Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Speculative The Future Warfare

In the last post I mentioned that the almost certain future warfare of space and orbital weapon, if this almost certain future becomes true, then the fact that remote control weaponry is one important factor that plays a critical role in a conflict. Nations will perhaps reduce the physical army and replace it with hight tech digital unit, also known as cyber warfare.

Cyber warfare isn't a new thing, in the current world hackers and cyber-security agents are using internet and computers as tools and platforms to attack their targets, in this case not necessary to kill or to apply any physical damage to them, instead they target their information, digital resource, and use it against their personal will. Such as stealing a company's financial details, or gaining information about a terrorist group to prevent their acts. But the cyber warfares today are solely dedicate to those use. Once the autonomous weapons have been invented and introduced to a real battlefield. The term Cyber warfare could be known in a different way.

IPVIking shows real time cyber attack

What I meant by it is that autonomous weapons will eventually become super efficient, they will do anything a human can do and even better, by that time human resources will no longer be the primary issue to technological advanced nations because their foot soldiers will be robots or drones. Human will only play the role of sending commands, no more human blood is spilled, unless you are the side that is being dominated...

The theory works fine when two forces have significant technological/material resources difference. But what happen if both sides have similar military strength?! obviously sending robots to kill robots isn't always the most efficient way of winning a battle in this case. This is cyber warfare comes in, instead of destroying physical weaponry, paralysing control system will be the most effective way. In terms autonomous weapon, I speculate that a super virus would be developed to target opponent's control system of their weapons, this way, less resources is spent to win the fight in the tough way.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Social Object: What is EMF?

So from the very beginning, I have been talking about EMF the whole time,  I gave a brief introduction to EMF. But there is something else that is missing which causes my first two prototype going in a wrong direction.

It turns out, there are three types of EMF, ELF(Extremely Low Frequency), RF(Radio Frequency), and Microwave Frequency. As the graph shows below:

The ELF is lowest frequency waves in the EMF, it's generally between 0-300Hz generated by AC power. So home appliances that requires the main power supply are detected, which is shown in the tutorial video as well as in my testes, I was able to find wallplug, light switches and lights emitting EMF.

The second one is Radio Waves, in range of 3Hz-300GHz. The type of waves is commonly used in TV and radio communications. It's much higher frequency.Naturally occurring radio waves are made by lightning, or by astronomical objects. Artificially generated radio waves are used for fixed and mobile communication, broadcasting, radar, and other navigation system, satellites, computer networks and many more other appliances.  

The third one is Microwave, with frequency between 300MHz-300GHz, not too desimilarto Radio Waves. Microwave is often connected with microwave oven that cooks food, in fact it has many uses and many of them overlaid with what radio waves is been used. WIFI, cellular phones and Bluetooth are the products of microwaves. 

Hence, I will change my project direction, or in a more detailed direction I should say. I was just diving into the world of EMF and found something to try, now have more understanding of EMF I will be focusing on detecting microwaves and radio waves, as those two are used in communication technology. ELF will just be part of research and I won't do anything more on that part in this project.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Social Object: Second Prototype

As my first EMF detector not quite working in the way I wanted it to, so I made a second prototype, exactly the same setup as the first one only this time, I have looped a coil of copper on a chapstick, which was about 15-20 cm long. This coil of copper is my new prop to replace a single piece of jump wire. 

The second prototype with much longer prop did next to nothing new as my first one. The prototype is able to pick up low frequencies generated by AC power. Therefore if the detector is close to a power adapter it shows positive result, as anything powered by DC current, without adapter, the result is negative.

As I said, very interestingly, the detector will be able to find my 7 years old laptop very clearly, there was no flickering LED, it was one strong and constant signal from that laptop. I suspect is because EMF has been claim to have negative effects to human health, and a huge debate has been there for awhile already. That's why the manufacturers are trying to shield the EMF within the device so less or none emission from the newer products.

At this point, I can tell that this method will not work for my project as my target is to detect Mobile phones and such, it's useless if low frequencies EMF is the only thing it can find. So I have to change my direction a little bit to find a new way.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Social Object: First prototype

First prototype, I have found several tutorial on Youtube on how to make EMF Detector at home with arduino, which i am very excited to test it out myself, so I follow the instruction, which is as simple as one LED, one 3.3 megaohm resistor and a jump wires.

The jump wire acts like a prop in this setup to receive ambient energy(EMF) into analog pin, the 3.3 megaohm resistor is a pull-down resistor, to prevent the input from floating. If the input is floating, it won't have a potential, and the readings will be inaccurate due to the input erratically causing the LED's to blink. By adding the pull-down resistor, an electric potential is set as well as a stable "low" for the pin. 3.3megaohms appears to be a effective resistance for filtering out noise from actual EMF.

As i built mine prototype from the instruction of the video, I didnt really believe it would be that easy, it turned out I was right, Although this design is able to detect much AC current EMF, in terms of DC current electronics did not work as well as, I am struggling with this problem, I suspect that the prop isn't long enough hence the arduino cannot find any DC current, but not until I tested my theory I will know if I am correct or not at this point.

Friday, 6 March 2015


Today we have a very interesting workshop about Hauntology. Basically what it's saying its that for whatever technology, if we cannot reverse engineering the components and have full understanding of how it works, it can be considered as magic.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
                                                                                    -Arthur C. Clarke 

Seance with my laptop.

As technology is so far advanced today and super efficient, almost none has the abilities to tell each every technology's working principles. So this is not about a classic ghost story, its about understanding a technology and been able to understand what does it actually relying on to make it work. 

Today, when we are introduced to a new product, we know its functionality and we know how it's supposed to be used, we naturally accepted and convinced the true that we do no need to know its working principle to operate it. which could lead to some consequences we could not foreseen. i.e a prank done by the internet claiming that iOS update will waterproof the iphone. 
Waterproofing firmware hoax

Which may seen stupid prank that none would ever fall into yet we are wrong, there are a lot more people actually believe in the claim and ultimately broke their phone due to lack of understanding the differences between software and hardware. As Clarke would suggest, they did not distinguish the technology and magic.

The theory behind this is actually very inspirational. As the technology is not something easily understandable, most of us will only see it as magic. And here is the problem, we all know that robotic and smart object are the trend of modern technology. As people has no knowledge on them, how would they be able to tell if something is misbehaved or being hacked/controlled by someone else? Or went out of their own way to use the object it was never intended to be used?

Here I'm not suggesting that we should educate the public to know every detail in electronic devices, but at least we as designer could speculate the potential problems the society might be encountered in the future. That is my understanding of the subject.

Later on we were given an exercise. We were to break down an existing object to its user, uses, origin, mechanism, context, aesthetics, shape, appearance, materials. As we broke down into those categories, we break it down even further, asking more questions...

"Why the door doesn't close?"   "Because it`s broken."
"Why is it broken?"    "Because the hinges buckled."
"Why are the hinges bucked?"    "Because someone ran a trolley into it."

Basically just to decompose the object to the absolute basic level, then from that point we will imagine a new type of object from the most basic level-to speculate( base on known criteria and it's functions to predict the future) a new object.