Imagine a movie featuring a scene set in a top-secret bioweapons research lab. The villain, clad in a bunny suit, strides into the inner sanctum of the facility — one of the biosafety rooms where only the most infectious and deadliest microorganisms are handled. Tension mounts as he pulls out his phone; surely he’ll use it to affect some dramatic hack, or perhaps set off an explosive device. Instead, he calls up his playlist and… plays a song? What kind of villain is this?
As it turns out, perhaps one who has read a new paper on the potential for hacking biosafety rooms using music. The work was done by University of California Irvine researchers [Anomadarshi Barua], [Yonatan Gizachew Achamyeleh], and [Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruque], and focuses on the negative pressure rooms found in all sorts of facilities, but are of particular concern where they are used to prevent pathogens from escaping into the world at large. Continue reading “Sick Beats: Using Music And Smartphone To Attack A Biosafety Room” →
We’re currently in the midst of New Year’s Resolutions season, which means an abundance of spanking new treadmills and exercise bikes. And one thing becomes quickly obvious while using those machines: the instruments on them are, at best, only approximately useful for measuring things like your pulse rate, and in the case of estimating the calories burned by your workout, are sometimes wildly optimistic.
If precision quantification of your workout is your goal, you’ll need to monitor your “VO2 max”, a task for which this portable, printable mask is specifically designed. This is [Robert Werner]’s second stab at a design that senses both pressure differential and O2 concentration to calculate the maximum rate of oxygen usage during exercise. This one uses a commercially available respirator, of the kind used for painting or pesticide application, as the foundation for the build. The respirator’s filter elements are removed from the inlets to provide free flow of air into the mask, while a 3D printed venturi tube is fitted to its exhaust port. The tube houses the pressure and O2 sensors, as well as a LiPo battery pack and an ESP32. The microcontroller infers the volume of exhaled air from the pressure difference, measures its O2 content, and calculates the VO2 max, which is sent via Bluetooth to a smartphone running an exercise tracking app like Zwift or Strava.
[Robert] reports that his $100 instrument compares quite well to VO2 max measurements taken with a $10,000 physiology lab setup, which is pretty impressive. The nice thing about the design of this mask is how portable it is, and how you can take your exercise routine out into the world — especially handy if your fancy exercise bike gets bricked.