Do you want thermal imaging capabilities but don’t have thousands of dollars? Never fear, Flir has come out with the Flir One. A cheap (fairly low resolution) thermal imaging sensor that comes in at the same price as low end night vision systems ~$350. The only problem is that you have to attach it to an iPad. Well Mike Harrison (http://www.electricstuff.co.uk) has done a great teardown of the Flir One, pulled out the sensor and crammed it into a a tiny form factor of his own design!
BAE has created a super cool thermal camouflage system called ADAPTIV. As the name suggests it’s basically a screen made of hexagonal thermal “pixels” that can rapidly heat and cool themselves. I wonder if something similar could be made using a heating element and a Peltier heat pump. Another interesting thing I noticed is that it looks like the panels are modular. I wonder if they communicate and self assemble into a “screen” or if there is some central control unit. I would think self assembly would make them more resistant to failure and far more versatile.
This project aims to enable de-centralized message delivery by passing messages between devices instead of relying on the Internet or local networks that could be shut down by authorities. It looks like it uses BlueTooth and WiFi for message passing. They are also looking for developers for a dedicated OpenWRT node implementation. I sketched out a very similar idea a while ago but the sketch was as far as I got. It reminds me of FidoNet back in my BBS days. I’ll be downloading their S60 and desktop clients to give them a try.
I’d never heard of P25 until I saw this video. Apparently it is a digital radio protocol widely used by Local, State and Federal government agencies. As one would expect it is prone to numerous attacks including jamming using a $15 IMME toy. Definitely worth watching. Check out their recommendations here. You can also download their research paper [pdf].
It looks like Freescale is getting ready to release a Soft Radio SOC. It’s not Ultra Wide Band but it does provide some pretty awesome functionality in a small (and hopefully inexpensive) package. I would love to see some mesh networking protocols implemented using this chip. I also wonder if this would be a good platform to develop a radio “sniffer”.
A bunch of cool pictures from the Atlantic via Global Guerrillas
I’ve been out of the country otherwise I would have posted sooner. This is really pretty awesome stuff. While these systems are not technically “Open Source” they certainly fit with the spirit of disruptive/free technology being used in warfare. Not only does this underscore the general trends of super-empowerment via technology, it also brings up interesting questions about what Americans would consider Second Amendment rights. Here we have a group of people using these technologies to liberate themselves from an oppressive government. If that isn’t a modern version of the events that caused Jefferson & Co. to include the Second Amendment I don’t know what is. I particularly like the UGV with a machine gun mounted on it. While the U.S. has similar robots (iRobot’s Talon) I don’t think any of them have been used in combat. I would love to find out if it was used. If it was, it might be the first time a UGV has been used in combat. Overall this is really exciting and inspiring stuff.
If anyone in Libya comes across this post and knows some of the folks involved I would love to chat with them via email and write a detailed post. I’m particularly interested in the design process and the effectiveness of these platforms (lessons learned, most important design aspects, tools that would have helped the process, etc.).