Lost and found: Rehber helps pilgrims locate family and friends easily

Lost and found: Rehber helps pilgrims locate family and friends easily
Rehber — a “system and device that helps families find each other during Hajj” . (Supplied)
Updated 26 November 2018

Lost and found: Rehber helps pilgrims locate family and friends easily

Lost and found: Rehber helps pilgrims locate family and friends easily
  • Rehber is a “system and device that helps families find each other during Hajj”
  • The device, a plain wristband, has a range of up to five kilometers and works independently of a mobile network, phone, or sim card

DUBAI: “Everyone has a story about a relative getting lost during Hajj,” says designer Hamza Oza. “Even in my family, my grandmother got lost during Umrah.”
Oza is explaining the inspiration behind his invention, Rehber — a “system and device that helps families find each other during Hajj” — which he exhibited at the Global Grad Show during Dubai Design Week this month. The device, a plain wristband (in keeping with the aesthetic ethos of the pilgrimage), has a range of up to five kilometers and works independently of a mobile network, phone, or sim card. A web-based dashboard enables authorized users to search for a particular device (or the wearer can activate their device and send an alert to the website).

With two million pilgrims attending Hajj this year — and with Vision 2030’s aim of increasing that number to eight million — there’s clearly a market for Rehber. “As far as I know, a lot of the Hajj missions are concerned with this,” Oza says. “They want to be able to identify where their pilgrims are. I’m sure the Saudi government is interested in knowing where people are too.”
And while many pilgrims will have their own means of tracking locations, many more cannot afford a smartphone or smartwatch.

“Hajj is a massive event. It’s a huge spectrum, from the Bangladeshi village elder to the New York executive. So I wanted to make it as easy and affordable as possible for pilgrims to use,” Oza tells Arab News. “Each device should retail for about 25 pounds (around $32). So, if you’re a family of four, it becomes affordable. By keeping the wristband basic and dumb, I can make all the bigger changes on the website, so that means you don’t have to worry about updating software and stuff.”
Oza’s device clearly has a huge potential user-base (not just among pilgrims, he suggests, explaining that an easy-to-use, lightweight tracking device has several possible commercial applications), but, as he remarks, most potential customers will hope it’s a waste of money.
“The best-case scenario for this device is that it’s always hidden and you never have to use it,” he says. “But if you do, it’s there.”


China lands on Mars in latest advance for its space program

China lands on Mars in latest advance for its space program
Updated 15 May 2021

China lands on Mars in latest advance for its space program

China lands on Mars in latest advance for its space program
  • China’s first Mars landing follows its launch last month of the main section of what will be a permanent space station

BEIJING: China has landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time in the latest advance for its space program.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday that the lander had touched down, citing the China National Space Administration.
Plans call for a rover to stay in the lander for a few days of diagnostic tests before rolling down a ramp to explore an icy area of Mars known as Utopia Planitia. It will join an American one that arrived at the red planet in February.
China’s first Mars landing follows its launch last month of the main section of what will be a permanent space station and a mission that brought back rocks from the moon late last year.
“China has left a footprint on Mars for the first time, an important step for our country’s space exploration,” Xinhua said in announcing the landing on one of its social media accounts.
The US has had nine successful landings on Mars since 1976. The Soviet Union landed on the planet in 1971, but the mission failed after the craft stopped transmitting information soon after touchdown.
A rover and a tiny helicopter from the American landing in February are currently exploring Mars. NASA expects the rover to collect its first sample in July for return to Earth in a decade.


Astronauts leave ISS, begin return journey to Earth on SpaceX craft

Astronauts leave ISS, begin return journey to Earth on SpaceX craft
Updated 02 May 2021

Astronauts leave ISS, begin return journey to Earth on SpaceX craft

Astronauts leave ISS, begin return journey to Earth on SpaceX craft
  • Astronauts Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi went to space last November as the crew on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a vehicle made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX

WASHINGTON: Four astronauts left the International Space Station on Saturday aboard a SpaceX vessel, after more than 160 days in space which will culminate in a splash landing off the Florida coast.
The Crew Dragon capsule undocked from the ISS as scheduled at 8:35 p.m. (0035 Sunday GMT). With the flight back to Earth expected to take six-and-a-half hours, the crew was scheduled to splash down in the dark of night off Panama City, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:57 am.
“Dragon separation visually confirmed,” a NASA commentator said after two sets of six hooks tying the capsule to the ISS retracted.
The capsule then fired a series of short bursts with its thrusters to gently ease away from the ISS.
NASA livestream footage showed the Crew Dragon capsule moving off into the dark as it began its journey back to Earth, its rear engines lighting up in small flashes.
Seven astronauts remained on the ISS including a new crew of four who arrived on a different SpaceX craft last week.
“Thanks for your hospitality,” Michael Hopkins, one of the departing US astronauts, said as the capsule moved away. “We’ll see you back on Earth.”
NASA and SpaceX have alternative splash down sites ready, aside from Panama City, if need be.
“We have been practicing to recover the crews day or night,” Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew program manager, said shortly before the capsule’s departure.
“The ships have lots of lighting,” helped by “good moonlight,” he said, adding that weather conditions were excellent, with calm seas.
SpaceX boats are expected to reach the capsule about 10 minutes after splashdown.
Astronauts Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi went to space last November as the crew on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a vehicle made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has become NASA’s favored commercial transportation partner.
Prior to that, two American astronauts made a test mission to the ISS in May and stayed for two months.
That was the first launch to the ISS from US soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. It was also the first crewed mission run by a private company, as opposed to NASA.
Until then US astronauts had caught rides to the ISS aboard Russian spacecraft.


What We Are Buying Today: Grounded

What We Are Buying Today: Grounded
Photo/Supplied
Updated 01 May 2021

What We Are Buying Today: Grounded

What We Are Buying Today: Grounded
  • Grounded is a Saudi brand that promotes the natural energy, and healing and soothing features of gemstones

Modern technology has many practical benefits and helps us keep pace with a fast-changing world, but our smartphones and computers can cause health problems when used excessively.
Grounded is a Saudi brand that promotes the natural energy, and healing and soothing features of gemstones.
Gemstones have long been used throughout human history as a way to achieve natural balance and ward off negative energies in homes. The brand offers glass water flasks with 11 types of gemstones, including citrine, smoky quartz, obsidian, green fluorite, ruby zoisite, lapis lazuli and amethyst.
Each stone promises an array of special healing qualities relevant to your lifestyle.
Flasks are half a liter in size, and feature a gemstone shaped like an obelisk that helps radiate calming energies.
One ancient way to preserve the beneficial properties said to be present in natural minerals is through the use of pottery vessels. Stone is said to restore the vitality and energy of flowing water.
When a gemstone is placed inside a water container, it can radiate the calm energy of the surrounding water and bring tranquility to your home, Grounded says.
If you are interested in the world of natural energy you can find more details about the benefits of each gemstone through the Instagram account @grounded.232.


Encrypted chat app Signal alleges flaws in Cellebrite equipment

Encrypted chat app Signal alleges flaws in Cellebrite equipment
Updated 22 April 2021

Encrypted chat app Signal alleges flaws in Cellebrite equipment

Encrypted chat app Signal alleges flaws in Cellebrite equipment

WASHINGTON: Encrypted chat app Signal suggested in a blog post published on Wednesday that products sold to law enforcement from Israeli surveillance provider Cellebrite can easily be sabotaged.
Cellebrite DI Ltd, which specializes in helping law enforcement and intelligence agencies copy call logs, texts, photos and other data off of smartphones, has repeatedly come under fire for past sales to authoritarian governments, including Russia and China.
Signal, a privacy-focused app eager to show the lengths it goes to protect users’ conversations, clashed with Cellebrite last year when the Israeli company said its equipment was upgraded to allow law enforcement to scoop up Signal messages from devices in their possession.
Signal creator and CEO Moxie Marlinspike said in his blog post on Wednesday he had come into possession of a bag of Cellebrite equipment and examined the gear inside.
He was “surprised to find that very little care seems to have been given to Cellebrite’s own software security,” Marlinspike said, noting it would be easy to add a specially crafted file onto a phone that would derail Cellebrite’s functionality.
In a statement, Cellebrite did not directly address Marlinspike’s claim but said that the company’s employees “continually audit and update our software in order to equip our customers with the best digital intelligence solutions available.”
Elsewhere in his blog post, Marlinspike alleged he had found snippets of code from Apple Inc. inside Cellebrite’s software, something he said “might present a legal risk for Cellebrite and its users” if it was done without authorization.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Signal’s allegations come as Cellebrite prepares to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm, valuing the equity of the combined company at around $2.4 billion. 


American, Russians dock at ISS in flight honoring first man in space

American, Russians dock at ISS in flight honoring first man in space
Updated 10 April 2021

American, Russians dock at ISS in flight honoring first man in space

American, Russians dock at ISS in flight honoring first man in space
  • Launch timed with 60th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic flight
  • It was also the 40th anniversary of the first launch of NASA’s space shuttle

MOSCOW: A trio of Russian and American space travelers launched successfully and reached the International Space Station on Friday.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov blasted off as scheduled at 12:42 p.m. (0742 GMT, 3:42 a.m. EDT) aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
They docked at the station after a two-orbit journey that lasted just over three hours.
It is the second space mission for Vande Hei and the third for Novitskiy, while Dubrov is on his first mission.
The launch came three days before the 60th anniversary of the first human flight to space by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the 40th anniversary of the first launch of NASA’s space shuttle.
“When we started, we were competing with each other and that was one of the reasons we were so successful at the beginning of human space flight,” Vande Hei said at a pre-flight news conference Thursday. “And as time went on, we realized that by working together we can achieve even more. And of course, that’s continuing to this day and I hope that it will continue into the future.”
The three will work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.
On the International Space Station, they are joining NASA’s Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov arrived in a Soyuz ship in October; Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Noguchi — the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience — joined them in November.