Weekend tech reading: Tracking vitals through a wall with Wi-Fi, an E3 roundup, Ars plays NSA

By on June 15, 2014, 11:37 AM

MIT perfects cheap, accurate through-wall movement and heartbeat detection with WiFi MIT's rather fabulous Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), after using humble WiFi waves to sense movement behind a wall, has now improved its technology to the point that it can remotely -- from behind a wall in another room -- can detect heart rate and respiration. MIT has successfully used this technology to non-invasively check a sleeping baby's breathing and pulse, and even to track the breathing of two adults simultaneously. ExtremeTech

Ars tests Internet surveillance -- by spying on an NPR reporter On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy. This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched -- acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online? Ars Technica

Everything that happened at E3 2014 The busiest week of the year in the world of gaming is coming to a close. We've had dozens of new announcements, stacks of surprises, and some of the best E3 press conferences in many a year. Keeping on top of everything that's happening is of course a bit of a struggle, so we've collated all the news from all of the events we've reported on from E3 2014. From Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft and EA's press conferences, through to our E3 2014 Game Debate Best of Show awards. Games Debate

Memories of my 16-year career in video games After 16 years covering the game industry, playing hundreds of games and interviewing thousands of people, I've slowly developed a catalog of life events tied around memories of games. If I'm trying to recall a time when something happened, my mind quickly jumps to what I was playing, where I was sitting when playing it, and when in my life that must have occurred. This is a compilation of some of the games that are deeply tied to my personal memories from 16 years of covering games. Adam Sessler

Behind the Great Firewall: What it's really like to log on from China China makes headlines every other week for its censorship of the Internet, but few people outside the country know what it's like to live with those access controls, or how to get around them. Foreigners who visit the country should expect some headaches. Be prepared to live without Google, Twitter and your favorite daily newspapers, and to have a hard time connecting with friends back home, or even firing off an email. That's how bad it can get. Network World

The Nightmare on Connected Home Street I wake up at four to some old-timey dubstep spewing from my pillows. The lights are flashing. My alarm clock is blasting Skrillex or Deadmau5 or something, I don’t know. I never listened to dubstep, and in fact the entire genre is on my banned list. You see, my house has a virus again. Technically it's malware. But there's no patch yet, and pretty much everyone's got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. Wired

Tim Cook, making Apple his own Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, was an adolescent boy in a small Alabama town in the early 1970s when he saw something he couldn't forget. Bicycling home on a new 10-speed, he passed a large cross in flames in front of a house -- one that he knew belonged to a black family. Around the cross were Klansmen, dressed in white cloaks and hoods, chanting racial slurs. Mr. Cook heard glass break, maybe someone throwing something through a window. He yelled, "Stop!" The NY Times

The ghost files Matthew Connelly had an idea for a book. The Pentagon, he realized, was one of the first organizations ever to undertake a large, scientifically based effort to predict the future. During the Cold War, it had invested billions of dollars into the development of computer-based war games, statistical models, and elaborate role-playing exercises in hopes of anticipating Soviet military activity. How successful had the Pentagon's program been at predicting the Soviets' next moves? Columbia Magazine

Mozilla under fire: Inside the 9-day reign of fallen CEO Brendan Eich On a Friday night flight home to San Francisco from Boston in March, Brendan Eich should have been unwinding. It was the end of his first week as chief executive of Mozilla, the nonprofit organization he'd co-founded 16 years earlier to promote an Internet built on open technology. On top of that, he'd just spent a long day talking about data privacy at a Harvard University seminar. CNET

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Twitter plans a shakeup for its media division For years, Twitter has said it wants to reach every person on the planet. And for years, Twitter hasn't been doing a good job of getting there. That is, in part, why Chief Operating Officer Ali Rowghani announced his resignation on Thursday morning. He was the guy who placed himself in charge of fixing Twitter’s growth problem, and ultimately, the buck stopped with him. Medium

A history of videogame hardware: Nintendo Game Boy Nintendo's Game Boy became synonymous with handheld gaming overnight. A system with interchangeable games, it could be played anywhere, combining portability, miniaturization and entertainment -- three of the most important attributes of today's emerging technology -- into a single, affordable, power-light device. Edge

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