Robotic Hornets and Big Brother

September 15 2008 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government   Year: 2008   Rating: 6 Hot

I can feel my relationship with nature changing. The other day a big ass bumble bee was hovering around my face for a prolonged period of time. I mean we were having a stare down. I’m relatively sure that it was a real bee, but it spent an unusual amount of time right in my face – flew away and then back several times. It felt like there was some intelligence and intention behind it’s activities. Like it was gathering information.

Now before you label me as paranoid (at least wait until the end of the post), consider all of the increased surveillance activity that we know is going on and think about what we might not (take Bob Woodward’s cryptic interview reference from last week as an example).

Advances in robotics, miniturization and cost reduction in video cameras are transforming the economics and viability of surveillance. The increasing number and granularity of commercial satellite technology platforms, aerial drones, advances in facial recognition and image processing are increasingly enabling visual quantification of everything that happens in outdoor space. This is a trend that will only accelerate, driven primarily by security threats and the increase in destructive capabilities of small groups of people and individuals.

For large metropolitan cities, there really is no choice in the matter. London has already embraced extensive monitoring of public spaces and New York City has undertaken an ambitious project which includes the Ring of Steel. Though interfaces like Google Maps and Google Street View are currently static, they will eventually become real-time as the world moves towards becoming an unscripted 24-7 reality tv program.

So how do I know if that bee was real or surveillance. Well, short of swatting it and finding out for sure, I don’t. But I do believe that pretty soon these will be just another weapon in an increasingly large arsenal of behavior mapping and large scale societal surveillance.

Portable Fan Wars

March 17 2010 / by Jeff Hilford
Category: Gadgets   Year: General   Rating: 3

These Parrot AR.Drone's are pretty cool but I wonder if they would be best suited as mobile personal cooling units, following you around and keeping you cool on a hot day. 

Then all you would need is your personal theme music t-shirt and you'd be good to go.

 

 

Via Slashgear

Bat Drones to Aid US Military with Bat Vision

October 30 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 2

The US Military is currently trying to obtain bat-sized drones capable of finding enemy combatants in rough terrain like tight streets or valleys. “Aurora Flight Sciences plans to demonstrate a vision-based guidance system that combines optical and sonar sensors and allows a micro air vehicle (MAV) to navigate through a cluttered urban environment.” Their goal over the next few years is to make it small enough (able to be stored in a 6 inch tube) so that soldiers can carry them around with them, able to deploy them whenever needed at the drop of a hat.

If you’re one of the two people who didn’t manage to see Dark Knight this year, you’re going to have a hard time conceptualizing what the display might look like. (Since we can’t display Dark Knight video without getting sued, here’s the next best thing I could find, go to the 1:00 minute mark)

As with all military technology, you wonder if there will be local uses for such a technology. Being able to tell exactly where in the room a hostage-taker is, searching for lost hikers in the wilderness, even finding the exact trajectory of baseballs for later analysis and perfected training.