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New accessories and features for Flip microrecorders

settembre 21, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Following to the recent wave of miniature high definition video recorders, capable of shooting videos and photos in high quality, Cisco has finally decided to update its Flip, by adding new functions, improving its technical characteristics and y making its models even smaller and easier to handle.

These micro recorders, which set the reference standard in the segment of high quality amateur digital video recording, are now equipped with an image stabilizing system to improve the quality of their video footage. Depending on the model, as usual, their memory capacity may vary, as well as their graphic resolution.

The top end model, 8Gb Ultra HD, is now thinner than it was in its previous version, and along with the image stabilizer, it sports a new FlipPort, an expansion port which can be used to connect a wide range of accessories, such as for example an external microphone, a picture projector, an external hard drive to add more gigabytes to its memory capacity, and so on.
All this, of course, while sticking to the Flip philosophy which provides for an extreme ease of use due to its single button for all functions, and to the retractable USB connector which allows you to pair your Flip with a computer within seconds and without having to install any driver or software to download its files.

The only problem seems to be that, while its competitors are rushing headlong on the 1080p resolution, the Cisco-made model is a bit left behind with its 720p and 60 frames per second. For Flip enthusiasts, though, this does not seem to pose any kind of problem.

Two robotic legs to help those who can not walk

settembre 21, 2010 Technology No Commenti

One of the latest novelties in the field of robotics, and more specifically in robots for home assistance, designed to make life easier for those confined on a wheelchair, is coming (as usual) from Japan.

It is called FuRo Core, a bipedal robot, which can carry a weight of up to 100 kgs. This prototype is equipped with two robotic legs that allow it to walk while carrying on its shoulder (or rather, on a platform placed above the legs) either some heavy and bulky material or, better, someone who has serious problems in walking independently.

These robotic legs are flexible, and this means that FuRo can climb up a flight of stairs, bend and squat downwards to allow its passenger to step up or down. Developed by the Institute of Technology of the Japanese town of Chiba, FuRo Core is still in its early development stages, and it is literally taking its first steps forward.

What its designers hope is that it can provide a valuable help for handicapped people, allowing them to move beyond the borders of what they would do with an ordinary wheelchair, for example by climbing or descending a flight of stairs, or walking up or down a slope, which could pose a serious threat if negotiated on wheels.

Thanks to it, a disabled person who can not walk, along with being finally able to move around more freely, might have an improvement especially in his morals; in fact, for those who can walk normally, going upstairs or downstairs does not pose any kind of problem nor it is anything special, but for those who look at the world while sitting on their chair, it could be a giant leap forward, and any technological device designed to make their life better is certain to receive a warm welcome.

250 knots speed for the world’s fastest helicopter

settembre 21, 2010 Technology No Commenti

A few months ago we mentioned the X2 Demonstrator project, an helicopter with two coaxial rotors which was being tested by Sikorsky for an attempt to break the world speed record for choppers. Generally, a conventional copter (with two rotors each one on its axis) can reach a top speed of approximately 170 knots, and already during the early test phase, X2 had topped it by reaching 181 knots.

A few days ago, the Sikorsky X2, during an unofficial test flight, has recorded a much higher speed by marking 250 knots, well above the official record which stands at 216 and is held since 1986 by the British Westland Lynx helicopter.

The 250-knots mark was the initial target of the X2 Demonstrator project, and Sikorsky is planning to use its technology, and the experience acquired during the course of this project, two build ever faster double rotor coaxial helicopters, with an eye for stability and ease of use.
In fact, the X2 prototype shows that a chopper can reach such high speeds, while losing nothing under the point of view of maneuverability, both at high and low speeds, and of stability when it floats mid-air or while gaining speed.

Now, the challenge lies in mass production of helicopters with these characteristics, and in the integration of any technology that Sikorsky’s clients will require, from weapons to video devices for aerial surveillance and high-speed and high-flexibility reconnaissance missions.

Once this integration is completed, the future of copters can be rewritten… at a speed of 250 knots!

Bluetooth micro earpieces, an invisible and vital presence

settembre 20, 2010 Technology No Commenti

When you need to gather confidential information and relay it to someone who is far away, without making the people around you aware, or when you need to receive instructions from outside in the same discreet fashion, you might certainly use a little help from technology.

In situations of different kinds, which may range from an important meeting to a police operation, from a show or concert, where the leading actor may forget a few lines from his part, to an intelligence gathering in a case of corporate espionage or struggle against crime, a valuable help can certainly come by using an invisible earpiece.

Invisible earphones are placed inside the ear canal of their wearer, and thanks to a microscopic antenna, they are able to communicate via Bluetooth with an equally small transceiver device, which can be concealed inside the pendant hanging from a necklace, or inside a wristwatch. This transceiver can also house a SIM card just like the ones we use on our mobile phones, in order to be able to send and receive its signal (and its intelligence) towards someone who might be hiding even on the other side of the world.

In this way, the wearer of the secret earpiece will be able to receive instructions on the steps to take, based on the information that it gathers invisibly and that are transmitted through the Bluetooth connection. By doing this, the remote counterpart will receive information in real time, and interact with the person carrying out the operation, sending him immediate instructions which will ensure the best possible outcome of the entire job.

For more information on how micro earpieces are working, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website and request personalized advice from our specialists.

Unattended luggage? Problem solved, SUBITO!

settembre 20, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Along the years, a long string of terrorist attacks in airports, railway stations or public buildings have been carried out with bombs placed inside an abandoned bag or suitcases, and nowadays, the presence of an unattended piece of luggage immediately puts surveillance personnel on the alert.

Now, a consortium of organizations from several EU countries is working on a project, called SUBITO (Surveillance of Unattended Baggage and Identification and Tracking of Owner), which consists in an array of intelligent surveillance cameras, capable of identifying an abandoned bag.

As soon as it locates one, the system would start searching among its footage, until it finds the exact moment when the owner of the bag has left it behind. At that point, it will search for the image of the owner among those picked up by the various surveillance cams placed in the area, until it can track down his movements, and if the search points to a person leaving the building or premises, the system would immediately alert security personnel to verify the presence of a possible threat.

All this is achieved thanks to a facial recognition software which can determine a person’s identity thanks to only one frame, and to recognize him among a crowd, determining the direction in which he is moving in case it loses contact, in order to regain contact. The software can also recognize features such as the way one walks.

SUBITO will be able to detect a dangerous situation not only by the presence of an unattended backpack, but also by analyzing the presence of other people and objects inside the premises, objects that indicate a possible threat and make it possible to determine that a group of people is carrying out an attack.

A waterproof and shockproof tablet PC for military use

settembre 20, 2010 Technology 2 Commenti

American Industrial Systems (AIS) has just released its latest creation: a tablet PC, similar to an iPad, specifically designed for military applications and not only. In fact, Military Panel PC can be used also in aerospace industry and in transportation, thanks to its features and characteristics of extreme durability.

It is a portable Tablet PC, housed into a fully sealed shell, waterproof and resistant to shock, compliant with IP67/NEMA military specifications in terms of resistance to water and dust.

Thanks to its sturdiness it can be used even in the harshest environmental conditions, and can even be immersed in water. To operate in an easy and intuitive way it is equipped, just lke a normal Tablet PC, with a touchscreen to enter commands and select among available options. Furthermore, its touchscreen is equipped with a special protection layer which eliminates the risk of moisture caused by humidity following to a submersion in water or usage in moist environments.

Its display is easily legible even under direct sunlight, and its inner parts are protected by an aluminum shell, while external connectors, exposed to shock, moisture and dust, are of a special type in order to withstand the kind of threats posed by an unfriendly environment. Military Panel PC can operate at temperatures between -20 and +60 degrees.

With such features, AIS caters mostly to military departments and administrations, which can provide their personnel with a high resistance tool, but it also keeps an eye on transportation companies which might need to keep a constant information flow with trucks and vehicles operating in difficult conditions.

Even soldiers can have their skateboard

settembre 20, 2010 Technology No Commenti

For US soldiers deployed in war zones with a rough terrain, where walking is not the easiest of tasks, especially if done while carrying heavy backpacks containing heavy and bulky military equipment, the opportunity of having a personal means of transport is certainly warmly welcomed.

If, on top of that, it is also some sort of skateboard, then it would be as fun as it is useful, especially during long waiting hours behind the lines or far from the action, when it could be used to have some well-deserved fun.
This kind of skateboard, called DTV Shredder, of course does not look too much like the normal boards on wheels, as it looks like something halfway between a tank and a Segway, or, if you like, a Segway with caterpillar tracks.

Thanks to its tracks, Shredder can move on the roughest terrains, at a maximum speed of approximately 40 kmh, just like a city scooter. On top of that, it can negotiate steep slopes up to 40 degrees, and all this while carrying up to 500 kgs of heavy material.

Along with making soldiers’ life easier during long marches, this sort of skateboard can also be used for short surveillance and reconnaissance missions, to rescue wounded personnel and evacuate them swiftly from dangerous zones, or simply to carry heavy material on short distances thanks to its engine providing a 15-horse power.

Of course though, soldiers on the frontline can use Shredder for all this… but also to have a bit of fun on the side, racing other buddies or doing a little bit of freestyle while they are not busy with dangerous missions!

Spy phones, for an invisible and continuous surveillance

settembre 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Parents concerned for their kids, fearing that they may end up going out with the wrong company, spouses worried over a suspicious absence or behavior by their husbands or wives, businessmen who suspect that some of their staff, agents or business partners may have a personal interest in their job, police forces or government agencies that need to gather evidence and sensitive information to frame a suspected criminal or a spy.

All these kinds of people or professionals might have an interest, either to be reassured or to have their worries confirmed, in keeping a constant watchful eye on the person under observation or surveillance; on the other hand, though, it is difficult to keep someone under control without arising any kind of suspicion that may prompt them to change their habits or, in any case, to keep a low profile.

To avoid this, while keeping a high surveillance level, and most of all without having to chase or follow your suspect, modern technology allows us to stay in constant touch with our subject, no matter how far he or she is, thanks to the opportunity given by a spy mobile phone.

A spy mobile phone, even looking at it thoroughly, has absolutely nothing different from your ordinary mobile phone. In fact the difference lies deep inside, where an absolutely invisible software is installed, which even the savviest user will not be able to detect.

Thanks to this software, we can keep a continuous connection with the spy mobile phone user, and while they are totally unaware, listen to their phone calls in real time, read all their text messages both sent and received, detect their geographical coordinates at any time ( if the phone is GPS-enabled) or, if we are too busy to listen in real time, we can comfortably receive an audio file by email, which contains a recording of received or placed phone calls; furthermore, we will be able to listen to conversations taking place AROUND the mobile handset, even if the phone is turned off.

All this can be done without having to be anywhere near the Spy Phone, apart from the time required to install the spy software, that is, just a few seconds. Once this software is installed, it will be possible to control and configure it by sending simple SMS messages, which will be intercepted by the software and handled as operating instructions.

The spy software would alert us on a preset number (that is, our cellphone number) when a call is going on, allowing us to listen in without alarming the talking parties; it sends is a copy of each SMS sent or received, or by sending a simple text message it will reply by sending us geographical coordinates of the phone (and of its user) which we can easily use to track down the exact location of the spy telephone and its user.

Should our suspect refrain from talking about sensitive subjects on the phone, they will be a bit more relaxed when not using it. This is exactly when the spy cellphone shows how useful it can be, by using it just like a bug to listen to conversations around it via the microphone. All we need is to call it, and the surveillance software will automatically answer, without giving out any sign of activity which might make people suspicious, and allowing us to listen in.

All the spy phone activities happen invisibly, and even copies of SMS are sent without entering a record in the sent messages log. In practice, even the smartest mobile phone programmer will not be able to figure out that what looks like a normal handset is actually a Spy Phone.

For more details and information on how Spy Phone works, on the available models and their prices, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, and contact our experts who will certainly give you the right advice for your needs in terms of surveillance.

A fiber optic interface in our nervous system

settembre 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The Dallas-based Southern Methodist University, in cooperation with the US Department of Defense, is working on a research project to improve the life of those who have received a prosthetic limb after having their own amputated due to illness or wounds.

The project is aimed at establishing a high speed communication between peripheral nerves and the prosthetic limb, to make it possible that it acquires a certain level of sensitivity which would allow it to recognize heat, cold or any pressure variations it may be subject to.

This is made possible thanks to a technology called neurophotonics, which allows communication between limbs and nerves thanks to ultra thin fiber optics which provide a high speed connection, and that one day might allow the limbs to communicate directly with the human brain and no longer with peripheral regions of the human CNS.

In fact, for the future, SMU researchers are working not only on communication between the nervous system and artificial implants, but also to help patients with other types of dysfunctions: just think of the possibility to create microscopic brain implants which can solve several problems, such as reducing uncontrolled tremor on limbs, or reducing chronic pain thanks to neuro-modulators, and so on.

In the future, to quote from one of the researchers, “human brain capabilities might be greatly enhanced by the speed provided by modern technology”. Honestly speaking, although technology can surely help fighting illnesses of various types, the idea of becoming computerized androids with fiber optics instead of our nerves does not exactly sound too appealing to us…

A secure multi account credit card

settembre 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who use more than one credit cards know well that having many cards in their wallet can pose a problem, either to remember all PIN codes or, in case of an unfortunate loss of their wallet, to have them all blocked or replaced.

To make life easier for who has several cards on several bank accounts, the Pittsburgh based Dynamics Inc. has launched a new multi account secure card, which not only is capable of handling several accounts on one card but, thanks to Electronic Stripe, its programmable and erasable magnetic stripe, can show on its LED display the number of the card that one wishes to use.

This novelty, called Card 2.0, is basically a small chip, equipped with a rechargeable battery with a 3-year life and mounted on a plastic support like a normal card, which can be used on normal POS terminals for your purchases, and can be programmed by entering, editing and deleting data and numbers of your cards. For further security, the number of the card in use is displayed on the screen only after the correct access code has been entered.

Just press a small button on the front of the card, and you can select the account to use (and the credit card number to display) and the relevant data will be sent to Electronic Stripe, ready to be swiped into the card reader in the shop where you are making your shopping.

For additional security, there is also a model which can handle up to 5 different card numbers with the relevant button, and that would only display a part of the card number, to render it basically useless for any third party in the unfortunate case of loss or theft, protecting its owner against any possible illegal usage of their cards and their personal data, which is not stored on Card 2.0.


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