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Build Your Own Camera, Launch It Like a Grenade

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sorry-about-the-eye dept.

Hardware Hacking 117

angry tapir writes "Meet the Firefly. Israeli defense contractor Rafael Armament Development Authority calls it a 'revolutionary concept in tactical intelligence,' but really it's a wireless camera that's shot 500 feet in the air by a grenade launcher. And if a couple of hackers at the Defcon hacking convention get their way, soon anyone will be able to buy this type of military grade technology for only US$500."

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Muahaha! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019526)

Ahahahaha!

What good is this for? (1, Funny)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019538)

The only use I can think of is if you want to film an Evil Dead fan made movie.

Re:What good is this for? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019552)

It's an alternative to tear gas canisters for Israeli soldiers to "accidentally" shoot at protesters' faces.

Re:What good is this for? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019592)

This is a great business model. Sell a product where your clients will just launch it away and immediately have to buy another one.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Re:What good is this for? (3, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019646)

"This is a great business model. Sell a product where your clients will just launch it away and immediately have to buy another one. "

Yawn. Arms merchants have been doing it for years. "Notice you just fired your last RPG. Want to buy another one?"

Re:What good is this for? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019828)

What I don't get is why they wouldn't have it deploy a chute at the top of the arc like launching a flare designed to light up a battlefield (sorry don't know the tech term for it) so that one would actually get a useful amount of time after launch? And on the upside it would give something to distract the bad guys whom I'm sure would look up with a serious WTF look on their faces as to why they were launching a flare and why it was a dud.

Re:What good is this for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020010)

The correct usage is firing into upstairs apartment/dorm room windows.

Re:What good is this for? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020230)

But that doesn't make any sense, as you MIGHT get a half a second of useful data that way before it hits something or bounces under a chair or whatever. Also I doubt you'd get even 8 seconds before it was useless if you did it that way. I mean did you look at the thing? The camera is dead center front, so unless you shot it directly AT the bad guy in most situations I doubt you'd get even a second's worth of useful data.

But I can see this might be useful if you put a chute on its rear as that would point the camera straight down upon the battlefield area and give you a pretty good view of the streets and alleys below if this thing can get any height at all. If you are dealing with a house you'd be better off with that "Throwing bot" they were showing off recently where you just threw it through a window and it would always land on its wheels and be ready to recon. It was small enough the controller and bot fit easily in a pack and was designed for what you just described.

At the very least they ought to make a chute deployment optional, perhaps by having a dial one could twist on the base that would have it deploy the chute if in the correct position. Because if there goal really is looking inside of houses this design is just stupid IMHO. You just won't get enough real data to be of any real use.

Re:What good is this for? (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020260)

rtfa

Re:What good is this for? (4, Informative)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020434)

From TFA:

The powder didn't fully ignite, the miniature camera flew about 30 feet into the air -- apparently too fast to transmit images back to the 5.8Ghz wireless receiver they were using -- and their parachute partially incinerated.

So clearly it has a parachute. Why don't you read before you complain about how you think it should work?

Re:What good is this for? (2)

whargoul (932206) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021024)

Why don't you read before you complain about how you think it should work?

You must be new here.

Re:What good is this for? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37026740)

Because I don't read ads and when TFA has a good 75-85% of the text being what Wikipedia calls "Peacock words" aka bullshit? Well I don't sit around reading pop ups on my customers boxes either. If they want us to read TFA how about not making it a slashvertisement, huh?

Re:What good is this for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37021120)

Battlefield Illumination.

Re:What good is this for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020880)

In a combat setting it's probably better to just let it take a few images and crash to the ground rather than drift down and let the enemy know you've stopped them. Plus you wouldn't use it when you have time to chase after it, especially in wooded or urban terrain. And you couldn't reload it in the field anyway.

Re:What good is this for? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020364)

You say that as though it's a bad thing.

Re:What good is this for? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020732)

Shop smart, Shop "S" mart!

Cool or sad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019556)

I don't know if its cool or sad that we have Hamas murderers to thank for these cool toys.

Re:Cool or sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019920)

Not really, Israeli murderers are the ones who pay for it...

Re:Cool or sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37025178)

Defending yourself from donkey fucking, pedophile worshiping assholes that lob bombs into your country is not murder.

Am I the only one... (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019560)

that is imagining that this would be much better if the camera was launched via giant sling shot?

Re:Am I the only one... (4, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019574)

You probably spend too much time on Angry Birds...

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019958)

just fyi, I'm using firefox and I can read your sig

Re:Am I the only one... (-1, Offtopic)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019964)

fuck. nm, drunk

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021226)

How many more years will slashdot have an off-by-one error on your Score in your profile?

Why are you looking at your profile?

Re:Am I the only one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020762)

just fyi, there's no off-by-one error on the score in your profile: FTFFAQ (http://slashdot.org/faq):

A comment I posted shows a different score on my user page than in the comments page.

Your user page displays the comments' "Natural" score. That is the base score that all users share for any given comment. This number includes things like moderations up and down, default posting bonus, and so forth. However, that same comment, when displayed in the context of a discussion, reflects the bonuses or penalties associated with any number of user preferences. These options are all configurable, and include settings like the small comment penalty, the long comment bonus, and any reason modifiers you may have defined.

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37023684)

There are two kinds of people: those who don't use IE, and those who cannot read this.

of course, you should be able to see the sig.

those who don't use IE = those who don't use IE
those who cannot read this = those who use IE

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 3 years ago | (#37025380)

just fyi, I'm using IE and I can read your sig.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021674)

That was my first reaction, too. The grenade launcher is much faster to set up, though, so they can get this ready and launched very quickly. Besides, it is something they already know how to use.

A civilian version could use a slingshot, though, and should not be very hard to use.

I mean build, not use. (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021992)

I mean, should not be very hard to build.

Never trust a Jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019566)

Google: One Third of the Holocaust

Being deceitful manipulative liars IS their "religion." Hopefully one goes off in the launcher right next to his face.

Re:Never trust a Jew (-1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019588)

Hmm, you do realize that most of the folks that spread that particular myth are typically not Jewish, right.

Re:Never trust a Jew (1, Offtopic)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020372)

Shhh. Let him rant for a while. Once he's done explaining how the Jews control the world, the banking system, etc., etc., ask him why he doesn't convert.

You should just buy one of these (3, Interesting)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019608)

You should just buy one of these bad boys.

http://www.draganfly.com/uav-helicopter/draganflyer-x6/ [draganfly.com]

Military grade and can stay aloft more than 7.2 seconds, while capturing realtime HD video that can be transmitted to a cool pair of goggles on the ground.

Plus, you can whip it out of a backpack in 10 seconds. :-D Cool!

http://www.draganfly.com/video/gallery/show-single-video.php?video_number=2&product_id=DF-X6&r=837 [draganfly.com]

Re:You should just buy one of these (3, Insightful)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019668)

One simple reason why this new camera is so awesome: speed. Try shooting something out of the sky when it's moving at 2 - 4 mph. Not that hard (heck, a skeet it moving a lot faster than that). Besides, try getting it 500 feet into enemy territory in 8 seconds. Something shooting at the speed of a grenade launcher has such obvious superiorities. Granted, the whole 'one time use' thing kinda sucks, but they're the military; they're used to using it once and replacing it.

Although I do have to say... you're totally right when it comes to civilian uses. I really can't think of a time when civilians would benefit more from the firefly than from the UAV you linked to.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019916)

But while you're shooting at the thing in the sky you're giving away your position. The point of a UAV is to see where your enemy is, if your enemy is wasting their time shooting at the UAV in the sky then they've just given away their position. Mission accomplished!

And actually it's not easy to hit something moving at 4mph, especially if it's a good distance away like 300 meters. A man at 300 meters is about the size of the head of a needle held at arm's length, a very difficult target even if it's stationary. These UAVs are much smaller than a man and with a good zoom and image stabilization it would not be hard to capture a good video at 300 yards.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020208)

Obviously you would either move after you launch it, or you send a small patrol to another location to launch it. Pretty much the same SOP used by artillery batteries.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021116)

But while you're shooting at the thing in the sky you're giving away your position.

But when you fire the thing you're giving away your position. A VTOL UAV is superior in that you can drop it, move, then deploy it and never give away your position at all.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019846)

The Draganflyer is a cool toy, true. But for $19,999 just for the base model, it needs to be...

Re:You should just buy one of these (3, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019956)

Wait until the military figures out you can do the same thing with a $11 keychain camera [youtube.com] and a toys 'r us r/c helicopter [youtube.com] .

I have a few of those 808 keychain cameras and they shoot remarkably good video considering their size and disposable price.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020456)

If history is to be believed, they will ignore the possibility that anything without a NATO stock number and a terrifying price tag could possibly be an issue and, once the contrary is proven in the field, will start talking about 'Improvised Surveillance Devices"...

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37023568)

Believe me, the 808 cameras work about 60% of the time. Figure a doubling of price for every standard deviation up in reliability, and you start to understand milspec pricing.

Re:You should just buy one of these (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#37022706)

Wait until the military figures out you can do the same thing with a $11 keychain camera [youtube.com] and a toys 'r us r/c helicopter [youtube.com] . I have a few of those 808 keychain cameras and they shoot remarkably good video considering their size and disposable price.

So.... who gets the job of recovering the 808 keychain camera from enemy territory once it's been deployed to photograph said territory? Or did you plan on deploying on the end of a really long USB cable?

Speed and integration (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#37022142)

The Army never fields something without figuring how it works with current gear.

This think can be carried like any other grenade ammuniition, and quickly launched from a standard M203 grenade launcher.

Given the standard parts, if it were made in bulk it could cost less than some of the ammunition they currently carry.

OK fine, you buy that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019640)

OK fine. You wait for that to come down to $500 and buy it when it comes out. I'm waiting for the Dow to come down to $5000 and yield 20%. It might not be too long a wait.

dress (-1, Offtopic)

dsadwdwfwfwfw (2432156) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019656)

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What are your wishful thinking gadget projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019670)

Me, I want a tricked-out costume as a suit of futuristic armor to wear on Halloween.

First trick - to keep me nice, comfortable, and dry from temperatures ranging from +50C (in sun w/ humidity) to -40C (in shade) which is about the range of temperature in my city.

Second trick - install a computer system with wifi and/or cellular service plus voice recognition. With a nice display in your helmet you could dial up someone to chat without taking off your costume or check on your favorite blog or update your own.

Third trick - cameras in several locations on your helmet for all-around sight with the option to transmit the feed or pictures to a helmet, outside panel on costume, or to an external device or internet. (your blog?)

Fourth trick -- Music! Speakers on the outside or detachable remotes than can receive tunes or your voice.

Fifth trick -- Modular mounts on several locations for different ideas or to detach remotes to feed back to armor. (With GPS included so you can track them down if someone takes one. lol)

Sixth trick -- 20-60 camera flashes for fun effects singly or to help surprise muggers at night by ruining their night vision.

All this is within realm of doing but not really seen anyone doing it. Anyone seen something similar? What would you add?

Re:What are your wishful thinking gadget projects? (2)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019818)

Well, for the first trick, just do what firemen do. Wear a vest containing phase-changing gel underneath a thick layer of insulation. It only works for 3-5 hours at a time in hot conditions, but that's not too bad.

Re:What are your wishful thinking gadget projects? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020384)

What godforsaken hellhole has a temperature range like that?

Re:What are your wishful thinking gadget projects? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020558)

Earth.

upskirt LOL OMG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019776)

pantiebomb!

everything for war (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019778)

more stuff created for war. These cameras instruments are not going to be sold to civilians, here is the purpose:

Soldiers shoot it off and for eight glorious seconds it gives them a bird's eye view of the terrain around them, tipping them off to enemy positions. Then it crashes back to earth.

Private citizens can't buy these flying cameras, much less the 40mm grenade launchers used to shoot them. But Vlad Gostom and Joshua Marpet think they'd be great tools for a search and rescue operation, or maybe a boon to some local police force's SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team. So they're building their own version and showing off what they've learned at Defcon this week.

of-course outside of a war or a 'rescue operation' there may be not much use for these things, but it just adds to resources that are mis-allocated for wars instead of going towards normal consumer market. The only use for consumer market I can think of is war games unfortunately, like paintball.

Re:everything for war (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019844)

more stuff created for war. These cameras instruments are not going to be sold to civilians, here is the purpose:

...

of-course outside of a war or a 'rescue operation' there may be not much use for these things, but it just adds to resources that are mis-allocated for wars instead of going towards normal consumer market. The only use for consumer market I can think of is war games unfortunately, like paintball.

Hmmm, paintball.... being hit by a solid grenade-like projectile of non-negligible mass... I think I'll pass.

The only advantage of this "grenade like" wireless camera: can reach close to the enemies position in a short time... I can't imagine during civilian operations this can be an advantage... Except, possibly, in building fires - in which an UAV mounted camera won't survive and the situation can evolve quite fast.

Re:everything for war (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019892)

Shooting people with cameras? I am not suggesting that, the camera is to be shoot up into the air to give you a glimpse of where the opponents are (and maybe your side as well).

Of-course this would look funny if too many people got themselves these in paintball and all started using them all at once, shooting cameras into the air. It would probably give out your position too.

Re:everything for war (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020730)

"Private citizens can't buy these flying cameras, much less the 40mm grenade launchers used to shoot them"

First, it's a camera so anyone can buy/make one.

Second, you CAN buy a 40mm launcher; it will just cost a good amount.

Third, it wouldn't be that hard to make to fit in a 37mm launcher, which are quite common.

Re:everything for war (2)

Toze (1668155) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021522)

more stuff created for war. These cameras instruments are not going to be sold to civilians, here is the purpose:

Yeah! Like the Internet. Or satellite phones. Or guns.

40mm flare launchers are legal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37021544)

You can buy a 40mm or 37mm flare launcher and strap it to your gun. It looks, acts, behaves, and 'is' a grenade launcher. If you have a grenade in the same building, area, etc. then you have two destructive devices. As long as it only has flares with it, its fine. I assume a camera should be a form of flare or inert projectile (ask the ATF), so these are likely completely legal.

Re:everything for war (2)

villageidiot357 (808966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37022248)

No civilians can by grenade launchers in the US, its just a $200 tax stamp.

begs for improvement (2)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019808)

Seems to me that increasing that 8 seconds of recon should be relatively academic. How about adding a little parachute that could increase hang time immensely? Also, perhaps adding a gps transmitter would allow for reuse.

like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019820)

having 6 cameras attached so you can cam all ways , then rush your enemy form the best possible angle while hes laughing at your flying camera HAHAHAHA, make it bright colored pink to really get them ....

Re:begs for improvement (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019980)

Seems to me that increasing that 8 seconds of recon should be relatively academic. How about adding a little parachute that could increase hang time immensely? Also, perhaps adding a gps transmitter would allow for reuse.

8 seconds is with a parachute. FTFA [techworld.com.au] : "Their first test -- launched from a 37mm flare gun last week at a neighbor's farm -- wasn't exactly a raging success: The powder didn't fully ignite, the miniature camera flew about 30 feet into the air -- apparently too fast to transmit images back to the 5.8Ghz wireless receiver they were using -- and their parachute partially incinerated."

Re:begs for improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020098)

Seems to me that increasing that 8 seconds of recon should be relatively academic.

8 seconds and bang you're dead is nothing academic.

Already old news in Finland (2, Funny)

Cow Jones (615566) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019840)

The Fins have been doing that since 2006 [youtube.com] . The don't even need a fancy grenade launcher.

Mac, a former SEAL (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019952)

showed something like this on FutureWeapons a few years ago.

The Israelis sure do a lot of good military tech.

Of course for them it is a necessity, being surrounded by hostile neighbours.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (-1, Troll)

Nick_13ro (1099641) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020110)

showed something like this on FutureWeapons a few years ago.

The Israelis sure do a lot of good military tech.

Of course for them it is a necessity, being surrounded by hostile neighbours.

Hostile neighbors of their own making by coveting their neighbor's land. Funny enough I think they had a commandment about that, but I guess it doesn't apply to non-jews, those are just goyim- cattle, slaves.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020272)

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020508)

Nick_13ro you've won Twit of the week .... wait it seems the judges are discussing the issues again.

It's Twit of the Month!!!! Congratulations Nick_13ro and please pick up your winning "Kick Me" t-shirt on the way out the door.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021136)

Hostile neighbors of their own making by coveting their neighbor's land.

Is it really of their own making? I think their primary sin is hubris. Or if you like, chutzpah. I still believe the nation of Israel was designed to foment hatred in the region, and so far, so good. Basically, keep the Jews from causing trouble by giving them a home where they have all the trouble they can eat...

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37021794)

Is it really of their own making? I think their primary sin is hubris.

Do you realize half of Israel's Jews are immigrants from Arab countries? THe only "hubris" here is that Jews decided to stand up for their dignity and refuse to stick to the 2nd class station they had in the Muslim world.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

Nick_13ro (1099641) | more than 3 years ago | (#37023986)

Hostile neighbors of their own making by coveting their neighbor's land.

Is it really of their own making? I think their primary sin is hubris. Or if you like, chutzpah. I still believe the nation of Israel was designed to foment hatred in the region, and so far, so good. Basically, keep the Jews from causing trouble by giving them a home where they have all the trouble they can eat...

If that was the aim they would have been left to their own devices against the arabs. Instead their economy and their army are subsidized by the US while their safety is also guaranteed by the US. There would be no need to go that far just for those reasons. The border of the empire is defended with cheap (read free) expendable barbarians, not hugely expensive usurious jews.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37024664)

If that was the aim they would have been left to their own devices against the arabs.

If that were the case they would likely have fallen and then the situation in the region would be free to resolve itself. Can't have that.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

Nick_13ro (1099641) | more than 3 years ago | (#37024876)

If that was the aim they would have been left to their own devices against the arabs.

If that were the case they would likely have fallen and then the situation in the region would be free to resolve itself. Can't have that.

I understand what you mean :) But my point is they could have done it much cheaper, without paying for a western standard of living in Israel and for the israeli army they could have supported them substantially less, relying on western intervention to prop them up and control them too. As things are the israeli army is immensely powerful, a nuclear power, and not in a position to be manipulated by anybody. The reason for that is the yearly tribute trips the US congress takes to Israel to kowtow to their masters.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37024970)

But my point is they could have done it much cheaper, without paying for a western standard of living in Israel

Eh, it's not their money. It's ours. They have written the laws so that THEY don't really pay taxes, nor do the corporations which will employ them when they leave office. Oh sure, they pay half the taxes... but they own 95% of everything so I see a wee bit of disparity there.

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

Nick_13ro (1099641) | more than 3 years ago | (#37025060)

But my point is they could have done it much cheaper, without paying for a western standard of living in Israel

Eh, it's not their money. It's ours. They have written the laws so that THEY don't really pay taxes, nor do the corporations which will employ them when they leave office. Oh sure, they pay half the taxes... but they own 95% of everything so I see a wee bit of disparity there.

I'm quite sure they view the entire economy as their domain and the population as their serfs. In their mind everything everywhere is theirs, including the pesky arabs that are sitting on their oil. :)

Re:Mac, a former SEAL (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37025222)

I don't disagree with your premise, but they have lots of money. Staying in control is the tricky part.

WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019960)

Um, so is the camera supposed to survive the impact, like to get it inside a building? Or does it explode, allowing you to see who you're about to kill?

Why? (1)

petra13 (785564) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020212)

It seems like kite photography (or videography) would be far more cost-effective for civilian purposes.

Hacker Challenge? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020290)

Read about throwing cameras in the air on slashdot: $0

Build your own camera and throw it in the air like a grenade: $500

Smoke some weed and lie down for a while: ???

Build a grenade and use it to take a photograph: Priceless.

What benefits? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020410)

You can currently get a remote controlled helicopter based camera that has a run time of 10+ mins.
Granted the training time is higher but the longer running time, cheaper cost(under $300) and greater capabilities (such as moving back and going in closer) make this a very niche market. The biggest market is going to be the people who want to have a close up view of the thing falling and breaking someones windows.

Re:What benefits? (2)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020734)

You can currently get a remote controlled helicopter based camera that has a run time of 10+ mins.

I'm guessing that this is for spying on the sort of people who are likely to shoot down any suspicious looking mini-helicopters before they can get close.

Not a lot you can do about a ballistic camera apart from try and find where it landed so you can moon the operators.

Re:What benefits? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021956)

For the military it is great item, besides what you mentioned it is small, uses an existing delivery system, and you don't care where it lands.
However these people are aiming for the consumer market where the previous items I mentioned matter.

A lot more successful... (2)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020578)

The new idea turned out to be a lot more viable than the opposite approach: Build Your Own Grenade, Hold It Like a Camera

Re:A lot more successful... (1)

zenaida_valdez (599247) | more than 3 years ago | (#37023840)

(Score:6, Spit-coffee-all-over-the-monitor-Funny)

$500 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37020810)

Gets you a pretty credible radio controlled airplane/helicopter, better camera, and usually reusable (I think militaries around the world call them UAV or something).
Nice work, wrong approach.

What a great substitute for a rescue helicopter... (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020940)

Let's ee... 8 seconds at a time for $500... so if you only put one up every minute for an hour that's... uh.... oh, wait...

Launcher barrels rifled! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37020962)

Perhaps it escaped notice, but grenade launchers have rifled barrels, and typically the launched projectile is spinning at 15,000 rpm. There might be some unrifled police models used for tear gas, but these will have horrible accuracy -- perhaps 100ft CEP at 500ft.

A camera on a parachute could be a useful thing, but stopping 15krpm isn't easy or quick, especially with only air. Maybe some DSP would work through the spin, but it will have to have a lot less shutter lag! :)

Re:Launcher barrels rifled! (1)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021210)

Mr. Elm:

That's a good point about the rifling. It appears that the Defcon fellows are using flare launchers, which, anecdotally, are described as smoothbore. [gunwiki.net]

I dunno why flare launchers aren't rifled. Maybe the need for accuracy in shooting a flare is low: if it goes UP, instead of sideways, it's probably considered a success. The energy expended on making it spin could arguably be better spent on making it fly.

Re:Launcher barrels rifled! (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021434)

Some flares are on parachutes -- longer duration. These would have serious troubles if rifled -- the parachute would twist into uselessness.

Re:Launcher barrels rifled! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37024060)

Satellites are frequently launched with a spin-stabilized upper stage, and use a yo-yo mechanism to shed rotational velocity.

A number of shaped-charge rounds have a freewheeling ring at the base that spins with the rifling while the charge remains nearly nonrotating.

Either of these mechanisms, or both combined, could work out nicely, though obviously they carry a penalty in projectile size and weight.

Nothing new... (1)

sugarmatic (232216) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021092)

In the 90's, several programs developed artillery shells that mapped the terrain the shells flew over to a surprisingly usable degree of resolution. There are a lot of images available from these sorts of tests online via Google.

In addition, I helped design a camera that was packaged in a ball. The ball was thrown into a building, and a motorized counterweight moved the ball around more or less randomly. The transmitted video from two separate cameras was used to construct striped images of the interior (rolling down halls, into rooms, under tables, down stairs). Not just any images, however- stripes that overlapped from different vantage points, even points fairly close together, were used to create a 3D model of the environs as much as possible- which turned out to be a surprising percentage (~20% of a very well-mapped apartment became viewable in 3D within about 20 minutes of throwing the ball in through a window).

Re:Nothing new... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021198)

20 minutes? Great, you can figure out just where the bodies will be stacked.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

sugarmatic (232216) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021518)

Actually, the images streamed at 15 hz well before the unit was thrown. The 20 minutes was for a 3d reconstruction of available images from just a few minutes' random roaming through the apartment. The raw images recorded everything- the rotation of the ball as it was thrown, etc. It used a then-power-hungry 900 MHz link and was severely bandwidth limited. Today, the entire affair could be accomplished at significantly higher frame rates or resolution. We toyed with 1D image planes as well to improve TX speed, but at the time, the fastest practical desktops presented the real-time practicality limit for the 2D reconstruction times. Nowadays, this would not likely be the case. The other interesting thing was the IR visibility. The thing could be thrown into a 100% space and successfully map the place with a small invisible LED for illumination, or be able to filter out heat to look for cooler (victims) in simulated fire rescue applications. Finally, with proper skill in getting a good spin, the ball could be thrown up in the air and give excellent 3D views from one or more vantages of the area around the thrower. We were going to launch it from a tennis ball launcher. Never managed to.

This sort of stuff is handy for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes- not just the pimple-faced military fantasies certain people seem to think of first.

Pipe inspection, fire fighting, biological research, and even home videography.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021952)

Haha pimple-faced. Snicker snort. Who pays for that shit? Would that it were otherwise.

Where is the viddeo (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 3 years ago | (#37021456)

Ok so where is the video from inside the grenade?

Why a flare launcher? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37022312)

Obviously in the case of the Israeli device, using a launcher that soliders are likely already carrying around is a good thing, and that's why they would be willing to deal with the disadvantages of grenade launchers for something like this. (Anything combustion-powered causes very high shocks to whatever is being launched - not a big problem for grenades but more of a problem for cameras.)

If you're no longer assuming "launcher the user probably already has", then things get simpler - a pneumatic launcher would be FAR more readily available and easier to work with than a 37mm flare gun. Look at all the work that's been done with potato cannons and the Pumpkin Chunkin' contest - Significantly higher muzzle velocities can be achieved with far lower barrel pressures and shocks on the projectile with air pressure than combustion. (Pneumatic spudguns universally outclass combustion ones, and no one even tries combustion pumpkin launchers because they always pie long before they can match the big pneumatics in range.)

Funny slideshow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37022564)

Add Tag | Add Tag | Add Tag | ...

I want that on /. It looks much more dynamic than the neverending "Working..." spinner.

Potato Launcher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37022962)

I can build this for about $25. PVC,hairspray,cheap 9v wireless camera on ebay, GI joe toy parachute.. about 20 years ago, I used to launch my GI joes with my potato launcher, if small Cameras where available I would have launched them too.

Remote control (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#37023818)

Just use a high end toy remote control helicopter.

Article is Incorrect about civilian ownership (2)

Thesis (1983882) | more than 3 years ago | (#37024012)

As a collector of NFA weapons myself, I can say that the article is incorrect about private citizens in the US not being able to purchase a 40mm grenade launcher. The 40mm grenade launcher is classified as a Destructive Device (DD) by the BATFE, and is regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, commonly referred to as NFA. All NFA weapons are tracked with mandated registration with the BATFE. Weapons regulated by the NFA are Title 2 weapons (Title 1 weapons are "normal" firearms you see in most gun stores) include Destructive Devices, Suppressors (aka Silencers), machineguns made prior to May 1986, Short Barreled Rifles (SBR), Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS), and lastly the Any Other Weapon (AOW) category. These items can be purchased and transferred to you from any FFL who has paid an annual Special Occupation Tax (SOT) on file with the BATFE. Not all states allow you to purchase or posses these items, but most do. That being said, Federal law is clear that you can own these items if you pass the background check done by BATFE, which generally takes a few months due to the volume of applications they process. State law however, can limit or prohibit your possession, as well as use of the items. When you purchase any of the items above, you pay a one time $200 transfer tax to the BATFE per serial numbered item. The only exception are the AOW's which have a $5 transfer tax.

To own any of the above items, it simply must be legal to posses in your state with the proper federal registration. You purchase the item, then the dealer or individual you purchased it from helps you to complete what is called a Form 4, finger print cards, and a certificate of compliance. Put all that in an envelope, then mail it off with a check for the appropriate NFA transfer tax. If you have a clean criminal record the item will be transferred to you in a few months, and you can take possession of it when an approved Form 4 is returned.

The purchase price for a M230 40mm grenade launcher starts around $1300 and goes up from there, depending on who makes it and the configuration or collectability. Suppressors are much cheaper for the most part, and transferable (to the public) machineguns are the most expensive of all, starting at $3500 and going up as high as 500k depending on what it is, for the supply is fixed and cannot be replenished due to the ban in 1986.

You can learn more about the National Firearms Act here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act [wikipedia.org]

Places which make or sell various NFA items:
http://www.subguns.com/classifieds/?db=nfafirearms&category=All+Items+in+this+Category&query=category&search_and_display_db_button=on&results_format=headlines&website=&language=&session_key= [subguns.com]
http://www.sturmgewehr.com/webBBS/nfa4sale.cgi [sturmgewehr.com]
http://www.swrmfg.com/ [swrmfg.com]
http://www.libertycans.net/ [libertycans.net]
http://www.gem-tech.com/store/pc/home.asp [gem-tech.com]
http://www.advanced-armament.com/ [advanced-armament.com]
http://www.thompsonmachine.net/ [thompsonmachine.net]
http://www.silencerco.com/ [silencerco.com]
http://www.suppressedarmament.com/ [suppressedarmament.com]
http://www.surefire.com/Suppressors [surefire.com]

Old news for model rocket enthusiasts. (1)

NUBlackshirts (680256) | more than 3 years ago | (#37024622)

We have been doing similar stuff with model rockets for years with either still images or FMV. A lot cheaper too!
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