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Directional microphones for remote covert listening

luglio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we said yesterday, possibilities to intercept a suspect’s conversations by law enforcement and detectives are countless, although sometimes one has to cope with a little bit of risk when it’s not possible to use telephone wiretapping and micro bugs.
If you do not have the opportunity to hide in the room next to your subject to pick up his conversations, technology still comes to the rescue, for example thanks to directional microphones.

Directional microphones are microphones with high sensitivity features, and with an operating range which can cover a few tens of meters, up to almost a mile for laser type models. In the first case, one can hide in a car behind a fence to pick up, just to name one, conversations of a drug dealer hidden in a park with his clients.

In case the suspects you want to listen to are taking more precautions and hiding in an apparently safe place like an apartment or hotel room, and there is no safe way to come close, the best solution is a laser microphone. As the name goes, this model uses a laser beal, with an operating range of roughly a mile.

To use it, just point the laser beam at the right angle towards the window behind which your suspects are talking. The laser will now read vibrations in the glass, caused by human voices behind it, will translate them into voices and sounds and transmit them to the detectives, hidden at a safe distance, who can record them and use them as evidence.

There are several possibilities to use directional microphones; we invite you to visit the Endoacustica website to find out and contact our experts.

Glasses to see in the dark… more or less

luglio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti

TAG Heuer, famous all over the world for its chronographs, but also producing accessories such as, among other things, glasses and mobile phones, has just enlarged its collection of eyewear by adding the Squadra Night Vision model which, in its producers’ intentions and judging by the name, should allow its wearer to see in the dark.

Of course, reality is slightly different, these are certainly not a pair of miracle glasses which will give eyesight back to those with night vision issues; it is, anyway, a high quality product capable not only to reduce strain and fatigue on the eyes, but also to enhance contrast allowing its wearer to better make out shapes and obstacles in the dark and act promptly in case of danger.

These glasses feature a single lens which replaces the entire frame (of course, except the arms, which are made up of flexible material and padded with rubber to guarantee maximum flexibility). The lens, thanks to a special treatment, allows for clearer vision in low visibility conditions, for example during night driving.

Thanks to these characteristics, the TAG Heuer night vision glasses have been used by Team Audi drivers who won the Le Mans 24 Hours race this year. If you are no racecar drivers, but need to have the maximum possible sharpness during the dark hours, these classes will surely help you, although they do not exactly come cheap, with a 450-dollar price tag attached.

Certainly, these glasses do not boast that they can make life better for those with serious eyesight issues, and in order to lead a normal life must resort to night vision glasses with completely different characteristics, suitable for the visually impaired.

A biometric access hard drive from Apricom

luglio 16, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The need for security has become an absolute must not only for our personal safety, our home or our office, but, in a world that is totally computer-centered, also for our data, either work-related or of a personal nature. To protect it while carrying it, in the unfortunate case of loss of our portable hard drive or USB stick, one can use different levels and systems of security.

This is exactly where Apricom is heading, through the launch of its Aegis Bio, a biometric hard drive which, along with the option to choose among several levels of capacity up to 640 GB to carry your data, allows you to protect them securely against unauthorized access attempts.

Protection is delivered by using an embedded biometric scanner, on which all you have to do is store your fingerprint, to make sure you are really the only one who can access your hard drive. Furthermore, along with a biometric scanner protection and a traditional password access control, Aegis Bio can store the saved data in encrypted format, wit a 128-bit encryption key.

In practice, even if someone should be able to put their hands on your hard drive (in case you lose it or someone steals it from you), it would be basically impossible for them to gain access to your sensitive data, unless they chop off your finger… and ask you the password!

This level of protection can be found on the market at a very convenient price; in fact, the 640 Gb version is on sale at only 160 dollars, a price that makes Aegis Bio a highly competitive accessory in terms of performance, security and quality/cost ratio.

A wall is not enough to stop you from listening

luglio 15, 2010 Technology No Commenti

If law enforcement agents should not be able, due to the infamous gag bill being discussed in Italy, to use telephone wiretapping at its best to gather intelligence and evidence against dangerous criminals, they should resort to alternative methods. For example, during an operation that involves chasing the suspect, an undoubtedly vital tool is the so called wall microphone.

A classic situation that may happen during an investigation occurs when agents need to follow the suspect during its movements, and the guy, to remain unnoticed, takes a room in a hotel. In such situations, agents will have to try and take lodging in the next room, in order to start doing their job.

To gather information in such cases, one can use a wall microphone, equipped with a stethoscope that resembles exactly the one that our doctor would use, but is connected to an amplifier. Just place the stethoscope against the wall to pick up the smallest vibrations caused by conversations taking place in the next room, without arising any suspicions in the people inside it.

For this task, there are several types of wall microphones available, ranging from those that look like a stethoscope to micro bugs that can be placed on the outside of a window, and can pick up voices inside the room by reading the vibrations in the glass, and transmitting the gathered intelligence to an agent hidden within a few hundred meters. This method involves a lower risk level, as detectives would not need to be too close to the suspects.

To have more information on how wall microphones are working, and how it can help you to gather the intelligence you need, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website.

No more wheelchairs: here comes the robotic exoskeleton

luglio 15, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Those who are forced to use a wheelchair to move around know perfectly how life can be complicated, not only in the difficulty they have to face when negotiating the smallest obstacle such as, for example, a sidewalk, but most of all in the feeling of having to depend on others at all times and in all occasions even for their basic needs.

Finally now, after seven years of studies and fine tuning, the New Zealand based Rex Bionics has launched its exoskeleton, which aims at making life a lot easier for paraplegic patients, and to allow them to leave the wheelchair and start moving not on wheels while sitting, but on two legs, albeit robotic, while standing.

The Rex exoskeleton is capable of standing a person’s weight, and is controlled thanks to a joystick, allowing its user to carry out tasks apparently as easy as 1-2-3, but impossible for those who can’t use their legs; in fact, thanks to it, it will be possible not only to stand up and walk, but also to go up and down a flight of stairs or an upward or downward slope.

Apart from immediate benefits from a physical point of view, and concerning movement and self-sufficiency, thanks to Rex patients will not only improve their morale and live their condition in a better way, but will also be able to improve their physical conditions in the long term.

For example, the risk of muscular atrophy and decubitus ulcers will be minimized, keeping the patient in a better shape which will help them, if awaiting a therapy or a surgery, not only to face it but also to better go through the post-surgery process.

The only problem is the 150000 dollar price tag, but the possibility to walk and lead an almost normal life is priceless!

Telecommunication buoys for submerged submarines

luglio 15, 2010 Technology No Commenti

The aerospace and armament US giant Lockheed Martin has just completed, in cooperation with other industries in the electronics field, a test run on a communications program called CSD (Communications at Speed and Depth).

It is a telecommunication system that allows submarines of any class in service with the US Navy to stay under the water without needing to go back up to periscope level to communicate with other ships, planes or with the ground-based control center. Normally this is the moment of highest risk for submarines, which are more exposed to enemy fire or danger of being intercepted just when they come up to sea level.

The CSD, for which Lockheed Martin has been granted a $35 million contract, is made up of a series of floating buoys, which are launched by the submarine and are tethered to it via a cable. The buoys are equipped with antennas for telephone communication through the Iridium network, and for very high frequency radio transmission. The floating antennas receive incoming communications coming from the ground base via a satellite, and use the same connection to send signals back to the ground.

Another buoy turns acoustic signals into radio waves, allowing the submarine personnel to communicate with any airplanes stationing or passing above the sea.

Thanks to CSD, submarines will be constantly connected to the global telecommunication network, without having to face unwanted dangers when emerging. The continuous connection allows not only to minimize this kind of danger, but also to ensure a higher operational flexibility, so that a mission’s schedule can be changed instantly at any time, without having to wait for the next reemergence.

Untraceable cell phones against unwelcome listeners

luglio 14, 2010 Technology 1 Commento

Even though all the song and dance that we are witnessing in Italy about the law that would regulate (that is, limit) the usage of telephone wiretapping would only benefit a few people who would want their dirty business to remain secret, it is actually true that, at least theoretically, there is a problem concerning eavesdropping; that is, our phone calls are at risk because the GSM network, as it has been proven several times, is not completely secure.

Therefore, this places us at risk of having our conversations intercepted by prying ears, and that the information gathered could be used against us. Of course, for those who live an ordinary life, the risk of having their calls listened to by a third party does not pose a serious threat.

But for those who have interests to protect, because their professional activity moves substantial amounts of money, or simply because they want their private matters to remain confidential, the danger of telephone wiretapping might mean losing a big order, or even having to close down their business, not to mention potential family problems.

To protect ourselves against mobile phone interception, it is possible to use a tool that makes sure that no one can listen to our conversations. The Stealth untraceable cell phone delivers absolute protection against the possibility of being intercepted, by adopting a dynamic defense strategy.

To understand how it works, you should keep in mind that wiretapping on our mobile phone can be done not only by the phone number, but mostly by keeping track of phone calls placed and received by a specific handset, intercepting it by its IMEI number, that is, the 15-digit number that uniquely identifies every single telephone. So, changing your SIM card is no use if you are being intercepted, and it would actually place you into a greater risk, as while you think you are protected, you may reveal secrets and compromising details.

Instead, the Stealth Phone, thanks to a modification in its installed firmware, can automatically change its IMEI number each time it is switched on and off, or after each call; the IMEI number can also be changed manually. By doing this, even though you are physically using the same handset, for the network operator (and for those who want to discover our secrets) it will be like you are using a different phone each time.

In the extremely unlikely case that an interception attempt should be detected, your invisible Stealth phone will warn you immediately, by a sound or a vibration. In such cases, all you have to do is close your call and change the IMEI number, either manually or by switching the phone off and on again. At this point, with a new IMEI number it will be like having a new (and non traceable) phone, so you will be able to resume your call where you left it.

Of course, using a Stealth phone does not protect you if it is your conversation counterpart who is being intercepted. Therefore, for those who call always the same person (a business partner or spouse) it is recommended that both use a Stealth Phone, in order to keep your conversations 100% secure and protected.

For more information on operation and different models of untraceable mobile phones, with prices and characteristics, we recommend that you visit the Endoacustica website and request a tailored consulting, one of our operators will contact you shortly.

A fabric that can record or produce sounds

luglio 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti

As we know, optical fibers can be used to transmit data as light pulses, thus making high-speed Internet surfing as we know it today possible. They can also have some more sophisticated properties, such as the possibility to detect, transmit and play sounds.

A team of researchers from the MIT is developing a particular type of optical fibers which could be used to create clothes that, along from being normally worn, might work as real microphones, to pickup and intercept sounds, but also to measure blood flow and brain or blood vessel pressure.

The acoustic fibers that the MIT research team is working on are manufactured by using a special plastic material, and with a procedure that is slightly different from standard optical fibers, which involves the materials inside each fiber being positioned according to a complicated geometrical scheme.

The molecules of this special polymer are asymmetrical, and thanks to this, it can be defined as piezoelectric, since it changes its shape in presence of an electrical current, just like a normal piezo microphone would do. Thanks to this process (briefly described) fibers can capture sounds just like common microphones would do, and by reversing the process they can produce sounds as well.

In practice, it would be like wearing a microphone, and by connecting it to a micro recorder (or in future, integrating the recorder inside a dress manufactured with these fibers), creating a shirt that can work as a recorder as well, and that might for example sport a USB plug inside a cuff, used to download its recordings directly into a computer.

For those who work in the audio surveillance field, like law enforcement agents of private detectives, it would definitely be a tool worth using.

Robot sentries on the Korean border

luglio 14, 2010 Technology No Commenti

One day, we might all be replaced by robots that do our job in silence, in an absolutely efficient way, with no complaints and most of all, without joining any workers’ union.
The latest development in this respect comes not from the world of labor, but from the military: in fact, the South Korean government has decided to install, inside the famed DMZ, the de-militarized zone which runs along the 38th parallel and separates the two Koreas, a set of robot sentries.

We are talking about robots equipped with sensors that can detect voice, movement and heat generated by a possible intruder within their operating range, and that in extreme cases can shoot with an automatic gun or throw grenades. As soon as the robot sentry detects an intruder, it immediately sends an alert to its control center.

If the personnel from the center can ensure that the intruder is not a real threat, the robot will not act, but if it is identified as a foe, then an order would be given to shoot and neutralize it.

Currently, these robots are only used near a single border post (of course the name and location has not been disclosed) and should this test be successful, the South Korean government would install automatic sentries, at a cost of 330 thousand dollars each, all along the 250-kilometre long border between South Korea and the no man’s land that separates it from North Korea, one of the most dangerous areas on the planet, as well as the most heavily guarded border line in the world.

Those who might not agree with installation of these robots are animals, which have populated the demilitarized zone taking advantage of the lack of humans, and might find themselves in danger in their involuntary natural reserve.

Spy plane stays four days in the air, with no pollution

luglio 13, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Every single day we happen to read (and to write) about some new spy plane, and with so many of them around, our skies (especially above areas where peace is at risk or absent, such as Middle East, Iraq or Afghanistan) are crowded with drones keeping a watchful eye over the terrain below from different angles and heights.

The latest novelty in this field was introduced by Boeing a few days ago and is called Phantom Eye. This spy plane with its peculiar egg-like shape and a 45m wingspan, can reach an altitude of approximately 65000 feet (around 20000 meters) and thanks to its twin 2300 cc engines, it can stay up in the air for up to 4 consecutive days while carrying a payload of approximately 200 kgs, and reaching a maximum speed of 150 knots, and all this without a pilot.

Furthermore, Phantom Eye is capable of flying in an absolutely clean way, with a decidedly reduced operating cost, since its engines are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell; unlike normal engines mounted on commercial airliners, the hydrogen engine does not produce carbon monoxide, but pure and simple water, thus playing its small part to keep our skies clean.

For now, Phantom Eye is just a prototype, but by the early months of next year, after the first tests on the ground, we will start to see tests in the air of a vehicle that seems set to revolutionize the world of spy planes, not only for its technical characteristics (the surveillance equipment mounted on board should not dramatically differ from what is currently available on this market), but rather for being the first high-altitude UAV built with an eye to energy saving and clean energy.


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