Convergent TechWeek 10/15

The Man in the “Iron” Machine

Comic-Con returned to New York just this past week, which meant everyone from superheroes to cartoon characters were roaming the streets and subways. The multitude of costumes were awesome (as would be expected at one of the signature costume-based shows of the year), however one person in particular stood out — the one dressed as the Iron Man Hulkbuster, the suit of armor that Iron Man wears in the “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.” And according to its creator (and wearer) Thomas DePetrillo, “This is the single largest, most domineering thing I’ve ever done in my life.” 

Iron Man Comic Con

DePetrillo said the 9.6-foot costume took him two years and over 1,600 hours of work in total to build. The costume was comprised of a number of materials (which cost a total of about $3,000) – the bottom was made of EVA foam, a malleable material commonly used to create cosplay armor. The top had an aluminum skeleton and a polycarbonate shell.

The costume is 7 foot wide, 44 inches thick, weighs 95 lbs. and takes roughly 20 minutes to put on. It has an arc reactor, makes mechanical sounds as it moves, has light up eyes, and even shoots lasers out of its robo-eyes. And judging by the response he got at Comic-Con (and all over the Internet) — it was time well spent.

Oh, and of course he took home the $1,500 Best in Show prize…

Huffpost Entertainment: Someone Wore A Hulkbuster Costume To Comic Con, And It Was Obviously Awesome

Make sure you watch Tech Insider: This giant Iron Man Hulkbuster costume blew everyone away at Comic Con

Extreme Costumes TV Show, directed by Tom Petrillo Facebook page (where you can see the progression of the suit being made).


The DoD and “Iron” Warfare

And speaking of Iron Man…

It’s a story of warfare so futuristic, it led President Barack Obama to proclaim when he was advised of it last year, “we’re building Iron Man.” The Department of Defense is two years away from unveiling a suit known as the Tactical Light Operator Suit (Talos) – it can repel bullets, help lift heavy objects, and provide lifesaving oxygen. The “Iron-Man-like” suit also comes with 3D audio; heating and cooling systems; and embedded computers.

DoD Iron Man

The DoD was inspired to create the suit after an American commando died after being the first to enter a room during a raid in Afghanistan, as CNN recently reported. The suit will better protect soldiers and allow them to be more lethal when in the field.

The suit is a battery-powered exoskeleton that weighs just over 13 pounds. It attaches to the back, thighs, and feet, and allows its wearer to carry an additional 33 pounds. The suit will also come with a unique form of liquid body armor that solidifies on command. The wearer triggers a magnetic or electric current to activate the armor.

It’s unclear how much the suit will cost, but a 2014 Defense Tech article estimated it at $80 million.

Business Insider: The military is 2 years away from unleashing its real-life Iron Man suit


Visa and Cybersecurity Firm FireEye Team to Bring Heightened Threat Intelligence

Visa and their involvement in payment security has just reached a whole new level. After first teaming up in June on the launch of a secure cyber-threat sharing community, Visa along with FireEye announced an overall expansion of their cybersecurity offering, now being dubbed Visa Threat Intelligence, Powered by FireEye.

Visa CyberCrime

The subscription-based service includes a web portal where Visa clients can share and view cyber intelligence, forensic threat analysis from recent data breaches, and information on malicious software (malware). For more sophisticated users, the companies are offering APIs that can automatically feed threat indicator data into a company’s own security system. FireEye is adding in its virtual execution engine technology to help businesses proactively identify malicious malware from IP addresses and domains.

Each week, merchants and card issuers receive thousands of alerts about possible cyber attacks, making it difficult to know which ones to focus on,” said Mark Nelsen, Senior Vice President of Risk Products and Business Intelligence, Visa Inc. “Visa Threat Intelligence removes the noise by assessing hundreds of threat indicators and serving up the most important and timely information. Users can then isolate and address those threats that are the most pressing and potentially damaging to their business and customers.”

ZDNet: Visa and FireEye bolster security partnership with new threat intelligence service Visa, FireEye Attack Crime


Is Apple Close to Hiring a CIO (Chief Infringement Officer)? 

And from the “patent infringement wars” (or what now Apple?) department…

Apple could be forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after losing a patent lawsuit over its processors. This particular case relates to Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors used in the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and various iPads. In the latest of many patent disputes for Apple, a US District Court jury agreed Tuesday that the company infringed on a 1998 patent held by the University of Wisconsin. Apple now faces damages of up to $862 million.


The suit was filed in January 2014 by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s body for licensing technology invented by the university’s researchers. Apple claimed that the patent was invalid and had previously tried to persuade the US Patent and Trademark Office to review it, but the jury in Madison, Wisconsin, decided that the patent was valid and that Apple had infringed on it.

Legendary for infringement disputes with Samsung all around the world over the past several years, Apple is in a situation where the outcome of the case, according to sources, is unlikely to affect what one pays for iPads and iPhone – and furthermore, the actual amount Apple must pay the university hasn’t been set and could be reduced on appeal. However, the amount of damages could also increase if the court finds Apple willfully infringed on the patent. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has said that Apple ignored offers to license the patent, which would have meant paying a fee to the university. The new damages will reportedly be relatively small for Apple, which earlier this year reported the biggest quarterly profit ever of $18 billion.

There could be more bad news for Apple though as the research foundation launched a second lawsuit last month taking aim at Apple’s newest processors, the A9 and A9X found in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and the forthcoming iPad Pro.

As long as there’s an infringement to be had…

c/net: Apple faces $862M fine after losing processor patent dispute


A New Way to “Control” a Drone

Turning to shotguns has become one method used, especially by homeowners, to handle undesired unmanned flying objects (yes, drones). However federal agencies and law enforcement, those who may need it the most, lack the necessary technology to deal with an increasing “menace in the air.” Thanks to Battelle Innovations though, and its new DroneDefender, law enforcement now has an anti-drone system designed to disable one without having to actually blast it out the sky. This innovative system provides instantaneous disruption of unwanted unmanned aircraft using two different defenses: remote control drone and GPS disruption.


The new DroneDefender uses radio pulses to disable a hostile drone within a 400-meter radius. These pulses interrupt the communications system of the drone, making it think it is out of range. The drone’s safety protocols then kick in, forcing it to either hover, return to its point of origin, or descend slowly as it prepares to land. Because the weapon jams communication with the nearby operator, the DroneDefender also can prevent detonation and other remote functions.

As seen in the image above, the radio jamming system is mounted to a gun chassis, which makes the anti-drone weapon lightweight (10 lbs or less) and easy-to-use. It is designed to fire within 0.1 seconds of startup and can operate for five hours straight. Not only is the system considered efficient, this rifle-like design is of course also familiar to the DroneDefender’s targeted users — government agencies and law enforcement.

So a little warning for those consumer drone flyers straying into places they shouldn’t be in the first place, chance to be neutralized — by the authorities.

Digital Trends: Anti-drone shoulder rifle lets police take control of UAVs with radio pulses


NASA Reveals New Striking Evidence From Another Planet

And to close with yet another NASA story, the Federal space agency has found that Jupiter is undergoing a radical change in its most prominent feature – the Great Red Spot, which is equivalent to the size of three planet Earths. Latest images from NASA’s Hubble telescope reveal a rare wave just north of the planet’s equator, as well as a unique filamentary feature in the core of the Great Red Spot. Images appear to confirm to NASA that the Great Red Spot continues to shrink and become more circular, as it has reportedly been doing for years.

jupiter big red spot

red spot filament

NASA and the European Space Agency reported:

“[The storm] has been decreasing in size at a noticeably faster rate from year to year for some time. But now, the rate of shrinkage seems to be slowing again, even though the spot is still about 240 kilometers smaller than it was in 2014.

“The spot’s size is not the only change that has been captured by Hubble. At the centre of the spot, which is less intense in color than it once was, an unusual wispy filament can be seen spanning almost the entire width of the vortex. This filamentary streamer rotates and twists throughout the ten-hour span of the Great Red Spot image sequence, distorted by winds that are blowing at 540 kilometers per hour.”

In Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt, the researchers found an elusive wave that had been spotted on the planet only once before by Voyager 2, a space probe launched by NASA in the late 1970s.

“Until now, we thought the wave seen by Voyager 2 might have been a fluke,” co-author Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), wrote in a statement. “As it turns out, it’s just rare.”

Information Week Government: NASA Reveals Changes To Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

npr: New Hubble Images Show Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Still Shrinking