Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

From the Labs: Information Technology

New publications, experiments and breakthroughs in information technology–and what they mean.

Fabric Camera
Optical fibers replace lenses.

Photo fibers: Cross-sections of two polymer fibers, each less than a millimeter in diameter, show eight light sensors (gray rectangles) made of semiconducting material. The micrographs show two possible configurations for the sensors.

Source: “Exploiting Collective Effects of Multiple Opto­electronic Devices Integrated in a Single Fiber”
Yoel Fink et al.
Nano Letters
9: 2630-2635

This story is part of our September/October 2009 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Results: Researchers at MIT have found a way to take photographs with polyester fibers. They integrated eight photodetectors into the fibers, arranged the fibers into a 32-by-32 grid spread over an area the size of a record album, and used the grid to capture a black-and-white image of a smiley face.

Why it matters: A standard camera requires lenses, which are rigid and fragile and can be heavy. A camera made from fibers, however, could be foldable, durable, and lightweight. In one potential application, it could be integrated into soldiers’ uniforms to create images of the surrounding environment.

Methods: Lenses focus scattered light to form an image. In the absence of a lens, measurements of the intensity of the scattered light can be used to computationally derive an image. To “photograph” the smiley face, the researchers illuminated it with laser light at different wavelengths, green and red. The photo­detectors, embedded in a ring within each fiber, were able to distinguish light from each laser. After measuring the relative intensity of the colors, the researchers were able to apply algorithms that calculated the phase of the lightwaves scattered by the face. A separate algorithm used the phase information to reconstruct the image.

Next steps: The researchers plan to add more sensors to the fibers so that they can make images of objects illuminated with natural light. This could also lead to a color camera.

Revealing Phishers
A new approach ­reliably identifies fraudulent websites.

Source: “Fighting Phishing with Discriminative Keypoint Features”
Kuan-Ta Chen et al.
IEEE Journal of Internet Computing
13(3): 56-63

Results: Software designed by researchers at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan can recognize websites designed to trick people into revealing information such as passwords and bank-account numbers, a scam known as phishing. In tests, the system recognized these sites between 95 and 98 percent of the time.

Why it matters: It’s been estimated that phishing costs Americans a billion dollars a year or more. Methods for identifying phishing sites have been developed, but existing techniques don’t catch them all. The new approach promises to identify these sites more reliably.

Methods: Because phishers usually try to fool users with fake Web pages that look like genuine pages from eBay, PayPal, or some other target site, the researchers focused on a page’s appearance rather than its content. Their system examines common target sites and identifies “keypoints”–points in an image that can still be recognized even if the scammer changes colors or adds distracting elements. It then compares new sites that a user visits with the pattern of keypoints on common target pages. If the patterns prove too similar, the pages are flagged as possible phishing sites.

Next steps: The researchers are developing a browser plug-in that uses their system to warn people when they may have reached a phishing site.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.