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A new spherical robot for video surveillance.

giugno 6, 2012 Technology No Commenti
robot for video surveillance

Remote-controlled unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) have proven very useful in military applications, but several industry studies show that they can also be applied to civil security.

A good example of these tools is the GroundBot, produced by a Swedish company. Able to roll in the mud, in sand, snow and even float on water, this particular robot has a spherical shape and has a couple of cameras that allow the remote operator to see everything that is happening around in 3D.

Remotely controlled or programmed through an indipendent system, based on GPS technology, GroundBot can be equipped with cameras that allow a 360 degrees and night vision (IR), microphones and speakers, as well as sensors for the detection of radioactivity, gases, moisture, fire, heat, smoke, biological materials, explosives or drugs.

GroundBot has all its sensors and cameras well protected inside the sphere sealed to prevent sand, mud, gas and water from entering. This makes it particularly suitable to detect gas leaks. Also resistant to overturns, drops and knocks. It can move and rotate in multiple directions with acceleration and deceleration. GroundBot is driven by a patented system with a pendulum mechanism. To start the rotation, the built-in motor raises the pendulum located inside the sphere, thereby changing the center of gravity. This brings the spherical robot to roll in the desired direction.

With a speed up to 10 km / h (6 mph), the robot can be used on any type of ground or surface, even on a smooth and paved one. It can run up to 8-16 hours, while it takes 3-4 hours to recharge the battery. Equipped with a housing made of polycarbonate with a high friction coating, the size of this instrument is comparable to a car tire, measuring 60 cm (23.6 inches) in diameter, while the weight of 25 kg (55 lbs).

An instrument, therefore, that joins to other surveillance systems of this nature, such as robots equipped with wireless webcam, or of any other nature, such as the 3G spy cameras, more discrete and with a slightly different use. The robot, infact, is best suited for surveillance in places such as airports, railway stations, power plants and warehouses, and for applications such as perimeter protection and monitoring of events at the stadium, that is for all those places or events that require monitoring on the move.

Bulletproof underpants protect your privates.

giugno 5, 2012 Technology 1 Commento
bulletproof underpants

Soldiers patrolling the streets of Afghanistan on foot usually face a number of dangers that surely they would not find if they were in a tank. One such risk is posed by improvised explosive devices (or IED), which often cause the loss of limbs or damage to the “boy parts” of the body.

For this purpose a system of pelvic protection has been developed which comprises two layers: an under-garment, called “PUG” and a protective outer-garment, called “POG”. Both components can be worn as shorts. The PUG is easily worn under pants instead of underwear. It looks very similar to cycling shorts but it has, of course, a level of military protection. The POG, instead, is worn over the PUG and is even more protective and resistant.

Although it certainly can not completely protect these men from something like a IED explosion, this special underwear not only protects the femoral artery, thereby preventing loss of blood that can be fatal, but it also helps to reduce infections, often caused by particles of the explosives material.

The PUG is made of a breathable, moisture-wicking material along the outer thighs. The inner thighs, instead, are made with a knitted Kevlar to protect the flashy parts and the aforementioned femoral artery. Over the groin there is another layer of knitted Kevlar. These clothes are washable, weigh in at just under three pounds and they probably will be sold for about $ 95. We don’t know anything about available colours yet.

These garments are surely very useful not only for soldiers, but also for those who find themselves in situations that require some protection for the flashy parts of their body, while allowing perfect mobility and agility. No longer, therefore, only bulletproof clothing and dresses with rubber shock absorbing pad that allow you to secure rigid parts of the body, but also more security for the soft parts, easy targets in contexts of armed clashes or other.

Application transforms your smartphone into a bomb detector.

giugno 4, 2012 Technology 2 Commenti
bomb sniffer

Unexploded ordnance and landmines planted in what were once battlefields are a serious global problem. About 2000 people every month are involved in accidents due to explosion of mines, a victim every twenty minutes, many of them are children. NATO experts extimate that demining the areas affected by conflicts around the world could take up to 100 years.

Many have been the efforts to develop new technologies to detect these dangers, such as the use of terahertz waves and inkjet-printable sensors. But, instead of relying on the development of new technologies, some students of the Military University of Technology of Warsaw tried to use an existing one in a new way, developing an application called “Saper” to detect explosives with smartphones.

“Saper” is the Polish word for “minesweeper” and, at the same time, an acronym for “Amplified Perception Sensor For Explosives Recognition”. The application is based on the magnetometer, usually used for the compass-like functionality of your mobile, to detect disturbances in the magnetic field near an explosive material, allowing to detect forty different types of such materials, from a distance of 30 cm (11 , 8 inches).

Before the suspected area can be inspected the application, which was successfully tested on the field, needs a little time to calibrate the environment. Once done, all you have to do is shake the phone in the air as if you were painting a grid of up to 30 cm by 30 cm and not more than 30 cm away from the source of potential threat (the distance can be increased with the addition of a staff acting like an arm).

The application connects to a cloud-based server and compares the recorded signals of magnetic disturbance with other signals in the database. If a threat is detected, the application returns a warning message and identifies the probability of there beig some kind of explosive material in the sampled area. The GPS locator, then, identifies the site and immediately notify the authorities. The message of threat can also be automatically shared on social networks.

“We do not intend for SAPER to replace mine detection devices, but only to provide additional help when none are available ,” said Mariusz Chmielewski, the mentor of Polish students’ team.

Participant in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition, the application was developed exclusively for Windows Phone operating system but will soon be made available on other platforms. Other planned developments include a wireless external magnetometer which will increase the detection distance up to one meter (3.28 feet).

The group also plans to explore the possibility of using the magnetometer to monitor other types of disturbances of the magnetic field. Potential uses include the detection of cables inside a wall and detection of foreign bodies in the human body. In this way, the device will join other tools, already in use and certainly more professional, which allow to see through walls, thanks to a technology that uses radio waves of the UWB (ultra wide band) radar system.

Wi-Fi cufflinks for elegant secret agents.

giugno 1, 2012 Technology No Commenti
Wi-Fi Cufflinks

The 007 of modern times, as well as being brave, cunning, sly, must also be high-tech, if you want to keep up with the times and if you do not want to be confined in a film of the Sixties.

We have already heard about cufflinks that are actually usb pen drive, but we could never imagine to have these devices in a new version, to share a Wi-Fi network.

If a cufflink, in fact, behaves as a normal pen drive up to 2 GB, allowing to transport safely and in a discreet and confidential way files and documents of various types, the other cufflink is a mini WiFi router, able to turn any computer connected to the Internet in a hotspot for other devices.

Simple and easy to use, just plug it into a USB port of the PC with the connection you want to share, download the necessary program, which you actually could have ready on the other flash-drive cufflink, and wirelessly share the connection with other WiFi devices, whether laptops, smartphones and tablets.

While most places these days seem to have Wi-Fi available, these devices would be the ideal solution for situations where there is only a wired Internet connection and you want to share it with colleagues. Indeed, they allow you to create a fast and easy connection using only your PC and can be disconnected as soon as it is no longer needed.

In short, with USB Oval Polished Cufflinks offered by Brookstone, you can feel like if you were in a spy movie, with the secret papers hidden in one of the cufflinks at the wrist.
If, then, your need is to be able to crack existing Wi-Fi Network, it can be done quickly and securely with a wpa sniffer, a tool able to enter into all the password-protected wireless networks.

Connected to any device, looking like a simple router, it enables to connect to all wireless networks, whether protected by wep or wpa passwords, to surf the web freely without any contract and especially with a high speed connection.

Means that the modern James Bond can not and will not to ignore, if we consider that communication and information, whether public or secret, now pass through the Internet.

Turning the iPhone into a valuable night vision scope.

maggio 31, 2012 Technology No Commenti
iPhone Night Vision Adapter

Fans of Apple technologies probably already know. Now you can turn your iPhone (4 and 4S models) into a device for night video and image recording, allowing to spy what other people are doing in the dark.

A new application? No, there’s not an app for that! It’s not that simple and it’s not for everyone, since the costs are not exactly low. For those who would like to obtain this device simply because it is a “cool” gadget (and it is for real), you’d better keep in mind the quite prohibitive costs.

We are talking about a device, the iPhone USNV Night Vision Adapter. An adapter, in short, a kind of telescope to be connected to the iPhone which enables you to clearly see everything that happens in a night environment without any light. Once installed the external device, the iPhone offers, thus, a display for night vision and to record video and photos, zoom and adjust optic settings, geo-tag your footage, and send images to others.

“This adapter really is a game changer. By integrating their iPhones and night vision scopes, professionals in the field can take the individual situational awareness that they currently enjoy to the next level, team-based shared awareness. For command and control, shared awareness supercharges their ability to plan, direct and control a networked emergency response,” said Stewart Firman, the director of NightVisionExperts.com.

The Night Vision iPhone Adapter, then, is not for everyone. The average user, in fact, might find it of limited use and interest. Much more useful is, however, for first responders and other professionals who seek a means of sending critical data quickly and cost efficiently. Other potential users include sportsmen, surveillance professionals and broadcasters.

People who does not have an iPhone, instead, can now rely on other devices that allow a clear vision even in the darkest nights. They can acquire, for example, a thermal camera, the cost of which are no longer an obstacle for those who need to do night shooting in a discreet and, above all, accurate way. Thermal cameras, in fact, today are more and more silent, with no warning lights and they can really work in extreme environments, in a very wide temperature range, enabling you to take pictures even far away from the operator, with powerful zoom and very high resolution.

Social Shield, a new tool to control children’s activity on the Web.

maggio 30, 2012 Technology No Commenti
remote pc spying

The age limit imposed by Facebook to sign up is currently 13 years. Needless to say, of course, that there are many kids that go around this obstacle by declaring a false date of birth, often escaping the parental control. Moreover, parents are not always experts in new technologies and cannot monitor what their children do and say through the Web. Besides, thanks to the use of state-of-the-art mobile phones, such as smartphones, new generations have the opportunity to connect to the Internet everywhere, especially away from parents’ sharp look.

Often it is not enough to ask their friendship on Social Networks because, you know, by changing privacy settings the user can easily keep “hot” contents from some selected groups of people.

But today there are new tools to monitor the activities of your children. On the market there is a new system to control what is going on Social Media accounts. It’s called SocialShield and is suitable for parents who really want to see every movement of their children on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and so forth.

This product is able to monitor “social” activities of your children either on the computer or on mobile devices, retaining all the information in a permanent archive. The tool allows you to examine both new friends of your child and old ones, and enables to display, on a single platform and without wasting time in analyzing any single, questionable activities that your child is doing by notifying you each time something unsafe (like swearing or inappropriate images) appears on the Social Network account placed under surveillance.

If, for example, your son or daughter receives a message with inappropriate content, you will instantly receive a warning alarm.
The system is based on the “exception reporting” technology, which displays only the contents at risk, thus leaving room for the privacy and indipendence the kids need.

Clearly, however, this tool is not enough to make parents feel less worried about their children’s online activities. So, it could be useful for them to rely on remote PC spying systems or keyhunters, which record all the characters typed on the keyboard by children. E-mail, chats, visited web addresses, instant messages exchanged with their buddies, nothing can now escape parental control, while they will continue to feel “adult” and independent with their privacy, not noticing the hidden spy equipment.

New surveillance system identifies faces by scanning 36 million images per second.

maggio 29, 2012 Technology No Commenti
video surveillance

Privacy advocates, brace yourselves! Japan has developed a new surveillance device that identifies faces by scanning millions of images per second.
The Hitachi Kokusai Electric has demonstrated how this new system can compare an image captured with a mobile phone or from hidden cameras or other video surveillance systems, such as 3G spy camera, with 36 million images per second, until a perfect matching of faces.
While the minimum resolution required for identification is at least 40×40 pixels, the provided software allows facial recognition even in the case faces are inclined horizontally or vertically up to 30 degrees.
The software also enables to identify faces in already registered or old videos, which means that users will see what the wanted person was doing before and after the freeze-frame.
What does this mean? That the greatest barrier of video surveillance has been exceeded. No more need to watch gruelling hours of video recorded by hidden cameras to find what you want.
The power of this system lies in the ability of its algorithm to group similar faces together, returning the results as thumbnails arranged in a grid, from which you can easily remove results considered wrong, or which do not perfectly match.
It is easy to see how the scenarios that open for its use are endless. The police, for example, could find it useful to trap criminals from old videos, or find them in the midst of large crowds. Moreover it will be easier to catch in the act a thief which has committed several burglaries in the same business and to discover very quickly how many times that person has been in that store.
The company said that the product will be available by the next fiscal year and it will be up to the company itself to ensure customers make an appropriate use. Customized to specific customer’s needs , the product shall be restricted mainly to the police, shopping centers or large companies.
This news should make anyone concerned about privacy shudder, but the fact that competing systems like this will follow requires legislators to define how the technology can be used legally, as with other surveillance systems, like license-plate recognition cameras.

3G spy camera, a big step forward in video surveillance.

maggio 28, 2012 Technology No Commenti
remote surveillance

Until a few years ago, it was pure fiction to think about a device that would provide immediate access to any place across the globe, allowing you to see and listen to what was going on. The technology, however, has now reached levels previously unattainable, enabling a remote real-time control of any place, be it internal or external.

3G spy camera is a little jewel of technology that allows audio and video surveillance directly from your UMTS mobile. It can be installed in different environments and in mobile vehicles as well.

It works in video mode only when there is UMTS network coverage, otherwise it acts like a normal audio bug. If necessary, it also allows to record files on Micro SD memory up to 32 Gb and to send them to an e-mail box.

The 3G spy camera is the ideal tool for those who need to remotely monitor their home or workplace, especially with the increase of burglary in these times of economic crisis.

Its really small size and weight (only 43x40x8 mm per 10 grams) enable you to hide it anywhere, from home appliances and furniture to the interior of a car, without anyone noticing it. With a video resolution of 320×240, the 3G spy camera allows you not only to record video in MP4 format, but also to take pictures at a resolution of 640×480.

Easy to use and configurable via text messages, with a simple video call to the number listed in the bug, from any UMTS phone, you can real-time control at a great distance what is happening in the place under surveillance. For the audio mode, however, in case of lack of UMTS coverage, you just need a simple voice call from any phone.

It features a Voice Activation Sensor (VAS), which turns the device on when it detects a noise that exceeds a certain threshold, and a ultrasensitive microphone that, despite its small size (only 5.6×4.0x2.3 mm), provides excellent sound quality.
Moreover, the 3G spy camera is powered by a 3.7V lithium-ion battery, rechargeable via USB cable or charger, all supplied in the kit.

Ideal for those who need to remotely control places or people, this device represents a major step forward in technology, as well as a valuable aid in the prevention of theft of various kinds. Powerful and easy to use, you do not need to be a leading expert in these technologies to employ it.

Burglary and the need for increased police patrols.

maggio 24, 2012 Technology No Commenti
burglar

Burglary, shoplifting and other petty crimes against property are increasing. This is what you can easily learn from newspapers, TV and the Internet.

Most thieves are amateurs but in this time of economic crisis it is almost becoming a job, a way to scratch along.

In many countries a crime helpline has been founded to help the people to overcome the consequences of having been victims of burglary.

Maeve Ryan, co-ordinator of the Irish National Crime Victims Helpline, said that “The number of people seeking help was up from 783 to 838 for the first three months of the year, with a noticeable increase in calls about theft.”

“This is a crime which can have serious effects on the people affected,” she said. Not only material effects linked to the loss of the things stolen, but also psychological consequences, due to the fear people experience after a break-in, because “once it has happened the fear is that it will happen again”.

And there are also other questions such as repairing damaged doors and windows, difficulties with insurance claims, the need to upgrade security systems, and the worry about the impact of the crime on children.

Not only burglary in houses and shops, but also theft and fraud in businesses are increasing. Valuables, food, money and technological devices are stolen, but also business cars and means of transport.

For this reason business owner are asking for increased police patrols, even though probably the best way to monitor their property would be the installation of state-of-the-guard surveillance systems, out and in warehouses, plants and offices, because you do not have to forget that many times the thief is among the staff.

There is a greater need for collaboration among employees, despite cuts to staff, due to the current economic crisis, and their growing resentment towards the company.

In fact, as it is shown by a research conducted by the American consultant Marquet International Ltd., 2010 has been “the year of internal fraud to business.” According to the report, in 2010 internal fraud has increased by 17% compared to 2009. Issues of misconduct of employees will continue to grow in relation to rates of unemployment, which now amount to 10%.

The risk is greater for small-medium enterprises, which have less resources in terms of personnel and are not able to implement adequate prevention and control measures.

To catch the criminal in the act, they could find very useful video surveillance devices, such as the new 3G spy camera, which can be easily concealed in any place and is hardly detectable.

While GPS locators can be used to monitor business means of transport, to track all of their movements. In short, a cheap solution for an expensive problem.

A gender-sensitive approach to Terrorism.

maggio 23, 2012 Technology No Commenti
counter-terrorism

Counter terrorism should move away from militaristic approaches and base itself on people-oriented solutions, that is on gender-sensitive sustainable interventions.

This is what has been claimed by Pakistani scholar Maleeha Aslam, during the presentation, organized in Islamabad by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) , of his latest book “Gender Based Explosions: The Nexus Between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism”, in which the doctor tries to find the connection between the glorification of Muslim masculinity, Jihadist Islamism and terrorism.

Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge Commonwealth Society, Dr. Aslam wants to emphasize how gender dimension has been underestimated in searches for a solution to terrorism.
“In Muslim societies, socio-economic and political oppression coupled with culturally idealised gender constructs, lead men towards militant Islamism and terrorism.” She underlined that anti-terrorism policies which involve surveillance and racial profiling provoke Muslim men, because they are an attack on their honour and on the way they behave in society. In her study she also states that religious affiliation has nothing to do with offering oneself for Jihad. In fact, the majority of practising Muslims is against suicide bombings.

The doctor then continued his speech by saying that Jihadist Islamism will continue to grow tremendously if we do not change the point of view in the matter, if we do not understand that terrorism can be fought only by peaceful means, sensitive to gender differences.

“It’s a man’s desire to prove himself that draws him to violence.” Not the affiliation to a particular religion, but the men’s egocentric behaviour.
Therefore, no military program or solution that still makes use of violence would help Governments to fight against terrorism, according to Dr. Aslam point of view. Moreover, also the use of tools for surveillance, such as eavesdropping devices or GPS locators, would be ineffectual These devices, used for the monitoring of suspects, would only hurt Muslim men’s ego, bringing them to follow extremist ideas, maybe otherwise never joined.

Militarism, then, is cross-national and cross-religious. It is not about religion but the individual itself. So it is important to shift the focus from religious ideologies to gender-based behaviours that would be the same in different parts of the world and not only in Muslim areas. In fact, the researcher points out that despite U.S. society is sensitive to gender issues, we have witnessed a cruel behaviour of American soldiers toward Iraqi prisoners.

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