Click finds out how West Yorkshire CSI can tell what you've touched from your fingerprint, plus printable circuits and a taste of the year's design innovations.
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I ordered an e-reader with an extra large font.
I think I'm going to need to buy a bigger case.
Never mind the function, feel the form.
This week on Click we'll look at some of the device designs
we could find in our hands, our homes
and on our roads in the next decade.
But whatever we touch, we definitely will leave our mark.
We're with the police force using the latest technology
to get much more from the scene of the crime.
And if you really want to make that mark,
why not use it to build an electronic circuit
with some rather unusual paint?
We'll also have a trip inside the world of The Game Of Thrones
courtesy of virtual reality.
All that plus the latest tech news and a chat about chat in Webscape.
Welcome to Click, I'm Spencer Kelly.
Welcome to the Design Museum in London for an exhibition
showcasing the finalists for the Design of the Year award.
There are plenty of weird and wonderful creations
including a machine which reads text, sends it into a website
and prints it out using good old pen and paper.
That is a theme we are seeing amongst some of the exhibits this year,
this merging of digital with good old analogue.
Take this Lego calendar, for example.
Yes, that's right, a Lego calendar.
You arrange your team's time using real coloured blocks but then,
if you take a photo of it, an app analyses the image
and syncs it with your digital schedule.
Talking of blocks, here's a concept smartphone
where the components are swappable and upgradable.
Want more memory or a better camera? Well, just plug it in.
And then there's the eye exam smartphone app that should help
prevent the onset of blindness in the developing world.
These awards are all about selecting products that take
a fresh look at existing problems and solves them in a better,
or at least, a unique way.
Ever got the feeling you weren't getting enough from your piano?
This one has gel keys to helps your fingers feel something
closer to the sound that they produce.
Sounds like Chopsticks, feels like jelly.
Mm, squidgy. More from the Design Awards later,
but now we turn our attention to crime, and specifically, solving it.
For the last 100 years, one of the main methods
to catching criminals has been the fingerprint.
Although this is a fairly rudimentary technique,
scientists are now hauling it into the 21st century.
Rebecca Morelle has been finding out how mass spectrometry
can tell you more about the owner of a set of prints than just who they are.
As the night draws in, criminals start to go to work,
and so too do West Yorkshire's Crime Scene Investigators.
POLICE RADIO CHATTER
Yeah, if you can show me the file to log 538, please.
A break-in nearby has been reported.
Chris Barley is on his way to investigate.
The burglars have forced their way into the house
and it's upstairs where they've caused the most damage.
We believe the suspects were probably looking for jewellery,
that kind of thing, but they have torn open every drawer,
suitcases have been opened, cupboards, contents thrown out,
so we've had a very messy search.
Amongst the chaos, it is the CSI officer's job to find any clues
the suspects have left behind.
Finding a fingerprint could be the key to cracking this case.
Something's been thrown under the bed, there's two mobile phones.
It's quite possible they've been handled.
They've seen the model.
This place has been completely ransacked.
The CSI team behind me are searching for any scraps of evidence
that they can find.
Despite all the advances in technology, central really
for the last 100 years has been the fingerprint for identifying suspects.
A new technology promises to bring this to a whole new level.
These scientists from Sheffield Hallam University have joined forces
with the police in the first trial of its kind.
They say a fingerprint reveals far more than just a person's identity.
It can provide vital clues about the suspect's activities
hours before the crime took place.
The samples are analysed here in the lab.
They're looking for any trace, no matter how small,
of substances hidden within or on the prints.
They use a technique called mass spectroscopy.
It helps them to find out what these chemicals are by seeing
how they behave when they're fired through a magnetic field.
To make it easier, let's imagine we have a ping pong ball,
a football and a cannonball, and the field is a steady stream of wind.
If you throw the ping pong ball,
the gust will have a big effect on its path through the air.
The heavier football's journey is less affected
and the cannonball is pretty tough to move.
By studying how these balls travel and where they end up
can tell you a lot about what the objects are.
It's the same for molecules and atoms.
This was a crime scene mark found on a laptop.
So we analysed it.
The software enables you to see the molecules distributed on this mark.
What we think it is here, is cocaine
because the weight or the mass-to-charge, more technically,
would correspond to that presented by cocaine.
We can distinguish males from females or we can understand
whether or not a person has dealt drugs or taken drugs.
We can detect in just substances so we may be able to reconstruct
what that person has been eating just before committing the crime.
Back on the road and the forensic squad have been called to another break-in.
This time, a television has been stolen.
More prints have been left, helping the team build a profile
of the person that's committed this crime.
We've got to use all the tools at our disposal to try and identify
and solve crime.
Criminals are getting better at doing what they do
and we need to keep up with them.
This is just one way we might improve the way we use fingerprints
and ultimately prevent and detect crime.
POLICE RADIO CHATTER
The calls from police HQ keep flooding in.
The work is never done,
and any new tools for this CSI team will of course be most welcome
to help with their ongoing fight against crime.
So at the sharp end, spectrometry can be used to detect fine details
and chemical traces in things like a fingerprint.
But just because you're not a member of the team at CSI West Yorkshire
doesn't mean you can't do a spot of analysis on your own at home.
In this envelope is one of the nominations here at the Designs of the Year exhibition
and it is a Do It Yourself spectrometer for your smartphone.
Step one - Take out, fold up and stick together the premade template,
or you can download the PDF and print one for yourself.
Note the slit, very important.
Step two - Vandalise a DVD.
Taking just the transparent layer, you can create a quick and dirty diffraction grating,
perfect for splitting light into its constituent parts.
Step three - Stick the whole thing onto your phone's camera,
point it at a light or shine a light through something,
and you'll get a spectral fingerprint that unique to its chemistry.
This was developed to help identify environmental pollutants,
which means step four, where you upload the image
to the online spectral workbench, will then attempt to analyse
the object's chemical composition and spot contaminants like crude oil.
How illuminating, chemically speaking at least.
Next up, a look at this week's Tech News.
Another month, another shopping splurge.
Facebook has announced it will buy Oculus VR,
a start-up specialising in virtual reality head sets
for a cool 2 billion.
But not everyone's happy about the kick-starter success
selling to Facebook.
Minecraft creator, Markus Persson,
donated to the kit's development back in 2012
alongside more than 9,000 other crowd funders.
Following the news, Persson cancelled plans to create
a special VR version of his game, saying Facebook creeps him out.
The US Department of Justice has made the first convictions
against distributors of pirated mobile apps.
The two Americans have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit
criminal copyright infringement in the case
that involves more than one million downloads
worth more than 700,000.
The Appbucket Group offered its own version
of the Android market place which could be installed
on a user's smartphone until it was seized in 2012.
Apple has said it wants more ethnic diversity
in the basic range of text messaging emoji icons.
While dozens of icons appear to show white faces,
only two are specifically Asian and none are black.
The icons are based on a standard list agreed
by a consortium of tech companies.
Previous petitions have lobbied for the addition of everything
from hot dog to tacos.
And for tech-savvy fashionistas, one company, Iconomy,
has developed a smart mannequin that can tell you what it's wearing
via a transmitter and an app.
Inside the model is the so-called VM beacon which works
even when the store is closed.
Shoppers who've opted into the system are given the must-have
item's location in-store or a link to the online shop
if they can't be bothered to carry their bags home.
One of the reasons I never do any gardening
is because I can't use my tablet while I'm wearing heavy-duty gloves.
The touch screen doesn't work.
But fortunately, my azaleas need suffer no more,
because I have discovered this.
It's a tube of conductive paint.
What you do is just slap a dollop on each fingertip like that.
Whip out your hairdryer, give it a couple of minutes...
The magic should happen.
This is not the only use for this kind of paint.
In fact, it could have some pretty serious implications
for the future of electronics.
Dan Simmons has been getting hands-on and hands off again
with some of the latest inky innovations.
Getting kids interested in the classroom can be a tricky business,
but to be able to paint instruments and then play them,
that suddenly makes things much more fun.
By hooking up painted circuits to a single Arduino board
and speaker, a range of instruments can be created.
You don't even have to touch it to play it.
Each of these circles has its own electro-magnetic field.
When my hand comes close enough to each one, it breaks that
and sends a signal back to the circuit board.
That then plays the appropriate sound.
This prototype only plays certain MP3 sounds all at the same volume.
But by turning the paint into a sensor,
the different levels of resistance can be measured
so you could alter each note's volume or pitch.
You've got to remember to take your hands away.
The company behind the paint, Bare Conductive,
says music isn't its only forte.
It could also be fine tuned for interactive books, door bells,
hidden sensors and everyday light switches.
These could be covered with wallpaper or painted over with regular paint,
so you don't even have to see them.
One of the exciting things is giving it to a much wider audience
and they come back and say, actually it's really amazing
for this application, or I really want to make this book or a poster
or something else, that we would never think of, because we are doing
other things, but also it's just collective brainpower, effectively.
You do need to wait for each circuit that you've painted to dry
before you can test it out.
Painted circuits is all well and good for amateur enthusiasts
but for professional engineers, much faster and more precise use
of conductive ink is being investigated.
At the University of Tokyo,
researchers are using desktop printers to do something similar
which, they say, could revolutionise the electronics industry.
Traditionally in a lab, prototype circuit boards are sent for centring
and take a number of days before being returned for testing.
But Professor Kawahara and his team have printed out
working flexible circuit boards in a matter of seconds using photo paper
and a special ink that contains silver.
The fact that all this is flexible and can be printed and folded
means we could create our own 3D objects using a 3D printer
and put those paper circuits inside
so they can be a little bit more interesting.
Here's a torch that we made
and sensors, this one for example, has an antenna built-in,
and this detects how much rain is falling on it.
These could be, perhaps, planted across an entire field,
hundreds of them, and then they'd biodegrade
so they wouldn't be around after they were needed.
Once the circuits are printed, the electrical components,
like a battery or LED light, can be attached by hand.
It's fiddly and takes a while.
And that could be a problem for more complex prototypes.
So, this research has been taken further by Microsoft's R&D centre
These stickers make things easy by combining components
with adhesive to cut down production time.
The simple and instant fusion of stickers with the circuits
means that components can be easily recycled, perfect for prototyping.
Making electronics this simple
could lead to a new era of product creation.
You can print out the functionality a working circuit,
print out the form factor and combine the two.
So you can imagine in future there being a machine, a printing machine,
which prints working devices, it doesn't just print empty shells
of space invaders but maybe a space invader with interactivity.
Whilst you can buy electronic devices that have already been imagined
from the high street, these new DIY circuits open the door
to anyone with a printer to create simple gadgets, unique to each of us.
Dan Simmons there, always on the lookout for new toys.
As we heard earlier, the big news story of the week
has centred on Facebook's purchase of virtual reality company, Oculus.
It's certainly left a lot of people wondering
what the future of VR might be.
In the past, we've associated it mainly with gaming,
but virtual reality could change the way we view
other forms of entertainment like TV and movies,
as LJ Rich experienced recently in Texas,
or should that be on the North Wall of the Kingdom of Westeros?
This is a virtual experience that promises to put viewers
into one of the world's most popular television shows.
The Oculus Rift visor allows you to see what many characters
in the show would see and there's even a wind machine to create
the breeze that you would experience if you were to look over
the seven kingdoms.
Facebook says its acquisition of Oculus will change the way we work,
play and communicate, but I don't like strangers poking me
in the real world, let alone the virtual one!
I found the whole thing rather convincing.
Not surprising really as it's backed up by serious processing grunge
from the same company who produced the Oscar-winning effects in Gravity.
We've literally got ridiculous-sized power machines
which we've custom-made,
3.3 gigahertz monsters feeding each machine.
You're seeing stuff being rendered at 4K at 60 frames per second.
There's no latency as you look around which make it super smooth.
Given the average life expectancy of a character in Game Of Thrones,
it's no wonder the experience is quite short.
And even though you follow a selected path rather than explore the world
freely, it's impossible not to feel impressed at this simulated world,
particularly when looking over a cliff edge that drops 700 feet.
I feel like I'm just on a tiny platform at the top of a cliff.
It's quite vertiginous even though I know this isn't real.
It is a little worrying.
It's an odd experience, because of course I know
I'm not ascending the wall at Westeros,
but the feedback that you're getting from at least three of your senses
feels pretty real.
It's cold, it's sort of rattly and you're looking at something in 3D.
I'm glad I've done it but I don't think I want to do it again.
Now the thing is, we take this to directors that we work with
in the film world and say, fill your boots.
This is for you to write now, it's a whole new set of tools
about nonlinear storytelling for you to learn.
I don't think we're too far away from starting a project where
it will be a properly led film directorial effort.
LJ Rich. And despite what you may think, winter is coming.
That's a Game Of Thrones reference, although a bit pirate if you ask me.
Never mind. Anyway, Facebook isn't just buying goggles.
It also recently forked out 19 billion
for the instant messaging app, WhatsApp.
Which chat client is best for you?
That's one of the big topics of the year so far,
and here's Kate Russell with her thoughts in Webscape.
With so many chat apps vying for your attention,
how do you choose the right one?
You'll obviously be swayed by how many of your contacts you can reach
with a platform, and smart voice mail service Libon just added Open Chat
to its free apps which lets users send text messages, pictures,
audio, location data and more to any of their contacts
no matter what messaging service they use.
# Did you get my text..? #
This open system has the big bonus that your contacts
won't be plagued by sign-up requests from the service
in order for you to message them.
They can even see it in a web browser if they don't have a smartphone.
For contacts also using Libon, you'll get free HD voice calls on 3G, 4G
and wireless, although do remember your service provider
might charge you for data when not on Wi-Fi.
There are so many other options in this space
we could be here all day, so I'll just pick out the highlights.
With Facebook forking out over 19 billion for it recently,
WhatsApp has to get a mention.
It lets users send free text, image, voice, video
and location data to other WhatsApp users.
As with all of these app-to-app services,
it will trawl through your contacts to identify people
you can connect with when you first install it.
# Will you follow me to London...? #
The king of the multimedia chat apps in Asia is Wechat,
with around 250 million users.
Again, free on all leading platforms with similar features to WhatsApp,
but including voice and video calls already.
This app also uses QR codes to add contacts
and set up group chats which is an important feature for those
writing in Chinese languages, which use thousands of characters
rather than the Latin alphabets the Western QWERTY keyboard
is optimised for.
Another popular cross-platform service is Kik, with features
similar to WhatsApp and Wechat.
One big difference, though, is you don't need to
share your personal details to send a message,
like phone number or e-mail address.
Instead, you create a username, so it's perfect for connecting
with people you might not want to be in contact with for ever,
like on holiday or through a dating site.
# A message to you, Rudy... #
For an alternative in the private messaging line-up,
there is also BBM now available on IOS and android
as well as BlackBerry handsets.
You share a PIN number rather than your personal information.
As well as the privacy benefits,
you might also find a lot of your friends are using this app
as it had over 75 million users before BlackBerry ran into troubles
a few years ago.
If you're a total privacy freak then Telegram Messenger
is one app that's been gaining a lot of traction lately.
Messages between users are free and private,
and because of the distributive server setup, they're fast too.
# Hear a secret message to you... #
It's early days for this app, so only the IOS and android versions are official,
and the likelihood is none of your contacts will be on it yet.
But as it is an open API project,
meaning the source code to build compatible apps and add-ons
is freely available for other developers,
there are a lot of unofficial builds coming online for other smartphones
and even a desktop client.
You can also initiate a secret chat which heavily encrypts messages
user-to-user with the unique key to avoid interception
by hackers or government snoops,
and prevents the other chatter from forwarding messages.
# Me and you... #
Thanks for those wise messages, Kate.
And you will find all of those links on our website as normal
along with various bits of this week's programme
and your regularly updated feast of tech news.
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That's it for now. Thanks for watching. See you next time.