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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Team studies drone strikes on airplanes by firing them into a wall at 500 MPH

Bird strikes are a very real danger to planes in flight, and consequently aircraft are required to undergo bird strike testing — but what about drones? With UAV interference at airports on the rise, drone strike testing may soon be likewise mandatory, and if it’s anything like what these German researchers are doing, it’ll involve shooting the craft out of air cannons at high speed.

The work being done at Fraunhofer EMI in Freiburg is meant to establish some basic parameters for how these things ought to be tested.

Bird strikes, for example, are tested by firing a frozen poultry bird like a chicken or turkey out of an air cannon. It’s not pretty, but it has to be done. Even so, it’s not a very good analogue to a drone strike.

“From a mechanical point of view, drones behave differently to birds and also weigh considerably more. It is therefore uncertain, whether an aircraft that has been successfully tested against bird strike, would also survive a collision with a drone,” explained Fraunhofer’s Sebastian Schopferer in a news release.

The team chose to load an air cannon up with drone batteries and engines, since those make up most of any given UAV’s mass. The propellers and arms on which they’re mounted are generally pretty light and will break easily — compared with a battery weighing the better part of a kilogram, they won’t add much to the damage.

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The remains of a drone engine and battery after being propelled into the plate on the left at hundreds of miles per hour.

The drones were fired at speeds from 250 to 570 miles per hour (115 to 255 meters per second by their measurement) at aluminum plates of up to 8 millimeters of thickness. Unsurprisingly, there was “substantial deformation” of the plates and the wingless drones were “completely destroyed.” Said destruction was recorded by a high-speed camera, though unfortunately the footage was not made available.

It’s necessary to do a variety of tests to determine what’s practical and what’s unnecessary or irrelevant — why spend the extra time and money firing the drones at 570 when 500 does the same level of damage? Does including the arms and propellers make a difference? At what speed is the plate in danger of being pierced, necessitating additional protective measures? And so on. A new rig is being constructed that will allow acceleration (and deceleration) of larger UAVs.

With enough testing the team hopes that not only could such things be standardized, but simulations could be built that would allow engineers to virtually test different surfaces or materials without a costly and explosive test rig.


Source: TechCrunch

VCs bet on Aegis AI, a startup using computer vision to detect guns

A new startup using computer vision software to turn security cameras into gun-detecting smart cameras has raised $2.2 million in venture capital funding in a round led by Bling Capital, with participation from Upside Partnership and Tensility Venture Partners.

Aegis AI sells to U.S. corporations and school district its technology, which scans thousands of video feeds for brandished weapons and provides threat-detection alerts to customers within one second, for $30 per camera, per month. Coupling AI and cloud computing, Aegis integrates with existing camera hardware and video management software, requiring no on-site installation or maintenance.

“We can take over the role of a security guard with much higher accuracy at a much lower cost,” Aegis co-founder and chief product officer Ben Ziomek tells TechCrunch.

The financing round comes as a fresh cohort of businesses look to new technologies to protect against gun violence. AI-based gun detection is an unproven method, but investors and entrepreneurs alike are hopeful it represents a new era in threat-detection and safety. Seattle-based Virtual eForce, Israel’s AnyVision and Canadian tech startup SN Technologies are among the startups focused on improving security systems across the globe.

For Aegis co-founder and chief executive officer Sonny Tai, protecting against gun violence is personal. The first-time founder, who previously spent nearly a decade in the Marine Corps, grew up in South Africa where gun violence was all too common.

“We had a close family friend who was fatally shot in his own home 20 years ago,” Tai tells TechCrunch. “This prompted my mother to decide that we should immigrate to the U.S. On my end, it inspired a lifelong passion in me. I had to do something about the U.S. gun epidemic.”

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Aegis AI co-founders Sonny Tai (left) and Ben Ziomek

Lacking engineering expertise, Tai looked to Ziomek for technical support. Ziomek previously spent several years at Microsoft, most recently leading engineering and data science teams within the company’s AI program. Together they built Aegis, which is currently in the process of uprooting from Chicago to establish headquarters in New York City.

The pair spent 18 months building the technology they say can reliably recognize weapons in security camera footage. They had to take an “aggressive” data augmentation approach to develop the AI, Ziomek explains, as opposed to just scraping the web for images of weapons to feed to the platform.

“If you look at most of the state of the art computer vision models, they are really built specifically for the task of differentiating hundreds of different objects and the objects are very large,” Ziomek said. “We are looking for hard-to-see objects; we honed our system to look for small, dark objects in highly-complex scenes.”

“Traditionally — even if you’re working at Google or Microsoft — you scrape the internet for cats or hot dogs and you use a model based on that,” he added. “What happens when you do that same approach for weapons? You get product images, Instagram shots from people at the shooting range; all of these have no resemblance to real security camera footage.”

To teach its software to identify weapons, Aegis began by scrubbing the web for photos of weapons, then they reached out to key influencers in the personal safety space, who proved to be essential resources throughout the process. To complete the data collection process, they got their hands on real security footage and even took their own posed photos holding weapons to fill in any of the AI’s blind spots.

With a fresh bout of funding, Aegis will develop its technology to detect other threats, including bombs and vehicles.


Source: TechCrunch

Why You Still Can’t Buy Fireworks on Amazon

The “everything store� might not cover all your Fourth of July celebration needs.
Source: Wired

Surprise! Huawei Can Actually Innovate—and Win Fans

The Chinese company is viewed as a copycat and national-security threat. But it took more than low prices to create the largest maker of telecom gear.
Source: Wired

Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' Comics Reportedly Getting a Netflix Series

In other news, Paul Rudd is joining ‘Ghostbusters 2020’ and Lady Gaga might be in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’.
Source: Wired

You've Never Seen Skate Parks Like This Before

Photographer Amir Zaki finds sculptural beauty in the concrete playgrounds of southern California.
Source: Wired

How Remote Lakes Could Help Unravel Microplastic's Mysteries

The Experimental Lakes Area is a one-of-a-kind platform for potentially testing how omnipresent microplastics are stressing ecosystems.
Source: Wired

Health Brands Hims and Hers Flout Facebook’s Rules on Drug Ads

Wellness brands Hims and Hers violate Facebook policies by offering prescription drugs in ads. The ads also don’t disclose side effects, as required by the FDA.
Source: Wired

The Second Coming of the Robot Pet

Man’s best friend isn’t a dog—it’s a dog-like robot, designed to perform tricks and tug at your heartstrings.
Source: Wired

OnePlus 7 Pro owners get strange spam notifications on their phones – CNET

The Chinese phonemaker “accidentally sent out a global push notification.”
Source: CNET

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