Illinois State Police to Utilize “Unmanned Aircraft”

Federal Aviation Administration has authorized Illinois State Police to fly unmanned aircraft that would comply with federal standards for a two-year term. The police department is intentionally using the word “unmanned aircraft” instead of “drone” because “it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information.”. They are planning to be using it to speed up and enhance assessment of traffic crashes and crime scenes.

The ability to obtain accurate measurements and clear images from aerial photographs will significantly reduce the amount of time highways are closed during the initial investigation of major traffic crashes,” ISP said.

The Illinois General Assembly passed the “Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act,” which prohibits the use of drones in the state with a number of exceptions. Allowed conditions were limited to investigate crime scenes and traffic crashes in public areas and more.

“One of the concerns was always that a drone is an incredibly powerful tool to see into areas that police couldn’t otherwise see in,” “It’s used to follow someone at a relatively low-cost and extended period of time. And that’s exactly why the legislature passed it and the governor signed the bill. I think this shows the wisdom of that decision,” Spokesman of American Civil Liberties Union, Ed Yohnka said.

Thank you MyFoxChicago for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ars Technica.

Woman Shoots 50-Inch TV to Stop Her Kids Watching

40-year-old Jennifer Ullery was so sick of her kids being glued to the family television that, while the three children (6, 11, and 15-years old) were watching a Primus music video, she drew a Ruger .22 rifle and fired multiple shots into the 50-inch Panasonic flat screen TV.

Ullery (pictured above), of Illinois, USA, was charged with three counts of endangering the health and safety of a child, unlawful possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card and a felony charge of recklessly discharging a firearm. There were no physical injuries related to the incident, discounting the poor TV.

Deputy Chief Andrew Doles of Algonquin Sheriff’s Department, said of the incident, “A music video by Primus set Mom off and she opened fire. Mom didn’t say anything, she just walked into the room and started shooting the TV.”

In court, Ullery pleaded not guilty to all charges. She will return to court, after being released on $1,500 bail, at the end of April. If she cites Primus as her defence, she might be in with a chance.

Source: Digital Trends

Walking Bio-Bots Powered By Muscles Becoming a Reality

First of all, a ‘bio-bot’ is a machine which uses synthetic 3D-printed material with biological muscle tissue. Having stated the latter, researchers from the University of Illinois have apparently developed the so-called bio-bots in question, taking us one step further into the future of technological advancements.

Some might wonder how the bio-bots work and what is so special about them. The answer lies in the muscle fibers, having them spiked with electricity in order to contract. The muscles are attached to flexible 3D-printed skeleton frameworks, resulting in bending the skeleton when the muscles contract and reverting back to its original state when they relax. This in the end produces movement, combining biological and synthetic material to achieve such an action, thus the name ‘bio-bot’.

It is said that researchers have been working on similar projects since 2012. At that time, a walking bio-bot prototype used rat heart cells in order to provide motion. However, the researchers found out that the rat cells were not responding well to the induced electricity and couldn’t control when they fired. However, it appears that the ‘new version’ has solved this problem.

“Skeletal muscles cells are very attractive because you can pace them using external signals,” head researcher Rashid Bashir said. “We want to have different options that could be used by engineers to design these things.”

The group of researchers from Illinois sees bio-bots potentially useful for surgical aids and drug delivery vehicles. The group also emphasized that, having their own neurons, they could even recognize and respond to light and chemical stimuli. The group has apparently published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is a good place to get more details about the bio-bots in question.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The University of Illinois and Nature World News

Researchers Achieve Fastest Data Transfer In The US

Data centers rely on being able shift huge amounts of data around on demand and as global demand for data grows larger, both in terms of the amount of data we use in our daily lives and in terms of file sizes, the need to move that data around even faster becomes more and more important.

Scientists at the University of Illinois may have found one solution, lasers. The laser devices known as VCSELs are faster, more efficient and more accurate than wired solutions, but the ones tested at the University have proven capable of transmitting data at a rate of 40 gigabits per second!

“Information is not useful if you cannot transmit it. If you cannot transfer data, you just generate garbage. So the transfer technology is very important. High-speed data transfer will allow tele-computation, tele-medicine, tele-instruction. It all depends on how fast you can transfer the information.” said Professor Milton Feng an electrical and computer engineering at the University.

Feng said that with some adjustments the laser system could operate at 60 gigabits per second. This technology could pave the way for more efficient and powerful cloud computing solutions.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gigaom.