Meta — formerly Facebook — is trying to create what it describes as an embodied version of the internet, and it’s working hard on many individual pieces that are supposed to enable users to interact with it. Recently, a team at Reality Labs (RL) Research has unveiled a prototype of virtual reality haptic gloves capable of simulating complex sensations to provide their wearer with natural feedback when interacting with virtual objects.
The gloves use arrays of microfluidic actuators driven by the world’s first high-speed microfluidic processor to achieve millisecond response times while keeping power consumption minimal — something that’s extremely important for any wearable hardware device.
Once ready for release, the gloves could be used to support many virtual reality use cases. “The value of hands to solving the interaction problem in AR and VR is immense” explained RL Research Director Sean Keller. “We use our hands to communicate with others, to learn about the world, and to take action within it. We can take advantage of a lifetime of motor learning if we can bring full hand presence into AR and VR”.
Unfortunately, a lot of work still needs to be done for the technology to leave the research lab where it’s being developed. According to Keller, the team has made groundbreaking progress across multiple scientific and engineering disciplines, but the light at the end of the tunnel is only starting to become visible.
Meta isn’t the only company working on haptic gloves for virtual reality. There’s also HaptX, whose founder and CEO Jake Rubin has accused Meta of copying its patented designs. In an official statement, the company claims that Meta’s gloves appear to be substantially identical to HaptX’s patented technology.
“We welcome interest and competition in the field of microfluidic haptics; however, competition must be fair for the industry to thrive” said Rubin. Meta has yet to respond to the accusation, so stay tuned for updates.
New Variants Of Android Spyware Are Targeting Middle East Users
Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates.
British security software and hardware company Sophos has recently revealed that new variants of Android spyware used by the C-23 group are actively targeting users in the Middle East.
C-23, also known as GnatSpy, FrozenCell, or VAMP, is what cybersecurity professionals refer to as an advanced persistent threat (APT) adversary. Such adversaries are typically well-funded and well-organized, which allows them to quickly evolve their tactics to overcome even the most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses.
The C-23 adversary has been known for targeting individuals in the Middle East since at least 2017, with a particular focus on the Palestinian territories.
The latest variants of its Android spyware are most likely distributed via a download link sent to victims as text messages. The link leads to a malicious app that pretends to install legitimate updates on the victim’s mobile device. When the app is launched for the first time, it requests a number of permissions that let it spy on the victim. It then disguises itself to make removal more difficult.
“The new variants use more, and more varied, disguises than previous versions, hiding behind popular app icons such as Chrome, Google, Google Play, YouTube, or the BOTIM voice-over-IP service” explain Sophos. “If targets click a fraudulent icon, the spyware launches the legitimate version of the app, while maintaining surveillance in the background”.
The information the new spyware can steal includes everything from text messages to the names of installed apps to contacts from all kinds of apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp. The spyware can even dismiss notifications and toggle “Do Not Disturb” settings.
Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates. The company’s own mobile antivirus app, called Sophos Intercept X for Mobile, can detect the new spyware as well as all kinds of other malicious software.