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Here comes another robotic fish from Japan

agosto 23, 2010 Technology No Commenti

In the last few months we have seen quite a lot of robotic fish, capable of swimming freely in the water (or at least, inside a bowl or aquarium), designed by research institutes for a wide range of possible purposes, ranging from monitoring of waters’ health all the way to behavioral studies on other (real) fish.

This latest example of robotic fish, produced in Japan by Sedensha, is capable of replicating the movements of a small fish in a pretty accurate way, thanks to its silicone body, which on the inside houses an equally small chip.

This chip is what actually determines the fish’s direction, y simply sending some very small electrostatic impulses to its flexible body, which in turn will respond to the stimulus by turning left or right, climbing up or heading down with a sinuous shake of its tail.

To make this motion more realistic and smooth, and avoid the typical “stop and go” movement that many of his peers sport, this cute micro robot’s body has been filled with silicone oil. By doing this, every shake of the tail is smoother and its movement is as realistic as it may get.

For now it is unknown how they are planning to use it, as it is just a prototype now, with a cute look thanks to the small eyes (not real, of course) mounted on the front, which give it a friendly demeanor, at least in the eyes of humans. If we were other fishes swimming in the same bowl with him, we would certainly wonder who this strange guy is, but it looks like no one asked the other fishes’ opinion!

Iran has unveiled its first drone

agosto 23, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As foreseen by many observers, not only the armies of Western countries have access to drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), to be used either for reconnaissance purposes and, with the necessary modifications and adaptations, also to release bombs at a maximum distance of approximately 100 kilometers from the launching point. In fact, Iran too, during its Defense Industry Day, has just introduced its UAV, christened Karar.

The Iran-made Karar, which president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his usual emphatic tone, has called an “ambassador of death for Iran’s enemies” can be used either as a reconnaissance vehicle thanks to its image recording and transmitting capabilities, or as an attack weapon to carry out bombing missions against ground targets.

The Stealth type cruise missiles mounted on Karar’s wings can be released from different heights, and reach the preset target thanks to their GPS navigation system. On board of this drone it is also possible to load, as well as reconnaissance equipment for non-offensive missions, four missiles of this kind or, alternatively, two 115-kilos bombs and a 230-kilos precision missile.

In the Iranian government’s intentions, Karar should act as a deterrent against any possible enemy attacks, in order to prevent any possible strike against the Islamic Republic’s territory. Therefore, it is easy to see the connection with the nuclear armaments’ development program that Iran is pursuing, secretly or not, since a few years.

Thanks to this unmanned aircraft, the ayatollahs’ country is trying to protect itself against any preemptive attack (or, as Ahmadinejad would put it, “Zionist aggressions”) that can sweep that program away. Such attacks are on top of the Israeli and US agenda in case Iran does not respect UN restrictions and should any negotiation come to a halt.

Defense from wiretapping? You don’t need a law

agosto 22, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Protection against telephone interception, that the Italian government would like to delegate to what looks more like a way to prevent police forces and judiciary from using it in investigation, does not need a legislative shortcut, but with a bit of salt and a relatively low expense, can be simply done by anyone of us.

All we need is the right technological devices and the job is easy: our working environment and our homes, along with any phone lines in there, can simply be protected from any unauthorized prying ears, and any hidden listening devices can easily be tracked down and neutralized.

An anti interception device can come in sizes just a tad bigger than a cellphone or a digital handycam, but despite its tiny size it can do a great job, allowing you to locate any hidden bug or microphone concealed inside your office with the aim of picking up your confidential conversations.

There are several models which, working on a wide range of radio frequencies, are able to detect not only the presence of hidden RF transmitters, but also of miniature video cameras operating wirelessly. In the same fashion, it is possible to detect the presence of active mobile phones, which in turn allows you to discover any listening bugs working on the GSM network and transmitting their intelligence as if they were normal mobile phones.

When employing these devices, or even by combining two different types together, it is then possible to keep your restricted areas completely secure and protected from unwanted listeners, thus avoiding any possible leak which could jeopardize the results of an entire professional life.

To get the best from your interception defense systems, it is advisable to obtain advice from experts in this field, who can give you an advice and a solution tailored on your needs. Therefore, for your bug sweeping needs, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website.

Recording conversations around you from your mobile? Now you can

agosto 20, 2010 Technology No Commenti

If in Italy a great controversy arose from environmental recordings made by a call girl during her encounters with the Prime Minister, which Berlusconi’s press firepower immediately deemed as illegal, in the US, and more specifically in New York State, a Court of Appeal has just ruled that recording private conversations using a mobile phone is legal, if this is done for a legitimate reason.

During a lawsuit concerning a disputed will, in which an old deceased lady’s sons were arguing over her properties, one of them brought into court the hidden recording of a conversation among several family members, including the deceased mother, during which the latter was giving instructions on what to do with her estate properties after her death, which happened a few days later.

To make his position stronger and make sure that her mother’s will was respected, the son brought this recording, taken with a simple 1-dollar off-the-shelf iPhone app. His stepfather disputed usage of such evidence, suing the son for using a illegal recording, but the court accepted it as the conversation had not been recorded with a malicious intent or worse, but simply to make sure that his mother’s last instructions were followed according to her will.

This ruling might open new possibilities as far as usage of recordings before a court of law is concerned, when recordings are taken without all involved parties’ consent, stating that what matters is the intention behind this recording. Sure enough, Prime Minister Berlusconi should be very careful if he happens to find himself somewhere in NY State and use his Italian Stallion antics with local call girls…

An almost invisible Bluetooth hearing aid

When you need to resort to a hearing aid to improve your hearing conditions, often the biggest problem for those who use it is of a psychological nature, as it may be revealing its wearer’s conditions to the people around them, with unpleasant consequences.

To provide assistance to people with hearing loss problems wishing to keep their condition as confidential as possible, Beltone has created True, a hearing aid of an extremely small size which, aside from working just like any other similar device, also features some technologically advanced interesting capabilities.

In fact, True sports a Bluetooth connectivity, which makes it possible to connect it automatically to any other Bluetooth devices around it, and to carry out a conversation without stress, simply by clipping its microphone on your clothes; at this point, true’s wearer will be able, for example, to talk through a cellphone while listening to his counterpart’s voice directly inside the ear, even if the phone is physically a few meters away.

Along with this, thanks to its 2.4 GHz wireless capabilities, it can pick up sounds from electronic devices such as a TV set or stereo, and have them transmitted directly into the ear canal. By adjusting the volume as you please, you will be able, for example, to listen to music in background while talking to your friends, with no problem caused by loud music disturbing the conversation. Volume and sound quality can be adjusted via a handy remote control.

All this is made possible by a circuit which is two times faster than other normal hearing aids, with a four times larger memory capacity, which is able of maintaining a high speed wireless connection, allowing to carry on a conversation without any transmission gaps.

An almost human prosthesis for those who lost a leg

According to a report recently published on the New York Times, war veterans who have lost a limb due to wounds, or patients who suffered an amputation after an illness such as diabetes, might soon be able to come back to an almost normal life.

This would happen thanks to a prosthetic knee, called X2, which is equipped with an array of high profile technology, which allows for more realistic movements, and most of all allows the bionic leg to react properly when it encounters obstacles, such as stairs, uneven terrain or stones, all things that have always posed a serious threat to those who are forced to walk with an artificial leg.

In fact, the X2 prosthetic knee is equipped with an array of motion sensors, gyroscopes and micro processors, which give the patient the opportunity of enjoying a wider variety of movements, helping him to distribute his weight more evenly between the artificial leg and the real one, which for obvious sensitivity reasons tends to be overloaded. Thanks to X2 it will then be easier to walk down a slope, up a flight of stairs and, in general, enjoy a higher precision of movement.

Compared to similar models, X2 is lighter and smaller in size, and the battery that powers it is capable of a longer life. The cost that the Department of Defense should cover is of approximately 30000 dollars for each item; they are planning to supply some 200 pieces within the next year to veteran in need.

This figure is just a drop in the sea if compared to the 5000 new cases of people finding themselves in this situation every year, and to the 45000 who are already suffering, but certainly it is a first step forward, most of all under the point of view of morale.

A video camera to see discreetly at night

agosto 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

When you find yourselves in absolute darkness, and at the same time in need of providing documentation of whatever happens around you, for example during a police operation, using a normal video system or an ordinary digital video camera, no matter how advanced and professional, might not provide the desired results.

In situations of this kind, video surveillance technology can provide a solution thanks to thermal cameras, which are capable of generating images with no need for additional lighting such as a flashlight or so, which would certainly not allow for a discreet recording.

On the contrary, as the name might suggest, these cameras can do their job by working on the thermal image of objects or people within their range, thus being able to deliver a clear image even in the darkest night and in less illuminated areas, such as for example on open seas, when in conditions of total darkness it may not be possible to notice a potential incoming threat.

On the contrary, thanks to the usage of a thermal camera, it is also possible to protect yourselves from this kind of threat, while attacking pirates would not be aware of the fact that they are being observed even while approaching with their lights off. And when they try to attack, they will be the ones to be actually caught by surprise!

Images recorded with a thermal video camera can easily be downloaded on your PC thanks to an USB cable, and they can prove very useful especially for police operations, to be used as evidence before a court of law. Their rugged design makes them suitable to be used I the middle of the action, on the outside or in harsh weather conditions.

For more information about features, operation and price of night vision cameras, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website and contact our specialized consultants.

NASA bidding for a night-operating lunar rover

agosto 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we all know, on the Moon temperatures can change dramatically between day and night, and they may go as low as 200 degrees below zero. Extremely low temperatures have therefore contributed, at least so far, to making a complete exploration of our satellite in all conditions more difficult. To be able to explore it better even during the night, NASA is now searching for a solar powered lunar vehicle, which should be capable of storing energy during the day, and then using it during the night to provide juice to its electric engine and to the technology on board.

To do so, they have placed a bid on their official site, inviting anyone capable of supplying such a vehicle to formulate their proposals.
Currently, space rovers in use at NASA are able to carry out their tasks only during the day, which does not allow them to completely use their full potential; on the contrary, NASA has to choose vehicles according to operating range, thus losing something in terms of amount of instruments available for each rover, with an effect on analyses and discoveries that these vehicles can perform.

The bidding devices will be tested at the NASA simulator, where temperature and terrain conditions similar to the ones that the rovers would find on the moon are available. The winner will be the one that covers the longest possible distance during a series of day/night cycles, while improving significantly the performances of already existing vehicles.
Obviously, since the weight of anything that is flown to the Moon must be trimmed up to the gram for cost reasons, adding up battery packs would not be considered as a cost-efficient manner to reach the target, but an energy-saving method would do the job instead.

Whoever wants to give it a try might be lured in also by the 1.500.000-dollar prize.

A motor boat, a submarine or…. a shark?

agosto 19, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Underwater surveillance is generally performed with the most advanced and diverse technological tools, from remotely controlled micro submersibles to others driven by a human, with or without sonar, GPS receivers and so on. Instead, in the personal submersibles field, the latest novelty comes from Innespace, and it is called Seabreacher X.

It si a vehicle which, in fact, looks much more leisure-oriented than suitable for a professional use, but that could have its advantages in this field as well, to scare away any possible offender. In fact, Seabreacher’s shape closely reminds of that of a shark, including a transparent panel beneath the pilot’s feet resembling an open mouth, and if looks are not enough, it can even jump out of water!

Thanks to its 250 horsepower engine, in fact, this submarine, approximately 3.60 meter long, can reach a top speed of 80 km per hour on the water, and 40 while submerged. Its high underwater speed allows it to jump out of it, just like a predator of the seas. If a bad guy is silently creeping in on his boat and suddenly finds this sort of monster jumping out of water right before him, the deterrent effect would be 100% guaranteed!

As easy to maneuver as a jet ski, it is also equipped with the requisite technology pack, including a GPS locator, a video camera on the top fin and an on board stereo, as well as the requisite leather seats which make it look more like a luxury toy than a vehicle for professional use, also because of the not exactly cheap price tag: its 10 exemplars, in fact, will be sold at 85000 dollars each.

Is your home totally protected during holidays?

agosto 18, 2010 Technology No Commenti

We are in the middle of the holiday season, when most of us have their mind completely focused on sea for some, mountains for others, countryside or monuments to visit, but certainly, not on office, work or on their home. But still, there are some people who certainly are very interested in homes of those who are carelessly going on holiday, and this thought does not certainly have a friendly intention.

We are obviously talking about burglars, for whom summer season is a real godsend, and unlike most normal and legal businesses, it is also the most profitable time of the year. Experts in taking advantage of a window not properly sealed, a scaffolding left standing waiting for September, an anti theft system switched off or, worse, not present at all, thieves are holidaymakers’ biggest fear, capable of spoiling the memories of a nice holiday with a bitter surprise when coming back home.

To be able to sleep tight and enjoy holidays without having to constantly think about security conditions at home, the best advice is certainly to provide yourselves with an anti theft system, which keeps the bad guys at bay or catches them red handed allowing police to capture them.

To achieve this result, technology comes to the rescue with a set of security devices, which not only can give a loud alarm with the good old siren, but are also capable of detecting movements inside the area to protect, and function actively, with a phone call or by recording video footage of what is happening around them.

For example, DVR Sensor is a device for home surveillance which, thanks to an infrared sensor, can detect any movement within its coverage area. On the inside, it contains also a miniature video recorder, therefore, as soon as the sensor picks up something wrong, the video recorder would start working and tape everything that happens, while an external alarm may set the siren off, thus causing burglars to leave the place, with your belongings untouched and unharmed.

Another interesting option is for example a real spy telephone to be used at home, which apparently looks just like your ordinary landline home phone. Actually, just like the DVR Sensor, this phone contains a motion sensor with adjustable sensitivity levels, which can pick up any movement within a 10-meter area.

Thanks to this sensor, as soon as something suspicious is detected, the telephone would immediately be activated, and it would automatically start a phone emergency call towards a preset telephone number, which may for example be your mobile number, or the number of the local police station.

At that point, it will be possible to listen in real time to what is happening, and try to identify the source of any noises and sounds around the phone, and in case of need, police forces will be able to intervene. The phone call would be started in a completely invisible way, so that any burglars would not realize that they are being monitored, and will be caught completely by surprise in case the police decide to pay a visit.

These are just a few examples of the several options that modern technology gives us when it comes to protecting our home during our absence, be it short or long, for work reasons or to enjoy a well deserved holiday.

For more information about audio or video surveillance systems for our home or office, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website, and contact our specialists for a tailored advice.

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Anti-drowning defender is an alarm device which combines anti-drowning and anti-loss alarm, and works effectively as an electronic safety device for protecting children or pets from drowning and loss.

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