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A necklace or a hidden video camera?

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As men, we know how our women love to be always well dressed and accurate up to the smallest detail of their style, and how everything must be in harmony, from shoes to hairstyle, from shirt to necklace.

What we might not know, instead, is that what apparently looks like a simple and normal necklace, just another feminine detail, is actually concealing a miniature camera capable of recording movements and sounds around it thanks to its needle viewer, without having anyone notice what is really going on.

The trinket hanging from this camera necklace works just like a real hidden camera, and its quick audio and video recording function can be started by simply pressing a button, with a simple and apparently casual gesture like twirling the necklace between fingers.

At that point, recording is started with a 640×480 pixel resolution for videos, and 1280×960 for photo stills, a viewing angle of 65 degrees and normal operation even in low lighting condition with a sensitivity of 1 Lux.

This camera hidden inside a necklace can shoot up to 8 Gb of footage, which is stored on a replaceable Micro SD card housed inside the pendant. Once the recording is over, downloading it on your computer is a matter of a few seconds, thanks to the embedded USB connection plug, with no need to install any driver or management software.

As we know, women’s seduction weapons never fail, but those who have something to hide may have to be a little extra careful when dealing with other weapons supplied by technology!

For more information on operation and prices of hidden cameras, we suggest that you visit the Endoacustica website.

Eyes of a bee for flying robots

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Bees, as Mother Nature gave them a very small brain, have to place a great deal of trust in their visual abilities in order to survive and get oriented in ever-changing environments. To better understand how these little insects’ sight works, and how it affects their lives, a group of scientists from the German University of Bielefeld has created an artificial eye, which in its creators’ hoes might reveal the secret behind their orientation and processing of flight information.

The final aim is to use the acquired knowledge, applying it to technologies such as miniature planes (MAV, Micro Aerial Vehicles) whose potential can be greatly improved. The artificial bee eye is made up by the combination of a lens and a mirror, teamed up to form some sort of dome which reflects images towards the inside, where a single video camera is placed, which is so able to gather these images with a 280 degree visual angle.

Those images are then digitally merged in order to obtain a perfect focus even with such a wide viewing angle. Any attempts tried before had not been able to achieve such results under the point of view of image accuracy and detail, and such a result could only be achieved by using two cameras, which would have been too heavy on a MAV.

Of course, everything is still being improved and fine-tuned, for example studying the possibility of displaying ultraviolet light, which bees can see naturally and which would make the whole system even closer to the insects’ eye, hoping that it finally leads to a better understanding of how their eyes process images and send the relevant neural stimulations to the brain.

Low-cost underwater cameras from Japan

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The Rising Sun country has always been synonymous with technological innovation and quality, which often go together with a relatively low price. In this case, most of the attention was aimed at keeping a low level in terms of price, with the final result of a product that is totally average in terms of quality, but with an interesting 150-dollar price tag.

We are talking about DV5000UW, an underwater camera, manufactured by Exemode, equipped with a 5.17 megapixel CMOS sensor, and capable of shooting video footage with a 720p resolution, or taking still images with a 3 megapixel resolution, even underwater with a maximum depth of approximately 10 meters.

Thanks to its 2.7” LCD display, the images being captured are shown in real time and in pretty good quality. To better appreciate them and see them in a larger format, DV5000UW can also be connected to a high definition TV set thanks to its HDMI output.

As we said, we are talking about a product with a quite low target, and the low-cost philosophy can be spotted in its built-in memory standard configuration, limited to a mere 32 Mb. Therefore, should you decide to fork out those 150 dollars, you should also include a little extra expense to add a few more memory cards to guarantee a longer duration of your videos. Space is limited here as well though, as DV5000UW only supports up to 16 Gb memory cards, unlike more expensive models which can easily handle a 64 Gb card.

In short, it is a product without big ambitions, which could be OK as a present to be used for amateur videos without any big expectation. For a professional use, there are bigger names (and significantly higher prices) one should look to.

A dental camera for modern dentists

Miniature video technology and video surveillance are our specialties, but this does not necessarily mean that the two things must always be walking hand in hand. The increasing miniaturization of video systems has possible applications in a plethora of other possible occasions, not only thanks to hidden cameras which record footage secretly, but also thanks to miniature cameras which, when teamed up with instruments of a completely different kind, improve their efficiency.

For example, this is the case with Dental Cam, that is, an intraoral camera, suitable for being used in a dentist’s studio for a better documentation of their patients’ health conditions, especially in hidden corners of their oral cavity. The same procedure can also be carried out by anyone who wants to check first hand that their teeth are in good conditions.

Thanks to its small size, it can be used not only to explore the oral cavity, but also for several other uses, at home, scientific or professional, for example to take a closer look at printed electronic circuits, or to study small animals or insects in a laboratory, and much more than this, all with a 1.3 megapixel resolution and a sensitivity level which makes it suitable for being used also in low lighting conditions.

Its ease of use is further enhanced by the presence of an USB cable, which along with powering it, allows you to connect the Dental Cam directly to your computer, to view its videos in real time, and conveniently save them for later viewing, for example for a general check-up of the patient’s conditions.

For more details about operation and prices of the intraoral camera, we suggest that you visit the Endoacustica website and contact our experts, who are at your full disposal for any clarification you may need.

Now even gliders can take off from the ground

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As gliding lovers know very well, flying a glider can be lots of fun, as well as being environmentally friendly, and it puts a pilot’s ability to the test, in having to find the right winds to make their flight longer or reaching higher altitudes. All this, though, has its inconveniences, namely during takeoff.

In fact, as they do not have an engine, gliders must be “hooked” to another plane, from which they are launched once in the air. This makes operations slightly more complicated, while limiting also their flexibility.

All this might soon be a thing of the past, though, thanks to the concept of motorized glider, designed by the New Mexico-based Desert Aerospace. Before hardcore gliders among you start yelling, let’s clarify the fact that the definition of a glider with an engine is not a contradiction in terms.

In fact, it uses a retractable jet engine, which is used only during takeoff to provide the necessary boost to lift our glider from the Earth, just like a conventional aircraft would do. It can also be useful in the air in case of emergency, or to gain altitude in case of need.

The necessary boost is supplied by an engine that weighs no more than 20 kilos, and which provides a 110-kilo thrust. Currently Desert Aerospace is waiting for its glider to be approved by the FAA. According to the designers’ words, the glider was inspired by… a cartoon! In fact, the inspiration for creating this vehicle comes from Wile E. Coyote’s countless (and unsuccessful) attempts at catching Beep Beep the roadrunner. Of course, Desert Aerospace has all our most sincere wishes of a better luck!

Autonomous quadricopters, your eyes can fly

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Approximately a week ago, we posted an article about a miniature quadricopter which can be controlled remotely thanks to an iPhone application, and that can be used for perimeter video surveillance, around parks or buildings, or even indoors thanks to the hulled rotors.

Now we just heard that aerial surveillance in small spaces has moved one more step forward, thanks to the creation of an autonomous quadricopter, that is, a flying object capable of carrying out its mission automatically, for example by taking off by itself when its motion detection sensors notice a movement within its surveillance range.

Designed by the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, this miniature helicopter, a spinoff of what was initially a military project, can be used, for example, as an addition to anti theft systems, for example inside a storage warehouse, where using fixed cameras and live patrolling personnel may not be enough.

To provide a better viewpoint, the Quadrotor is equipped with spikes that allow it to perch on surfaces like walls or trees to better explore the area around it from a static point of view, search for suspicious movements and zoom on points of interest.

In case of difficult landing or perching, like on the branches of a tree, Quadrotor is programmed to try perching again until it finds a satisfactorily stable position.

Recently, we are pleasantly surprised in noticing how technology originally designed for the military is making its way towards civilian and commercial applications. This shift is certainly something to be appreciated, because security and protection are not an exclusive trademark of the military, but are a goal and a right for each and every citizen.

BlackBerry resumed operation in Saudi Arabia

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As you will certainly know, not only through us but also from newspapers all over the world, the government of Saudi Arabia, following a similar decision by the UAE, had recently ruled that all BlackBerry phones be suspended from service, since according to an official statement, they were not compliant with some not specified parameters in terms of phone calls security.

This ban was supposed to be effective as of today, August 6. Apparently though, the BlackBerry suspension from service lasted just a few hours, and phones resumed working in the afternoon, although apparently the ban has not been officially lifted yet, nor there has been an official confirmation of rumors according to which Research In Motion (RIM), which produces those smartphones, has found a solution to the problem.

According to authorities in Arabia and the Emirates, the BlackBerry system is not compliant to local standards since it is using an encryption which can not be originally decoded, therefore any calls placed via that platform are not subject to eavesdropping by police or government agencies.

The fact that the ban was not completely put into effect arises, if possible, even more questions. If service has been resumed because RIM has granted the Saudi government a privileged access to its security codes, other countries which have placed or are considering the idea of placing a ban on BlackBerry, such as India, Algeria and Indonesia along with the UAE, might soon claim the same kind of rights.

On the other hand, though, RIM maintains that no matter who is requesting it, a third party would never be able to obtain a copy of any encryption key, as these keys are not set by RIM itself, but by each individual user, and the network provider does not have a copy.

In a few words, what looks like a spy story about mobile phone privacy seems to get bigger every day, and all we have to do is wait for the next move.

Amphibious planes are still riding the tide, with a new design

agosto 10, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In the field of air transport, we are used to hear about something new on a daily basis about manned or unmanned aircraft, powered by conventional fuel, electricity or solar energy. There is, actually, a kind of aircraft which does not make the headlines as an example of technological innovation, and that is the seaplane, at least until today.

In fact, after approximately 60 years during which no big changes have been noted in this specific type of aircraft for tourism and small cargo transportation, we can now finally mention the Privateer, an amphibious aircraft which promises to redefine the standards, both in terms of look and design, and most of all for performance and security.

Built entirely in corrosion-resistant carbon fiber, it is equipped with a central rotor mounted in the rear, and a central wing in the back which joins the two sponsons and makes it vaguely resemble some sort of flying catamaran. The unique design and low gravity center allow for higher maneuverability and stability, especially when the plane is on the water, reducing the risk of being capsized because of the waves.

Privateer can carry, along with its pilot, up to 6 passengers, and is powered by a Water 601 turbine engine, which thanks to the hulled rotor also keeps noise pollution very low, while improving efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. Its total weight, when empty, is just over as little as 1600 kilos, and can reach an altitude of approximately 7700 meters, with an operating range of 1600 kms and a cruise speed between 195 and 215 knots depending on flight altitude and fuel tank capacity, which may vary with different configurations.

For now, though, Privateer is just a prototype, therefore no information about expected availability and price has been disclosed.

Encrypted mobile phones, for safe calls in the face of the Government

agosto 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we have seen in some recent posts, when they are not busy throwing accusations (or even missiles) at each other, the administrations of the Western and Eastern hemispheres are best friends when it comes to keeping their citizens’ freedom of expression and communication under control.

If on one hand the US Government sets up secret centers in charge of monitoring online activities of millions of American users under the pretext of looking for a potential threat to national security (as if terrorists are so naive as to leave electronic tracks…), on the other side, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, with the same excuse, wage a war on mobile phone calls placed with the BlackBerry phones and technology, which have just one imperfection: they use an encoding individually controlled by each user, therefore the network administrators are not in possession of such a key, and would not be able to provide conversation data to any court that should request it.

To avoid running the risk of having some censor or governmental officer waking up one day and deciding to listen to everyone’s calls, or in any case to prevent our conversations from being bugged or listened to, be it with clean or malicious intentions, fortunately there is a solution, and it is not affected by the telecommunication system or network one uses.

In fact, by using an encrypted mobile phone, you can add one further layer of security on top of the (vulnerable) one provided by proprietary encoding used by the GSM operator of your choice.

To encrypt any communication from your mobile phone, all you have to do is install a special software on your handset, and it will make your calls impossible to listen to. In fact, even in case the conversation between two phones equipped with the Safe & Talk encryption software is intercepted, a hidden listener would only be able to hear a white noise instead of two voices.

In short, once the encryption software is installed, all you have to do is enter a secret key and call freely. If your counterpart uses the same software and secret key, your calls are safe.

All calls placed with a mobile phone equipped with this protection are encrypted with a 256-bit key, which makes them virtually attack-proof. Furthermore, it is also possible to encrypt SMS messages, which would therefore be illegible for anyone who should ever intercept them.

Along with the Safe & Talk software, there are several other ways to keep your phone calls safe, for example by using an interception-free untraceable phone, which protects itself against malicious attempts by dynamically changing its IMEI number, the number that uniquely identifies each mobile phone equipment.

For more information on encrypted mobile phones and on several methods to make sure that your private phone calls stay private, we suggest that you visit the Endoacustica website.

Your GPS navigator? In your glasses

agosto 5, 2010 Technology No Commenti

During the recent Wireless Japan expo, the Tokyo UEC (University of Electro-Communications) has presented the prototype of a wearable personal navigation system, which can easily be worn as it is contained inside a pair of special glasses.

In fact, we are not talking about a normal pair of glasses, but rather a microscopic GPS navigator which only sports the shape of a pair of glasses. Inside the frame there are LEDs, mounted following a circular pattern, which would turn on according to movements of the wearer’s head.

When the head moves, in fact, a LED positioned in the direction of the final destination would light, therefore showing the glasses’ wearer the direction of the road to take to reach their home, their workplace, the hotel of their holidays and so on.

The frame contains, along with LEDs and direction sensor, also a GPS antenna, a battery to power the whole system and a miniature computer. All that the user has to do is enter the final destination, and when the GPS antenna detects the position of its current location and that of the destination, direction sensors will guide him to reach it along the right way, in the fastest possible time.

Developed by UEC’s Nakajima Laboratory, the GPS navigator in a pair of glasses has been put to the test during a test run on pedestrians in the Tokyo traffic, and the test was successfully passed.
The advantage of this navigation system, if compared for example to mobile phones equipped with GPS, lies in the fact that while with the latter one always has to keep an eye on the handset to follow the road, thus increasing the risk of small accidents, with these glasses they would just have to follow the direction shown by the LED inside the frame, without losing touch with dangers of the road and keeping eyes fixed on the direction to take.

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