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.).
As I say in the title of the OpenWarfare blog, “It had to happen sooner or later…” Well it’s looking like it’s going to be sooner rather than later. DARPA is opening up a site called UAVForge for “crowdsourcing UAV innovation”. Personally I think this is extremely cool. The only problem is figuring out if I have enough spare time to put together a team. It’s unlikely but you know I’ll be pondering it. It looks like DARPA wants to get ahead of the curve in open sourced weapons innovation which is fantastic and frankly the best way to deal with the potential negative issues surrounding such technologies. Hopefully this trend continues. The worst thing the government could do would be to try to bottle up this stuff. As we all know the genie rarely goes back in the bottle. I’m particularly interested in what sort of development procedures, frameworks and support will be available to teams. Providing a basic set of tools and technologies will greatly accelerate innovation and production. I can’t wait to see what becomes of this initiative.
This is probably the smallest quad I have ever seen. I really like that the frame is routed right out on the PCB. These bad boys could come off the line fully assembled. Right now all the computing is being done on a computer so it’s not really a standalone package. It’s packing computing power to fly itself so hopefully they’ll port the code to the ARM at some point. I’d love to see how it would fare outside in normal wind conditions. My guess is not that well but since quads are kind of a brute force solution to flight it might be easier to compensate in software. Any way you slice it this thing is pretty awesome. My guess is we’ll see toys modeled after it soon. I want one!!!!
Willow Garage has released a pretty awesome real time 3d mapping library. The video above gives a brief overview of what it is capable of. I think the sensor fusion, temporal voxels and support of constructs like “walls” and “objects” are really clever. Be sure to check out their whole site. They have a ton of great OS projects and information about robotics. ROS (Robot Operating System) is one of their well know projects and definitly worth a look of you are looking at starting a robotics project.
Looks like the code for Zdenek Kalal‘s Predator Learning CV algorithm is now available on github. Hooray! Sadly it looks like MATLAB source. It’s a hurdle but we are one step closer to some sweet sweet Python bindings.