Lucasfilm heads to court to unmask Star Wars: The Force Awakens image leaker

In this image released by Disney, a scene is shown from the upcoming film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," expected in theaters on Dec. 18.

Lucasfilm is demanding that popular photo-sharing site ImageShack cough up the identity of one of its users the studio says uploaded an infringing photograph connected to its upcoming Star Wars movie.

ImageShack has already deleted the picture from user "Darth-Simi" whose account was used to post a picture that was described as a villain from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. The image included a glimpse of a red crossguard lightsaber like the one showed in a teaser trailer officially released in November. Lucasfilm's parent company, Disney, is seeking a San Francisco federal court to order California-based ImageShack to turn over Darth-Simi's personal information.

The studio is making the demand [PDF] to remove the picture "Star Wars Episode VII Costume Design and Photograph" under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The DMCA requires Internet Service Providers like ImageShack to remove images upon a rightsholder's request or become legally liable for hosting them. The act grants rightsholder's the right to sue infringers for up to $150,000 per violation. The DMCA also gives a rightsholder the power of subpoena to unmask infringers.

The J.J. Abrams-directed movie is expected to debut in December.

ImageShack, of Los Gatos, Calif., did not immediately respond for comment.

Flexible Electronic Skin Allows Humans To “Sense” Magnetic Fields

Everyone learns in school that humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. There are actually several more, but one that humans don’t inherently have is magnetoception, the ability to perceive magnetic fields. This sense can be found in certain bacteria, migratory birds, fish, and invertebrates, and provides a better sense of navigation and orientation. A new paper published in Nature Communications by lead author Michael Melzer of the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden, Germany describes a new electronic skin, which provides a “sense” of magnetic fields that will have a wealth of implications when it is developed further.

"We have demonstrated an on-skin touch-less human-machine interaction platform, motion and displacement sensorics applicable for soft robots or functional medical implants as well as magnetic functionalities for electronics on the skin," Melzer said in a press release.

The electronic skin contains an array of magnetoresistive sensor foils which sense both static and dynamic magnetic fields. The sensors are made from layers of cobalt and copper, with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film. Information about the sensor’s proximity to a magnetic field is transmitted wirelessly to an external device that has LED indicators, giving a visual representation of the distance. 

The skin is only about two micrometers thick, which is about one-fifth as wide as a single human hair. A square meter of the material only weighs three grams, which makes it light enough to rest on a soap bubble, as can be seen above. It is also incredibly elastic, as it is able to stretch over 270% in multiple directions over 1,000 times before wearing out. Conversely, the sensors are still able to function properly if the skin is crumpled up. These features make them well-suited for use on the skin. 

"These ultrathin magnetic sensors with extraordinary mechanical robustness are ideally suited to be wearable, yet unobtrusive and imperceptible for orientation and manipulation aids," senior author Oliver Schmidt explained.

In the future, this technology could be used with biomedical implants such as artificial muscles or joints to detect anomalous behavior, and could also be used to improve the fine motor skills of soft robotics.

“The integration of magnetoelectronics with ultrathin functional elements such as solar cells, light-emitting diodes, transistors, as well as temperature and tactile sensor arrays, will enable autonomous and versatile smart systems with a multitude of sensing and actuation features,” the authors wrote in the paper.