Tag Archives: GPS

Student develops wearable technology aimed to prevent sexual assault

bracelet vs conceal carry

From Daily Mail: A University of Alabama master’s student has developed an unusual tool to combat sexual assault: a bracelet.

The device monitors wearers’ vital signs and can pick up on changes that would signal being under attack. The smart bracelet, still in the prototype stage, alerts a predetermined list of contacts and the police if it senses that the wearer is being harmed.

Additionally, it emits a loud alarm and is equipped with red strobe lights meant to scare away the attacker or get the attention of others in the vicinity.

The team behind the bracelet, Associate Professor Dr. Ragib Hasan and master’s student Jayun Patel, are hopeful that the device can prevent sexual assaults, which are extremely common on college campuses such as theirs.

Dr. Hasan explained in a statement that the ability to call the authorities is usually unavailable to assault victims under attack.

He said: ‘A major challenge to assault prevention is that, during an assault, victims often to not have an easily accessible way to call for help. Whether calling 911 or using an emergency alert app or device, each of these tools requires users to press a button in order to call for help. That is often not possible while a violent act is taking place or if a person is unconscious as a result of the assault.

Dr. Hasan directed Patel while she designed the new product, which relies on machine learning and sensors to detect signs of assault.

The bracelet houses an Adafruit Circuit Playground, pressure sensors, GPS capabilities and microphones, among other tools. It can also determine whether a wearer is standing or lying down.

If the device recognizes that a wearer is in danger it connects to their smartphone via Bluetooth and immediately messages emergency personnel and sends them the wearer’s location. Additionally, it alerts friends the wearer has designated by way of an app.

Patel said: ‘The sensors allow the bracelet to collect user activity and vital signs continuously. A machine learning algorithm detects and differentiates the user’s regular movement and unexpected and sudden movements that can be indicative of an assault.’

The bracelet was designed with the intention of creating a device that can detect assault, but it can be applied to other emergency situations.

For example, the engineers said it could potentially be used to alert the authorities if an elderly person falls or to provide a warning if someone with a disability performs a risky movement.

Patel said she wants to expand the technology and create other ‘smart’ items, such as shoes and earrings, that work to keep people safe.

The wearable devices designed in Dr. Hasan’s lab are low-cost; the prototype for the bracelet costs less than $40.00. The researchers are hopeful the price will drop even more if the product is eventually mass produced.

The technology could benefit a large portion of the population: one-third of women and one-sixth of men in the US alone experience sexual violence.

DCG

Pentagon objects to Russia building spy “monitor stations” on U.S. soil

But John Kerry’s State Department thinks Russian spy stations on U.S. soil are okay. Let your reps in D.C. know it’s NOT okay! -Dr. Eowyn

Consortium of Defense Analysts

Glonass monitor station in BrazilA Russian “monitor station” in Brazil

Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmidt report for the New York Times, Nov. 16, 2013:

In recent months, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have been quietly waging a campaign to stop the State Department from allowing Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to build about half a dozen of these structures, known as monitor stations, on United States soil, several American officials said.

They fear that these structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry, the officials said. These monitor stations, the Russians contend, would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of Moscow’s version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and thirsty smartphone users to the nearest Starbucks.

“They don’t want to be reliant on the American system and believe that their…

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The rancher and a Skippy minion

A cowboy named Bob was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”
Bob looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page onthe Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bob.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bob says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a Congressman for the U.S. Government”, says Bob.
“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”
“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my dog.
AND THAT FOLKS IS WHAT THE PROBLEM IS ALL ABOUT.

~Steve~                               H/T    Low Tech Grannie

Big Brother OnStar

Did you drive a vehicle with OnStar, the GM subsidiary, but then cancelled the service?

You’ll be glad to know that the ever-so-helpful Big Brother OnStar will still track your car!

~Eowyn

OnStar

OnStar Command Center in Detroit, Michigan (AP photo)

David Kravets reports for Wired, September 20, 2011:

Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

OnStar began e-mailing customers Monday about its update to the privacy policy, which grants OnStar the right to sell that GPS-derived data in an anonymized format.

Adam Denison, a spokesman for the General Motors subsidiary, said […] “[if] you want to cancel your OnStar service, we are going to maintain a two-way connection to your vehicle unless the customer says otherwise” […]

He said an example of how the data might be used would be for the Michigan Department of Transportation “to get a feel for traffic usage on a specific section of freeway.” The policy also allows the data to be used for marketing purposes by OnStar and vehicle manufacturers.

Collecting location and speed data via GPS might also create a treasure trove of data that could be used in criminal and civil cases. One could also imagine an eager police chief acquiring the data to issue speeding tickets en masse.

Jonathan Zdziarski, an Ohio forensics scientist, blogged about the new terms Tuesday. In a telephone interview, he said he was canceling his service and making sure he was being disconnected from OnStar’s network. He said the new privacy policy goes too far. “They added a bullet point allowing them to collect any data for any purpose,” he said.

UPDATE (Sept. 27, 2011):

In the face of a full-on revolt from users and pressure from Congress, Drudge Report and other media outlets, General Motors’ OnStar service just announced it was reversing plans to keep tracking vehicles of its 6 million subscribers if they cancel the service. Now once it’s off, it’s off.

Yay!

H/t FOTM writer Dave  😀

~Eowyn

What’s Up Next? Solar Storms Predicted for 2011

Here’s one they can’t blame on “human activity”!   This is just the intro of a much longer article published in the Seattle Blog section of the Seattle PI online newspaper.  There is a fantastic slide show of 17 photos.   This might be a good time to check out Steve’s survival tips and stock up on basic supplies.  -LTG

We could be due for a massive solar storm in 2011

(Click image for a larger view) A solar flare in 2002.

The last time the sun erupted into a massive solar storm, the year was 1859. Northern Lights appeared over Cuba and Hawaii, and electrical currents from the blast set telegraph offices on fire.

But that was then. Scientists and government officials are worried a modern-day solar storm of the same proportion could wreak havoc on Earth, crippling communications and paralyzing power grids.

Massive solar storms, resulting in huge coronal mass ejections, usually happen just before the sun goes through a quiet phase. NASA officials announced earlier this week that we’re poised to enter a below-average solar cycle soon, giving weight to concerns about how Earth would weather a solar storm like the one that happened in 1859.

A similar storm today might knock us for a loop,” said NASA physicist Lika Guhathakurta in a prepared statement. “Modern society depends on high-tech systems such as smart power grids, GPS, and satellite communications–all of which are vulnerable to solar storms.”