Based in Portland, Oregon, Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental's US national security contracts weren't the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fitted nicely with Amazon's government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA. To help with due diligence, AWS, which was overseeing the prospective acquisition, hired a third-party company to scrutinise Elemental's security, according to one person familiar with the process. The first pass uncovered troubling issues, prompting AWS to take a closer look at Elemental's main product: the expensive servers that customers installed in their networks to handle the video compression. These servers were assembled for Elemental by … [Read more...] about Big hack: How tiny chips ended up inside Chinese-built US hardware
How computer chips are made
MIT researchers have built an ingestible sensor equipped with genetically engineered bacteria that can diagnose bleeding in the stomach or other gastrointestinal problems. This "bacteria-on-a-chip" approach combines sensors made from living cells with ultra-low-power electronics that convert the bacterial response into a wireless signal that can be read by a smartphone. "By combining engineered biological sensors together with low-power wireless electronics, we can detect biological signals in the body and in near real-time, enabling new diagnostic capabilities for human health applications," says Timothy Lu, an MIT associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of biological engineering. In the new study, appearing in the May 24 online edition of Science, the researchers created sensors that respond to heme, a component of blood, and showed that they work in pigs. They also designed sensors that can respond to a molecule that is a marker of inflammation. Lu … [Read more...] about Ingestible ‘Bacteria on a Chip’ could Help Diagnose Disease
A POLITICO investigation found that the US rarely polices the various new avenues Chinese nationals use to secure access to American technology. WASHINGTON — The U.S. government was well aware of China’s aggressive strategy of leveraging private investors to buy up the latest American technology when, early last year, a company called Avatar Integrated Systems showed up at a bankruptcy court in Delaware hoping to buy the California chip-designer ATop Tech. ATop’s product was potentially groundbreaking — an automated designer capable of making microchips that could power anything from smartphones to high-tech weapons systems. It’s the type of product that a U.S. government report had recently cited as “critical to defense systems and U.S. military strength.” And the source of the money behind the buyer, Avatar, was an eye-opener: Its board chairman and sole officer was a Chinese steel magnate whose Hong Kong-based company was a major … [Read more...] about How China acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of US technology
Last year an American company microchipped dozens of its workers. In a “chip party” that made headlines around the world, employees lined up to have a device the size of a grain of rice implanted under the skin between their thumb and forefinger. At first, Todd Westby, the CEO of Three Square Market, thought only about five or six people – him and a couple of directors, some of the people who worked in the IT department – would volunteer. But of the 90 people who work at the headquarters, 72 are now chipped; Westby has a chip in each hand. They can be used to open security doors, log on to computers and make payments at the company’s vending machines. Can he see it taking off at lots of other companies? “Not necessarily,” he says. Or at least not yet. It’s partly a generational thing, he believes. “You may never want to be chipped but if you’re a millennial, you have no problems. They think it’s cool.” There are … [Read more...] about Employers are monitoring computers, toilet breaks – even emotions. Is your boss watching you?
As the U.S. and China threaten to impose tariffs on goods from aluminum to wine, the two nations are waging a separate economic battle that could determine who owns the next wave of computing.Chinese universities and U.S. technology companies such as International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are racing to develop quantum computers, a type of processing that’s forecast to be so powerful it can transform how drug-makers, agriculture companies and auto manufacturers discover compounds and materials.Quantum computing uses the movement of subatomic particles to process data in amounts that modern computers can’t handle. Mostly theoretical now, the technology is expected to be able to perform calculations that make today’s computers look akin to an abacus.While overall spending by China is unknown, its government is building a $10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences in Hefei, Anhui Province, which is slated to open in 2020. … [Read more...] about Forget the Trade War. China Wants to Win the Computing Arms Race