Plastic ID cards are history. This Smart ID card comes with its own adaptable e-paper display.

Easily the most advanced ID card concept I’ve seen, the Smart ID Card from KongTech has its own e-paper display that showcases employee details, has a built-in microphone for recording meetings and presentations, and has RFID capabilities that allow it to work not just as an employee access card, but also as a wallet by letting you store a credit/ATM card inside it. Designed to hang around your neck, the Smart ID Card becomes your one-stop EDC for everything at work, from logging in and out, to paying for meals, and even documenting meetings and important pieces of info.

Designers: KongTech Design

What the Smart ID card does is put all the tools you need at and around work, on a lanyard that hangs from your neck. The e-paper display is great for being able to showcase your identity, while also letting you cycle through the smart card’s myriad features. The card sports an incredibly slick, aluminum design that looks like it was taken from Apple’s playbook. It does, however, sport a USB-C port on the base (something uncharacteristic of Apple). The card’s e-paper screen on the front has perhaps the smallest bezels of any e-paper device to currently exist (the Kindle has some freakishly thick bezels), and even incorporates a tiny camera into its lower bezel. On the side of the Smart ID Card lies its singular power button, allowing you to switch the device on or off.

Kongtech’s Smart ID Card has three key features that broadly cover office productivity as well as EDC functionality. At its very outset, it hopes to replace the mundane, boring RFID card that’s been around for decades, allowing people to simply tap to access buildings, rooms, and to mark attendance at work. The Smart ID Card upgrades that plastic rectangle to something more sophisticated-looking, and with the ability to dynamically change too, reflecting changes in your appearance or even in your position in the company as the years go by. It’s a hi-tech hybrid between an access card and an ID card or Name Tag.

While the Smart ID Card is much thicker than your conventional plastic RFID tag, it also comes with an empty slot that you can slide a credit/ATM card into, turning your ID card also into a de-facto wallet that you can carry around with you on your neck. The Smart ID Card doesn’t become a digital wallet itself (that would introduce way too many security vulnerabilities), but it does act as a physical one, holding your card so you can pop it out and use it at terminals, whether you’re at the office canteen, or you’ve popped out for a business lunch.

Sure, the Smart ID Card gets you in and out of buildings, lets you store your wallet, but it also proves to be quite useful while you’re at your desk too. The card comes with a built-in camera and microphone system that can record video and audio at the tap of a button. Designed to make capturing meetings and important work-related information easy, the Smart ID Card stores all the videos on its local memory, and lets you access it by either wirelessly or wired-ly transferring it to any machine. On the wired front, the Smart ID Card’s USB-C port on the base lets you connect it to devices as well as charge your card, giving you a week’s worth of use on a full-charge.

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California State Bar investigates data exposure involving 260,000 confidential case records

The California State Bar is investigating a potential data breach after finding that a public website published confidential information related to approximately 260,000 attorney discipline cases. Over the weekend, the bar said it learned of the exposure after finding the files on a website that aggregates public case records. According to the organization, the website displayed information related to case numbers, file dates, case status as well as respondent and complaining witness names. As of Saturday evening, the bar said all the leaked information had been removed from the website.

State Bar officials don’t know if someone obtained the information by hacking. The organization has tasked the provider of its Odyssey case management system to investigate the incident. It has also notified law enforcement and hired a team of forensic experts to aid with the investigation. “The State Bar deeply apologizes to anyone impacted by this breach,” the organization said. “We are doing everything in our power to get to the bottom of it and prevent any future harms.”

Craighill Tetra is a fidget toy for your hands and your brain

Looking like the kind of fidget puzzle you’d find in Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, the Tetra is a 4-part puzzle that comes together to form a tetrahedral mass. The goal? Separate the 4 metal pieces as fast as you can!

The Tetra is a uniquely appealing desk toy that activates your manual dexterity skills, problem-solving abilities, and spatial reasoning. The 4 identical stainless steel pieces are designed to lock in only when oriented in a pre-determined pattern. Similarly, they can be removed only a certain way, making the puzzle challenging the first couple of times, and then fun and fidget-worthy after. When you’re not playing with the Tetra, it makes for a pretty mysterious and eye-catching objet d’art that you can place on your desk.

Designer: Revision for Craighill

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Available in both brushed Stainless Steel and PVD-coated black variants, the Tetra is engaging to look at and even more addictive when you begin playing with it. “On first glance the Tetra Puzzle might seem fairly straightforward; in reality, it’s anything but intuitive”, say the folks at Craighill. Solving it requires focus, attention, and an exploratory mindset that’s innately gratifying. It pushes your boundaries — if only a little bit — and invites you to learn something new.

The Tetra is just one of the many tabletop fidget puzzles from Craighill. Their arsenal also includes cube and sphere-shaped variants, all of which are sure to add a certain Je ne sais quoi to your workspace. Beyond its allure as a meditative object, it’s incredible to watch friends discover the magic for themselves. Whether or not you provide hints is up to you!

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Netflix refuses to carry Russian state TV channels

Netflix isn't bowing to Russian pressure to carry state-owned TV channels. The streaming service confirmed to Variety that it wouldn't carry the 20 free state channels required under a Russian law, including Channel One, NTV and Spa. The company has "no plans" to offer the programming in light of the "current situation," a spokesperson said — that is, it's not about to support Russian state media while the country invades Ukraine.

The law, known in the country as the Vitrina TV law, requires audiovisual services with more than 100,000 subscribers to carry the channels. National regulator Roskomnadzor labeled Netflix as one of those services in December. The measure has yet to be enforced, but there have been concerns Netflix would soon have to comply.

We've asked Netflix what it might do if the law takes effect. It might not be afraid to withdraw from Russia, however. Netflix only localized its service roughly a year ago, and it doesn't have employees in the country. It only started work on its first Russian original (an adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina) in May 2021, and a source for The Wall Street Journalclaims Netflix has fewer than 1 million Russian subscribers. This may be more of a symbolic move than a major sacrifice.

Nonetheless, it adds to a growing technology industry backlash to Russian state media. Companies like Meta, Microsoft and Google have heavily restricted Russian outlets like RT and Sputnik due to a European Union ban and general policies against disinformation. Western tech firms aren't willing to spread Russia's official message after the invasion of Ukraine, and they're increasingly unafraid of retaliation from Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration.

Disability organizations call on DOJ to finalize online accessibility rules

The American Council of the Blind, National Disability Rights Network, National Federation of the Blind and more than 170 other disability organizations signed a letter published today, calling for the Department of Justice to finalize rules for online accessibility. According to the letter, the rulemaking process began in 2010 "under Titles II and III of the ADA" but was withdrawn in 2017. Last year, US representative Ted Budd (R-NC) led the re-introduction of a bill proposing an Online Accessibility Act, which was initially introduced in October 2020.

In today's letter, addressed to assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke, the signees urged "the Department of Justice to maintain this rulemaking process as a priority and finalize a rule by the end of the current administration." It states that while the DoJ has held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes websites and other technologies critical to accessing a business' services, it has "failed to define when and how they should be accessible."

Director of advocacy and government affairs for the American Council of the Blind Clark Rachfal told Engadget that at the moment, the DoJ enforces accessibility online "on a case-by-case basis." 

"This is equivalent to enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act for the physical build environment by going door-to-door along main street," he said. The signatories of this letter want the DOJ to create enforceable accessibility standards "to ensure equal access to telehealth, distance learning, remote work, and online commerce for all people with disabilities," he added.

Efforts to come up with these rules have ebbed and flowed. The letter noted that "In 2018, the Department reconfirmed its position that the ADA applies to the internet but never completed rulemakings that were begun in 2010 under Titles II and III of the ADA and withdrawn in 2017."

The result is an online world where people with disabilities struggle to get their needs met. According to WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind), about 97 percent of the 1 million pages evaluated had WCAG 2 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) failures. These issues ranged from using low contrast text and missing form input labels to empty buttons and missing alt text for images.

Blind person using computer with braille computer display and a computer keyboard. Blindness aid, visual impairment, independent life concept.
zlikovec via Getty Images

"The absence of digital accessibility regulations in the intervening time period has resulted in persistent exclusion of people with disabilities from digital spaces covered by the ADA," the letter notes. It also highlights issues like "persistent barriers in telehealth accessibility," particularly for deaf users. While there haven't been quantitative studies on intersectional disabilities and how they relate to online accessibility, the letter states "anecdotal reports suggest that the vast majority of DeafBlind people are completely unable to utilize telehealth as it currently exists."

An American Foundation for the Blind study that's cited in the letter found that almost 60 percent of educators surveyed in Fall 2020 reported "their blind and low vision students could not access one or more of the digital learning tools they were expected to use in class." 

As the world increasingly lives and conducts business online, it's crucial that the digital world is accessible by design. The letter points out that "These findings are neither exhaustive of all website-related issues nor comprehensive of the entire disability community." There's a lot of work and research still to be done. 

"The disability community is large and diverse, facing access issues that continue to grow and evolve with the ever-changing landscape of websites and applications." Having a set of rules in place will help enable clearer communication and implementation of the tools that will make websites (and apps) accessible to all. 

Facebook restricts RT and Sputnik across entire EU

Facebook is “restricting access” to two Russian state media outlets across the entire European Union, a move that will prevent the publishers from sharing content to millions of people in the countries. Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, announced the block of RT and Sputnik, saying that it was in response to “a number” of government requests from within the EU.

“Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time,” Clegg said. The change comes after the European Commission enacted its own ban on the outlets, and after Facebook had already blocked access to ads and other monetization features. The social network had also blocked the publications’ ability to post content inside of Ukraine. 

Clegg didn't elaborate on whether "restricting access" referred simply to these accounts' ability to post and share inside of these countries, or if the accounts would be completely inaccessible in the EU. We've asked Facebook for more details.

The move comes as Russian State media outlets, some of which have vast social media followings, find their reach increasingly limited. Facebook and other platforms have taken more aggressive measures to tamp down the influence of Russia-backed publications in recent days as there has been a sharp rise in disinformation. Twitter announced Monday that it would label tweets from Russian state media accounts, and would try to curb their influence on the platform. YouTube has also blocked the outlets’ ability to monetize their channels. 

This collection of hexagonal bricks inspired by beehives is shaped for infinite expandability

Hives is a collection of hexagonal, terracotta bricks that can be laid together to form endless configurations for interior furnishings and architectural structures.

Mutina is a collaborative ceramics company devoted to bringing top designers to the world of ceramics to bring their visions to life. Inspired by the endless range of textures and colors accessible to ceramicists, Mutina’s catalog of terracotta ceramics is constantly pushing the envelope for exciting and innovative new designs.

Designer: Mutina x Konstantin Grcic

Recently, the Italian brand commissioned Konstantin Grcic to develop a new line of terracotta bricks that challenges the fixed nature of brick-building. Inspired by the complex structure of beehives, Grcic’s line of terracotta bricks, aptly called Hives, can create seemingly endless configurations.

Described as a hexagonal brick, each brick that comprises the Hives collection could also be described as two hexagonal bricks merged together, giving the brick its three-dimensional appeal. Through this dynamic shaping, Grcic managed to design a brick that could build geometric partitions just as well as cylindrical columns.

If laid vertically, the bricks form a semi-open structure with open cavities formed by the bricks’ harsh angles. When laid flat, the bricks can either be placed in a staggered or flush formation, producing more lively, undulating facades for structures like columns and table counters.

Available in the size 13×22, 5x7cm, the Hives brick is fully functional and versatile to build walls, architectural structures, and interior furnishings. Realized in terracotta, each Hives brick maintains impressive thermal and acoustics capacities, as well as durable tactile properties that are warmed by the brick’s soothing, orange glow. Produced using an artisanal technique called extrusion, each Hives brick is unique and organic in structure.

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‘Forza Horizon 5’ adds American and British Sign Language support

Forza Horizon 5 is about to become more accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. On March 1st, Microsoft will update the title to add support for both American and British Sign Language. Enabling the feature adds a picture-in-picture display of an ASL or BSL interpreter during cutscenes. By visiting the game’s accessibility menu, you can adjust the position of the display and decide whether to add a colored background.

Forza Horizon 5, like many other games, includes support for subtitles, but as Microsoft’s Athima Chansanchai points out, the two features serve different purposes. While subtitles are helpful to many, it turns out they’re not that useful to people who primarily depend on signing to understand a conversation. For those individuals, reading subtitles can be fatiguing since ASL and BSL feature a different structure to English. They also can’t convey tone and emotion in the same way a skilled interpreter can.

Outside of that accessibility addition, Forza Horizon 5’s Series 5 update includes bug fixes for issues related to the game’s photo mode, livery editor and more. Developer Playground Games has also added five new cars and a new festival playlist for players to check out.

Microsoft is the latest to ban Russian state media from its platforms

Microsoft is joining Facebook, YouTube and others in limiting the reach of Russian state media following the invasion of Ukraine. The company is responding to the European Union's ban on RT and Sputnik by pulling those outlets from its platforms. Microsoft Start (including MSN) won't display state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content, while all ads from either publication are banned across Microsoft's ad network. The software giant is also pulling RT's news apps from the Windows app store.

Bing will still display RT and Sputnik links. However, Microsoft is "further de-ranking" their search results to make sure the links only appear when someone clearly intends to visit those sites.

The crackdown comes alongside an update on Microsoft's cybersecurity monitoring in Ukraine. The company noted that its Threat Intelligence Center spotted a wave of "offensive and destructive" cyberattacks targeting Ukranian online infrastructure just hours before Russia began its invasion on February 24th. The digital assault included new malware, nicknamed FoxBlade, and was "precisely targeted" like previous attacks. Microsoft said its Defender anti-malware tools was updated to counter FoxBlade within three hours of the discovery, and that it was advising the Ukranian government on this and other defense initiatives.

The bans on RT and Sputnik aren't surprising even without the EU's measures in place. Microsoft has fought disinformation campaigns for years, and it stressed that these attempts to manipulate the public are "commonplace" during wars when state propaganda ramps up. Simply speaking, Microsoft sees this as necessary to both present an objective view of the invasion and to avoid funding misinformation efforts.

At The Same Time concept body dryer hastens drying time in public bathrooms

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Image

Public bathhouses have long been a tradition in several cultures. Not many people who haven’t gone inside may understand its purpose but for those who know its significance, they may be thinking of ways on how to improve things around.

In modern times, there are public facilities and bathrooms found in gyms or swimming pools. People share a common bath area to clean and freshen up after working out or swimming. One of the more common problems is drying their bodies. While towels are created for such purposes, they may not be enough. Hairdryers may help but they also won’t be enough.

Designers: Designer Dot, Hayeong Lee

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Photos

That is why body dryers are needed. Every part of the human body must be dry before wearing clean clothes and going out. This lessens moisture from the body to prevent any growth or reproduction of any germs or bacteria that may still be present in the body. As the skin is our first line of defense, it is important that it is kept clean and healthy. It can be done if the body is dry. Well, not the kind of dry that is bad to the skin—just dry after bathing. As you know, the skin still needs to be properly moisturized as it helps maintain radiant skin.

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Images

The problem of body drying can be solved with this concept dryer by South Korean Hayeong Lee. The ‘At the Same Time Body Dryer’ is an attempt to make public bath facilities more convenient, efficient, and fast. Speedy bathing and drying are possible with this concept body dryer as more can dry off at the same time.

The name alone tells us its unique selling point. The round square shape of the dryer allows four persons to stand and be dried off. The four parts are separated by an opaque transition that offers privacy. They may be facing each other but private parts are still covered.

At the Same Time Design

The footrest in whole features concentric circles that provide a softer surface for the feet. The footrest is divided into four equal parts and each part can be removed for cleaning. The water doesn’t stay on the footrest as it drips.

At the Same Time

At the Same Time Details

Air volume can be set in three stages: 1,2, and 3. The wind temperature can be cool wind or warm wind. Depending on the strength of the air volume, the color indicator will change. To dry the entire body quickly, there are 16 fine holes where the air will come out, targetting different parts of the body including the armpits and lower body.

At the Same Time Dryer Concept

The dryer features air inlets. Each part has an air inlet to suck in air. The wind is then blown out through the air hole to finally dry the body. The At the Same Time Body Dryer also comes with four transparent screens. In the middle are a supporting pillar and a pillar cap. The screens’ opacity is created by a vertical pattern so you can’t be seen by the other people standing on the dryer.

At the Same Time Dryer Design

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Illustration

At the Same Time Dryer Details

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Details

At the Same Time Dryer Concept

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Design

At the Same Time Dryer Concept Sketch

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