I need someone to explain this to me.

Autonomous hovering drones invade Germany

We welcome the swarm of autonomous hovering robot overlords being made by students at Humboldt University. The goal of this project is to build an autonomous hovering platform that is controlled via adapted insect behavior. Navigation comes from monitoring real time inputs, such as air pressure and optical sensors, not by predefined paths and GPS coordinates.  Some examples of this adapted behavior are: navigation via polarized sun light like African ants, and optical flow similar to bees.

You can see the platforms in action on Spiegel Online, but unless you understand German, you won’t get much else out of it.

If any of this seems familiar, it’s because we covered CCCamp 2007, which was near Berlin and had some very similar quadcopters. While the large quadcopter platforms have been around for a while and are steadily coming down in price, there are some new alternatives out there that are quite tempting.  Anyone want to build some autonomy into this little baby?

[thanks fh]

Escape From Berkeley

Escape From Berkeley (By Any Non-Petroleum Means Necessary) is an alternative-fueled road rally that starts October 10th and ends October 13th. The rally begins in Berkeley, California, and finishes in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Sahara. Contestants are required to use any fuel other than petroleum, and using only those fuels scavenged “for free” along the way. Fuel cannot be purchased. Judges will present awards for both artistic and technical achievements. If you want to get in on the action, there are a number of ways to participate, from registering your vehicle to volunteering for the event or even sponsoring the route “by the mile” or by landmark.

[via Laughing Squid]

Announcing the Ruckingenur Challenge

Back in August, we posted a fantastic reverse engineering game called Ruckingenur II created by [Zach Barth]. Apparently he got an overwhelmingly positive responce as well as many requests for a level editor. [Zach] decided to open this up as a contest, giving wonderful prizes and fame to the winner. Go read the rules and send him some entries. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

[thanks Zach]

Remote access programs are good security for laptops

Don’t be [Gabriel Meija], the criminal pictured above. He stole [Jose Caceres]‘ laptop, but didn’t realize that [Caceres] had installed a remote access program to track the activity on the laptop. Although the first few days were frustrating, as [Meija] didn’t seem to be using the laptop for anything but porn, [Caceres]‘ luck turned when he noticed that an address was being typed in. [Caceres] turned the information over to police, who were able to find [Meija] and charge him with fourth-degree grand larceny. It’s not the first time that tech-savvy consumers have relied on remote access programs to capture the criminals who’ve stolen their computer equipment, and it certainly won’t be the last, as the technology becomes more readily available to consumers.

[via Obscure Store and Reading Room]

44% of used phones contain sensitive data

In a recent study, researchers were able to garnish all kinds of sensitive data from second hand mobile devices.  Of the units tested, 44% contained information such as salary details, bank account information, business plans, personal medical details, personal insults, and address book data.  Next time you get a used device, take a good look around. You never know what you may find.

[via Zero Day]

Arduway: a mini Segway using the Arduino

[Joe L] sent in the Arduway on the tipline. It is a robot made of Arduino and Lego NXT components based on the Segway. A software library to control LEGO NXT motors and a few sensors he used is available on SourceForge. This robot does a good job of balancing itself while moving forwards and backwards.

There is a YouTube video of it in operation after the break.
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