The eyes have IT: TSB to roll out iris-scanning tech for mobile banking

Human iris. Photo by SHutterstock

TSB has announced plans to roll out iris-scanning technology for its mobile banking app from September.

The move will make the UK high street bank the first in Europe to debut iris-scanning tech.

TSB’s iris recognition tech [source: TSB]

Biometric authentication for banking, in general, has become commonplace over recent years with fingerprints among the preferred method, thanks in large part the inclusion of fingerprint reader technology in higher-end smartphones, particularly since the launch of Apple’s TouchID back in 2013. Voice recognition is used elsewhere in the banking industry, particularly in call centres.

The TSB tech is based on technology from Samsung and only customers with the latest Samsung Galaxy S8 will be able to use iris recognition to access their TSB accounts. The bank already supports fingerprint recognition-based logins.

TSB told us: “Customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphone will have the option, from September 2017, to unlock their TSB mobile banking app using the Samsung Pass iris scanner. TSB’s consumer customers will be able to access their banking using either the fingerprint (an existing feature) or the iris scanner, without any need to remember lengthy IDs or passwords.

TSB’s chief information officer, Carlos Abarca, said iris recognition was more secure than other forms of biometrics. “It takes advantage of 266 different characteristics, compared with 40 for fingerprints,” he said.

“Iris recognition allows you to unlock your TSB mobile app with a simple glance, meaning all of those IDs, passwords and memorable information become a thing of the past.”

The tech offers a blend of security and convenience, according to the bank. Once customers log in after going through an iris scan app, they will need to enter a password or secret number, a TSB spokesman explained. Use of the tech is optional and other account access options will continue to be offered.

German hackers from the Chaos Computer Club were recently able to trick a Samsung Galaxy S8’s iris scanner with a picture of the device owner’s eye and a contact lens. TSB said it was relying not only on biometrics but on a digital certificate pushed onto the phone during the enrolment process, so would-be hackers would need not only a high definition image of their target’s iris but their smartphone in any serious attempt to circumvent the bank’s authentication controls.

Security experts gave the move a cautious welcome, noting that biometrics are useful but far from invulnerable. Biometric security is no longer the stuff of spy or sci-fi films. The technology is more secure than password alone but by no means a panacea.

Etienne Greeff, CTO and co-founder of SecureData, commented: “It’s good to see businesses like TSB looking to replace passwords, which are flimsy and easily breached, but hackers are wise to biometrics and it won’t stop them from trying to get their hands on your data. Biometric security has been hacked in the past and there are countless examples of fingerprints being copied, voices being mimicked and iris-scanning software being tricked.”

Multiple attacks on fingerprint scanners have been recorded over the years. HSBC’s voice recognition security system was recently fooled by a BBC journalist and his brother.

“Biometric authentication is not entirely immune to potential attack and therefore should not be relied on as the sole means of verifying a user,” said Richard Parris, chief exec at Intercede. “Rather than use biometrics in isolation, instead businesses need to be looking at strong authentication that incorporates three distinct elements – possession (something you have, such as a smartphone), knowledge (something you know, such as a PIN) and inherence (something you are, an iris scan).

“This allows businesses to verify that the person accessing the service is who they say they are, in addition to limiting the amount of times an individual can attempt access if any of these elements are missing or incorrect.”

Companies storing authentication data have a greater responsibility to safeguard it because it’s harder to recover from breaches. Fingerprint or iris patterns can’t be revoked and changed, unlike password or credit cards. “With board directors to soon be responsible for complying with GDPR, more consideration needs to be had for security techniques deployed today and how we can better protect consumers,” SecureData’s Greeff concluded. ®


27 Contact Lenses Are Found in Woman’s Eye, Doctors Report

Seventeen contact lenses removed by an anaesthetist. A further 10 were found during examination under a microscope by the surgeon. CreditBMJ

For years, she had assumed that the strange sensation in her right eye was just a part of a changing body, nothing worth troubling over.

Fortunately for the unidentified 67-year-old woman, doctors preparing her for routine cataract surgery last November discovered the source and removed it. Unfortunately for the squeamish, the cause was the stuff of nightmares: The woman’s eye had become home to a hard, bluish mass of nearly 30 contact lenses held together by mucus.

The lump the medical team discovered was composed of 17 contact lenses, they reported this month in BMJ, a medical journal. On further examination, they found 10 more.

“We were all shocked she had not noticed!” Dr. Rupal Morjaria, an ophthalmologist in Britain and one of the three authors of the report, said in an email.

It is not clear how long the lenses were in the woman’s eye, but she had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years, the doctors said. The cataract surgery was postponed because of a greater risk of infection, but it was later carried out with no long-term complications, Dr. Morjaria said.

She and her colleagues speculated that the patient’s poor vision and deep-set eyes may have contributed to her not noticing the accumulating mass.

“She said she had felt an uncomfortable and gritty eye, ‘like something was inside,’ but she didn’t think it was anything to worry about,” Dr. Morjaria said.

While lenses in Britain may be obtained only following an exam with a specialist, they are easy to buy online, Dr. Morjaria said. In the case of the patient, the lenses were lodged so high up under the eyelid that they would not have been easily spotted, she added.

The team decided to publicize the case to raise awareness about safe contact lens use, she added. While contacts can be an effective way to correct vision, experts note that they must be treated with care.

“This patient was lucky, however contact lens overwear can cause sight threatening complications,” Dr. Morjaria said.

Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 41 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. Only a small percentage get serious eye infections.

To reduce the risk of infection, the agency recommended not sleeping in contact lenses without discussing doing so with an eye doctor, not combining old and new contact lens solution, and replacing lenses as recommended.

The mass was discovered by Dr. Richard Crombie, an anesthesiologist, and was removed by Dr. Amit Patel, an ophthalmologist. Both were authors of the report with Dr. Morjaria.


Tips For Eye Health and Maintaining Good Eyesight

Image result for Representative Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Mauro-Matacchione/ Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Mauro-Matacchione/
It’s the age of technology and we are more than ever using our eyes to check our phones, computer screens, gaming consoles and televisions, which can lead to eye fatigue. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and more to take care of eyes, suggest experts.

Ophthalmologists guide you to follow some simple steps:

 Adequate sleep is essential for eye health and allows the eyes to repair and recover. Eight hours of sound sleep at night will go a long way in attaining better visual quality.

* Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Vitamins and minerals along with green leafy vegetables and protein sources help to keep the eyes strong and sharp.

* Regular exercise not only keeps your body fit but also makes your eyes healthy by pumping more blood and oxygen to your eyes.

* A majority of office jobs require constant and direct glaring at the computer screen, making it difficult for your eyes. Make sure to take a break, every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.

* Regular physical exam at least twice a year will keep you aware and helps to take necessary action in time.

* Keep your eyes protected from exposure to harmful UV rays.


Shield Eyes From Infection During Monsoon

Image result for Shield Eyes From Infection During MonsoonImage for representation purpose only

While enjoying the rainy season, don’t forget to take care of your eyes as the climate also encourages infective microorganisms to thrive. Avoid infections like conjunctivitis, sties, dry eyes and corneal ulcers by using clean towels and more, say experts.

Uma Singh, Medical Consultant at Ozone Group, Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, DocsApp and Shailja Mittal, Creative Head at Zapyle, have listed ways to avoid eye problems:

* Most eye diseases are transmitted by hand-to-eye contact. Therefore, wash your hands before touching your eyes in order to reduce or prevent infection.

* Avoid rubbing your eyes as that only increases the chances of spreading the infection. Instead, use disposable tissues to wipe off the overflowing discharge or tears.

* Avoid getting wet in the rain. Always wear adequately protective rain gear.

* Be careful of dirty water, muck and dampness during the monsoon season.

* Do not use contact lenses if you have eye-irritation, red eye or any form of abnormal discharge.

* Be careful about using expired make-up around your eyes, and if using contact lenses, make sure you never share your solution or container with someone else.

* Don’t share personal products with others. Items like handkerchiefs, sunglasses and contact lenses should not be shared with others because they can carry highly contagious infections.




What is the best way to banish under-eye bags? / Getty/iStockphoto

A build-up of late nights, early mornings and constant use of smartphones has left many of us with burdened by the appearance of dark under-eye circles but just how do you get rid of them?

Something we all struggle with, you’ve no doubt Googled the best way to banish your bags but a regular routine of seven to eight hours sleep and not drinking any alcohol before bed just isn’t always feasible.

Alas, it’s time hit refresh on tired peepers with a little help from some well-versed beauty heroes.

Aside from getting more kip, staying hydrated is key because when the body is starved of water, it responds by retaining as much as it can, thus causing puffy under-eye circles. As such, opt for a hydrating, gentle cleanser or make-up remover so not to cause any trauma or irritation which could cause inflammation.

Alternatively, there are a slew of topical treatments that can help you on your way. The first of which is retinoids which help to stimulate the production of collagen, making the skin less thin while recovering volume and firmness.

A word of warning here though, this ingredient when used in its purest form is rather potent and as such, can irritate the sensitive skin around the eye area. Instead, opt for a cream that contains a lower dose of retinol and work from there.

When it comes to applying said eye creams, other key ingredients to look out for include hyaluronic acid and glycerin. For best results, apply at night so the skin around your eyes doesn’t become irritated or inflamed and again in the morning.

If you feel like your moisturiser could do with a boost, using an eye massager like Foreo’s IRIS will do the trick. Known to promote blood flow to the area, regular use of a beauty tool like this will prevent blood from pooling in the capillaries under the eyes and increase product absorption.

When all else fails, remember you’ve still got makeup and a hardworking concealer will work wonders while you’re attempting to improve your eye bags.

Here, look to the beauty world’s obsession with colour correcting and opt for a cover-up that will counteract dark circles. If yours err towards a bluish purple tone then a yellow concealer is best while any redness should be tackled with a green-tones product to help camouflage it.


Magnetic Eye Implant Stops Dancing Eyes Syndrome

Illustration: Magnetic Eye Prosthetic

A 49-year-old man finally got relief from a rare, maddening eye disorder after researchers, in an experimental procedure, implanted specialized magnets beneath his eyeballs. The disorder, called nystagmus, or dancing eyes, causes the eyes to oscillate rhythmically, making the visual scene constantly shake. Scientists from University College London steadied the man’s gaze by surgically implanting in each eye a pair of titanium-encased rare-earth magnets. The researchers reported the case study Saturday in the journal Ophthalmology.

Researchers have come up with all sorts of clever bioengineering solutions that involve magnets and the human body, but never one quite like this, says Parashkev Nachev, a neurologist at University College London who led the experiment. For example, engineers have designed small robots guided by magnetic fields that move through the body to do various jobs, such as perform surgery, navigate blood vessels, deliver drugs, palpate tissue, and take biopsies. And doctors have attached prostheses such as artificial noses to the body using magnets.

Nachev’s implant moves magnets into a new biomedical domain—one his team dubbed “oculomotor prosthetics.” The magnets he and his team used are made of samarium-cobalt and neodymium-iron-boron, which are rare-earth materials that are fairly common in the magnet world. They’re encased in titanium to make them biocompatible. And they’re small, of course—about three millimeters in diameter and one-to-two millimeters long.

The device is simple and the surgery is quick. In each eye, a surgeon sutures the samarium-cobalt magnet to the tendon of the muscle on the underside of the eye and superglues—yes, superglues—the neodymium-iron-boron magnet to the eye socket. “Ophthalmologists love superglue and they use it a lot,” says Nachev. When the 30-minute procedure is completed, the magnets attract with enough pull to steady the dancing eye, but not so much that voluntary eye movement is hindered, the researchers report.

Nachev’s team also built a machine to test the force of the magnets before implanting them. They wanted to make sure the magnets were strong enough to stop oscillation but not strong enough to impede voluntary eye movement.

Nystagmus can be maddening for patients, says Nachev. When the condition pops up later in life, it often accompanies other problems of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or degenerative conditions. Because the cause of nystagmus is broad and complex, no single drug seems to work for most patients. Among drugs that do work “the effects are not usually dramatic,” says Nachev.

The patient in Nachev’s case study, who asked to remain anonymous, had tried every drug in the book, with no relief. His vision and stability got so bad he lost his job as a truck driver and became unemployed.

So, he asked his doctors about experimental treatments. Nachev’s team had heard about an oral presentation from a Brazilian ophthalmologist named Harley Bicas who, a decade ago, had proposed the concept of using magnets to steady dancing eyes. Nachev’s team took up the concept and designed a prototype with help from Quentin Pankhurst, a professor of physics and biomedical engineering at University College London.

After the surgery, Nachev’s patient saw an immediate and obvious improvement. “His world doesn’t shake as badly as it used to,” Nachev says. The man was able to get a job—although not as a driver—and has had the implants for nearly five years now.

Though the experiment was a success, it has yet to be conducted in any other patients. Nachev’s team is planning to test the magnets in another 6 to 12 people in an upcoming study. They also hope to explore other applications, such as modifying the functioning of the eyelids or changing the movement of the eyes in response to other oculomotor disorders. One could even add an electromagnetic component with an externally powered unit, enabling the force of the magnets to be varied on the fly depending on what the patient is doing.

But there’s one big drawback. Anyone sporting magnets in their bodies runs into a major obstacle: They can’t get an MRI. That could be a significant problem for people with nystagmus who often have other neurological issues that require monitoring by MRI. The machine images the body using strong magnetic fields and could, to put it in the least grotesque way, “displace” the magnets in a patient’s body. “I hate to even think about it,” says Nachev.


Your eyes will fry under normal sunglasses during 2017 eclipse, here’s why

A solar eclipse seen from space.

The nation is preparing for the Aug. 21 “Great American” total solar eclipse, which is the first in 99 years to cross coast-to-coast.

That means buying special eclipse glasses because normal sun glasses – even those with the darkest lenses – aren’t enough to protect eyes from damaging rays.

It’s not that the sun is any stronger during an eclipse, but where you would squint, blink and turn away from the full sun, it can be more comfortable to look at the sun as the moon moves over the bright disk.

That doesn’t mean it’s safe. You can damage your eyes without immediately realizing it if you don’t wear eclipse glasses or look through a special eclipse viewer.

Related: Best places to see the 2017 solar eclipse.

Credit: NASA

Rick Fienberg, the press officer for the American Astronomical Society, said ordinary sun glasses transmit 10 to 20 percent of the light that falls on them.

This makes the landscape on a bright sunny day easier to look at without squinting, and cuts down on glare.

Eclipse glasses allow just 0.0001 percent of the light that falls on them through.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“That’s at least 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses,” Fienberg said. “Nothing can get through such glasses except the sun itself – just enough to be comfortable for viewing.”

The only time it’s safe to look at the eclipse is if you are in the path of totality and the fleeting moments when the sun is completely covered by the moon.

Related: Check your eclipse forecast.

About 12 million people live in the path of totality for the Aug. 21 eclipse. Millions more will travel to get into the path.

“The sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse,” NASA says on its eclipse website. “Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye.”

It is only safe to view a solar eclipse with the naked eye when you are in the path of totality and the moon completely covers the sun. Credits: © 2005 Miloslav Druckmüller (used by NASA with permission)

Proper eclipse glasses are marked with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and 12312-2.

Some older solar-viewing glasses may meet previous standards for eye protection, but not the new international standard, Fienberg said.

NASA recommends glasses from Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

Ralph Chou, professor emeritus at the School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada, told that he has seen patients with crescents burned into the back of their eyes after watching an eclipse without protection.

“Lifetime exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation is an established contributor to accelerated aging of the outer layers of the eye and skin and the development of cataracts,” Chou wrote in a Sky and Telescope article. “But more immediate damage takes place from directly observing the Sun with inadequate eye protection.”


Moth Eyes Inspire Glare-Resistant Coating For Cellphone Screens

Deilephila elpenor, commonly called the elephant hawk-moth, has specialized eyes that don’t reflect light. Such moths inspired scientists to invent an anti-glare coating for smart screens.

Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

If you’re standing in the blazing sun struggling to read this on your cellphone, there may be some relief in sight.

And you’ll have a moth to thank.

The reason you have to find shade to read your phone is the way the light reflects off the screen. The reflection reduces contrast, washing out images.

And so “the lower the surface reflection, the better,” says Shin-Tson Wu, a professor of optics and photonics at the University of Central Florida.

Wu’s team of researchers has developed a film that coats cellphone screens to cut down the glare. Their inspiration? The eyes of a moth.

Most moths are nocturnal. Their eyes are covered in anti-reflective nanostructures that prevent light from reflecting off them when they fly at night and giving away their location — helping them to avoid predators.

Think of all the terrible photos of people with glowing red eyes. It’s like that, but a bit worse. Because instead of being embarrassed, you’d be eaten.

The researchers copied those light-trapping structures on the moth eyes for their film.

Current cellphone displays use a sensor to detect bright light, and then boost the screen brightness to improve readability. But that drains battery power. There are some anti-reflective screens on the market now, but they trap only certain wavelengths of light.

Adding the insect-inspired film to a cellphone made it four times easier to read the screen in sunlight, according to research published in the journal Optica. The new film is helpful even when you aren’t in the sun — screens also were 10 times easier to read in the shade.

It can also help keep your screen cleaner. “Some commercial anti-reflection films can be contaminated by fingerprints or dust,” Wu says. “In our film, we have a special treatment that has a self-cleaning effect,” owing to the film’s ability to repel moisture left behind by fingerprints. That moisture often traps dust and dirt on your screen.

Films that mimic moth eyes have already been used to increase the efficiency of solar cells.

Wu’s group wanted to find a way to use similar technology to develop anti-reflective film for phones. But the structures in the moth eyes are really small. The researchers had to come up with a way to quickly assemble the tiny structures to cover large screens, so they used self-assembling nanoparticles that mimic moth-eye structures to build a template that they could apply to any display surface, like a smartphone screen.

The tiny structures are also flexible. That means that the moth-inspired film could be used to coat foldable displays in the future.

But don’t expect to see these special films on your phone or tablet just yet. The authors still have to tweak the flexible film so that it is tough enough to withstand prolonged use. After all, moth eyes weren’t built to take the abuse that some cellphones get.

The moth-eye technology is far from the first invention inspired by nature. Velcro was inspired by burs from the burdock plant that stuck to a dog’s fur after a hunt. And sticky gecko feet inspired NASA scientists to start designing a robot that can walk around in open space on the International Space Station.


Sitting for long can age women faster

IANS | Updated: Jan 23, 2017, 02.02 PM IST

Sitting for long can age women faster (Image Courtesy: Thinkstock)Sitting for long can age women faster (Image Courtesy: Thinkstock)
Elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary, a new study has found.

Researchers from University of California (UC) found that women who have a sedentary lifestyle have cells that are biologically older and invite cardiovascular diseases and diabetes as compared to women who are active and exercise regularly.

“Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age,” said lead researcher Aladdin Shadyab from UC.

Elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres — tiny caps found on the ends of DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deterioration and progressively shorten with age.

As a cell ages, its telomeres naturally shorten and fray and make a body prone to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and major cancers.

“We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline,” said Shadyab in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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When healing can be a headacheWhen healing can be a headache
It starts off as a light throb and gallops to an everlasting migraine. Whether it was something you drank or ate, many foods are held guilty for kicking off migraines. But while eliminating these foods can be the obvious solution, did you know that most migraines are triggered off by acidity? In other words, it’s not what you are eating and drinking but the propensity of certain foods that cause acidic reactions, leading to migraines. Here are some boxes to tick if you want the throbbing to stop.

Don’t Start The Day With Caffeine
While many believe that it is caffeine that prevents the onset of a headache, it causes acidity, leading to a headache. Caffeine is also infamous for being a dehydrating agent, resulting in similar results.

Drink Water
The universal elixir of life, health and even weight loss is water. It drains the flood of pain that a migraine can be. And yet we simply don’t get enough in our daily lives. Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water a day to stave off dehydration and reduce the intensity of pain.

Food Labels
Anything that contains Monosodium Glutamate (or MSG) can kickstart a never-ending headache. MSG isn’t just present in Chinese or Asian cuisines. Read your food labels carefully. MSG has also been associated with other conditions like facial tightness, numbness and palpitations.

Eat From Your Gut
If you take care of your gut, you can control the onset of migraines because if you sort out your gut, you can reduce your acidity. Create an environment that is more alkaline to promote healthy intestinal flora. Probiotic drinks and foods work wonderfully to create this, of course, but you can also do your bit by…

Eating Alkaline Foods

Your entire green leafy family, other vegetables, and fruits, are all alkaline foods. You can never go wrong with eating things that not only keep headaches at bay but also weight gain.

Avoid Too Much Sugar

Another famous migraine trigger is too much sugar. Cut down on spoonfuls during your daily tea (or teas). Sugar disguises itself in packaged foods – sweet or savoury. Look out for any added sugars/ substitute like High Fructose Corn Syrup or simply any compound ending in ‘ose’