Seeing through the keyhole is easy with a small tube

September 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those among us who have passed the forty year mark may nostalgically remember those times when we could innocently spy from the key hole, to discover new worlds and untold secrets, or even just to take a look at the lady next door while she was in the bathroom!

Nowadays, the keys used to lock the doors of our homes and offices have dramatically changes, and therefore it is impossible to put your eyes close to the keyhole to take a look at what’s on the other side… unless you have a fiberscope.

Fiberscopes are devices which, thanks to a long and thin tube, allow us to inspect into otherwise closed environments. This tube, with its diameter below 2 millimeters, can be inserted into a pipe to look for any possible leak or imperfection, or in a small hole on a door to spy what happens in the room behind it, and so on and so forth.

Thanks to optical fibers contained inside the flexible tube, and to the needle-type viewer at the end of it, the fiberscope is capable of picking up images where a normal video or photo camera would not be able to reach. It can also be connected to an external camera or video recorder, to save the images it picks up.

There are several possible applications for fiberscopes, not only to inspect environments normally difficult to reach, for example for a mechanic who could take a look at the conditions of a car’s ducts without having to get dirty, but also for video surveillance, for law enforcement trying to gather evidence against dangerous criminals.

For more details on how fiberscopes are working, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, and ask for advice from our specialists who will certainly recommend the suitable option for your professional or surveillance needs.

A water blade against improvised bombs

September 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti

For US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, the number one threat is represented by homemade bombs or IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) hidden by the side of the road or under the ground, waiting to exact their toll. To counter this threat, the Sandia research laboratory has developed a new defense system, capable of neutralizing improvised bombs thanks to water.

This device can produce some sort of “blade” made of water, shot at high speed and precision on the explosive menace, and which can easily penetrate a steel coating and destroy its contents. It is basically a small tank, which along with the water contains an explosive material which can generate a shockwave in the water contained inside the tank.

By using a special kind of explosive, researchers have been able to create a limited explosion, which, instead of spreading in all directions, is targeted towards a specific direction, that is, the tank exit. At this point the water is funneled towards the opening, and it is “shot” at high speed to the outside; when it reaches its target, the water blade would destroy and neutralize it. In the words of one of the researchers, it is like using a knife, but much stronger and much sharper.

This device was designed in cooperation with the Pentagon, which cooperated by sharing experience and tricks from soldiers that have been engaged in neutralizing real homemade bombs. Thanks to their advice and feedback, a satisfying result was achieved.

These neutralizing devices, manufactured by TEAM Technologies in Albuquerque, NM, are ready to be shipped to war zones, and in the future can also be used outside the military, for example in airports, during operations against terrorists, or to force entry into buildings where criminals are hiding, by slamming the doors open.

A helmet for remotely controlled soldiers

September 14, 2010 Biotechnology, Technology 1 Commento

The latest technological gizmo which comes out of the DARPA research labs seems to come straight out of a science fiction movie, but it is actually real and military authorities are planning to use it on soldiers in war zones to improve their efficiency.

Stemming from a simple concept, according to which our feelings are ruled by brain activity, researchers came to the conclusion that the human brain can be provided with the “right” stimulations to induce it to reach optimal performance. In this specific case we are obviously talking about battlefield performance.

This performance is achieved thanks to a helmet, which contains several electrical stimulators, connected to a computer placed at safe distance and capable of interacting with its wearer’s brain. The sensors mounted inside the helmet would send electrical pulses to the computer, each impulse corresponding to a sensation, and the computer would respond by sending back micro stimulations which can generate induced feelings.

Thanks to these stimulations it will be possible, for example, to reduce the level of stress, improve cognitive and reactive capabilities, or even increase the level of tolerance to pain, thus inducing a soldier to keep on fighting even if he is not seriously wounded. Basically, all this amounts to a remote control of the soldier’s mind, which turns him into a war machine.

Of course, along with questions on whether this will work or not, this project arises questions from an ethical point of view, as it would completely get rid of the human factor, turning soldiers in real flesh and blood robots, programmed to follow orders verbatim without realizing when they are passing the limit which gets them into a dangerous situation. At this point, it would be better to send REAL robots, thus saving human lives in war.

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