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Friday
Mar272009

IHF Roundup: Robots Invading the Job Site, Surveillance Cameras Busting Fuzz and Other Top Headlines This Week


Robots were all over the place this week -- construction sites, ORs and warzone terrain. Engineers at Virginia Tech have designed 'Hydras' robots capable of rolling up and down poles and columns with the goal of deploying them at construction sites in the near future. Going forward, they hope to outfit these robots with ultrasound scanners and cameras to inspect bridges and buildings for flaws, tasks that kill over 1,000 workers each year. Brings new meaning to the term, 'pole dancing', don't you think?

In the Japanese healthcare sector, researchers plan to implement new safety rules for robo-nurses, which they expect to be a long-term solution to the lack of caregivers for the growing elderly demographic in the country. And from hospitals to front lines in Afghanistan, BigDog robots -- four-legged robotic creations capable of navigating the rocky terrain -- are being tested as potential danger alert monitors in battle zones. They can walk, lie down, have a great sense of smell and can even climb inclines. Grab them a collar and teach them to 'play dead' and they could make a great pet. Although probably not quite the friendliest or furriest companion I've come across.

As Geoff Kohl of SecurityInfoWatch.com wrote earlier today, biometrics may have reached the tipping point. When something becomes as mainstream as an iPhone, you know it's infiltrating popular culture -- and biometrics are doing just that. The Apple Insider blog reported today that Apple filed for a patent for a biometric reader to install in either an iPhone or Apple computer to secure the devices with either fingerprint or facial recognition. No passcodes required. Still a ways off, but I'm excited to think that instead of typing in a four-number passcode to make a phone call, my iPhone might someday be able to recognize the shape of my ear or authenticate my fingerprint on the screen instead.

Also, a fascinating look at how surveillance footage isn't just busting criminals, but also being used as evidence against cops lying on the witness stand in the New York Times. Instead of implicating suspected criminals, footage has established cases against the police officers committing perjury about their actions instead. The camera never lies.

Taking off for ISC West this weekend. Shoot @TheSteveRussell a direct message on Twitter if you want to meet up or just stop by the 3VR booth (#12081) -- hope to see you there!

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