Military steals idea of anyone who ever tied a cellphone camera to quadcopter

spy-helicopter

Check out the toy this solder is using. It’s a tiny remote-controlled helicopter. The thing comes in a kit that includes a small tablet through which the nose-mounted camera image can be viewed. These are in use in Afghanistan by the UK Military. The purpose is to help protect foot soldiers by allowing them to perform discrete reconnaissance. What would you pay for this type of life saving technology? How does $31 million for 160 units sound? For that price we expect eight propellers and a cinema quality camera.

The drone is manufactured by Prox Dynamics. They’ve been in development since 2008 and you can bet that a lot of that time went into making it “inaudible” which is the main difference we see between this and hobby-built versions. For now you’ll have to deal with trying to make your own since they will only sell to the government.

The best we can do for you when it comes to video of the thing is prototyping footage from 2009 (after the break). If you have a link to a newer clip we’d love to see it in the comments.

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Libyan rebels turn toys into weapons of war

scrapyard_weaponry

They say all’s fair in love and war – trust us, you don’t have to tell these guys twice.

With the war in Libya raging on, the rebels have turned to anything and everything to help give them the upper hand. Engineers and engineering students have put aside their work and studies to become the architects of the Libyan revolution. In a school playground-cum-weapons facility people from all walks of life work together creating powerful weapons from scrap parts.

[Rajab], the group’s chief weapons engineer, used to drive trucks for a living. Now he is directing his fellow fighters on how best to re purpose scrap materials and recovered military weaponry into effective killing machines. As you can see in the video below, everything is fair game. Their creations range from pickup trucks fitted with recovered fighter jet machine guns, to a Power Wheels chassis that has been converted into a remote controlled machine gun turret.

It’s amazing the things that can be produced with some scrap materials and a bit of ingenuity.

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Spherical military drone coming to a sky near you

spherical_drone

We’re always fascinated by flying drones around here, and this latest creation by Japan’s Ministry of Defense is no exception. The spherical drone, which looks far simpler than this drone we saw several months back, looks pretty benign at first glance. Once it starts moving however, you can see just how slick it is.

Reports say that it can hit a top speed of 40 mph, but it seems that the fun is relatively short-lived, as the drone runs out of juice after about 8 minutes. While it is flying, the drone appears to be incredibly agile and fairly easy to control. The built-in camera isn’t top end, but it looks more than sufficient for general surveillance use.

While we love quadrocopters and all of the cool acrobatics they pull off, there’s something awesome about a drone that can hit the ground at speed, roll, and take off again without incurring any serious damage.

Anyone care to start work on a civilian prototype with a longer battery life?

RSA SecurID breach leads to intrusion at Lockheed Martin

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It looks like Lockheed Martin is the latest victim in what seems to be an endless string of security breaches. This time however, it does not look like a lack of security measures led to the breach. In fact, it seems that Lockheed’s implementation of a widely-trusted security tool was the attack vector this time around.

Last month we reported on the apparent compromise of RSA’s SecurID product, and while many speculated that this intrusion could lead to subsequent attacks, the firm downplayed the breach. They stated that the stolen data was unlikely to affect their customers, but as usual, the problem appears to be far larger than originally estimated.

The breadth of the intrusion is currently unknown, and with both RSA and Lockheed officials keeping mum, it may be some time before anyone knows how serious it is. When military secrets are in question however, you know it can’t be good!

iRobot gets awesome exploding rope thingy

The iRobot Warrior 710 is shown here touting a new toy called an APOBS or Anti-Personnel Obstacle  Breaching System.  The system is comprised of an explosive rope pulled by a rocket. We know that sounds pretty awesome, and you can see in the video that it is, in fact, pretty awesome. We don’t condone violence, or war. We do, however, love blowin’ stuff up. This footage was just so pretty, we thought we had to share it. What’s even more amazing is that these guys aren’t battling Apple over the name iRobot.

[via botjunkie]

Power generating backpack

In the military, you have to carry tons of stuff. This is something we hear and see all the time. They are always trying to come up with ways to reduce the weight or quantity of the things that you bring into the field. This power generating backpack harnesses the natural up and down motion of your steps to produce power. This could reduce the amount of batteries carried into the field greatly. That’s what they say anyway, how many batteries do soldiers normally carry around? Aside from that point, we think it is pretty cool. We could see using this to keep our cell phone or GPS charged on long hiking and camping trips. You could also build something of your own to work similarly.

Ripsaw MS1

ripsaw

The Ripsaw MS1 is an unmanned ground vehicle built by two brothers in Maine. The tracked vehicle can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds with an 80mph top speed. In its current form, it has a 2000 pound capacity, which opens the possibility for many different types of weapon systems. Control is provided by two people: one driver and one gunner. They work in independent remote stations. The Ripsaw could potentially be used in any application normally reserved for a tank. It could lead a charge without putting soldiers at risk.

We’ve been watching this project mature since 2005 when it was being marketed as a Grand Challenge competitor. This week it’s being demoed at the Army Science Conference. Check out footage of it in motion below.

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