A fingerprint lock, and your office is secure

July 7, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who store sensitive data or highly confidential documentation in their office know well that, no matter how cautions you can be, during their absence this information is at risk, either because of curiosity or a simple carelessness, and might leak out.

Therefore, one should be equipped with a protection system that grants access to the room, and of course to the documents and information stored in there, only to selected and authorized personnel. To achieve this result, a normal key lock may not be enough, as even the key might get lost or stolen.

The wisest thing to do is using a 100% secure solution: a biometric fingerprint lock. Such a lock does not need keys which may get lost or end up in the wrong hands, since a key is not needed. All you need to do is run the fingertip of your forefinger and, if your fingerprint was previously stored and authorized, you will gain access to the restricted area.

It is possible to store up to 78 different fingerprints; to add a further layer of security, a PIN opening code can also be set up, to be entered once your fingerprint has been recognized.

Biometric protection is commonly used to protect sensitive areas, for example restricted rooms inside a military installation or a presidential building. Now, such a level of security is available for everyone, at a reasonable price, to protect your office, a place which maybe does not contain military secrets, but where it is certainly vital that confidential information stays confidential!

For more information on fingerprint locks, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website.

Long-wave infrared cameras to drive safely at night

July 7, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Some luxury cars already sport cameras which use near-infrared (NIR) light to see more clearly obstacles or dangers on the road at night. Using these radiations, though, requires the car to be fitted with infrared headlights. In alternative, one can use thermal image cameras, which on the other hand require a complicated and expensive cooling system to keep their sensor at a constant temperature of 193 degrees below zero.

But in Germany, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute have created an infrared camera that solves the problem, thanks to a particular sensor which works perfectly even at room temperature.

The core of this system, called IRFPA (Infrared Focal Plane Array) is a so-called microbolometer, a sensor which absorbs long-wave infrared light (LWIR). By using an array of these microbolometers teamed up with a chip, researchers have been able to create a two-dimension image.

In the moment when one of the sensors absorbs light, its temperature would go up, and this change of temperature is recorded by the chip, which converts it into a digital signal, that is then sent to the camera which in turn transforms it into the final image displayed on the inside of the car, used to detect, for example, a dog by the side of the road who is about to suddenly cross it.

Thanks to the opportunity to get rid of complicated and expensive cooling systems, LWIR cameras might in the future find possibilities of application in many other fields, for example on normal cameras or for the photo camera module of our common mobile phones, which would be greatly improved not only in terms of sensitivity but also in energy saving, as no more energy would be needed to cool down the sensor.

A DYI body armor, not only for Carnival masquerades

July 7, 2010 Technology No Commenti

By looking at the picture above, one could easily think that he is looking at just another commercial for a new Iron Man movie; instead, he is looking at a real armor, inspired by the one used by the character in the movie, built by Anthony Le, a hardcore Iron Man fan since he was a kid.

In order to turn this Iron Man armor into the real thing, he has used a high-resistance plastic material called urethane, joining the pieces with over 1500 rivets. For the helmet, he used a special liquid resin.

Thanks to a simple button, the front side of the helmet can be easily opened and closed just like in science fiction movies. Furthermore, the helmet would illuminate thanks to a battery pack, concealed inside the armor, which also powers some LEDs placed on the front plate to add to the scenic effect.

By using the same plastic material, he also built a gun (of course not a real one!) to be mounted on the wearer’s shoulders, and a pair of equally fake machine guns mounted on the arms.

Construction required just a month of Anthony’s time, and 4000 dollars out of his pocket. Of course, since this is a replica armor, he uses it only for mere fun, for example during sci-fi movie fans’ conventions.

But in the future, who knows: should the US Army set its sight on his creation, Anthony’s armor might become a really used one, maybe by improving it through the usage of ultra light and ultra tough metals; at that point, just add the requisite array of electronic gadgetry, GPS navigation systems, pointing devices, infrared viewers and cameras and so on, and here you have the soldier of the future.

Maybe it’s just a dream, but a future of this kind may not be too far… but for now, a plastic armor is enough!

A flying car to escape roadside attacks

July 7, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In war zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan, one of the most frequent dangers for ground troops is to fall victim of a terrorist attack carried out by guerrillas hidden by the side of the road, or of a bomb laid out to wait for any armored vehicle to run over it.

In order to try and solve this problem, the US Army is working together with Logi Aerospace, which has designed Tyrannos, a real flying car which can fly thanks to its for rotors placed on the front, on the tail and at the end of a pair of wings. Thanks to this equipment, Tyrannos is capable of taking off (and landing) vertically, just like a small helicopter… but with 4 wheels!

At the moment, Tyrannos is just a project in the mind of Larry Ortega, one of the founders of Logi, and no prototype has been produced yet. In the intentions of its creators, Tyrannos should be, not counting the wings, more or less as big as a normal SUV, and should carry 4 passengers at a maximum height of 200 or 300 meters, with a maximum speed of approximately 150 miles per hour, and a flexibility that would allow it to quickly escape dangerous situations.

In fact, in case of dangerous situations on the road (or of traffic jams…), you just have to press a button and the vehicle would take off vertically. To make life easier for its driver, the flying car will be equipped with a virtual reality system, which would display some sort of “highway” on the inside of the windshield. Thanks to this, all you have to do is follow this virtual road to fly the Tyrannos without big problems, with no need for complicated training courses and almost without noticing that the road under your wheels… does not really exist!

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