Month: July 2016

Bloodhound SSC: Building A 1000mph Car And The Great Minds Behind It

Bloodhound

Short Bytes: The Bloodhound SSC is a new jet-propelled supersonic car which is built with an aim to cross the 1,000mph mark. Created as a part of the Bloodhound project led by Richard Noble and Andy Green, the car will run to break the record at the FIA-approved location in Hakskeen Pan, South Africa, in October 2017.

Richard Noble is the director of the Bloodhound, a project which came into existence to fulfill a man’s dream to race against sound. Richard had already won the race by officially defeating sound with his rocket engine-powered land speed record vehicle ThrustSSC. On October 15, 1997, the Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green was in the driver’s seat when the ThrustSSC broke the sound barrier by travelling at Mach 1.02 or 763mph on the Black Rock Dessert in Nevada. No one has been able to beat the land speed record set by Richard’s supersonic car.

Noble has continued the legacy of building the fastest car on the planet. The same way he did it in 1983 with Thrust 2, the car reached a record speed of 650.88mph surpassing the speed record of 633.468mph. At that time, Richard was on the wheels and the car was designed by John Ackroyd.

The hunger for speed took the Britons Richard and Andy to reunite 10 years later in 2007. They assembled a new team to build faster jet-propelled land speed record vehicle – which would be called Bloodhound SSC – with an aim to cross the 1,000mph mark on the speedometer.

Dr. Ben Evans is a member of the Bloodhound team. He is a CFD engineer working as a senior lecturer at the College of Engineering, Swansea University. He recalls his Bloodhound project experience in an article.

I must confess that none of us anticipated back then that it would take quite so long to get to this point. Ambitious engineering projects, however, do have a habit of overrunning. This particular one, completely dependent on sponsorship and operating through a major global recession, has been no different.

Bloodhound features an impressive and jaw-dropping specifications set under the hood. The 13.5-metre long beast packs a Rolls Royce EJ200 Jet Engine and a hybrid rocket engine. It weights 7786 kilos with fuel. It is designed to attain a maximum speed of 1050mph, the car can go from 0-1000mph in “just” 55 seconds generating an rpm of 10,000.

Ben, along with Ron Ayers, was responsible for ensuring that “this car would, indeed, remain a car and stay firmly planted on the ground”. It took the team seven years to finalise a working design for the car after multiple design changes, all aided by modern computer modelling techniques. Till now, the development of Bloodhound SSC has been confined to the “virtual wind tunnel”, it has not been taken for rocket sled testing or wind tunnel testing in the real world.

The aerodynamic design testing for Bloodhound SSC is quite different from the one used for the Thrust SSC. Rather than sliding the scaled model on a metal rail, the car will be tested in real world conditions and the data collected will be matched against the data gathered from the computational aerodynamics modelling setup.

“Over the next couple of years, starting with “low speed” runway testing at Newquay’s AeroHub in Cornwall we will slowly be increasing the speed of our test runs,” Ben writes. “The surface of the car itself is covered with about 200 pressure sensors and data from these sensors will be compared with the computer model predictions that were used to design the car in the first place.”

Ben’s prime task would be of analysing and correlating the data coming from the car and the computational model. The decision of increasing the speed of the car in every next test run would be taken on the basis of analysed data only. “But this is now the real world and there might be times when we have to (metaphorically) put on the brakes and ask ourselves some difficult questions.”

The hardest of those questions would be about making changes to Bloodhound SSC’s design. It will lead to a bump in the project cost, delaying the project at the same time. The sensor data gathered from the car would be made public in order to crowdsource some ideas and suggestions for the data analysis. Also, the car’s testing sessions will be live streamed on the internet.

At the World Land Speed Record campaign in October 2017, Bloodhound SSC will challenge the current world record for an 800mph record attempt. The run will be conducted at the FIA-approved South African Motorsports Association’s test site in Hakskeen Pan, South Africa. The supersonic vehicle will be transported to South Africa using a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747 and then to the desert location by road.

Faster than a speeding bullet:

The adventure is now getting very real indeed …

Some excerpts used in this writing have been taken from an article authored by Ben Evans and published by The Conversation. Read the original article here.

Voice Commands Hidden In YouTube Videos Can Hack Your Smartphone.

 

youtube video hacks phone A combined research has been conducted by UC Berkeley and Georgetown University to demonstrate how distorted voice commands hidden in YouTube videos can be used to attack a smartphone. The research shows that certain harmful commands that can be understood by our voice assistants can be hidden inside a YouTube video.

 

Speech recognition systems have trailed on the path of advancement faster than what the world has expected. We’re very well aware of the presence of mind shown by Siri and Cortana. But these qualities manifested by our beloved voice assistants have now become a matter of concern.According to a research paper titled as Hidden Voice Commands, an attacker can use video from YouTube or any other source to hack your smartphone. Sounds next to impossible but the idea is not that insane as you may assume. The researchers are sure about the experiments they’ve carried out.

What exactly happens is that voice commands which can be understood by voice assistants are packed inside a YouTube video such that a human can’t understand them.

Once you start playing a YouTube video on your computer or laptop on speakers, the hidden commands in the malicious video can trigger operations in your smartphone lying nearby. Tasks like opening a particular web page and downloading some malware can be accomplished even without the knowledge of the user. This would allow the attacker to perform things on your device which you might regret.

Two models have been proposed in the research conducted at UC Berkeley and Georgetown University. First, the black-box model, which consists of testing with voices which can be deciphered by a human if he concentrates. A prime benefit described is that if the listener already knows that command present in the distorted voice, then it would be easy for him to understand it by unconsciously hearing the message.

Listen yourself:

The White-box model involves totally distorted voices for which chances are next to impossible of being understood by a human.

Example:

The researchers are also working on an alarming system which would warn the users if any such command gets initiated on their smartphone. The attack detection accuracy is 99.8% with a machine learning approach and a challenge response system created by the researchers. You can visit the Hidden Voice Commands website for more such commands and other technical stuff about the research.

Security issues like these are a great worry in the century when tech giants are busy enhancing the ability of their voice assistants. For example, Google is working on a version of Google Now which works without the internet.

Check out the demo video uploaded by the researchers. In the video, they have shown how the smartphone response to distorted voice commands:

Share your views about these developments in the comments below.

10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Java Programming Language.

reasons to learn java programming language Why one should learn Java programming language? The answer to this question comprises of multiple reasons like its popularity, ease-to-learn nature, helpful open source tools and libraries etc. Gaining expertise in Java ensures a secure career with fat paychecks and the power to create applications with real-world applications.

There’s a long list of programming languages that continue to exist with their strengths and flaws, making our lives easier. Over the course of past 20 years, Java has proved that it’s one of the best programming languages around. However, I strongly don’t believe in any type of competition between different programming languages.

During its journey, this free and open source programming language has achieved numerous milestones and proved its worth. With time, Java has evolved and established its place as an essential ingredient for making successful software and applications. The recent indexes of programming languages’ popularity have once again reinforced that Java is one of the most popular languages around.

This brings us to the reasons that make Java a top contender in the race of programming languages that a programmer should consider learning:

1. Tons of resources to learn Java

Being a mature programming language, there are numerous resources available online that can act as your perfect companion in the learning process. Depending upon your need, you can look for free and paid learning resource to aid yourself. In short, almost any imaginable doubt related to Java has already been asked and answered on the online forums.

2. Lots of job opportunities

Programmers with a sound knowledge of Java are in great demand. With a large installed base, this widely used programming language continues to create jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, the popularity of Android apps has brought along countless opportunities for an Android developers who write native apps in Java.

3. It’s an Object Oriented Programming Language

Being an Object Oriented Programming language, the concepts of Java are relatable and much easier. This property makes Java a flexible, system modular, and extensible programming language. Java strongly suggests the best practices of OOP design and promotes its correct usage.

4. Java is open source

We love free and open source software, don’t we? OpenJDLK is a free and open source implementation of Java programming language. Being an open source programming language, it’s platform independent across OS environments. Also, you don’t need to pay a penny to write applications on Java.

5. Java’s Rich API

Java programming language’s Rich API can be listed among the main reasons behind its success. Couple it with a wide set of tools supported by Java’s open source ecosystem and you’ve got just about everything you’ll need while working with Java.

6. Powerful development tools

The powerful IDEs available for Java have played a key role in taking Java to the top level. Eclipse and Netbeans have made coding in Java a pleasant experience. Apart from helping you in the code writing process, they also offer a high-level of debugging assistance to the programmers.

7. Universal usage

Java programming language is omnipresent. Due to its stability and scalability, you can find Java on mobiles, desktops, large scale applications etc. The same can also be said about Java programmers who easily outnumber other professionals. Java is also gaining big in the field of Internet of Things (IoT).

8. Great community support

With about 10 million Java developers spread across the world, Java community continues to grow. Just like other open source technologies, Java promotes the philosophy of giving back to the society. On multiple online forums like Stackoverflow, expert Java programmers are always ready to help the newcomers.

9. Finds use in real world applications

If you are still skeptical about Java and its worth, let me tell you that Java is used in websites like Amazon.com, Facebook.com. LinkedIn.com, and eBay.com. It also finds use in enterprise application development, IoT, cloud development etc. Aiding to this popularity, Java has a strong development roadmap with a continuous improvement to security and performance.

10. Java is easy to learn

Let’s accept this fact — most of us pick Java as our first programming language as it’s easy-to-learn. With an English-like syntax, Java could be learnt in a short span of time and used to build useful applications.

 

Source: Short Bytes