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Manned-Unmanned demo for U.S. Army UAV

novembre 2, 2010 Technology No Commenti

According to officials from the Department of Defense of the United States, the U.S. military is preparing a large-scale demonstration to be held in September next year in the Utah desert.

The object of this demo, dubbed MUSIC (Manned Unmanned Systems Integration Concept) will be the showcasing of possibilities of interaction between unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and air and ground systems controlled by human personnel.

This demonstration is aimed at analyzing in detail the progress being made in cooperation and interaction between automated technologies and those that, in order to work perfectly, still need a human mind and eyes to control them and manage their operation.

For example, a demonstrations will be made of how the pilot of an Apache helicopter will be able to control, from the cockpit of his chopper, also an unmanned drone that flies nearby, to display on its screen also the images picked up by the UAV’s video systems, and even to launch any weapons that are mounted on the unmanned vehicle.

In this way, the pilot of a helicopter or small plane will actually be able to control two vehicles, with the UAV acting as a support, not only for aerial reconnaissance, but also in real attack missions.
The demonstrations will involve different types of helicopters, such as Shadow, Raven, Hunter, Grey Eagle, and of course the Apache AH-64 Block III.

While the Apache takes control of the drone next to it, other helicopters in the squadron will be able to view real-time feeds captured by the on-board systems of both vehicles, with an effective information exchange, coordinated by the ground control center, which provides a significant advantage over an enemy.

Laser microphones, and long distance listening becomes reality

novembre 1, 2010 Technology No Commenti


When a group of dangerous criminals, or a mafia “cupola”, meets in secret to make decisions on their illegal business, they usually take a number of precautions to ensure that the police can not catch them.

In such situations, any operation of wiretapping of phone lines or planting of bugs is almost impossible, unless the lives of agents are put in grave danger, also risking the failure of the entire chase.

Therefore, to gather intelligence, the police may use tools to listen to conversations from a distance, in order to gather the information in the safest possible way. For example, this is the case with laser microphones, which give their users the opportunity to capture the conversations that take place inside a closed room, thanks to the use of a laser beam.

The laser, appropriately pointed at the window glass, in fact, is able to read the small vibrations of the glass caused by sounds, noises and voices inside the room. By pointing the beam on the glass at the correct angle, and retrieving the reflected beam with a receiver, you can read these vibrations, and turn them into sound and voice, enabling you to successfully carry out a remote listening operation without running any risk.

In fact, the laser microphone is able to secretly pick up conversations at a maximum distance of approximately a mile, allowing the monitoring agents to work without excessive stress, and to quickly take shelter in case something goes wrong.

Not only for law enforcement, but also for private detectives who are following a case of industrial espionage or marital infidelity, the laser microphones can prove very useful; if you wish to learn more about them, you can visit the Endoacustica website.

BlackBerry, ban in India has been lifted

novembre 1, 2010 Technology No Commenti

It seems that a happy ending has finally come, for the long story which went on between RIM, manufacturer of BlackBerry phones, and a number of Asian governments that would like to impose stricter measures on use of the RIM platform, in order to ensure themselves the right to listen to phone calls in case of threat to the national security.

Specifically, in India the government has officially confirmed that the negotiations with RIM have led to an agreement under which the BlackBerry Messenger services will continue, and the government can legally intercept the relevant content.

In addition, RIM has promised to find a permanent solution by January 31, 2011, in order to provide Indian government agencies with a continuous access to their encrypted data. The details of the agreement were not disclosed, but surely it is a significant step forward since the beginning of the story, when the Indian government had threatened to close all BlackBerry services at the end of last August.

As that date came closer, the government had instead granted an extension of 60 days to find a solution and this solution seems to have been finally found, as testified by today’s announcement, which follows a similar compromise that RIM had found with the Government of the United Arab Emirates, another one of the countries (along with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) which had requested access to encrypted data on the BlackBerry platform.

Indeed, the services provided by RIM in the UAE have now been declared legal and compliant with the rules in force in that country. RIM also stated that they are following a similar approach to continue to operate in those countries, respecting local laws and regulations compatibly with its characteristics and principles.

At war just like in video games, thanks to an iPad

ottobre 29, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Recently we have seen how iPhone applications are increasingly being used also in the military, to control micro-helicopters used for reconnaissance or to perform simulations that help soldiers familiarize with anti-missile systems.
Therefore, it is natural that the new addition in the Apple family, the iPad, has generated the same attention from military authorities, who have already started several research projects to develop applications that can make life less dangerous for U.S. troops at the front.

An interesting application was developed by Textron, which can be used can keep under control the movements of troops, displaying them on the iPad screen as if they were part of a videogame. The application, called Soldier Eyes, uses augmented reality to detect, in collaboration with the soldiers directly involved in the area, the location of enemy and friendly forces, sending the relevant information back to a control center, which builds up a map in real time.

This map is then sent directly on the iPad, whose users can communicate in real time with soldiers on the front line, giving them the location of potential enemy threats, displayed directly on their smartphones or PDAs. Soldier Eyes achieves this through simultaneous use of a series of small applications that manage the information coming from the field, to provide an overview of the situation.

Once the picture is clear, one can send out two patrols of soldiers to separately attack an enemy position, simply by send them information directly on their iPad or iPhone, so that they can view the location of their target and converge towards the same point from different directions in order to neutralize it.
In short, this is a way to conduct real operations of real war, but making them look almost like a simple video game.

600 hours in only 4 mm on your microrecorder

ottobre 29, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The occasions when you may need to record conversations, sounds or music, in a discreet way and as invisibly as possible, are countless: a concert, a lesson at school or in college, a meeting in the office or, for law enforcement and private detectives, during a difficult criminal investigation or for a case of marital infidelity.

In such cases, it is important that the hidden recording is done using a tool that can not arise unnecessary attention, which can be easily concealed and, if necessary, can operate autonomously for a long time, by turning on automatically only when absolutely necessary, to avoid wasting time by recording hours of useless background noise.

Therefore, you should use a EM type voice recorder, which is able to achieve all this,in spite of its extremely tiny size. In fact, there are some models that, although sporting a thickness of only 4 mm and a size comparable to that of a credit card, have features such as voice activation sensor and a storage capacity of 4 GB, that is, approximately 600 hours of recording.

With automatic activation, you can record only when necessary, in order to get the most out of your audio surveillance operation or intelligence gathering; this feature guarantees optimization of battery consumption, which is guaranteed to last up to 1 month when in standby mode, or for up to 14 hours of continuous recording.

Thanks to its compact dimensions, it will not be easily visible, and you can retrieve it with ease when no one is watching you. For more details on the operation of digital voice recorders, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, where you will find other miniature models of recorders for all your different needs in this field.

A plane, a helicopter … or both?

ottobre 29, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As those who read this blog may happen to know, we often find ourselves commenting on the new creations of the big brains at DARPA, a branch of the Department of Defense in charge of research for the military, which plays an important role to ensure that United States of America have a significant technological and strategic advantage over their potential enemies.

Therefore, any innovation that comes from DARPA does not surprise us too much. A mention of honour, however, it certainly assigned to DiscRotor, a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle which represents a sort of hybrid between an airplane and a helicopter, whose rotor blades are mounted on (as the name goes) some sort of disc. Once the vertical take-off is completes, the blades can disappear within the disc, and DiscRotor can fly like a normal plane, using the disc as an additional wing; upon landing, however, it will be possible to use the rotor blades for vertical landing, especially if the operation is carried out in inaccessible areas where there is not enough space to allow landing of a common plane.

This therefore means that, thanks to DiscRotor, the speed of, for example, an evacuation of troops from a harsh environment, would be significantly increased, due to higher cruise speed of DiscRotor compared to that of a conventional helicopter, when it is in plane configuration.

Currently, the project is still in its initial phase, along with thousands of other high-tech projects that DARPA is constantly working on. I wonder if one day we will be able to see this strange object fly over our heads like a normal plane, then suddenly stop, pull out its rotors and gently land, just like a chopper.

Listening through a wall requires the right microphone

ottobre 27, 2010 Technology No Commenti

We all happened at different times, to wish that we were able to listen to what happens beyond a wall, perhaps during a confidential meeting in the office, or because we have an annoying neighbor, or simply to make sure that our children are not hanging out with the wrong company.

This is not always possible, but thanks to modern technology for discreet listening, it is much easier than you might think.

If you have ever watched those old Wild West movies where crooks open a safe using a stethoscope to find out the right combination, you know what we are talking about. In fact, it is thanks to the modern variant of this procedure, that you can easily listen to conversations taking place behind a wall that can be thick up to 70 cm.

With a wall microphone, equipped with a cap very similar to your doctor’s stethoscope, but teamed up with digital technology that turns it into a high sensitivity microphone, you will be able, easily and without being noticed, to capturing all that your neighbor, your teenage child or, why not, your boss, are saying while they think no one is listening.

All this can then be also connected to a digital voice recorder, so that you can store the conversations and use them as evidence in case of need, for example during a court audition.
In short, a stethoscope microphone can be your best friend to defend your interests or your loved ones!

For more information on how to purchase wall microphones, digital micro recorders and a whole range of equipment for security and defense of your privacy, please visit the Endoacustica website where you will find the answers to all your questions in this field.

Street View, a threat to our privacy

ottobre 27, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Today, in Italy, on the main newspapers’ headlines we have seen the news that the Google Street View function that displays a road from a pedestrian’s point of view, allowing the viewer to take a look at the street as if they were really there, is under investigation in Italy, where a Rome prosecutor has opened an investigation file with the charge of unlawful interference with private life.

In fact, according to information that the data protection commissioner sent to the Court itself, the famous Google mini cars, which collect the images that will be used in Street View, have during their course collected sensitive data stored the WiFi networks encountered along the way.
From the Net giant’s headquarters in Mountain View, an apology note was immediately sent out, stating that the data have been collected in an accidental way, and offering full cooperation to the authorities in order to investigate and to ensure that this breach of privacy not only will not happen again in the future, but also will have no unpleasant consequences for the owners of the data inadvertently intercepted.

Such data may contain not only access information and credentials for protected WiFi networks, but also email messages and passwords, which, may have devastating consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.

Moreover, according to the authorities that guard the individuals’ privacy in Italy, the cars that gather information for Google should be recognizable, so that those who happen to spot one and do not really want to be seen or photographed in inappropriate behavior or in a place where they are not supposed to be (for example, while leaving a mistress’s home…) have the opportunity to take adequate measures in time.

Google, which increasingly resembles a Big Brother 2000, will therefore have to limit its intrusiveness, to avoid having to face hefty penalties.

How to work for the CIA

ottobre 25, 2010 Technology No Commenti

For those whose criminal record and personal history are absolutely squeaky clean, and want to try to give their contribution to make the world a safer place, helping to defend it against terrorist threats, the CIA is constantly looking for staff.

But be careful, because those who already see themselves as an international spy, infiltrating dangerous terrorist groups, or dealing with collection of information in a foreign country, may be disappointed. In fact, in reality, modern espionage is highly technological, and most of the work of the Agency takes place behind a desk, carried out by analysts, experts in foreign languages and engineers with the highest possible professional profile and technological knowledge.

Knowing a foreign language perfectly, so that you can easily pass for native speakers (apart from the obvious visible differences) may be a first step. Languages in demand reflect the world’s current political situation, as for example, the CIA currently needs staff who speaks fluently, for example, Farsi or Mandarin Chinese, Korean or Russian, since the relations with the countries where these languages are spoken are a bit shaky, to say the least.

The most important conditions for becoming a CIA Agent, then, are to have an absolutely perfect personal background and history, and to be flexible, with an analytical mind and able to react quickly under high stress.
If anyone thinks he can hide, for example, a fine not paid for a parking ticket, or that they have smoked some weed when they were young, and think they can pass the polygraph test, they do not have to waste their time, as the CIA can, and will, find out.

Those who aspire to a job in Langley must be able to keep secrets so strictly that not even the closest family members can discover the true nature of a cover job, for example, at real estate or insurance agency.

Those who think they have the right characteristics must also be prepared for a long wait, because the background checks during the selection process are extremely accurate, and only the best manage to get through a process which will single out the best out of a bunch of hopefuls.

Ah, one last condition: if you think you are the best in the world, but you are not a U.S. citizen, you need not apply!

Can text messages be intercepted?

ottobre 24, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who fear that their conversations could be intercepted, especially if they use the phone to discuss sensitive topics, confidential subjects or matters of a certain financial relevance, sometimes think that, to avoid being tapped, they can use SMS to communicate securely.

Unfortunately for them, though, this is not true, and actually, an SMS would leave an indelible track, which could easily be used against us at any time and in any situation. In fact, thanks to modern systems mobile phone wiretapping, not only one can listen to calls from any phone within a radius of several hundred meters, but also read all SMS traffic in the same area.

These systems are able to read the encoding used by cell phone networks to encrypt conversations; therefore, to protect oneself from covert listening, the best way is certainly to encrypt our conversations, using a code that is not the one used to encrypt the signal sent through the network, and thus add an extra layer of protection to our telephone conversations.

The principle used to make encrypted phone calls is the same that we see every day on our computers, if we use a system such as PGP to protect our e-mail.

In fact, on the cell phone is installed a simple encryption software, which combined with the relevant encryption key, converts the audio track into an unintelligible noise. If our counterpart’s phone has the same software and the same encryption key, it can decode this noise, and our conversation will go on regularly and without prying ears.

Any attempt to intercept, would only be able to hear only the noise of the encoded phone call, but would not be able to decipher it. In this way, our phones are safe from being tapped, and we will not have to worry that sensitive information could end up in the wrong hands, with the potential risk to create serious damage to our work or our family.

Anyone wishing to learn more about various ways to ensure privacy protection, by telephone, at home or in the office, may visit the Endoacustica website and consult our experts, at your disposal to find the solution that best suits your safety needs.


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