12 Aug

The robotics race has started and google have a big stake

Google has officially announced that it has acquired seven robotics companies in the last six months, with the ultimate aim of creating a Google robot.

As far-fetched as it might sound, the firm’s takeover of companies like ‘Bot & Dolly’, ‘Industrial Perception’, ‘Autofuss’ and ‘Redwood Robotics’ is a clear sign that Google has big plans in this area.

Andy Rubin, who (perhaps ironically) oversaw the development of the Android operating system, is in charge of the project. He has stated that Google has a “10-year vision” for its robotics interests.

“We’re building hardware, we’re building software. We’re building systems; so one team will be able to understand the whole stack”.

However, despite rumours to the contrary, Google has explicitly stated that it does not plan to create any kind of robot for consumer purchase, leading some to speculate that the resulting Google product will be used to handle deliveries, thus going head-to-head with Amazon’s proposed Prime Air Project (which would use unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers by air).

The company itself has remained cagey regarding details. The official word so far is that “Any description of what Andy and his team might actually create are speculations of the author and the people he interviewed”

That’s what we get for asking nicely.

The project will operate between offices in Palo Alto, California and Japan.

The companies taken over by Google specialize in an esoteric mixture of robotics-based sciences. For example, Japanese acquisition ‘Schaft’, taken over earlier this year, specialize in the creation and operation of humanoid robots, while American company ‘Holomni’ work mainly with caster wheel modules that can accelerate a vehicle’s motion in any direction.

At this point in time, despite lots of media interest, just what Google plan to do in the field of robotics is anybody’s guess, however it should be noted that the science of robotics has come along in great leaps over the past several decades. Perhaps it is time for a Google Android in every home?

During a recent interview with the New York Times, Mr. Rubin described robotics as “A green field” and it will certainly be interesting to see what grows from this.

05 Jul

World’s Largest Video Game Collection Nets £440,000 At Auction

A collection of over 11,000 video games – confirmed by The Guinness Book of World Records as being the largest in the world – has sold at auction for $750,250 (roughly £440,000).

Amazingly, the bidding began at just $1.

The auction, held via website Game Gavel.com, ended on 15th of June, leaving the collection’s (now former) owner Michael Thomasson a very happy man.

Thomasson, a lifelong gamer, operated seven different indie gaming outlets throughout the 1990’s and spent the last decade working at a chain store. During this time, he has also been running his own online business, Good Deal Games, since 1998.

“Whenever I purchased a game that did not directly come from the distributor I was able to look through all our inventory and pick out the nicest copy of a game, including grabbing the nicest box and manual”, he wrote on the item description for his mammoth collection.

According to Thomasson, over a quarter of his collection were still factory sealed at the time of listing.

“A few years ago, I supplied almost a thousand games to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (part of the Strong Museum) and Shannon Symonds (the Acquisitions Cataloger for the ICHEG) stated that the games I sold them were the nicest collection of games they had ever received. And those were duplicates that were not as nice as the copies that I held back for my personal collection”.

Thomasson also went out of his way to confirm that Guinness’ assessment did not count duplicates, meaning that there were no repeats in the sold-off collection, either.

Michael Thomasson’s item description bragged, “Win this auction and you will have the largest recorded collection of games in the world – or Universe, even! I’m handing over the baton and the winner will instantly become the new crown holder, without three plus decades of meticulous hunting”. He wasn’t kidding, either!

56 bids later and Thomasson was more than $750,000 better off. The money, he claims, is being used to help his family with “needs that need to be addressed”.

In 2012, when Guinness World Records initially appraised the collection, it numbered 10, 607 titles. However, in the time between the broken record and the sale, Thomasson had added a further 400 games to his collection.

He also chucked in a lifetime subscription to RETRO magazine, as well as a signed copy of the issue that featured his collection.

“While I do not wish to part with these games, I have responsibilities that I have made to others and this action is how I will help meet them”, wrote Thomasson, of the eventual sale.

25 Mar

Mars Rover Spots UFO…Or Does It?

After much global speculation, NASA has at last put out an official statement regarding the true identity of the ‘white spot’ or ‘UFO’ seen on Mars by the Curiosity Rover on June 20th.

…Sadly, the UFO in question turned out to be only as extraterrestrial as a camera glitch.

Interviewed by The Huffington Post, Justin Maki, the main camera operator for the rover, said, “This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam (…)In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week, these can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.”

As any photographer will tell you, ‘hot pixels’ sometimes occur during long exposure shots. Such glitches are usually caused by the camera’s sensors momentarily overheating (although they pose no danger to the camera equipment itself).

Amateur photographers occasionally mistake hot pixels for paranormal phenomena as well. In fact, the ghost website ‘Photographing The Paranormal.com’ actually has a section on these little buggers. It warns potential ghost hunters that,

“A perfectly symmetric small red dot in your picture is probably nothing paranormal, especially if it is at the same spot in most of your pictures. That’s actually called a hot pixel, if you spot one, don’t call the press!”

Older astronomy enthusiasts will no doubt be reminded of the discovery of the ‘Martian face’, a famous image captured by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.

Various theorists hurried to suggest that the ‘face’ was evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization (complete with ‘pyramids’ and everything), but it was actually just a large formation, captured by the relatively low-resolution cameras of the 1970’s, that looked a bit like a face.

Modern images, of course, reveal nothing so grand. The ‘Martian Face’ fiasco is now seen as an example of paraeidolia, a psychological phenomenon that sees people finding recognizable patterns in otherwise random sounds and images, examples of which include The Man in the Moon, Rorschach tests and those times when people see the faces of religious figures in ordinary household objects.

So it seems that there was no reason for us to get excited after all (except that pictures of Mars are unassailably cool).

…Of course, the conspiracy nutters are never going to buy it, but hey, what can you do?

 

02 Dec

Scottish Spaceport Plans Announced

Scotland is being considered as the site of the UK’s first-ever spaceport, which could be here as early as 2018, it was reported this week.

The spaceport would be the first one ever built outside of the US.

What’s more, Scotland are definitely the odds-on favourite to be granted this prestigious (not to mention historic) prize, as eight UK aerodromes have been short listed as possibilities and six of them are located in Scotland.

It is thought that the spaceport would not only increase the country’s revenue by providing a site for satellite launches, but also through tourism, with ‘space tourism’ expected to increase in the next few decades.

Chief Secretary to The Treasury Danny Alexander (who was born in Edinborough), told BBC News, “I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel (…) Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong’s Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency’s first satellite (…) The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future.”

UKube-1, a satellite designed and built by Glasgow-based firm Clyde Space, was launched earlier this week. It was the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland, but it may turn out to be the first of many.

According to the BBC, UK profits from the space industry are now exceeding £11bn a year and it provides employment for some 34,000 people. It is also a significant growth industry, with employment figures rising by 9% since 2011.

The recent interest in the development of UK-based, but more specifically Scottish, space exploration technologies has also become linked to the current debate over Scottish independence, with the Scottish government suggesting that a vote for independence on September 18th would only strengthen the space initiative.

A spokeswoman said, “Scotland is proving that it has the expertise to attract and support such a specialized, global industry, and as such an independent Scotland will be an attractive option for spaceport pioneers.”

However, it seems probable that the plans for a Scottish-based spaceport will go ahead either way, whether Scotland is declared an independent nation or not. In addition, doubts about the potential strength of an independent Scotland’s economy may also act to the detriment of its space research.

07 Oct

How Do 2 Way Radios Work

To put it simply, a two way radio is a device that can both receive and transmit voice messages. In broader terms, it can be said that most wireless communication, and it may include cellular systems, fall under the definition. However, these days, 2 way radio is a term to describe radio system for group call communication. The two way radio comes in several technical names such as Public Access Mobile Radio, Private Mobile Radio, Land Mobile Radio and Professional Mobile Radio. These present times, 2 way radios are often called “walkie talkies”. There are several kinds of two way radio systems and some are able to make use of base and mobile configuration, while some re able to utilize a radio network infrastructure.

A typical 2 way radio includes a PTT button, also known as Push-To-Talk button. The button activates the transmitter and the user simply needs to talk to the device to start communicating. The user must release the PTT button in order to receive transmissions from the other line.

A two way radio is able to communicate with other radio devices. However, direct radio communication has very limited range. To overcome the problem, a radio network infrastructure may be used to extend the range of communications. The rest of the article is going to cover more details about how 2 way radios work and other useful information.

Receiving Radio Waves

Just like other forms of Wireless communications, a 2 way radio sends messages over the air. In order to achieve this, the antenna of a way radio contains a specific set of electrons. If the two way radio features multiple channels, then there is specific sets of electrons are each channel. Whenever a radio transmission is received by the 2 way radio, the electrons get excited. The electrons then create electrical impulses. Electrical impulses are then sent to a small processor, which will then convert the electrical impulses to words and sounds that can be understood by humans. The sounds are produced by the speakers within that the way radio.

Keep in mind that there are always radio waves are floating in the air. Because of it, there is always a nondescript sound that may be produced by the two way radios. To solve the issue, a lot of 2 way radios feature a “squelch” setting; and with it, the user can adjust the signal threshold for clearer communications.

Sending Transmissions

Two way radios can also send messages across the air. The main idea is to convert the sound to radio waves. However, the defining characteristic about the way radio is its ability the convert back the radio waves back to legible sounds.

Whenever a user speaks into a 2 way radio, a membrane within the device will vibrate as a response to the sounds. The vibrations are sent to the processor, which in turn converts them to electrical impulses and readies it for transmission.. Finally, the transmission is sent to the antenna which is then broadcasted in the form of radio waves. These radio waves are then received by another device and convert them back to a legible sound.

Multiple Channels

As two way radios are getting more and more popular, it is possible for more than one party communicating in the same line or frequency. This can cause a lot of confusion and interference. To solve the problem, modern 2 way radios are able to utilize multiple channels.

For a two way radio to broadcast on multiple channels, the device must be able to generate radio waves in multiple frequencies. Furthermore, the device must be able to send frequencies with very little fluctuations. These fluctuations are actually caused by the transmitted voices. The fluctuations can be minimized through “frequency modulation”. The modulated transmissions are then sent to the device’s antenna.

The device must also excite the proper electrons. Once the proper electrons are excited, an outgoing radio wave is then produced.

These radio waves may be picked up by another device tuning into the same frequency. Furthermore, the device must be within range of the transmitting device. The range of two way radio is usually determined by a couple of factors such as atmospheric conditions, radio’s battery power and the size of the two-radio’s antenna.

Whenever a device picks up the transmission, the receiving radio must filter the signals through an electronic filter known as a bandpass filter. Finally, the transmission is then converted back to sound.

Why Choose A 2 Way Radio

The two way radio is one of the earliest forms of wireless communication. However, in today’s modernized communication environment, a question arises – is the way radio a viable technology? The answer to that question is a yes. This is because the 2 way radio has its own unique advantages that may not be found in other forms of wireless communications. Below are two of them:

Instant Communication – the ability to communicate between two or more parties almost instantly is one of the most defining advantages of the two way radio. A user only needs to press the “Push-To-Talk” button and within seconds a receiver will be able to receive the audio messages. Furthermore, the entire system is set up around the idea of “quick call” and “quick receive”. This is the main reason why the organizations rely on the 2 way radio technology for operational and tactical communications. The system can also make use of encryption technology for a more secure communication.

Group Communications

Another unique advantage of two way radio is its ability to facilitate “group call” or “one-to-many” communications very efficiently. By efficient, it means that the user can communicate with one, hundreds or thousands at the same time. There is no need for a user to repeat the same message if he/she needs to communicate to more than one individual.

A 2 way radio is one of the earliest technologies used for wireless communications. Even though it is a bit outdated compared to other forms of wireless communications, but the usefulness is still very applicable today. The main idea of how 2 way radios work revolves around on sending and receiving radio waves, which in turn is converted to legible sounds. The idea and technology behind two way radio may be simple, but nevertheless it is still a very well-used form of communication in today’s world.

20 Jun

Earpiece Online Asks What Is An Acoustic Tube Earpiece

Earphones play a huge role when it comes to communication privacy. When you want to personally get what is being communicated or listen to a favourite music. There are many types of earphone which serve different purposes altogether. Some earphones come with double microphone for both ears while others come in one piece for one year. There are earphones that are specifically meant for listening to music on devices. And there are some that are dedicated to special purposes like security functions. Among the dedicated earphones or earpiece is the acoustic tube earpiece. So what is an Acoustic Tube Earpiece?

What It Is
It is an exclusive type of hearing aid that is built with a thin tube. The tube assists in transmitting sound and the earpiece is mostly fitted behind the ear and attached to an ear bud. The ear bud is then inserted in the ear. They are usually fitted to a radio device that allows communication within a selected frequency.

For an acoustic earpiece to function, it should be connected to a wireless receiver. The receiver is mostly worn by the user beneath their clothing. Some have microphones which are either placed on the shoulder of the user, the tie, or chest area, or on the wrist.

Where Is It Mostly Used?
Being a special set of hearing device, it is not common to see it around with anyone. The most common people that you can expect to see with this type of earpiece include;

• Security Personnel
Like mentioned, they have only one piece for fitting in the ear and security personnel is the most common unit to be noted with such devices. The device of a security person could have an earpiece that is accompanied by a hidden microphone. The earpiece and microphone allows a 2-way communication. Some earpieces may not have a visible microphone, though some may include an incorporated microphone in the earpiece. The majority of the Acoustic Tube earpieces are designed to allow the tubing to comfortably fit behind the ear. This enhances furtive surveillance.

• Television Broadcasters
The new era of technology has allowed news anchors to use the Acoustic Tube Earpieces that are barely recognized. The TV broadcasters mostly use these earpieces for an improved communication between them and their producers. That is done so for privacy and to avoid the viewers to see the devices and the producers behind the cameras.

• Though not very common, some people use the acoustic tube earpiece for regular mobile usage. Some use it as a personal audio device while others use them with their mobile phones.

Advantages of The Acoustic Tube Earpiece
Like mentioned, it is not commonly used by civilians around and for that reason, they have their own benefits. Some of them include;
• Covert: having one earpiece with tubing that goes behind the ear, this earpiece promotes privacy. It is difficult for anyone to realize the earpiece since the tubing is clear, for that, it blends with the skin color.
• Reduces Background Noise: The earpiece is designed to give the user absolute hearing from the other end. They can be used in a noisy environment and deliver high quality sound that is audible enough.
• Durable: These earpieces are durable since they are sturdy compared to other hearing devices. The robust tube shields some vulnerable wiring that is important to the device. That ensures that the internal wiring system is not interfered in any way. Even when a user is engaged in a rough physical condition, the tough tubing will endure through it all.
• Comfortable to Wear: The ear bud of the devices is customized to comfortably fit in the users’ ear. It is also comfortable since the wiring passes behind the ear to give the user liberty in movement without worrying about the wiring. The wiring goes beneath the users’ clothing and cannot be interfered with easily.

EarpieceOnlines earpieces are exclusive in use and design altogether. Their wireless receiver is worn beneath the clothes and is usually lighter to enhance easy movement.

Some people call it a radio headset while others call it a tactical earpiece, most probably because it is a special device worn on one ear. Yet others call it a surveillance earpiece, but no matter the definition, you now know what is an Acoustic Tube Earpiece.

10 Jun

How Does A Virtual Reality Headset Work?

Virtual reality, which I’m going to define as ‘the creation of a computerized 3D environment that can be interacted with and manipulated in much the same was as the real world can’, is a pretty multi-faceted concept. There are quite a few ways to allow interaction with a virtual environment (VE), but the headset is perhaps the best known.

So, the key thing that a VR headset needs to be able to do is track the movements of the user’s head (and, where possible, their eyes) in order to allow for better interaction with the VE. After all, if I tilt my head from where I’m sitting and look at the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage action figure that stands on my desk, the positioning of my eye line will change my perspective of the figure. So VR, in order to be convincing, needs to work on the same principle.

A good follow-up question would be ‘why does a grown man have an action figure of ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage on his desk? But frankly, that’s a story for another time…

Anyway, VR headsets commonly use two screens, one for each eye, in order to create a stereoscopic effect, which allows the illusion of depth perception to take place. A PC (or MAC) will then generate the 3D environment in response to the subject’s movements (this technology is not a million miles away from the design of free roaming 3D video game environments).

There’s a really cool scene in one of my favourite ‘guilty pleasure’ movies, which serves as a nice example. The scene appears in ‘Three To Tango’, starring Matthew Perry (of ‘Friends’ fame) and Neve Campbell. In the scene, Matthew Perry and Oliver Platt (who work as architects), compete with a rival team for an attempt to refurbish an old building. The rival team (for trivia buffs, they are played by Dr. Cox from ‘Scrubs’ and Phoebe’s Dad from ‘Friends’) create a lavish, all-encompassing, VR environment for their would-be employer to explore, whilst Perry & Platt use an old-timey optical illusion device to better explain theirs.

Essentially, despite appearances to the contrary, both technologies operate on the same principle. Both are, when all is said and done, optical illusions. The difference with VR is that is reacts to you as you react to it, whereas the old timey optical illusion stuff simply stays the same.

In terms of the headset, that’s pretty much all its doing. It is the program (being run from the PC or MAC) that is the really clever piece of design.

19 May

What are the Best Brands of Earphones?

Brand is no assurance of quality, nor is price within brand.

The Dr. Dre-endorsed ‘Beats’ headphones series are a great example of branding without substance. They cost the earth and whilst the sound is generally high quality, the materials used are cheap and the devices are generally very poorly manufactured/assembled. If you doubt this, go and look up the Amazon reviews, or just type in ‘Dr. Dre Beats Headphones are Rubbish’ into Google. You’ll be surprised (or not) at what shows up.

Industry leaders do not always offer the best products, so it is with a heavy heart that I have to admit that any list of leading brands I could give you would be inherently misleading.

In fact, you’ll be far better off if you create a list of your individual needs, highlight the most important one and search from there. For example, if you want a headset that you can use in the gym or whilst jogging, I’d have to recommend a completely different pair than I might if you simply wanted to look cool.

Personally, I find that the Apple headphones that came with my iPod are more than good enough for my basic needs, but the best headphones I’ve ever used were a pair of Urbanista Copenhagen headphones that I reviewed for a site sometime last year. However, those headphones would be completely inappropriate for some uses such as jogging or running to catch a train.

For some advice about choosing the right pair, I went to Jamie Lendino’s PC Mag article, which was posted online earlier this year, the article is insightful and offers a comprehensive run-down of what different types of headphones can do for you. Lendino says,

“Some people happily spend more than half a grand on a new tablet or portable media device with an estimated lifespan of around three years, yet the question we’re asked often is still, “What’s the cheapest pair of headphones I can buy that don’t completely suck?” Headphones, earbuds, and earphones (we’ll describe the difference between them in a bit) are generally viewed as the least essential link in the musical chain—the part you can easily skimp on. In reality, your headphones are the most important link in that chain: A quality pair has a larger impact than the player itself on how your tunes will sound. Also, if well cared for, they will long outlive your planned-to-be-obsolete tablet, phone, or MP3 player. And you don’t have to break the bank, either”.

Whitson Gordon, at ‘Life Hacker.com’, also has a very useful article along the same lines, which you can read by clicking HERE.

So, to reiterate, brands like Sennheiser or Shure may have sterling reputations (and those reputations are certainly deserved for some of their products), but I strongly recommend being concerned more with the performance, function and price of your headphones, than with what the logo looks like.

06 Nov

You’ll Never Work Alone, Radios and the Lone Worker

In accordance with the ‘Health and Safety at Work’ act of 1974, every UK-based employer is legally obliged to look out for their employees and not expose them to undue risks.

This is a good and noble law and one that has doubtless saved many lives since it was first passed almost 40 years ago. This law has also led to the development of many new technologies aimed at keeping workers safe…One tool that is completely indispensable to the lone worker is his or her two-way radio.

Today, many two-way radios come with a ‘Lone Worker’ function. This function sounds an alarm if the device has not been used within a set amount of time. Using this function, an employer can dispatch a worker into a potentially hazardous area, but still account for their safety to as great a degree as possible.

So, what sort of places might be hazardous to a lone worker? Workers who operate in and around chemical and manufacturing plants are a good example of lone workers who, using their two-way radios, can keep in constant, immediate contact with their control centre. Potential exposure to hazardous chemicals, dangerous machinery and so on can place these jobs in the ‘high risk’ category, making a walkie-talkie system a veritable necessity. After that, consider construction workers, taxi drivers and miners; people who need to be contactable every step of the way.

In addition to that, there are also security guards, policemen and bouncers to consider, all of whom risk running into potential violence, as well as scenarios that may require immediate assistance and/or rapid medical attention.

In recent years, there has been a steady growth in the amount of people operating as lone workers. Workforce reductions forced upon recession-hit businesses have caused some workers to operate alone, for example. However, there are also more care in the community groups (such as youth workers), late night deliveries being made, increased security/surveillance concerns and people taking on night work just to make ends meet. In order to keep these hard working professionals safe, companies are required to invest in the technology that can keep their workforce secure and looked after.

Two-way radios are durable, dependable and easy to operate. They are a proven and trusted technology and they save lives. These days, it would be positively unthinkable to send an employee into a potentially hazardous situation without first equipping them with the relevant safety gear and a two-way radio.

19 Aug

Why do secret service guys wear those earpieces with the coiled wires instead of something less conspicuous?

Good quality wireless earpieces are available, affordable and would be far more inconspicuous than the classic ‘wired’ models. So why don’t the secret service make their presence a little more, well, secret?

The main reason is largely psychological in nature (though there will be a technical component later on). You see, if a potential troublemaker looks into a crowd and sees nobody there that he/she identifies with as a threat, then said troublemaker will be far more likely to start making trouble. However, if they notice secret service guys using their trademark earpieces, then they might think twice about it and a lot of unpleasantness can actually be avoided.

To you or I (assuming that you aren’t a troublemaker, Joe), the secret service guys are just that, they usually appear to protect someone or something, so we ought to have no reason to fear them. Ergo, they stand out just enough to deter the would-be troublemakers, but not so much that they frighten the rest of us or distract from whatever proceedings we happen to be, um, proceeding with.

If you’re sitting there saying, “hang on, what happens if they want to sneak up on someone?” then my answer is still the same, expect that I would imagine that the secret service would put two or three agents within visual distance of a suspect and then ‘herd’ the troublemaker towards other agents in the vicinity. I have no evidence (or experience, I’m grateful to say), to back that up, but it seems reasonable to me to do it that way.

Now, onto the technical part: wireless communication, whilst it has improved greatly in the last few years, is still not as reliable as the more old fashioned forms of ‘wired’ communication. Wireless communication can be subject to signal interference, as well as suffering from a more limited bandwidth.

Finally, wireless communications gobble up battery power far more than their wired counterparts, so for tasks that may last for several long hours at a time, long battery life is a must.

When the wireless technology improves, I suspect that the secret service will make the leap, but I also suspect that they’ll keep the coil, for the reasons stated above.

Also, as an added extra – if you’re wondering why they touch their ears when they receive a message (much to my fellow Brit James Bond’s chagrin), well, that’s because pushing the earpiece into your ear drowns out background noise and also makes the message louder. They simply do it for sound clarity when receiving important information.

02 May

2 Way Radio Online Asks What Is A Two Way Radio And Who Uses Them?

A two-way radio is basically a radio that is structured to transmit and receive. In general, most voice-wireless communications technology, counting cellular systems, are categorized by two-way radio definition. Usually, a two way radio refers to a radio system primarily utilized for group call communications. This two-way system is also called PAMR Public Access-Mobile Radio, PMR Private-Mobile Radio, LMR Land-Mobile Radio, and PMR Professional-Mobile Radio.

Portable 2 way radios are frequently called “walkie-talkies” or “handie-talkies.” Not much different from “handie,” the term sometimes used to describe mobile phones. While we’re on the subject, it’s probably best to get something out in the open right now. People often interchange the terms two-way radio and walkie-talkie.

However, walkie-talkie is chiefly a generic or slang-term for hand portable two way radios. Moreover, the term usually implies non-professional, license free, consumer type, or “toy” equipment. When referring to two-way radios, people are basically talking about professional licensed equipment. A walkie-talkie is generally a hand-held CB radio. A 2 way radio is of superior quality and utilizes much higher frequencies. Two-way radios can also be found in mobile and base-configurations in addition to using radio network-infrastructure.

In addition, two-way radios are usually decked out with a PTT or “Push-to-Talk” key to trigger the transmitter. Users simply press the PTT key and quickly begin a conversation. The user lets go of the PTT key in order to hear others.

A two-way radio user can talk immediately with other radio users or utilize radio network-infrastructure. A direct-talk amongst radios, normally referred to as direct more operation/talk-around mode, has restricted reach because of limited radio power. To defeat this restriction, a radio network-infrastructure can be used to expand the communication range.

WHY USE A TWO WAY RADIO?

With numerous choices in wireless technology today and with 2 way radios being one of the first wireless devices, some wonder if this type of radio is still a useful gadget in the current world of technological communication. Well actually yes. There are two main features that differentiate two-way radios from other wireless gadgets:

-Instantaneous Communication

Two-way radios offer instant communication. Users can simply press the PTT or “Push-To-Talk” key and inside a fraction of a second, the user can instantly speak and convey their message. This is because of the quick-call setup time entrenched in the technology. This quick communication possibility is one of the main reasons why businesses and organizations prefer two-way radios for their operational or tactical communications.

-Group Communication

An additional unique feature of two way radios is its ability to facilitate “group-calls” or “one-to-many” communications very effectively. This means that one user can easily communicate with one, five, twenty, hundreds, or even thousands of other 2 way radio users simultaneously.

In other words, there’s no need for users to repeat themselves time and again if they need to communicate with more than one user. Moreover, two way radios performs perfectly for group communication using a minimal amount of RF channel-resources. If every user were in the same vicinity the majority of the time, they would only need one-channel resources to speak to hundreds of other users.

WHY NOT SIMPLY USE ANY WIRELESS-SYSTEM?

There is an abundance of wireless-technology today, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of which technology is idea for one’s group or association will depend upon if the technology can satisfy the user’s requirements. For users who need to function in a group, communicate instantly, and remain mobile, a two-way radio is the best choice compared to the other wireless technology available on the market today.

You may still wonder how this can be possible with smartphones, iPods, iPhones, tablets, mobile phones available. Here are the main reasons why these technological gadgets may NOT meet the above requirements:

-Instant Communication

Consider this scenario. You are out hiking, run into an emergency situation, and must communicate quickly to confirm your dilemma. If you were using a mobile phone, for instance, you must dial a number, wait while the call is being setup and connected; that’s if you get a signal. The phone must then ring to the other person, and they finally answer, if their voicemail isn’t on! The whole procedure could take several seconds and within that valuable time, your situation could easily worsen.

With a 2 way radio, you simply press the PTT key and yell “emergency” while the other users “immediately” pick-up your signal. This is assuming that RF-channel is accessible. However, there is a way that two-way radios features can surmount RF-channel blockage and give highest-priority to emergency calls, a feature not available to other wireless devices.

-Group Communication

Take this example. You need to let your staff know that there has been some changes for a planned meeting. If you have to contact them one at a time, it could become tedious. With a two-way radio, you can simply select your talk-group, press the PTT key, and begin your message to five, 10, 15, or however many staff members you need to communicate with simultaneously. Now, raise that number to 1000 workers and imagine the work involved if you had to go through cellular phone channels.

Though some wireless systems permit group calls, it usually restricts the amount of group members that you can communicate with at one time. With a two way radio, you simply need to speak once and be heard by many.

WHO USES 2 WAY RADIOS?

Two-way radios have been utilized for many years by numerous industries and associations. Because of the nature of their operational requirements, they use two way radios to broadcast their operational and communicational needs. Organizations and industries that may depend on two-way radio usage are:

-Public Safety associations such as EMS emergency medical services, police, ambulance service, fire brigade, disaster-recovery agency
-Security like intelligence agencies and military
-Transportation industries like subway, railways, seaports, airports, subways
-Oil and gas companies
-Utility companies like cable TV, telephone, water, gas, electricity
-Construction companies for road and bridges, residential, commercial
-Transport service companies like trucks, limos, taxis
-Hospitality industries like tourism, restaurant, resort, and hotel
-Service industry such as towing and delivery companies
-Government agencies like public works, embassies, municipal, district governments, and ministries
-Manufacturing
-Contractors for roofing, plumbing, excavating, electrical
-And many more…

Overall, those who utilize two-way radios are frequently businesses or agencies with many staff members or workers who work in groups and are mobile.

TWO WAY RADIOS TODAY

Today, two-way radios come with additional or improved features from years before. For example, display screens show important information at a quick glance, keypads lock to maintain channel settings, there are various ring-tones and silencers to choose from along with out of range alerts, and much more!

15 Aug

What are the different types of earpiece?

An earpiece allows security professional to communicate in a covert manner without anyone noticing. Earpieces are important to allow communication between the wearer and his/ her team discreetly. There are many earpiece models and makes that a security agent can wear but typically, earpieces are of two major categories i.e. wireless and wired. Within these two categories, there are varying versions and models available. Several factors affect the choice of the ideal earpiece, these factors include:

  • Discreetness- Security officials can chose an earpiece based on how discrete they want to be. The level of discreetness is determined by the earpiece style and color of the coiled tube. In-the ear earpieces are obviously discreet because they are worn inside the ear than over-the ear earpiece- with the wires and all. You can choose a colorless earpiece as opposed to a colored one for more secrecy or choose a wired earpiece altogether for total secrecy.
  • Comfort- You obviously want the earpiece you chose to be comfortable to wear. Choose an earpiece that fits well and that is made with hypoallergic materials. Some of the important questions to ask before choosing an earpiece include how easy the earpiece is to wear and remove, how easy is to use and control the device, can the earpiece remain intact as long as necessary without falling off.
  • Versatility- The right earpiece should make it possible to wear underneath the clothes, attached to a collar or back of the tie.
  • Tastes and preferences- Different individuals have different tastes and preferences. You can chose an earpiece that meets your needs and preferences in terms of comfort, style and color

A security earpiece is normally worn inside or put around the ear depending on the type you choose and is usually connected to a 2- way radio or related device. An earpiece is also worn with a microphone and receiver that makes it possible for a person to communicate with other people wearing a similar earpiece.

Earpieces are normally won by bodyguards and security personnel for instance the US secret service, law enforcement officers and private bodyguards and security personnel to allow discreet communication for security purposes. Earpieces are either wired or wireless, with each type having different models, types, styles and makes

Earpieces can either be worn around the ear or in the entrance of the ear as a small ear bud. For extra discreetness, wireless earpieces are often preferred over wired ones since it’s hard to tell that someone is actually wearing a wireless earpiece as opposed to a wired earpiece. Wireless earpieces often receive signals wirelessly. A person needs to wear a separate microphone at the end of a sleeve or on a lapel. To send a message, the wearer needs to speak into the microphone and receive messages via the wireless earpiece

A wired earpiece works in the same way as a wireless earpiece the only difference is that the receiver is connected to the earpiece with a wire that anyone can see. However, the wire can be transparent to make it harder for people to notice. The wire is normally worn around the back of the ear to get out of the wearers way.

There are different types of wired earpieces including one wire, two-wire and three wire. One wire microphone consists of a single wire and no microphone, two- wire comprises of an earpiece and a single wire connecting the earpiece to the microphone which is usually connected to a sleeve or lapel.

A three-wire earpiece comprises of an earpiece, a microphone worn on the lapel, and a third wire that normally connects to a separate device on the hand to allow the wearer to activate the microphone at his discretion.

As mentioned above there are typically two types of earpieces and a wide variety of models under each type. The ideal earpiece will be determined by the wearer’s preferences, level of secrecy wanted, cost, comfort, and how versatile the device is.

The market is flooded with various models and makes so it’s important to understand your needs before buying an earpiece. Buy your earpiece from a reputable source. Do some research before buying your ideal security earpiece to understand the features, components, advantages, and disadvantages.

28 Feb

Inform, Entertain and Educate, Two-Way Radios in Broadcasting

The disparity between how easy it is to watch a television program and how difficult it is to make one is truly staggering. Outdoor shoots are often rushed, always difficult and dependent on a number of factors completely outside of any Human control (principally: the weather). Managing a live broadcast outdoors is a difficult job that only highly trained professionals are properly equipped to deal with. Mistakes can cost huge sums of money and even jobs to be lost in an instant. As a result, it is of absolutely paramount importance that an outdoor shoot runs as smoothly as possible. It is not possible to control all the variables in this equation, therefore the factors that are controllable need to be handled with a great deal of care and attention. Before we even get to the problems presented by demanding talent, caffeine-addled directors, technical hiccups (and anything else you’ve heard discussed in exasperating terms on a variety of DVD commentaries), producers need to consider the health and safety of all participants. Keeping so many varied lines of communication open requires a technology that is proven, reliable, affordable and easy to use. As a result, two-way radios are a mainstay of the broadcast industries. Two-way radios help to keep a shoot or set running smoothly and efficiently, whilst at the same time ensuring that the production team, guests and everybody else involved are safe and secure. Without an instant method of communication, a large amount of today’s TV programming would simply cease to exist (of course, some may say that isn’t too bad a thing!). Live broadcasting is like catching lightening in a bottle; all conditions need to be as close to perfect as Humanly possible. Two-way radios help to make such a demanding task achievable. For directors, producers and assistants, the ability to speak directly to the assembled professionals is completely indispensable. Ultimately, co-ordination of talent, equipment and staff coupled with effective time management and supreme professionalism on all fronts makes broadcasting what it is. However, two-way radios make it all a lot easier and create many more opportunities for better work to be done.

20 Jul

Keeping Up With Current Events, Two-Way Radios in Events Management

From cultural events celebrating the diverse mosaic of British identity, to barnstorming rock n roll gigs, events management is a huge area to be involved in.

The term ‘event’ can be somewhat misleading, because technically everything is an event. Actually, when you look at it like that, maybe it isn’t so misleading after all…

When we use the term event, we could be talking about an indoor conference just as easily as a political rally. Athletic contests, art exhibitions, magic shows; if people attend it, it’s an event, and if it’s an event; it needs a manager.

With such events proving to be a booming industry in modern Britain, there’s never been a better time to be an event manager. However, no matter how good your management skills may be, there is one little device that you simply can’t do without.

Rugged, strong and reliable, the humble two-way radio is a staple of so many activities that it beggars belief. In order for a concert to go as planned, or that installation to be ‘just so’, a manager needs to be in constant contact with the staff who are working under her/him.

A key concern at any event is health and safety and, after that, security. With so many people attending, say, a conference, paramedics need to be on standby in case of any emergency. In addition, fire safety regulations need to be adhered to, as do any building laws that may be in effect.

As for security, in today’s troubled world, the sad truth is that there are a lot of disgruntled people out there, people who will stop at nothing to make their statement. Without dwelling on this terrible fact, we must merely make a solemn mental note that, without radios, it would be far harder for security teams to effectively police such large gatherings of Humanity.

Events management, then, is a constant challenge, but the smiling faces of the patrons make it all worthwhile.

Everybody from cleaners and vendors, to front office staff and fire marshals, needs to be within easy reach of management; two-way radios not only make this possible, they actually make it easy. More reliable than a phone, more practical than a middleman and far faster than a pager, the two-way radio is absolutely crucial to the success of any big event.