Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Raspberry Pi As a Cheap Home Surveillance System

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

CCTV

Home surveillance systems are incredibly expensive, but if you’re looking for more of a DIY approach, Instructables user Scavix shows off how to build your own small-scale system for about $120 using a Raspberry Pi.

Scavix’s system uses a Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi camera module, some housing for that camera, and a few other smaller pieces. After some set up, the end result is a home security system that can detect motion, broadcast a live stream, and more. It’s a surprisingly powerful system all things considered and it’s cheap enough that you can set up a few of them if you like.

Source: Instructables

$20 GPS/GLONASS/Beidou Receiver

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

GPS Module

Sticking a GPS module in a project has been a common occurrence for a while now, whether it be for a reverse geocache or for a drone telemetry system. These GPS modules are expensive, though, and they only listen in on GPS satellites – not the Russian GLONASS satellites or the Chinese Beidou satellites. NavSpark has the capability to listen to all these positioning systems, all while being an Arduino-compatible board that costs about $20.

Inside the NavSpark is a 32-bit microcontroller core (no, not ARM. LEON) with 1 MB of Flash 212kB of RAM, and a whole lot of horsepower. Tacked onto this core is a GPS unit that’s capable of listening in on GPS, GPS and GLONASS, or GPS and Beidou signals.

On paper, it’s an extremely impressive board for any application that needs any sort of global positioning and a powerful microcontroller. There’s also the option of using two of these boards and active antennas to capture carrier phase information, bringing the accuracy of this setup down to a few centimeters. Very cool, indeed.

Source: Hack A Day

A Whole-House Lighting System That Creates Its Own Energy

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

verve lighting switchWell, enegry is free. And, can be found anywhere. That’s what I’m aware of. Do you? 🙂

The energy harvested from physically moving the switches on Verve’s control panel is enough to transmit a radio signal as far as 300 feet to a central controller, which then relays the power to the individual hardwired lights or outlets. Enocean first developed the switches, that generate their own power via electro-dynamic generators linked to the movement of the light switches themselves.

The switch itself does not offer a status “on” or “off” light like some of the more expensive systems, but the central controller hubs, which are programmable, can give you a whole-house status report. The user can setup an unlimited number of scenes in minutes–each controller is networked to the other for total house lighting control from a single switch.

But the killer thing? You can tack the switch to almost any surface and move it without the need to pull wires and rip up your walls. The switch is basically just a remote control that lives anywhere you want it (within range of the controller that is). It is not silent but rather makes a solid click sound so you get feedback even if you don’t have status lights on the switch itself.

It’s an old concept, but it worth to be implemented.

Source: Green Dream

Links: Enocean, Verve Living System

Israeli Drone Pilots Made Their Life-and-Death Choices Over Gaza, and how?

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

A Heron drone at the Palmahim air base in Israel in December of 2011. Photo: AP/Dan Balilty

The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas has settled into an uneasy ceasefire. But that won’t stop Israel’s drones from filling the skies over Gaza. In this 2009 story, written during the final days of the last Israel-Hamas  conflict, we took a look at how one drone pilot grappled with the moral choices that came with remotely spying, and ordering death, from above.

Life or Death choices will never been easier with judgement done through small screen. how these guys, manage doing these task properly or most importantly humanly. Guess, wired have this story covered here. Come on, take a look.

Courtesy: Wired.com

 

Info: History of Light

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Guys, herewith some brief information about history of light prepared by some friends at Q-Ray LED Lighting. As technologies evolves the light become more green (i mean, not the light is green in color. It’s more likely going with less and less carbon foot prints).
brief history of lights by QRay LED Lighting

Courtesy of Q-Ray LED Lighting

Hacking Home Automation Systems Through Power Lines

Saturday, August 13th, 2011



 

X10-Jammer.png

Quoted from Hackaday.com

As home automation becomes more and more popular, hackers and security experts alike are turning their attention to these systems, to see just how (in)secure they are.

This week at DefCon, a pair of researchers demonstrated just how vulnerable home automation systems can be. Carrying out their research independently, [Kennedy] and [Rob Simon] came to the same conclusion – that manufacturers of this immature technology have barely spent any time or resources properly securing their wares.

The researchers built tools that focus on the X10 line of home automation products, but they also looked at ZWave, another commonly used protocol for home automation communications. They found that ZWare-based devices encrypted their conversations, but that the initial key exchange was done in the open, allowing any interested 3rd party to intercept the keys and decrypt the communications.

While you might initially assume that attacks are limited to the power lines within a single house, [Kennedy] says that the signals leak well beyond the confines of your home, and that he was able to intercept communications from 15 distinct systems in his neighborhood without leaving his house.

Can’t imagine how someone disturbing your private time while you’re enjoying your hot bath? think again. have a nice weekend.

Courtesy: Hackaday, Wired

A GPS without GPS

Monday, July 11th, 2011

gsmlocalizerWow, that sounds weird. It’s actually a mini GSM-based localizer without any GPS devices attached. It’s an old device with the cheaper SimCom module SIM900.  Here is a complete working GSM localizator which is pretty cheap and small too.

As introduction, this system allows localization without directly using GPS technology; we are able to locate the desired object fairly precisely by using database availability together with the geographic position of the cells themselves. In some country the cell coordinates are not publicly known (i.e. in Italy). If so, where do we find such data? Through Google Maps… Google has been able to store billions of data regarding the location of its clients’ cell phones. But how does GSM localization work? The radio mobile network is made up of a number of adjacent radio cells, each of which is characterized by an identifier consisting of four data: a progressive number (Cell ID), a code related to the area in which that given cell is (LAC, or Local Area Code), the code of national network to which the cell belongs (MCC, an acronym for  Mobile Country Code), and finally the company code (MNC, or Mobile Network Code), which obviously identifies the phone company itself. For this reason, once a cell name and coordinates are known, and considering the maximum distance allowed between this cell and a phone  before the phone connects to a new cell, it is possible to find out, approximately, the most distant position of the phone itself. For example, if the maximum distance has been determined to be one mile, the cell phone can be within a one-mile radius. It can be deduced that the more cells are found in a given area, the more precisely one can determine where the phone is located (up to 200-350 feet). The idea of employing only a GSM device to build a remote localization system occurred to us when we realized that Google Maps Mobile, which had been conceived to allow smartphones equipped with a GPS receiver to use Google for satellite navigation, was extended to all cell phones, as long as they were able to support GPRS or UMTS data.  Naturally, this method allows but for a rough estimate: determining the precise position of the cell phone hinges on data regarding the coverage of a given cell which can only be provided by the Google server.

DataCell

The circuit

Compared to traditional localizers based on GPS, this device presents many advantages, primarily because it is lighter and less bulky, has a cost lesser and greater autonomy to exercise. This means that about one battery lithium ion, such as 1 Ah, our tracker can be in operation for several days (it all depends on the number of SMS that have to do). A locator based on cellular network may answare more immediately: the GPS receiver may take several minutes to determine its position. Our tracker works battery and thus can be brought on by people who may have the need to ask help or be tracked, but also placed on board motor vehicles (without installation) or simply introduced in goods in transit. To avoid unnecessarily draining the battery, the localizator provides its position via SMS, on requesto with a simple phone call. Among the functions implemented there is the SOS: By pressing the button the localizator sends a text message asking for help, containing the coordinates of position, the sending can be done to a maximum of eight thelephone numbers. When queried or with the autoreport function, sends an SMS with the localization.To know the location of remote device must send an SMS request cell is connected and sends a request (via GPRS) to Google’s site, the latter responds with the coordinates and the figure for the precision. Everything happens in seconds.

0908_Schema

Well, you can get hell of these stuff from link provided afterward. Design files and the firmware are included. A fun stuff to experiment with at your disposal. Mini GSM localizer without GPS at open-electronics.org.

All images are courtesy of open-electronics.org

Japan setting out to get its own GPS off the ground

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

japan-gps.jpgHow’s your Sunday? ah-ha, here some GPS-related article for your weekend technological feed, have a nice weekend.

The Japanese government – with the the assistance of private firms – is ramping up research on a Japanese version of the Global Positioning System in a bid to turn satellite-based technologies into a key export, the Nikkei reports. As far as we know,  it’s already runs. But turning it into an export – is really a good idea to me.

Plans are afoot to conduct joint research and development on this – nine firms and two organisations are slated to participate in a study group to be formed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at the end of the month, with an aim to come up with new services in five years, the report says.

The venture will include companies such as NEC and Mitsubishi Electric Corp, which develop satellites or ground facilities, as well as those with a broad range of businesses, including transport systems, logistics and machinery.Having launched a quasi-zenith positioning satellite last September, the addition of two or three more satellites will enable an around-the-clock service, though specific plans for the second satellite haven’t been drawn up yet.

The Japanese satellite system is designed to supplement the GPS currently operated by the US, and is meant to cover the region, including that of Southeast Asia and Australia.A domestic GPS would yield many benefits beyond just making and launching satellites – with a projection that the overall market will grow from around four trillion yen in 2008 to roughly 10 trillion yen in 2013, a wide range of infrastructure-related fields will stand to grow as well.

Courtesy: paultan

Related:  Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, QZSS

How Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Systems Work

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

seismic flowchart

How Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Systems? — Earthquake and tsunami warning systems both monitor the same thing: seismic waves. Seismic data takes the Earth’s pulse directly, so when the earth shakes, we get immediate feedback. If all goes well, we have enough time to run.
Lots of organizations watch for earth movement. The U.S.’s Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), for instance, runs 95 stations across North America. When there’s an earthquake, ANSS sends out a signal in real time, which alerts government agencies and emergency response personnel.
Earthquakes on land are serious business, to be sure, but responding to them is fairly straightforward: Direct the appropriate resources to the place where the alarm bell rang the loudest. But when earthquakes cause tsunamis, an international effort is usually required. Think about it: An earthquake under the sea doesn’t just cause a killer wave directly above it. Landmasses shift, water is displaced, and, depending on several other factors, it could end up anywhere.
Seismic waves travel 100 times faster than ocean waves, so you have to take the Earth’s movement into account to figure out when the wall of water will hit land. To understand just how important it is to use seismic data to get people safe, you only need to look back to the magnitude-9.0 Indonesian quake of 2004. The Indian Ocean had no early warning system in place, and the tsunami triggered by the earthquake killed 200,000 people in eleven countries—including 30,000 people in Sri Lanka, 1000 miles away from the epicenter. Information just didn’t get to the people who needed it fast enough.
But today, when the 8.9 hit, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning within three minutes of the event. Six minutes after that, Islands in the South pacific, Hawaii and Russia were told to watch their shores. The collaborating systems are a part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission run by UNESCO, which organizes international disaster response.
Japan is hyperaware of its shaky ground. The country withstands some thousand tremors a year, and they’ve got 180 seismographs and 600 seismic intensity meters constantly tuned to what’s going on in the underworld. They also have around 30 sea level gauges operated by the coast guard and around 80 operated by the JMA that work in chorus to provide feedback to a Data Processing and Communication system. The sensors take a reading, upload it to a central processing system using old fashioned wires and/or satellite uplink, and that central system sends updates to the government, police, coast guard, telephone companies, and the media. Sea level gauges also report disturbances in real time and help organizations model trajectory and size of the oncoming waves.
And then there are more specialized tools. The NOAA, for instance, has a handful of tsunami detection buoys that help rule out false alarms and give monitoring agencies a better idea of what they’re in for-or what their not. NOAA’s Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami system—which goes by the slick moniker ‘DART’—is made up of an anchored sea floor bottom pressure recorder and accompanying fiberglass and foam buoy on the surface. The recorder on the ocean floor, which takes a note of temperature and pressure every 15 seconds, sends data via an acoustic link to the surface buoy. The buoy then sends information by satellite to Tsunami warning centers.
How does the information get to you? Warning systems coordinate with the media. That’s how you got the information on your front page. To get even faster info, in many places you can sign up for text alerts if something disastrous is happening-or will happen, in the case of a tsunami-in your area.

courtesy: gizmodo

Emergency Kiosks – Penang Island, Malaysia

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Police Emergency Kiosks

Police Emergency Kiosks

Complete end-to-end IP video technology is behind an integrated public safety system on Penang Island, the most populated of Malaysia’s islands. Its capital, Georgetown, attracts many tourists and, as with other city centers around the world, it faces a complex security environment, including criminal activity and traffic issues.
The surveillance project consists of 31 PTZ dome cameras connected via a wireless IP network monitoring the whole of the Georgetown area. The cameras are focused on crime and traffic hot spots such as tourist areas, banks, petrol stations, traffic intersections and commercial centers.
The integration features of the IP video solution allowed a number of emergency kiosks to be installed in tourist areas. Using a transmitter/receiver module, which can transmit high-quality video and audio as well as digital input/output, a standalone video intercom solution for the kiosks was developed. When a member of the public activates the emergency button, two-way communication is opened up with one of the control room operators via a hidden microphone and camera in the kiosk. The intercom video from the kiosk automatically displays on a video management workstation and the nearest PTZ is panned and zoomed to the kiosk area. This is all achieved over the wireless network. The only cabling required is power to each of the kiosks. The PTZ domes are also connected to transmitter modules and the audio capability is used to provide public announcement facilities through speakers mounted with each camera.

Courtesy: Asmag.com