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A robot fish, powered by a fuel cell

marzo 16, 2010 Biotechnology No Commenti

Readers of these pages may already have noticed that we mentioned robotic fish a few times, both small and medium sized, so this new item coming (of course) from Japan, and more specifically from Osaka City University, may not look exactly as something new.

In this case though, what makes this robot fish, with its 10 centimeters in size, different from others and standing out from the crowd, is the source of power it uses.

Generally in fact, this kind of miniature devices is powered with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, which can provide an operating time of a few hours. This new robot fish from the land of the Rising Sun, instead, is powered by a fuel cell, nicknamed “Power Tube”.

The energy consumption of the small magnetic engine powered by this fuel cell is approximately 100 times lower than those which use a normal lithium battery, and the final target of this research is creating robotic fish that can swim for up to three consecutive days, not only on the water surface, but that are also capable of diving and rising, thanks to a small joint placed on the front of the fish, which makes it easier to head downward or upward.

In a near future, such robotic fish might be used for a wide range of applications, for example starting with monitoring of the pollution level of waters by simply adding dedicated sensors, or checking the condition of water pipelines from the inside, or even, by simply some micro camera and a transmitter, for underwater surveillance in port areas that might be at risk of any kind of attacks.

At the current stage it is not more than a research program, but in the future a robot fish might help us in several fields and make our waters a safer and cleaner place.

Stealth Phone, the untraceable phone

marzo 1, 2010 Biotechnology No Commenti


Those who, either professionally or as simple users, are involved with telecommunication security, know that encryption of telephone calls makes them more difficult to be bugged, but not impossible, especially if only one of the two users engaged in a conversation is using an encrypted mobile phone, while on the other side, his counterpart is using a common cellphone, which may be comfortable but is constantly exposed to the threat of eavesdropping.

To make sure that its calls can not be listened to, an encrypted cellphone must communicate with a similar equipment, which carries the same encoding key. By using this protection, a third party listener would only be able to hear noises; this means that encrypted mobile phones are not safe from eavesdropping per se, but make it impossible to understand the content of an eavesdropped phone call.

On the other hand, using a Stealth Phone you have in your hands a device which does not encrypt or encode its calls, but makes itself impossible to detect for any interception attempt, by dynamically changing its IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) number, that is, the number that uniquely identifies every handset.

In fact, telephone interception operations are carried out not only based on the telephone number, but also according to this identification number, allowing a malicious third party to intercept your calls even if you change your SIM card on your phone. This because it’s not only the number that is scanned, but also (and mostly) the handset itself.

By changing its IMEI number each time that it is turned on or off, or any time that you change the SIM card on the inside, a Stealth Phone basically turns itself into a new cellphone every time.

The IMEI number is made up of 15 digits, which makes it virtually impossible that the numbers, automatically generated by a software installed on your Stealth phone, could ever be repeated; by doing this, every day you will have a different phone, and will be protected from third party listeners who may have picked up your IMEI number.

In the very unlikely event of an unauthorized access attempt, you will instantly receive a notification, either via an alert message or a discreet vibration; all you have to do at this point is turn off your untraceable phone, then turn it off again to be able to resume your conversation where you left off, without any further privacy concern.

In a few words, the difference between encrypted cellphones and invisible mobile phones lies in the fact that, while an encrypted phone protects the contents of the call by making it impossible to understand, Stealth protects the phone call itself, making it impossible to intercept.

In the same fashion, though, usage of a Stealth Phone does not guarantee protection against any eavesdropping which might be aimed not at us, but rather at our counterpart; for this reason, when you are engaged in a phone call that you would like to keep as strictly confidential as can be, it is advisable that both parties use the same kind of protection.

A phone call between to untraceable Stealth handsets protects you completely against outside listeners, allowing you to freely discuss the most confidential and private of matters, without any fear that your words may be picked up by prying ears and used against you.

For more information about how an untraceable phone works, as well as on encrypted phones and a wide range of devices for protection of your privacy, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, where you can contact our experts for advice tailored on your needs.

Stem cells may help fighting AIDS

dicembre 19, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


A study carried out by researchers at University of California in Los Angeles has demonstrated that, at least theoretically so far, it is possible to create, developing human blood stem cells, a particular type of modified cells that detect and kill cells infected with HIV virus. In practice, it will be like having a genetic virus, useful not only to fight AIDS, but also in the struggle against several chronic viral diseases.

The killer cell, called CD8, has been initially extracted from a patient infected with HIV, and the molecule which detects and kills infected cells has been identified. These modified cells are capable of killing only a small part of the viral cells present inside the human body.

To make them more numerous and stronger, they have been cloned by implanting them into mice, allowing for development of a range of cells which can locate and destroy other cells which contain HIV virus proteins.
The next step will involve testing of the system on a more advanced model, in order to be able to determine and predict the results on the human body.

So far, studies have given very positive potential results, and researchers hope to be able to broaden the range of action, to fight other viruses. In fact, these studies can be used as a starting point for further future developments, especially concerning the possibility of repairing a damaged immune system, after it has been damaged following an infection by a virus causing a chronic disease, or even following to some types of tumor.

A robotic surgeon for open-heart surgery

dicembre 17, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti

Robot Surgery

During heart surgery, the most difficult part is the one that involves stopping the heart from beating. This risk can be minimized thanks to usage of a robot technology, which can predict the movement of a beating heart, allowing tools to move accordingly, thus staying still if compared to the heart’s walls, and eliminating the risk of cutting in the wrong place.

The Robotics Lab of the French Montpellier University has developed a robot surgeon based on a three-dimension model that takes into consideration not only the movements of the patient’s heart, but also those of his chest.
The robotic arm will automatically and constantly adjust its position based on these movements.

Such an approach to the problem has been achieved via a mathematical representation of the moving surface of the heart, thus allowing for a 3D image which predicts the movements in a single phase, opposed to previous versions that were using a 2D model combined with several intermediate phases, which were slowing down its response.

Thanks to this system, the robot arms, which have now become essential in many types of surgery where precision is a must, will be able to operate in higher security conditions. In fact, despite their precision, they had trouble adjusting themselves to extremely variable conditions such as an open-heart surgery with a beating heart. Now, the operating surgeon will finally be able to concentrate on doing his job, instead of having to worry about the heart beating.

Benefits can be easily speculated, and we hope to see results in operations that require extreme accuracy levels, such as all kinds of heart surgery, as well as brain surgery.


dicembre 15, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


Those who do not live in Italy and do not follow Italian affairs may not be completely familiar with details of the several bills that the Berlusconi government is presenting to the Parliament in order to have them approved. The talk might go on for days concerning whether they are politically legitimate or not, but sure enough some of them are controversial, to say the least, and have been raising more than one eyebrow.

For example, the one that has caused the widest outrage, along with the Alfano Law, which was supposed to protect the holders of the four highest offices in Italy (and incidentally, the prime Minister himself) from any trial, and that has been rejected by the Supreme Court, was the possible bill about telephone and environmental eavesdropping within the framework of criminal investigation.

Had this bill passed, the district attorneys would have seen their hands almost tied during the investigation phase of the trial, as they would have been able to authorize planting covert bugs only when serious clues are present, and not in case of presence of a limited number of clues as the current law says. This is not valid for organized crime and terrorism, and for any crime which could be punished with sentences longer than 5 years; for these crimes, the current legislation would still be applicable.

Another aspect that would be dramatically limited is the duration of the interception operation, which is limited to a maximum of two months (that is, one month plus two additional 15-day terms) which undoubtedly is too short a time to gather substantial and incontrovertible evidence to prove a defendant’s possible guilt (or his innocence), especially if financial misgivings are involved; incidentally, financial crimes are those that have put Berlusconi in hot water.

But what undoubtedly would make the current Italian Prime Minister a happy man is the part of this bill which forbids publication of any documentation concerning preliminary investigations, or even the ban on informing the public opinion on any warrant received by a defendant. Considering the limitations inflicted to investigations, there would not be much time to issue one, and should a judge be able to do it, it would no longer be possible to report this simple fact on a magazine or newspaper, thus keeping the general public unaware of any crime committed by their representatives.

Should a journalist publish such acts, or any excerpts from eavesdropped conversations, he could be fined or even jailed, while if a judge makes any comment on ongoing investigations or proceedings, he could even be stripped of his office. In short, not only investigations would be thwarted, but the public’s right to be informed (and to make their choice at the polling station based on this information) would suffer a severe blow.

Telephone interception, in the past, has helped catch dangerous criminals, as well as preventing financial crime, with an immediate benefit not only for public security, but, notably, for the State’s finances.

Therefore, it is just fair to ask ourselves who would really be benefiting from such a bill being passed, if not those with something to hide from the law, or those who fear that the content of their eavesdropped conversations would harm them if made public.

And among these people, as you can easily learn from newspapers worldwide, the most notable one is, incidentally, the person who is governing Italy since years.

A simple cure might stop multiple sclerosis

novembre 27, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


A surgeon from Ferrara University in Italy, Paolo Zamboni, might have found a surprisingly simple cure for multiple sclerosis, thanks to a simple operation which unclogs the outgoing blood flow from the brain.

Thanks to this surgery, 73% of the 65 patients cured by Dr. Zamboni are no longer showing MS symptoms two years after undergoing the operation. These results might dramatically change the current knowledge about multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide, most of which are women, and that so far was thought incurable; there were only therapies which would somehow alleviate the patients’ suffering.

Dr. Zamboni’s idea was that most types of MS were caused by a roadblock along the way that takes iron out of the brain. By cleaning up two main outgoing veins, it has been possible to reinstate the blood flow, and eliminate the main cause of disease.

Zamboni’s research started because of a very personal reason: the discovery that his wife was affected by the nasty disease. In his frantic scrolling through all possible documentation, he found some old sources stating that the excess of iron in patients’ brain was a possible cause.

By retrieving some of his researches in which he demonstrated how an excess of iron could damage the legs’ veins, he thought that the same principle could be applicable to the brain, and found out that 90% of MS patients have a small deformation in the outgoing blood vessels that take iron out of the brain, and he called this deformation Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency.

To cut a long story short, by unblocking the vessels, symptoms have slowed down, and disappeared in most cases. Of course all this needs further verifications, but we may have found the cure for a so far incurable disease.

The umbilical cord is a real bank for stem cells

novembre 25, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


Scientific research has several ways to take advantage of the ever broadening knowledge in terms of stem cells. Among most recent discoveries there is the possibility of storing the blood harnessed from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord.

This blood is the one that nourishes the baby during the prenatal period, and therefore, along with being the one with the highest characteristics of compatibility, is also the one whose characteristics are more likely to be useful to cure any diseases that the baby can encounter during his growth.

In fact, it is very rich in stem cells, which are human cells at a primal stage, capable of being turned into specific tissues or help reconstruction of damaged organs, and that therefore can be used to cure a wide range of diseases in adult age.

In this specific case, umbilical stem cells can cure some types of leukemia, or rare diseases such as Gunther’s porphyria or Hurler syndrome. At this current stage, in some countries in the EU it is not possible to extract these cells, and whoever wants to prevent these diseases has to travel to Cyprus, where an umbilical blood bank is located.

Thanks to this bank, parents with a family history of hereditary diseases that can be cured with stem cells will be able to store their babies’ blood, and use it later as a reserve of cells to support the cure.
Blood is collected from the umbilical cord, after birth, in an absolutely safe way (collection can be performed by any gynecologist) and is then sent to the blood bank, where the necessary blood tests are carried out, and the stem cells are then extracted and stored for a 20 year period.

The whole procedure, including 20 years of storage, has a total cost of 1600 Euros, a sum that even in times of crisis can be called moderate, especially when our children’s health is at stake. Although this procedure is legal in most countries, some others ruled by more conservative governments do not allow usage of stem cells, thus giving an advantage to other countries and to their researchers.

Spoof Card, beware of identity theft on your phone

novembre 20, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


The latest threat against protection from identity theft was born in a relatively innocent way, to play tricks on your friends, but may end up creating a different kind of problems to victims of its use, as well as to its users.

We are talking about the Spoof Card, a mobile phone service which allows its users to keep calling from their usual handset, but while displaying another number as Caller ID. Not only, by using the Spoof Card service it is also possible to disguise one’s voice, turning it from male to female, from boy to old man and vice versa.

In its early days it was mostly used to play innocent tricks on friends, like calling on a friend’s number while he was on holiday, displaying his home number and scaring the hell out of him by making him believe that burglars were visiting his house.

Unfortunately though, as its creators should have foreseen, the usage of such a service can closely border with stalking, with annoying ex-boyfriends sneaking into their ex-girlfriends’ private life, or people who call others who really don’t want to talk to them, forcing them to answer by displaying their office number or so.

In short, despite its creators label Spoof Card as perfectly legal, its use may not always be. To be 100% sure that your telephone identity is protected, it is recommended to provide yourself with the right tools, such as an invisible phone, to protect yourselves from unwanted listening attempts.

To find more information on privacy protection, on how to defend yourselves from identity theft and from intrusions into your personal life, you can visit the Endoacustica site.

Digital micro recorders

novembre 18, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


Thanks to the ever increasing miniaturization in size of technological devices, items that a few years ago would have been used only at home took to the streets and to our offices, and became faithful travel companions during our weekend trips or in any leisurely occasion.

A typical example is applicable to digital micro recorders. Once, we were using bulky cassette recorders, which certainly did not have maneuverability as one of their main features, to tape from the radio, from a record or live. Nowadays, the recording is no longer stored on a cassette, but rather saved in an audio file inside extremely small memory cards with enormous storage capacity (up to 32 Gb).

At the same time, the modern digital recorders have dramatically shrunk their size. They can be as small as a cigarette pack or as your car’s remote control, and in spite of their size still be able to record, through high-sensitivity miniature microphones, an extremely clear sound, with an operating time of hundreds of hours.

On the marketplace, you can find several types of digital recorders, as small as a cigarette pack and suitable for several applications: for concerts or leisure, to take quick notes on the go while stuck in a traffic jam, or while participating in a conference or meeting. A micro digital recorder of smaller size, just like a credit card, can instead be suitable for covert recordings, surveillance or espionage operations, or for law enforcement gathering evidence against suspects or criminals.

In a few words, a micro audio recorder can be used in a whole lot of different ways. if you want to know more and to find the right model  for your needs, just visit the Endoacustica site!

Praise for our night vision glasses

novembre 18, 2009 Biotechnology No Commenti


Those who work in the security and privacy field are generally not too prone to boasting, but a letter that we just received makes us feel that there is more to our job than spy gear and surveillance devices, that sometimes we are able to help people in need.

Here is the full text:

“You have no idea how much these Night Vision Glasses have helped me! After a severe retinal detachment, I was left legally blind and with almost no night vision at all. I own a small business, and not being able to function at night has really made it very difficult for me to meet customers after dark. With my new night glasses, I can now get around at night and can do all the things I was not able to do previously.

It’s amazing how Eyenight glasses work! I can now see just as good whether it’s noon or midnight! In the past, I have used many different flashlights in order to get around at night, but it was always difficult, especially on rainy evenings when the light from these flashlights didn’t illuminate sidewalks and steps very well.

Now I can walk down the darkest streets without any fear of tripping over a curb or falling. I was so scared to be out at night before, worried that I would fall. No longer!

I would recommend these glasses for anyone in my same position. I feel like I have my life back!”

I guess there is no comment to be added; just that receiving such letters really strengthens our belief in our job not only as a service, but as a mission. Thanks to all our faithful customers for helping us carry this mission out!


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