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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Secure your text messages with locally developed app

Local researchers also have a new image recognition app for e-learning
The Straits Times - May 16, 2013
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Secure your text messages with locally developed app

If you have always wanted to encrypt your text messages, help is on the way.

Researchers at Singapore's Institute of Infocomm Research (I2R) have developed an app that does just that.

Dubbed Hush Hush, the Android app lets you exchange encrypted text messages using secret keys and passwords.

After you set a password on the app, Hush Hush will access your phone's contact list and generate secret keys to encrypt messages.

You will need to exchange the secret keys with a contact by placing your phone next to his when both are equipped with the same app.

The secret keys are exchanged using near field communication (NFC) technology.

For now, Hush Hush can encrypt only text and multimedia messages. Its creators have plans to make it possible in future for users to exchange encrypted e-mail messages and files.

The researchers told Digital Life that besides securing personal communications, Hush Hush is also useful for exchanging confidential information in the finance and defence industries.

Snap2Tell

The I2R researchers have also devised Snap2Tell, an image recognition app that lets users view related content by pointing a smartphone at a print advertisement.

Snap2Tell can also be used in e-learning. Students can use the app to view historical video clips on a heritage trail by pointing their devices at specific images along the trail.

The institute says that it has licensed the technology behind Snap2Tell to Knorex, a start-up founded by a former I2R researcher.

Knorex has used the technology to power interactive apps that let users enter contests by pointing their smartphones at printed advertisements.

"Dehazing" software

If you have seen pictures that come out blurred or hazy because of bad weather or air pollution, there is now a solution for the problem. New "dehazing" software from I2R can remove the haze or mist in such snapshots.

The technology works similar to the image filters commonly found in photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.

In a demonstration for Digital Life, the researchers took just seconds to clear up an image on a PC. Doing the same on a smartphone would take about twice as long now, but researchers are working on reducing the processing time.

The institute is keen to work with companies that want to implement Hush Hush, Snap2Tell and the dehazing software in products and services.

For more information, go to www.etpl.sg.

aarontan@sph.com.sg

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