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A gun that launches rings of smoke to ward off attackers … and much more!

luglio 23, 2012 Technology No Commenti
pistola vortex

Inspired by children’s toy guns that launch smoke rings, Battelle, a U.S. Company from Columbus, Ohio, has made a real weapon capable of launching several rings of gaseous substances or an electrical charge.

According to the researchers, this gun is able to launch these rings at a distance of nearly 46 meters and a speed of about 145 kilometers per hour. The gaseous rings, fired with a sort of gust of wind could be used in several occasions: for a rescue operation by firefighters, for example. In these particular circumstances, in order to save lives, it would be useful to create a smoke-free corridor in the room. This gun would be able to do just that: the rings of electric charge can move the smoke emitted at the bottom, creating a passage for rescue workers.

Now, imagine also the use the police could do of this gun in very crowded places during big events that require a lot of men for surveillance and defense. In addition to the usual anti-aggression spray, they might use this weapon, perhaps loaded with tear gas or stinging substance, to obscure the view of the aggressors and catch them without problems.
Another use of this gun could be to employ it for spreading pesticides or insecticides in cases where it would be good to maintain a certain distance, such as, for example, in the case you need to rid a place of bees.

This device that, it should be remembered, is a real weapon, is inevitably raising the question about whether to possess and use it for purposes of self defense you will need to have special permits. The weapon, in fact, may be as harmless as dangerous, depending on the type of rings launched and, above all, on the people who use it. Meanwhile, scientists are for the registration of their patent. We await further developments.

Endoacustica Europe

Explosive or toxic substances? An application for smartphones tells you how to behave!

luglio 20, 2012 Technology No Commenti
android and apple app

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released last month an application for iOS and Android that can provide information on how to behave in case of detection of explosive material or leakage of toxic substances.

Imagine a police officer who finds a bag abandoned in an airport or in a crowded place. The first thing that might come to his mind is “in that bag there probably is a bomb for a terrorist attack.” News show, in fact, that this is one of those tactics used by terrorists to carry out their attacks. What, then, in these cases?

The application developed by the American Department of Homeland Security is just the ideal tool for providing guidance on how to behave in those particular circumstances. In particular, it exploits the Google satellite system to locate the exact point where you find the suspicious item and provides advice on factors such as distance to keep, the best locations for roadblocks, and how many buildings would be better to evacuate, and which structural damage and injuries there would be if the bomb blew up. All data that can be labeled by the user and shared by email.

Think about how this application would be useful in case of crashes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. In addition to using state-og-the-guard devices that allow to find missing people and see through walls, those who deal with emergencies may rely on this application, called FIRST, to know what to do if there is leakage of toxic material, as it often happens. The system, in fact, includes information on how to handle more than 3,000 hazardous materials and how the weather, as rain and wind, may contribute to their expansion. This application is now available for those involved in the rescue effort, but it is possible that it will be accessible to the general public. Think about how it would be useful in everyday life, especially for those who are not experts in explosives or that do not know much about the handling of toxic substances!

Endoacustica Europe

From the U.S, an anti-theft shoe.

luglio 19, 2012 Technology No Commenti
anti-theft shoes

Bag snatching is on the rise. Going through dark streets at night to join friends, going back home through desolate streets. In big cities this is not always “a walk”. Indeed, what might seem the norm exposes us to great risks, such as being assaulted and robbed.

In this regard, an American fashion designer has invented a special type of footwear, anti-theft shoes. As you can see from the photo, the bottom of the shoe would act as a safe for money and valuables. The shoes, which are also available with a padlock, according to the manufacturer, will soon replace the so much beloved handbags.

Nothing so clever and not so new. People on the Network are already making pitiless reviews of the product that, in their opinion, are nothing but a useless object for fashion victims. Some people are concerned about the limited capacity of the wedge (think of how many items women carry with them when they go out) and many others for the fragility of the shoe itself.

Some people then do more serious considerations regarding the use of special shoes for the prevention of muggings and for self-defense purposes: how could such an object make you feel safe in case of robbery? Once thieves discover the existence of this kind of things on the market, won’t they be inclined to knock down the victim and steal her shoes too? The same considerations apply to safes hidden in the outlets. Once discovered, they still have reason to exist? There are, finally, people who points out how this object does not represent, in fact, nothing new: think about our grandparents, who used to hide money in socks and other underwear.

Is all this making you smile? What about if you were walking in a dark and desolate place, with someone following you? Not sure your shoes will protect you from the mugger? Maybe you can throw them at the attacker, but you should have the best shot. Wouldn’t it be better to adopt a more effective tool as an self-defense spray? Women will judge …

Too many mosquitoes? Be careful, perhaps they are watching you!

luglio 18, 2012 Technology No Commenti
mosquito drone mockup

We have already written in this blog about drone insects, real insects equipped with microcameras and microphones to act as bugs or totally artificial insects, able to perform these same functions. Beetles, bees, flies, dragonflies, and other insects with a big size, indispensable for transporting the mini equipment which requires a certain energy and strngth that maybe other smaller insects could not endure, until now.

A CGI mockup has been created of a mosquito drone that soon we might see flying in our skies for aerial surveillance, and not only for that purpose… The model, in fact, besides mini cameras and microphones, has also a needle, able to take DNA samples from the chosen person, or to inject a micro RFID into the body, a system which allow the geolocation, through radio frequency identification.

Science fiction? Not really if you consider, for example that, in 2007, during a protest against the war in Washington DC, Vanessa Alarcon, one of the activists, saw a strange flying insect that looked like a dragonfly, but definitely it wasn’t and, moreover, in 2006, the development of micro UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) by the CIA (since the ’70s) was reported by Flight International.

Many questions arise regarding the uses one can make of these jewels of technology that while on the one hand represent a big step forward in the defense of the country, on the other they may end up in wrong hands. Instead of being used for aerial surveillance, for example, they could be emplyed for less noble purposes. What about if the mosquito drone was used to inject deadly poisons without anyone noticing?

A weapon that causes debate: Taser, the electric gun.

luglio 17, 2012 Technology No Commenti
taser, electric gun


Whether men or women, crime never pays, and to prove there is this video showing a woman thief who enters a subway restaurant and tries to steal the takings. Movements are those of a professional thief: bringing a weapon, she jumps over the counter, opens the cash register and, just as she takes the money, she is reached by an electric discharge sent by an employee of the restaurant through a Taser. As you can see from the video, the electric gun makes her fall to the ground before she can use a weapon.

As a way to stop robberies and assaults this type of weapon has raised debate in the U.S. for months, especially after a particular event, which could ban its from the police. Just a few months ago, Malika Brooks has sued three police officers in Seattle who had used the electric weapon against her when she was seven months pregnant. The woman was pulled over going 32 miles per hour in a 20 mph zone. She took the ticket but refused to sign it because it would have been an admission of guilt, that she felt he did not have.

It was then that the first agent asked her if she knew what a Taser is and, when she said no and that she needed to go to the toilet the police, after consultation, decided, however, to use the gun, pointing to thigh, dragging the woman on the sidewalk and cuffed her.

The manufacturer of the electric weapon warns against the use of Taser on pregnant women because of potential damage to the fetus but, fortunately, Brooks’ daughter was born healthy. However, the woman sued the officers for excessive use of force and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last fall in San Francisco ruled that the officers had actually exaggerated.

This is just one of the many cases that should make us think more about the use of these weapons that are  not fatal, but in certain cases may cause damage to health. The question arises whether it would be better, alternatively, to use self-defense sprays such as those already widely used, or as those which containa type of ink, able to stain the face of the attacker for easy recognition.

A do-it-yourself drone who discovers the password and intercept calls.

luglio 16, 2012 Technology No Commenti
do-it-yourself drone

Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins, respectively, a former cyber security contractor and a former engineering systems consultant at the American Air Force, have shown, during a security conference, held last year in Las Vegas, a do-it-yourself drone aircraft, 6 feet long (1.80 m c.ca) and weighing 14 pounds (about 7 kg), named WASP (wireless aerial surveillance platform). So far nothing new, but this mini aircraft is capable of sniffing out Wi-Fi networks, cracking passwords automatically and even eavesdropping on conversations, posing as a cell tower.

The WASP is constituted by a drone no longer in use in the army and by a series of other technologies mounted by the same builders, including an HD video camera, a small Linux computer, which includes a dictionary with 340 million words to force the password of different systems, and eleven different antennas. The UAV is also independent, but requires human guidance for takeoff and landing. Once airborne, however, it can fly along a pre-set path, searching for data with a weak defense.

The do-it-yourself drone was equipped by the two creators, following what has been learned by another hacker, with a system that allows to pose as a GSM cell tower, capable of tricking phones into connecting through WASP rather than their carriers

Tassey and Perkins argue that the WASP was constructed to show how easy it is, and how vulnerable we are in an era where the technology we use every day has evolved to the point of exposing users to risks, even when they are unaware. A sort of warning, in fact, but there are others who see the potential uses of the platform in the military. Meanwhile, it would be good to adopt a jammer to safeguard a little bit of privacy against violation.

A remote-controlled mini-helicopter that can see through concrete walls.

luglio 13, 2012 Technology 2 Commenti
Hexacopter to see through walls

The U.S. company TiaLinx Inc had already designed a mini-robot, the Cougar20-H, able, thanks to some special sensors, to detect a person breathing through a concrete wall. However, the robot showed limited mobility, as it was a rolling ground-based device. The manufacturer has however managed to solve the motion problem transforming the mobile robot in a remotely controlled hexacopter, ie a mini helicopter, the Phoenix40-A, capable of perceiving the human breath and movement in the buildings below.

The remote-controlled mini-helicopter can travel long distances, performing a wide variety of aerial surveillance tasks, including video recording, not only during the day but also at night, thanks to its devices for night vision. But what is more interesting is that he can see through walls, thanks to a system based on radio waves.

The Phoenix40-A can land on top of a building and scan it to check for a human presence, or it can do it on the fly. It is, moreover, also capable of generating the layout of a building with several floors and to send the collected information to law enforcement or troops before they break into a structure. The little robot can also help locate landmines, whether enemy or simply UXO from some past conflict.

But even if the U.S. military has contributed to its development, the Phoenix40-A could also be used for civilian purposes, not only for surveillance in the military. A fast and agile hexacopter able to fly for extended periods without touching the ground may, in fact, be a really useful tool during search and rescue operations after disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc … The bot, in fact, could travel over vast areas of impassable land to search for signs of life, helping rescuers to locate victims in a fast and accurate way, without wasting time.

From the USA, a scanner that will know everything about you from 164 feet away!

luglio 12, 2012 Technology 1 Commento
laser molecular scanner

It will probably be available in one or two years, tells the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a scanner ever seen before, that will know everything about people scanned: substances in the body and clothes, whether there are traces of drugs, explosives or other hazardous chemicals. And all this without having to stop people, without physical contact and, again, probably without their knowledge.

It is something that goes far beyond the matters already raised for satellite tracking and eavesdropping, as those who will use the device, police and governmental investigative agencies, supposedly in the war on terrorism, are going to know many details of scanned people. Moreover, not only suspected people but everybody might be scanned at places like airports, shopping malls, or even the city streets, where police officers will be equipped with this tool.

The company that invented it, Genia Photonics, said that “the device is able to penetrate clothing and provide spectroscopic information of any substance in the human body or objects brought in with him.” Its inventors have already been hired by the In-Q-Tel, to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The In-Q-Tel is a company founded in 1999 by a group of private citizens on the CIA’s request and with the support of Congress. A sort of bridge between the intelligence agency and the companies that deal with new technologies.

Instruments like this scanner have already been designed in Russia and at the George Washington University. The one invented by Genia Photonics is, however, thousands of times faster and more accurate, even at a greater distance.

Even if this new technology could open new scenarios in the field of medical diagnosis, the questions about how it will be used in other circumstances, such as security of the country, remain. Who can use it? Which limits do they have? Who keeps the obtained data? Where and how long? A problem, that of privacy, which is still open.

Drones and hijacking, a new obstacle to safety in the U.S.

luglio 9, 2012 Technology No Commenti
drone

Newspapers and TV are increasingly focusing their attention on UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones, that is unmanned aircraft which are used mostly for military purposes and surveillance from above. A major step forward in the technology which, however, raises several questions, not only for privacy, but also for the safety of individuals.

In five or ten years there might be about 30,000 U.S. drones in the skies and this will be a real problem even after the discovery made on 19 June by researchers at the University of Texas, who managed to hijack a drone during a test of the “Department of Homeland Security.”

The research radio navigation laboratories of Austin, in fact, headed by Professor Todd Humphreys, have challenged the U.S. government, showing how, with only $ 1000, you can take control of a UAV and hijack it.

If you think that in the future our skies would be full of these aircraft, you can understand what a danger you could run: not only the collision with usual aircraft, but these vehicles could be used as real missiles from potential terrorists or criminals.

The hijacking of the drones, getting round the GPS system built into these planes, would be, therefore, a serious danger for the whole people. “Last year when the CIA lost a drone in Iran, there have been reports of spoofing, but we cannot say it for sure,” Humphreys revealed.

To avoid the danger, according to researchers, the airspace should not rely on the same in clear GPS signal used for civilian purposes. GPS receivers should be more protected: “The receivers must be able to identify what always happens and see if they are attacked. A solution might be to encourage the production of certified receivers, equipped with detectors of spoofing. Another alternative is the encryption of GPS signals. The military drones use a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module that decodes the GPS signal” continues Humphreys.

From Switzerland, an antistalking software. Is it really effective?

luglio 6, 2012 Technology 1 Commento
anti-stalking software

A Swiss company has launched a new version of its antivirus product, which now also contains an anti-stalking software. We have already written, on this blog, about a mobile phone able to immobilize attackers through electrical impulses. The software we are talking about in this article, instead, is completely harmless and what it does is just to delete messages and cancel calls from numbers “reported” by the owner.

The messages will be removed without the recipient can read them, to avoid, in this way, hurting its sensitivity. The stalker, on the other hand, however, receives a signal in which it is said that the message he is trying to send has not been delivered. This, according to Mauro Santi, Mobile Platform Manager of the company in Italy, would make him believe “that the number is off and then theoretically, desist from his intention of persecution.”

By extending this software to the everyday life, owners can also choose “not to receive newsletters or unwanted promotional mails, in the case where the deletion at the source has failed or is impossible.”

This software, which also contains an anti-virus and anti-theft system that allows you to lock and delete data on your mobile device by sending a simple message if it is stolen, is available for Windows Mobile, Android, Pocket PC , Symbian (Second and Third Edition).

Although it may be an effective system against viruses and theft, it remains to ask how it can, in fact, deter stalkers, especially if they decide to call in anonymously, as it happens in most cases.
However, it is esasy to find on the market other technological tools which in a sense act as a deterrent against persecutors. Very common are, for example, voice changers for mobile phones, which allow to change up to 8 timbres of voice and can be used with any type of cell. A small device that can make the stalker believe that his/her victim number has changed or that he/she is always accompanied by someone else.

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Hop! the suitcase that follows you

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Home with the GPS shoes

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