IoT news of the week for Sept. 17, 2021

SEP 17, 2021

Home Assistant tries with a new hub: The campaign for Home Assistant Amber is now live. For $149, customers can buy a Raspberry Pi computer that is pre-loaded with Home Assistant’s software and several radios including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. (The Zigbee radio will support Matter once that certification is out.) While some people are familiar with SmartThings or other more in-depth home automation platforms, this is a device that normal people can use to get started on the Home Assistant platform without having to worry about buying their own computer, attaching dongles, or installing software. (CrowdSupply)

Your fitness data may have been leaked: The health data of 61 million people has been leaked by a contractor called GetHealth, which left unsecured fitness data on the open internet. It’s unclear if anyone with nefarious intentions has accessed the data; it was first discovered and accessed by a security researcher who notified GetHealth of the issue and then publicized the leak after getting notice that the data had been secured. Related to this breach is news that the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday issued a policy statement reminding holders of health care information that even if they are not governed by the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act, they do have a responsibility to notify consumers if their data privacy has been breached. This, honestly, is good news for consumers, since third parties are often the reason sensitive data gets breached. (Computer Weekly, FTC)

Bendable memory could enable smart clothing: This week, Kevin explains how the combination of foldable CPUs and flexible memory would make smart clothing more plausible, which would in turn change the way we monitor our health. He provides examples of smart hats that could detect heat exhaustion and kinesiology tape or braces that could track torsion and stress on joints. I’m pretty excited by the ideas here. (StaceyonIoT)

Arm’s getting ready for the software-defined car: Chip design firm Arm has launched an ambitious open source software project that will make development for cars more like developing for the web. As cars become more like computers on wheels, the many different chips and software that combine to make up a car’s safety system, infotainment system, and drive system are becoming one single system. And to make sure security, safety, and development times are acceptable, automakers needed a new way to build these systems. Arm thinks that the new way will look like the current way developers build enterprise software, using containers, over-the-air updates, and cloud functions. To make the transition easier, Arm has developed Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE), an open source framework for building software for cars, and created a special interest group to govern the framework. Several automotive suppliers, including Volkswagen’s CARIAD company and Continental, are participating. (Arm)

Infineon’s 64-bit microcontrollers now have more security qualifications: Infineon Technologies says it has achieved the Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) Level 2 certification for its 64-bit family of MCUs used in industrial and IoT applications. Arm announced its PSA security program in 2017. The program has three levels of security, with Level 3 being the most rigorous. Level 2 certification includes outside evaluation of the hardware root of trust and requires pen tests to establish if the nine security requirements of Level 2 security have been met. (Infineon)

Cisco embeds its sensors with a California vineyard: Man, this story takes me back to the early days of 2015 when Intel, IBM, and Libelium all pitched connected vineyard stories. This week, Bouchaine Vineyards said it would use Cisco’s Industrial Asset Vision sensors to measure temperature, light levels, humidity, and more on stick-mounted cameras and sensors. As with most of these stories, the news touts how the sensors can reduce water usage, but I was more intrigued by the promise that the data from these sensors, when analyzed, could take the hundreds of years of anecdotal data derived from walking the vineyards and digitize it. It implies that collecting such data would allow farmers to compress generations of knowledge based on what would be a limited data set. Although, given climate change, it’s unclear if knowledge from 100 years ago will help too much. (The Spoon)