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Fitbit Data Helps California Police Catch Killer

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Never underestimate the power of technology: A slain California woman’s Fitbit data helped local police catch her 90-year-old killer.

Tony Aiello was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murdering his 67-year-old stepdaughter, Karen Navarra, on Sept. 8, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Navarra, a pharmacy technician described by family as a “recluse,” was discovered by a coworker five days later, after she failed to show up for work.

As reported by the Chronicle, police found Navarra “slumped over in a chair, clutching a large kitchen knife with a ‘gaping’ slit to her neck.” The scene appeared to be staged to look like a suicide, the paper said.

A subsequent autopsy, however, revealed “multiple deep and intrusive wounds” to the woman’s head and face. The lacerations were likely inflicted by a small hatchet or ax—and not something Navarra could have delivered to herself.

Aiello, married to Navarra’s 92-year-old mother, initially told police he brought his stepdaughter pizza on Saturday, Sept. 8; he also claimed to have seen her later drive by his own house with someone in the passenger seat.

But that’s not what the surveillance footage says: Cameras captured Aiello’s car at Navarra’s home for at least 21 minutes—between 3:13 and 3:33 p.m. And there is no sign of her car leaving in the direction he claimed.

Here’s where the story really gets good.

Navarra’s Fitbit wristband, which counts steps and monitors heart rate, recorded a spike in her pulse at 3:20 p.m. Sept. 8, then a rapid decline. The device stopped registering a heartbeat at 3:28 p.m.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Aiello, who claimed someone else must have been in Navarra’s house because “she walked him to the door,” was caught with blood-splattered clothes in his hamper (the result, he said, of an old man frequently cutting himself).

Aiello is being held without bail and is due in court today, the Chronicle reported.

This isn’t the first time fitness trackers have guided a homicide investigation.

As The New York Times pointed out, Fitbit location data supported a 2014 personal injury case in Canada and a 2015 sexual assault case in Pennsylvania, and a Garmin Vivosmart GPS recorded a woman’s struggle with her attacker in Seattle in 2017. Police also used a Connecticut woman’s Fitbit data to charge her husband with murder.

In Wisconsin, a man’s wearable became an alibi, corroborating his story during the time police said his live-in girlfriend’s body was being dumped in a field.

If this isn’t a perfect ad campaign for wearables, I don’t know what is.

The latest-generation Apple Watch is also marketed as a lifesaver.

Its new fall detection feature helps the wearable figure out if you’ve taken a tumble. And, if you remain unmoving for more than a minute, it automatically calls 911, or a predetermined emergency contact.

Fitbit last year launched its first smartwatch, the Ionic. It also joined Apple and Samsung in the FDA’s pilot program to reform digital health regulation. Check out Geek Pick: Fitbit Versa, and stay up to date on all things wearable here.


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This Alexa-Enabled Talking Fish Twerks and Responds to Your Voice

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Amazon has the perfect “catch” for quirky gift-givers this holiday season: an Alexa-enabled fish that twerks, sings, and acts like a mini personal assistant.

Meet Big Mouth Billy Bass, a wiggly wonder that’s only $39.99 and a step up from the conventional smart home set-up. This bad boy gets groovy to the original song “Fishin’ Time” and has a personality of his own. The best part? You can connect Big Mouth Billy Bass to a compatible Echo device and receive all the Alexa perks, including voice-recognition commands, reminders, and more.

Once Big Mouth Billy Bass is synced with a compatible Echo device, he’ll dance to songs played through Amazon Music, perk his head up when you say “Alexa,” and move his mouth to lip-sync with Alexa responses. Plus, he also moves around when an Alexa alarm, reminder, or timer is triggered.

You’ll scare any guests that visit your house, because they’ll think that Big Mouth Billy Bass is a stationary home decor decoration. Once the tacky fish responds to Alexa activity, they’ll be totally surprised and caught off guard.

If you’re still not “hooked” on Big Mouth Billy Bass, see what customers had to say about this hilarious fish and why they bought it for their homes.

Gary McKnight, an Amazon customer, writes:

“I bought this because it looked terrifying having Alexa’s voice coming from a mounted fish and I was not disappointed. This thing creepy. The way is swings it’s head and tells you with cold dead eyes that your package has arrived is amazing.”

And Dr. B.L., another Amazon reviewer, says:

“I have a lot of art in my house, but none of its makes me laugh. Billy Bass does! It’s “ketchy,” [and] it’s plastic, but that’s what makes it fun. And, it’s responsive…in a hysterical way.”

If you know someone who could use some humor around the holidays, gift them Big Mouth Billy Bass. For only $39.99, you’ll delight them with a weird and hilarious present that’s smart-home compatible and will generate lots of laughs.

Buy Big Mouth Billy Bass here

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Report: Amazon Go Eyes Airports For Checkout-Free Stores

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Amazon reportedly wants to bring its checkout-free store format to airports, according to Reuters.

First introduced in Seattle early this year, Amazon Go invites customers to “just grab and go”—no checkout required.

The setup—already operational in California, Illinois, and Washington—is ideal for hungry, time-pressed travelers, Reuters said, citing public records and “a person familiar with the strategy.”

Customers can simply sign into the Amazon Go mobile app to enter the store, shop as usual, and walk out the doors without touching a wallet or pin pad.

Relying on computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning (the same functions used in self-driving cars), the company’s so-called “Just Walk Out Technology” automatically detects when a product is removed from or returned to shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.

Upon departure, your Amazon account is charged and a receipt is sent.

The company, which built its fortune as an online bookseller, has opened seven outposts since January: in Chicago, its hometown Seattle, and, most recently, San Francisco.

Moving into airports certainly makes sense: Hundreds of millions of passengers board flights at the country’s busiest airports every year. And who can be bothered to chat with a cashier or wait in long lines while connecting between flights? The grab-and-go strategy is effortless—particularly when hauling luggage.

It’s not as easy as installing scanners and prepping food, though: Airport employees must gain security clearances; square footage is expensive to lease; and public bids are often required.

That doesn’t seem to have stopped Amazon from at least exploring the possibility.

Citing email correspondence between the e-commerce giant and “top U.S. airports,” Reuters tipped possible launches at Los Angeles International (the second-busiest airport in the country) and San Jose International.

The news comes just one week after The Wall Street Journal reported plans for Amazon to bring its cashier-less technology to bigger stores.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

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Oops: Apple’s Squid Emoji is Upside Down

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Silicon Valley has a habit of not learning from its mistakes.

The Internet made a scene early this year when Unicode revealed 157 new emojis—including something vaguely like a wheeled transport device, a backwards Deoxyribonucleic acid, and an anatomically incorrect shellfish.

Now, we all send texts featuring modern skateboards, right-handed double helixes, and 10-legged lobsters … and, apparently, upside-down squid.

On Wednesday, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California tweeted the alarming fact that “Apple’s squid emoji is upside down.”

“Not even squidding,” the museum wrote. “The siphon should be behind the head. [Right now] it just looks like a weirdo nose.”

The muscular structure, located on the mantle, is used for respiration and discharge of waste, as well as locomotion. Water gets sucked into the mantle cavity, then pushed out of the funnel in a fast, strong jet. Its direction can be changed to suit the traveler’s route.

But no matter what, the siphon can not physically move from one side of the body to the other.

In Cupertino’s version, the cephalopod looks like Karl Malden.

“I noticed the error when I first saw the game but had some pressing ocean issues prioritized ahead of it,” Patrick Webster, social media content creator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said in a statement emailed to Geek. “[Wednesday] morning, a meme template with a penchant for biologically accurate emoji asked to use our Twitter feed for a quick PSA, and now here we are.”

The squid emoji was first introduced in 2016. But folks must have been too incensed by Google’s upside-down cheeseburger to even notice.

More than 70 new emoji were released as part of Apple’s recent iOS 12.1 update; iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac users now have access to characters with red, grey, or curly hair, more emotive smiley faces; and additional representations of animals, sports, and food (including a cream cheese-covered bagel).

There is no word on whether the squid issue will be resolved. Apple did not immediately respond to Geek’s request for comment.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Friday, Dec. 7, with comment from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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