Volvo can sense danger Swedish carmaker Volvo has claimed a world first in driver security. It has added a heartbeat sensor to its luxury S80 Sedan, designed to guard against hijacking. The personal car communicator (PCC) includes keyless entry to the vehicle and a three-stage alarm that warns if the car is not locked, if the alarm has been activated or if someone is crouching in the back. The main markets for the S80 and its PCC will be China, the United States, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Britain. Other safety equipment includes a collision-warning system that alerts the driver by sounding a buzzer and a 'heads-up' display on the windscreen. Your purchase is tap-and-pay away Japanese train company East Japan Railway launched a new electronic payment service, called Mobile Suica, at the end of January and has been circulating Suica prepaid ticket cards. Commuters need to carry applicable cellphone models from Japan's top two telecommunications operators, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, embedded with Sony's IC chip technology FeliCa. With the Mobile Suica service, commuters can pay their train fares at station gates or at certain shops with just a tap on their handsets - dispensing with the bother of carrying coins. The Mobile Suica cards can be swiped at recharging terminals in stations, and can be recharged by a mobile phone any time, anywhere. The service even deletes the sum when alerted that you have lost your phone. Explosive ink evokes spirit of James Bond Qinetiq, the commercial spin-off of Britain's ministry of defence, has patented an ink-jet printer cartridge that contains explosive ink - proving that the spirit of James Bond is alive and well. The ink is a mixture of aluminium and copper oxide particles, epoxy varnish and alcohol, according to a report in the New Scientist. The ink is stable in its liquid form but forms an explosive fuse once dried. Users can sketch a printable fuse using computer imaging software, modifying the time delay in milliseconds by changing the length, thickness and pattern of the line on the paper. The ink can then be printed between a small strip of metal and a larger patch of explosive ink. Feeding a current through the metal strip ignites the fuse. Qinetiq said the fuses could be used for precisely controlling fireworks, triggering vehicle air bags or for conventional munitions. Oracle sets up unit for embedded systems Database giant Oracle has set up a new business group for the Asia-Pacific region to integrate its software to consumer devices such as handsets, home appliances and cars. The so-called Embedded Business Unit (EBU) will establish licensing deals over the next 12 months with independent software vendors and original equipment manufacturers, all serving the region's fast-growing embedded systems market. Embedded systems are specialised computer systems tailor made for the devices they control. Each system typically includes a microprocessor or microcontroller, run by a real-time operating system, data management software and other applications. The systems are built to meet real-time constraints as part of special-purpose hardware and software. The global embedded systems sector generated revenues of about US$23 billion last year, according to research firm Venture Development Corp. Mark Barton, vice-president at Oracle EBU for the Asia-Pacific and Japan, said: 'Oracle has been the undisputed leader in data management technologies, so this is the most natural next step for us - to move beyond the enterprise systems where we have traditionally been and make a move into data management for consumer devices.' Oracle will soon launch 'innovation laboratories' inside development centres across the region, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Oracle development centres in Beijing and Shenzhen will be involved. The labs will focus on embedding Oracle's eponymous infrastructure software, including Database 10g Enterprise Edition, Sensor Edge Server and Application Server 10g. Oracle will embed its other products as the market expands. In China alone, the embedded software industry posted revenues of 74.88 billion yuan in 2004, according to CCID Consulting. That was up 149 per cent year-on-year and accounted for 31.1 per cent of total sales revenue of the mainland's software industry. Oracle's revenues from embedded systems business last year grew 60 per cent worldwide and more than 200 per cent in the region. Say no to Valentine offers to avoid spam Security experts are urging consumers to boycott all Valentine's Day-related online offers sent by spammers, or suffer more junk e-mail in future. The unsolicited advice stems from the results of Web poll conducted last week by British security software specialist Sophos, which found 9 per cent of computer users have purchased goods sold via spam. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said: 'If you buy goods marketed via spam then you are encouraging the spammers to send more junk e-mail.' He said the spammers' success in selling goods online was keeping them in business, which meant the bombardment of unsolicited e-mails would continue. Sophos' global network of spam traps had seen thousands of unsolicited bulk e-mails being sent with the intention of selling Valentine-related products. Subject lines seen have included: 'Give the scent of love this year!', 'Whiter teeth before Valentines', and 'Don't wait - 15 per cent off all Valentine fresh flowers'.