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Want to save on your electricity bill? Use the phone line!

novembre 8, 2009 Technology No Commenti

LED Lamp

Maybe the color does not suit all tastes, as it is only produced in a bright pink which might not go very well together with your suit and tie in formal business occasions, but certainly, albeit on a small scale, a desk lamp powered through the phone line can help you save on your electricity bill.

We are talking about a LED lamp which, instead of being connected to the normal electricity mains, can be plugged to the phone line thanks to its RJ-11 connector. The small amount of power running through the phone cables is enough to light its 8 small LEDs, and provide enough light to read a book or work on your laptop while not using up electricity.

The average duration of a LED is somewhere around 100000 hours, basically unlimited: you can use it two hours a day for the next 137 years (theoretically, of course…) or leave it on all the time for the next 12 years, and all this without adding a penny to your electricity bill!

The height of the lamp is approximately 27 centimeters, with a weight of just 74 grams, and a goose-neck flexible tube to conveniently position your lamp.
Be aware though, that should you have only one RJ-11 phone plug in your home, the LED lamp would be useless, as it can not be connected to other power sources such as a normal electricity plug or batteries (there is no battery housing at all). But after all, for a whopping 4.69 dollars, we could not ask much more than this. Or not?

Inflatable seat belts, for further protection in our cars

novembre 6, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Seat Belt

Conventional seat belts mounted on our cars are stretching in case of accident, preventing the passenger from colliding with inside parts of the car while reducing the force of the impact.
Ford is planning to introduce on its production models a new type of inflatable seat belts, which further reduce pressure on the chest of back seat passengers.

Thanks to these belts, in fact, the pressure caused by the impact is spread over a surface five times larger, thus avoiding shock, wounds or even deadly consequences caused by conventional seat belts. Unlike airbags, which are inflated by means of a small explosion, these belts are inflated by compressed gas, contained in a small cylinder located under the seat.

At the moment of impact, the air fills up a sort of accordion-shaped bag which expands inside the belt. The bag is inflated in a slightly slower way if compared to the burst that operates airbags, and this means that the protection given by seat belts is smoother and with less potential risks than the ones connected with usage of airbags.

During everyday use of our car, the inflatable belt works exactly like its conventional equivalent, than thanks to its thickness and softness, this padded belt gives a better comfort, especially with higher temperatures when a normal seat belt can turn into a real pain.

Inflatable seat belts will be mounted on the back seat of Ford Explorer models sold in the North American market, and over a few years will gradually be made available for markets of the rest of the world, for safer and softer traveling!

How many eavesdropped conversations can fit into a yottabyte?

novembre 6, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Data Centre

In security-related environment, the word is that the US National Security Agency is about to open a new center for processing and storage of data, which can store up to several yottabytes of information.
For those among you (and your blogger is actually in the same condition) who happen not to know what a yottabyte is, this apparently weird measurement unit is the equivalent of something like a million billion gigabytes.

We are talking about monster-sized storage facilities, capable of hosting the rough equivalent of the world’s entire data capacity, multiplied by a few thousand times. This huge amount of available data storage space can be used only in one way, considering the NSA’s activities: storage of information, conversations, telephone eavesdropping, radio transmissions and so on.

What is still unclear is the means of storage that will be used to file this amount of data, what is sure that it would be too expensive, complicated and space-consuming to interconnect millions of hard drives with each other. It is also sure that nowadays, our telephone conversations are no longer to be considered 100% private, and that the potential risk of prying ears listening to what we say is always around the corner.

Therefore, along with following the simple advice of not touching sensitive subjects while on the phone, it is certainly advisable to provide yourselves with a counter surveillance anti interception system which would allow us to make our conversations more difficult to intercept, or useless for any unauthorized listener.

Unless your name is Bin Laden, if you are leading an ordinary life your private or business conversations should not be of any interest for NSA, but at least, we know that the feeling that someone may be listening is undoubtedly not a pleasant one, and feeling reassured against this threat is certainly priceless.

Invisible wind turbines will avoid confusion in the skies

novembre 4, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Turbine

Incredible as it may sound, the blades of the modern wind turbines, because of their motion, are creating problems to radar systems. In fact, it looks like standard radars encounter some difficulty when it comes to telling the movement of a small general aviation aircraft flying at low altitude, from the spinning of the blades of a turbine in a wind farm.

All this is creating some understandable risks for air traffic, especially if the wind farms are located near a sensitive area, which might be the target of a terrorist attack. The UK Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the turbine manufacturers Vestas, is working on the development of invisible turbines which cannot be detected by normal radars thanks to the material used, similar to the outer shell of a Stealth invisible aircraft.

The project, partly funded by the UK Government, works on the integration of stealth materials on the blades of an existing wind farm. This way, the radar presence is roughly cut by 50%. At this point radars will be able to filter out any track below a certain output level, identifying wind turbines as non relevant for air traffic.

Thanks to this system, it will for example be possible to optimize air traffic management, avoiding accidents and collisions between small planes, which have always been difficult to handle for air traffic controllers. From the point of view of energy production, it will be possible to boost wind farms, by introducing new generations of towers, which generate more power, and most of all, they can do it safely and without interfering with air traffic!

A GPS navigator for surveys and projects

novembre 4, 2009 Technology No Commenti

CartoGoo

Apart from guiding us through cities that we do not know, or taking us to our destination avoiding traffic jams, GPS can do much more, especially if integrated with widely used platforms such as for example Google Earth.

An example of this kind comes from CartoGoo, a GPS navigator designed for a professional usage. CartoGoo specifically caters to fields like architecture, cartography, topography, civil engineering, and in general all those applications where surveys on location play an important role.

CartoGoo, as the name may suggest, contains an integrated Google Earth interface, and allows you to visualize the place where you currently are, in the typical formats that you can see when surfing the site.

Once you have your position on the LCD display, you can draw maps directly on the screen thanks to the stylus, import results of your surveys or export your drawings to a computer via the USB cable.

Basically, it will be like having a drawing table in your pocket, with a stylus to draw directly on-screen, and then display the result in real time on a satellite map of your location, even in three dimensions.

In fact, through a real time 3D rendering of the project, CartoGoo allows you to give an immediate evaluation of its results. Certainly, for civil engineers, cartographers, forestry specialists and administrators alike, this can be a breakthrough and a very useful tool for an instant evaluation of their work.
And all this comes in a very small size, without having to carry complicated maps and plans along, making life easier for those who work in this highly specialized field.

Movie shooting from above and aerial surveillance thanks to SARAH

novembre 3, 2009 Technology No Commenti

SARAH

Don’t be afraid, we are not talking about a very tall woman named Sarah, but rather about an unmanned helicopter manufactured by Flying-Cam, one of the giants in its field, and which goes by the acronym SARAH, that stands for Special Aerial Response Autonomous Helicopter.

Flying-Cam III E SARAH is part of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) family, that is, small remote-controlled helicopters and planes, used to take aerial views and snapshots that are transmitted via radio, and are widely used in the military field for reconnaissance and target acquiring operations.

This particular model, besides being also useful in the aerial video surveillance field, is mostly suitable for civilian operations in the movie business, one of Flying-Cam’s specialties as they have provided such equipment for many a Hollywood blockbuster.

Specifically, we are talking about a model that is not fully autonomous, but presenting some characteristics and features which make it very user-friendly; for example, it sports several navigation, autopilot and positioning systems which allow for an automatic route programming. Also, its modular platform can house a wide variety of payloads, and be used to host video recording systems or radio transmitting cameras.

With such a setup, it can be used both to shoot video footage for movies, which is stored on a video recorder mounted on the UAV, or gather intelligence images which are transmitted in real time to a ground station, which in turn analyzes the data and extracts the necessary information.

SARAH is also capable of taking night shots thanks to its infrared sensor which makes it perfect also for night aerial surveillance of sensitive targets. With a total weight of just 25 Kgs, SARAH is the complete package for any type of aerial imaging task.

Discover the magic of wireless micro earpieces

novembre 3, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Discover the magic of wireless micro earpieces

Did you ever feel hampered by the mobile phone? I do. All the time! You have to do all sorts of gymnastics to get it out and then start talking. All the more a challenge, especially if you get a call while on the road or while sitting at a party wearing tight pants.

Once I remember I got so distracted with a call from a client and had to reach suddenly out to catch the porcelain vase before it fell. But I could not decide among the vase and the client was left with a broken vase by the time the call ended. From then on I have been looking for earpieces that I can use instead of the cumbersome mobile phone. I was also particular that it should be wireless. No use getting tangled in wires after discarding the mobile.

I figured out that someone somewhere must have invented wireless earpieces for the mobile phone. As I did some research I found some cool gadgets that could solve my problems. The wireless ear piece is so tiny that it fits it the ear and does not even protrude over the ear lobe. Since it is not visible it can be used anywhere. In fact, I found out that they are using this as surveillance equipment and for eavesdropping on conversations. That is really cool for an ear piece. Best part is no wires. I like that! No tripping and getting tangled while am busy with something.

Swarms of miniature robots, the future of surveillance and not only

novembre 2, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Swarm

An international research project in several countries like Sweden, Spain, Germany and Italy is working on the development of microscopic robots, as small as insects, which in a near future might carry out several tasks if used in a group, wirelessly interconnected with each other.

The I-SWARM miniature robots (the acronym stands for Intelligent Small-World Autonomous Robots for Micro-manipulation) are based on a single chip, mounted on a 4-mm circuit board. Inside this single chip are installed the modules governing motion, communication with other robots and power saving.

All this is molded, by using a special conductive glue, on a flexible double-sided circuit board, which is folded in two thus doubling the available surface. The micro robot is powered by a solar cell located on the top, and movement is performed by three miniature legs, plus a fourth one working as a touch sensor.

By integrating tens or hundreds of micro robots among each other, making them communicate via infrared sensors, it is possible to program them as a whole group, setting them up to carry out complex tasks that a single robot would never be able to accomplish, such as, for example, cleaning of large surfaces, assembly or installation of micromechanical parts, and a whole lot of other jobs.

In a more distant future, a swarm of micro robots on which, along with the infrared sensor, one might install a micro camera, could be used for surveillance and monitoring operations on large sensitive areas, almost completely invisible for thieves or spies, who would certainly not be able to locate and destroy each and every robot.

Bug sweeping systems, to protect yourselves from prying ears

novembre 2, 2009 Technology No Commenti

BugSweeping

As you may have seen on our pages several times, defense from telephone eavesdropping is one of the vital elements if we want to safeguard the privacy of our conversations, which translates to a better protection of our assets and our loved ones from any outside interference.

If on one hand, to make sure that no one can spy on your mobile phone conversations, we can recommend using an invisible mobile phone, the problem is a bit more complex when it comes to protect face to face conversations.

Unauthorized listeners might be aware of the content of our talks, by planting listening devices inside our office, concealing them in hidden corners, under a sofa pillow or behind a flower pot.

To make sure that our office and our home are really safe places, it may be worth using a bug sweeping system, which can expose any hidden microphones or transmitters, analyzing the radio frequency spectrum and detecting any source of transmission.

A bug sweeper works either by detecting radio signals, or by filling up the room with non-audible ultrasounds, which “cover” the conversations and make a spy operation useless, as the listener would only hear noise.

Of course, in all this, do not forget to protect your phone lines as well. For your office phone, you can use a scrambler or encrypted phone, which transmits its phone call using a 256-bit encoding key. In short, if you want to keep your conversations secure, thanks to Endoacustica you have several options to protect yourselves from prying ears and unauthorized listeners who may harm your business and your family.

Just another solution from Japan: an energy saving socket

novembre 1, 2009 Technology No Commenti

Switch

The big Asian market of technology is always keen on new products that allow for resource optimization, energy saving or less pollution in our cities. For this reason, a solution which combines all this in a single movement can only be welcomed favorably by the environmentally savvy market.

In theory, the safest way to save energy in our homes and offices would be unplugging electrical appliances when you leave, but let’s face it, who likes to bend down to the ground every morning and every evening to plug in or unplug their TV set, their lamps or their office computer?

The power socket Switch is designed exactly to meet this need, and gives us the opportunity to leave our appliances in stand-by mode, but instead of unplugging them every time, one should bend down only to rotate the plug by 45 degrees, just like a light switch, hence the name.

By leaving the cables plugged into the Switch socket and rotating the plug by 45 degrees, the electricity flow towards any appliance connected is interrupted. So we will be able to leave our computer, our TV and stereo plugged in. All we have to do is rotate the plug when leaving in the morning, and do the same upon our return, in order to save energy.

What is not clear yet is whether this kind of socket will really make a difference on the average consumer’s behavior; for the common man, bending down, either to remove the plug or rotate it, is still a waste of time or, at best, an unusual gesture.

At least, the idea seems intriguing, and Switch sockets are also coming in pleasant colors; all we have to do is wait and see their impact on our energy saving habits.

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