arm so I can log in to computers and stuff like that instantly.
          The chance of cancer (minimal) is worth the convenience.
          There are far worse causes of cancer in our lives every day.
          • by pembo13 (770295)
            Well those practices aren't modern, as far I've read/seen, they come from way back in human history.
      • by 7-Vodka (195504)

        Hah. It's funny, I googled your quote and read that entire article. It seems you selectively left out bits like this one.

        Should the FDA have approved the devices, given the animal data? Probably not without some basic studies of their potential to cause inflammation in humans. Although the animal reports are relatively obscure--the AP report quotes a variety of cancer researchers as being completely unaware of them--it's the FDA's job to find relevant research. Clearly, they dropped the ball here.

        While

    • Fearmongering? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm a doctor, and I haven't heard anything about what you claim. Think about it, we put pacemakers and defibrillaters in people all the time, and there is no appreciable increase in cancer around these implantation sites.

      As far as the body is concerned, it would see a little pellet lined with a coating. Many pacemaker housings are titanium, so if this is metal-lined, I do not see any possible way this could cause cancer being the low level radio emitter it is. I'd be happy to review any reputable journal
    • by jellie (949898) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:53AM (#22417436)
      Maybe you're referring to this article [slashdot.org], which was discussed here several months ago.

      Inert objects implanted into the body cause fibrous encapsulation, when the body's immune system covers the implant with fibrous and connective tissues. I'm sure you probably noticed that the implant in your pet was covered in tissue after they removed it. The problem is that scientists haven't determined whether it's the RF scanners, the RFID itself, or the presence of an inert implant that's causing the cancer (or at least I'm not aware of any evidence of it). Having said that, I would never implant myself with a foreign object.
      • "Having said that, I would never implant myself with a foreign object."

        Pacemaker, skull plate, bionic ear, bone pins,...?
        • by jellie (949898)
          Well, I didn't think those needed to be said, but yes I would. I suppose you could add other things like absorbable sutures too.

          Hmm, I hadn't heard of the term "bionic ear" for cochlear implants before. Kind of a creepy name if you ask me.
          • Sorry, I come here to feed my pedantic urges, doesn't eveybody? ;)

            The implant was created here in Oz by the University of Melbourne and a private company. I think 'bionic ear' may be (or was) a trademark or company in the early commercialization. I can't remember all the details but for some reason the term stayed in common usage here in Melbourne. Incidently, a wiki search for bionic ear [wikipedia.org] shows it understands strine [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by vivian (156520)
          I wouldnt implant myself with any of thoe things either - I'd get someone else to implant them in me.
    • Do you have any creditable reference for this? Because while foreign bodies can cause trouble, the RFID tags are or silicon encased, and those are pretty safe for other surgical implantations. They don't radiate a lot of energy, they do absorb and re-radiate a bit, but the amountn is very slight.

      A casual web search show so many casual rants without experimentation or real testing that it's difficult to establish a real one. It's as bad as the "vaccines cause autism" idea, which keeps having serious journals
  • Excessive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multipass666 (1213904) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:22AM (#22417288)
    I was always curious why futurists and cyborg fanboys get RFID chips implanted underneath their skin. What's wrong with just wearing one on a ring or perhaps a chain around your neck? Maybe both for multiple redundancy. Does it really happen THAT often you go to the pub for a few pints and comeback so drunk you've lost all your possessions? Does that slim probability warrant tagging yourself like cattle?
    • Got an RFID tag... well just about everyone has one these days for their office id card or whatever.

      Got an implant.... now that shows you're into it.... or at least it's into you!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Schiphol (1168667)
      I agree. In Barcelona, where I live, the VIP clients of Baja Beach Club [bbc.co.uk] have the option of having a chip implanted in their forearm so that they can enter the club without having to stop at the door (not a moment to waste! I have to go dance in my swimming trunks a-right now!) In this case, I think brainlessness rather than geekiness is to blame.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hanners1979 (959741)
      Does it really happen THAT often you go to the pub for a few pints and comeback so drunk you've lost all your possessions?

      Yes.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Bingo!

      I have a Java ring I got back a long time ago at one of the shows when Sun was demonstrating their JM ibutton that could run code on it. It would be very easy to get a rfid ring made that will work not only good but have a way to disable the rfid from transmitting.

      But these guys like needled stuck into them, so they go that route.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CmdrGravy (645153)

      Does it really happen THAT often you go to the pub for a few pints and comeback so drunk you've lost all your possessions?


      On a worringly frequent basis, often without clothing, with inexplicable knife wounds or covered in leaves.
  • by patio11 (857072) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:30AM (#22417326)
    >>Why have a key to open your front door when you can have an RFID tag implanted in your arm that will do the trick?>>

    I can think of a number of reasons.

    1. You can give your key to a trusted associate, for example to housesit or run an errand for you. Giving your arm to a trusted associate is computationally intensive, destructive, and irreversible.

    2. You can, for the cost of less than one hour's salary, revoke the key tied to a compromised lock, and then issue a new key. If unforseen circumstances should cause the RFID lock to require revoking, well, bad news bears...

    3. Key/lock devices are well understood, hardly ever fail due to them having few moving parts which are almost never in operation, and are robust against almost all unforseen environmental conditions (i.e. power outage). Arm/RFID reader interfaces are poorly understood, by necessity have to be polling constantly, and are dependent on several fragile systems to maintain the key requirements that you be let into your house promptly any time you desire and that unauthorized users be rejected 100% of the time.

    4. You have designs of ever having a romantic relationship. ("Honey, I know preparations for the wedding have been a bit busy, but we'll have to schedule your surgery sometime this week...")

    5. A diligent attacker attempting to compromise your lock/key interface has no reason to attempt to compromise your shoulder/arm interface with a hacksaw.
    • by slyn (1111419)

      4. You have designs of ever having a romantic relationship. ("Honey, I know preparations for the wedding have been a bit busy, but we'll have to schedule your surgery sometime this week...")
      Designs? I would guess most of us are in the hope/dreams stage of ever having one, but I don't think we have sunk so low to planning on stealing a wife.
      • OT (Score:3, Funny)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        "I would guess most of us are in the hope/dreams stage"

        I for one am well past the "take the cheque and fuck off" stage, I've survived the "working single dad" stage and the "middle age disco heart attack" stage. I think the "indifferent old fart" stage is next, I'd ask dad but he's in the "surprised to be alive" stage and mostly just grins like a child.

        Go away, I don't have a lawn!
        • Indifferennt old fart isn't bad. You can amuse yourself at the adventures of the youngsters. "Thank you, yes, I tried writing my own source control system, too. Now go install git."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by syousef (465911)
      4. You have designs of ever having a romantic relationship. ("Honey, I know preparations for the wedding have been a bit busy, but we'll have to schedule your surgery sometime this week...")

      If I recall correctly they used a big arsed needle to implant the microchips in my dogs and that was 8 years ago.

      Hey honey, bend over! This will only take a minute!

      Oops silly me, that was meant to go in your arm. I read the instructions wrong. Hey your options are that you can put your arse against the door to open it or
    • 1) For a trusted babysitter (as if a real geek has babies or goes out), you issue a temporary RFID key that only lasts for the night/whatever.
      2. Xacto knife.3. You're a geek, so you don't really go out anyway.
      4.Inflatable dolls don't mind or want to be hitched.
      See 3.
    • Such an RFID key is like a password. It requires storage of the valid keys' information on the lock itself, and such control is built into RFID based locks and other devices. I agree that such devices are not yet stable: the field is evolving too fast to have consistent and reliable tools for long-term use.

      The trick with your future spouse is to get an RFID lock implanted for your partner's sexual organs, for a real geek chastity belt. Of course, being this much of a geek is a bit of a chastity belt in itse
    • by hyfe (641811)

      1. You can give your key to a trusted associate, for example to housesit or run an errand for you. Giving your arm to a trusted associate is computationally intensive, destructive, and irreversible.
      I don't normally make stupid, redundant posts, and I apologize for this one..

      .. but anyone describing cutting of your arm as computationally intensive is A-OK! in my book.

  • by jsse (254124) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:45AM (#22417398) Homepage Journal
    and were planning to sell it to China.

    The system contains everything you could imagine: in-house tracking system, motion detectors, remote messaging control and web-interface administration, integration with all electronic household appliances for whatever control you could think of doing, including but not limited to gardening and feeding your dogs.

    He even got VC supports to build the actual products; but then, I asked him one question: "what about power outage, which happen so frequently in China?"

    He thought briefly and said "We could include an fuel-powered, emergency backup power supply for my system."

    "Well, when there's a power outage, those house appliances cease to function as well..."

    He then thought more deeply and said "Then we must kick in a bigger fuel-powered, emergency backup power supply for the entire house!"

    He's now selling household fuel-powered emergency backup power supplies and really good at it.
  • by coljac (154587) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:47AM (#22417410) Homepage
    For all those who are about to make wisecracks about this dude, by all means go ahead.

    Just pause for a moment and admit to yourself that you were thinking what language *you* would be scripting the curtains with.
  • I'm not having anything implanted in me. Not that I was a major contender but if that's what you have to do to get geek cred, I'm outta here.
    • No tattoos? No vaccines? No earrings? No tongue piercing (which I have to admit from experience, has its delightful uses)?

      The difference between these and an RFID tag implantation is minor. I just don't like the idea that the sensors at various shipping companies can tell when I walk near them. What's next?
  • Hmmmmm..... (Score:3, Funny)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:20AM (#22417554)
    Every time I read a story about people implating RFID tags into themselves as a means of "keyless entry", it always reminds me of that scene in Demolition Man where Wesley Snipes pulls out the warden's eyball so he can get past the retinal scanner in the Cryoprison.
  • by bitspotter (455598) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:23AM (#22417574) Journal
    My understanding of "RFID" tags is that since they are powered by the energy broadcast by the reader, the tags themselves can't do very much in terms of computation. As a result, they are limited to parroting back a static serial number (though a long one, or part of it) that's determined when the tag is manufactured.

    This means that the tags themselves cannot do any encryption at all.

    If this is the case, why the hell would anybody want to use it to gain secure access to anything when anybody nearby the tag with an RFID reader can read the serial number and spoof the tag?

    This would be like writing your credit card number on the front of your shirt - //in infrared ink//. Sure, you'd need fancy infrared optics to read it - but why the hell would you take that chance?

    Is my understanding flawed, here? Are there newer RFID tags that actually can do crypto (and are people like those in TFA using them)? I may be wrong in any number of ways, so I'm looking for some more solid info.

    • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @05:28AM (#22418076)
      Passive RFID chips can do some computation themselves, and many can do crypto, but it's extremely limited. For instance, the ubiquitous Mifare chips used for opening doors and even payment systems use proprietary crypto - and it's very broken [hackaday.com], anybody with very simple tools can listen in and copy the code.
    • by GauteL (29207)
      "My understanding of "RFID" tags is that since they are powered by the energy broadcast by the reader, the tags themselves can't do very much in terms of computation."

      There are different kinds of RFID tags. The passive ones require no battery power, but very little but respond with a simple serial number (although there have been some development around this). The active ones has battery included and can do all sorts of things but are more expensive and has a shorter lifespan.

      I suggest looking this up on Wi
  • Jon Rocks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by laptop006 (37721) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:36AM (#22417628) Homepage Journal
    But we have geekier people.

    Like, say, Andrew Tridgall who at a recent event (linux.conf.au 2008), instead of socialising decided to reverse engineer the Sony eBook reader.

    Although the blog post with photos of how he put the RFID in himself was one of the most distrubing things I've ever seen on the internet (I guess because I've worked with him).
  • Jobs Shmobs (Score:3, Funny)

    by EveLibertine (847955) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:49AM (#22417698)

    I wonder if Steve Jobs ever thought the Touch would end up being used this way?"
    Who cares what Steve Jobs thinks? He's got nothing on Jonathan Oxer.
  • Why the iPod touch? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DingerX (847589) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:53AM (#22417712) Journal
    I mean a N800 [wikipedia.org] runs Linux out of the box and has most of the bits and pieces already available for the remote control uses he describes. And, being not only a Linux geek, but a Linux geek motivated enough to hobble together his own house, he should recognize that the Touch's strength is in doing the small number of factory-approved tasks, but doing them really well, while the N800 excels in doing whatever you want, provided you can figure out how to do it. I'm just saying, it's a better fit.
     
    But when you look at home automation like that, do you ask yourself "how much time a day does he spend installing and maitaining his automatics?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nfractal (1039722)
      Considering a few years down the line ... I think Google might have had a good point calling their platform 'Android'
  • by davburns (49244)

    So, implanted RFID have the same promise as proximity cards did. Just have one card, and open all your locks!

    I have six cards now. I've tried to get provider n to use card 1..(n-1), but that's never worked (I guess they sell more cards that way? But then I have to carry more cards!) That's annoying if they're taking up space in my wallet. But if each one had to be injected, I'm thinking this would not work out.

  • Full Interview (Score:4, Informative)

    by BeeBeard (999187) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @04:13AM (#22417784)
    Is there a reason why the summary doesn't link to the full interview [computerworld.com.au]?
  • by PipingSnail (1112161) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @04:29AM (#22417862)

    "Why have a key to open your front door when you can have an RFID tag implanted in your arm that will do the trick?

    • Because I don't want the door to open just because I'm near it.
    • Because I don't want the door to lock just because I'm not near it.
    • Because I don't want to be locked in if there is a power failure.
    • Because I don't want to be locked out if there is a power failure.
    • Because I don't want cancer caused by the implant.
    • Because its a damn stupid idea..
    • Just because its a use of technology doesn't make it clever or cool.
    • I'm sure some of you can think of other reasons I haven't enumerated here.

    RFID tags and proximity cards (like on some cars) are not a good replacement for a key. They do not behave the same way.

    We have a modern key-less system at the local swimming pool. Keys have been replaced with a wristband with a single button about the size of a UK 5pence piece (a dime in the US I think). Most of the time they work well. But when the conductance isn't quite right (usually the surfaces are too wet) they don't work. In a swimming pool and the changing rooms, the chances of things being too wet, is er, rather high. A different pool I go to uses real keys. I never, ever have a problem opening a locker at that pool. The key does what it is meant to do, that is, be a key, not a clever, technology over-engineered replacement for a key that requires operator intervention by the key creators to fix malfunctions.

    We have a lecturer (professor?) here in the UK that does stupid stuff like this all the time. Gets him in the media. I'm sure he loves it. Really, really sad. Why don't people use their creativity a bit more usefully?

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @04:38AM (#22417904)
    Even without having met him, there's one thing I can tell you about this gentleman with absolute certainty: He does not number among his friends anybody with a warped sense of humour and knowledge of the term "induction field".
  • i've been controlling my lighting with my ipod touch for a while now, the touch interface plays nicely with dimmers etc.

    If you want to hack this together, buy some x10 units (which happen to have web interfaces) write up some perl and glue it to an iphone app.

  • by ROMRIX (912502)

    and his front gate is hooked up with gigabit Ethernet

    Does that help the gate open/close faster?
  • When I read the headline I thought the article would be about this man [dansdata.com]. My mistake.
  • Meh, it's been done before [reading.ac.uk] - 10 years ago:

    On Monday 24th August 1998, at 4:00pm, Professor Kevin Warwick underwent an operation to surgically implant a silicon chip transponder in his foream. Dr. George Boulous carried out the operation at Tilehurst Surgery, using local anaesthetic only.

    This experiment allowed a computer to monitor Kevin Warwick as he moved through halls and offices of the Department of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, using a unique identifying signal emitted by the implanted c

  • by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @07:11AM (#22418508) Journal
    The iPhone and the iPod touch are both excellent devices for controlling a house. Now we need USB or Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, garage door openers, door locks, etc. X-10 was a cool idea for its time, but it's showing its age.

    -jcr

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <<info> <at> <devinmoore.com>> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:13AM (#22418828) Homepage Journal
    "Why have a key to open your front door when you can have an RFID tag implanted in your arm that will do the trick?"

    Because you'd like to attract women at some point? /joke
  • Captain Cyborg (Score:4, Informative)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@zen.c o . uk> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:26AM (#22418924)
    Kevin Warwick (aka Captain Cyborg) did this years ago. Having a chip implanted for the purpose of opening doors etc.
  • Jon showed how you can interface second life with the real world at LCA 2008.

    Videos here http://mirror.linux.org.au/pub/linux.conf.au/2008/Wed/mel8-039a.ogg [linux.org.au]
    and here: http://mirror.linux.org.au/pub/linux.conf.au/2008/Wed/mel8-039b.ogg [linux.org.au]
  • by pomakis (323200) <pomakis@pobox.com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @10:59AM (#22420818) Homepage
    FTA:

    "My ideal situation would be, for example, to be able to take a video feed from a camera near the front door and have that fed through to the home automation controller, which is a machine running Linux and a whole bunch of these scripts...and if someone rings the doorbell you could pull up a full motion video stream to see who it is and then use the controllers to unlock the door and let them in."

    So... his ideal situation (which he hasn't actually manage to achieve yet) is to do something that the security systems in most apartment buildings have been doing for decades.

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