Boeing's Latest Mobile Laser Weapon Tracks and Shoots Down Drone

Laser Defense: Boeing's MATRIX high-energy directed weapon knocks a UAV out of the sky.  U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
Boeing has just announced it successfully tracked and shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle with a laser weapon. Actually, it shot down five UAVs at various ranges with the trailer-mounted Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX).

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An Ultrasound Encryption Scheme Makes Artificial Organs Hack-Proof

Securing Implantable Devices: Researchers are testing their system using an implanted device in the abdominal wall of a cow.
Implantable medical devices have improved the quality of life for many with conditions like arrhythmia or chronic heart failure, but an increased reliance on electronics to keep our bodies ticking comes with inherent security risks; as more and more devices rely on wireless capabilities to communicate vital data to doctors, the possibility that devices could come under attack from third parties is harrowing at best.

Think about it: Would you want someone launching the equivalent of a denial-of-service attack on the device that keeps your heart beating properly?

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Sensors Developed To Detect the Smell Of Human Fear

Security agencies have long used the canine nose to sniff out contraband like explosives, drugs, human traffic and the like by picking up the scent of criminals’ illegal cargo. Now British scientists are developing two sensor systems that sniff out the criminals themselves by zeroing in on a specific pheromone emitted when humans are in stressful, fearful situations.

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This Week in the Future, October 5-9, 2009

This Week in the Future, October 5-9, 2009:  Illustration by Baarbarian
The littlest gold miners, the tidiest bees, and the least fun Wii game ever. Welcome to this week's Future.

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The Dangers of Rogue Household Robots

Car keys missing? Your friendly metal servant may have swiped them

While the machine uprising may not be upon us just yet, a group of University of Washington researchers has conducted a study on the various threats to security and privacy that household robots currently on the market could introduce to our homes. While their findings found little to fear in the way of an I, Robot-esque revolt, it turns out common household robots can open a home to various security and privacy threats, mostly via web-enabled features that are supposed to make the robots more useful.

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Are Wii Balance Boards the Future of Airport Security?

Researchers use fun game controllers as part of $20 million effort to screen airport passengers

Airport screening technology has turned to an unusual accessory -- the Nintendo Wii balance board -- to identify fidgety, nervous passengers who might have explosives or illegal items concealed on their persons. Or they could have had a long day and just don't want to stand still.

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Your Deleted Social Network Pics Are Probably Still There

'Delete' doesn't mean what it used to...

Tech site Ars Technica saw a university study reporting that photos and other images posted by Facebook, MySpace and other social network users are often left on those services’ servers long after the posters hit “delete”. They put that finding to the test. Images posted to Flickr and Twitter were immediately gone upon refreshing, but images could still be found on Facebook and MySpace’s servers two months later, with both companies saying the issue was one of third-party server response.

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It’s Come To This: Gold Vending Machine Debuts In German Airport

It dispenses one, ten and 250-gram bars, and it’s built like a tank

Gold has long represented a safe haven for nervous investors, and the latest financial meltdown has again borne witness to skyrocketing gold prices. Now a German company hopes to capitalize on public distrust of banks by putting real, solid gold bars into those sweaty hands via vending machines, the first of which was just installed in Frankfurt Airport. Right next to the iPod machine.

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First Look At Microsoft Security Essentials Beta

The guys from Lifehacker take a look at Microsoft's new, free, virus protection

Microsoft’s new, free antivirus application Microsoft Security Essentials was released in a limited beta this morning, and now that we’ve got our hands on it, let’s take a look at how MSE stacks up.

Getting Started
The first time you run the application, it’ll automatically check for, download and install updates. It takes just a couple of minutes.

Your First Quick Scan

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Don’t Give Your Email Address And Password To Other Web Sites

OK, it's a fairly obvious statement. But everyone can get tricked now and then, even old hands. Here's a good example of how

From the no-kidding files: the New York Times discusses a neither new nor uncommon practice employed by less reputable web sites that ask for your email address and password, then spam every person in your contact list.

"I thought it was a little strange when I received separate e-mail messages from two people I knew only slightly asking me to click and see their photos on a social networking site called Tagged.

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Video: Tiny AMOLED Screens In Passports Make Your Head Spin

A flexible, RFID-powered AMOLED screen embedded in an identification document gives a 360-degree rotating view of a person's mughsot

Samsung has come up with the flashiest anti-counterfeiting tech we've seen yet: forget boring old RFID chips--the AMOLED e-passport concept looks has a 2-inch, paper-thin, QVGA-resolution flexible display embedded in the photo slot, which shows a rotating 360° view of your head when held up to an RFID reader.

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Stealthy Robot "Ferret" Sniffs Out Contraband

Meet the littlest customs agent

Calling a lithe, sniffing robot a "ferret" raises hopes that it'll be rather cuter than the mockup pictured, but the cargo-screening device in development has capabilities that outshine its aesthetic shortcomings. Though still in its beginning stages -- working prototypes will be ready in about two years -- this robot could revolutionize airport and seaport security by serving as an all-in-one drug, weapon, explosive, and illegal-stowaway detection powerhouse.

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Home Security Bots

Robots keep an eye on things while you're away

Ever suspect that someone is poking into your stuff when you're not at home? Or that instead of taking care of the kids the babysitter is doing you-know-what? Or that Spot only pretends she can't stand on her hind legs and talk when you're around? Then you might want invest in one of the new spybots on the market. (That, or get your head checked.)

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The Sounds of Science

Eavesdropping on frogs and on co-workers

Behold Huia cavitympanum: the only frog species that can communicate through ultrasonic calls too high-pitched for humans to hear. Two scientists made the discovery by camping out with recording devices in the frog's native island of Borneo. Bonus points go to the guy who was "bitten by leeches and woke up several mornings soaked in blood."

Also in today's links: a reason to switch up your music, what to do with too many chicken feathers, and more.

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Think Carefully Before You Use That Stolen Laptop

Little Brother might be watching you

Getting his computer stolen was the most fun thing ever to happen to this guy, who sounds like a bit of a tech geek. Thanks to a remote-access program he'd installed, he was able to screw with the thief's head, while gathering info to help the police track the guy down.

Also in today's links: hungry badgers feed on a lawn, malnourished plants feed on human hair, and more.

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