Scientists Recommend Drones For Pipeline Monitoring

Scientists Recommend Drones For Pipeline Monitoring

Transmission pipelines for oil and gas require to be monitored for their maintenance and safety purposes such as to prevent the occurrence of accidents and failure of equipment. A new technology known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) technology if fast proving to be an opportunity for pipeline monitoring. Small UAVs are a smart solution as they are easily adaptable and flexible and have a reliable capacity to gather data on a smaller or medium scale. Through various trials and errors in their research and operations, UAVs have proved to be a trusted method when it comes to oil and gas pipeline monitoring.

Till present, most of the oil and gas pipeline monitoring systems in current use or undergoing development have the basis of the concept of large UAV platforms, flying at heights that allow repetitive coverage of vast areas and scanning of areas where there is a threat to security e.g. Angola-Nigeria. These are very expensive and are complicated systems that are drone-based, with most of them being military grade. The swift expansion and growth of platforms that are small in scale such as mini or micro UAV, along with sensors as a component of the UAV technology, shows a big potential for pipeline monitoring works in a complementary manner and at a more smaller and local scale. Different monitoring goal has a suitable and appropriate strategy and accordingly it uses a combination of platform and sensor.

Proposed UAV system pipeline monitoring

According to research conducted by scientists at the University of Aberdeen, using aerial drones for oil and gas pipeline monitoring could bring substantial advantages to its operators. The network of pipelines require timely and periodic inspection and monitoring for maintenance, security and safety. Pipeline monitoring is usually done by somebody checking it out physically or with the help of helicopters. However, scientists believe using drones for pipeline monitoring will bring better results especially scanning areas that are tough to reach.

The primary risk that an oil or gas pipeline poses is the possibility of a leak or spill that will affect the surrounding environment causing which will not only be disastrous but also pose a risk of an explosion. A fool-proof system for pipeline monitoring needs the usage of specific sensors that can identify any type of corrosion or rust or if the pipeline is situated underground, the presence of methane or a change in the vegetation surrounding the pipeline that show a failure.

This type of technology is fast progressing to a stage where these highly developed sensors are now fitted in compact sizes so that they can be easily mounted on a UAV. One of the many benefits of using drones is that it is possible to programme them to cover large areas in more organised manner along with reaching out to areas that are otherwise hard to access.

This is not only more cost-effective but it also provides the inspectors with a flexible answer to any problems of limited or restricted access, which may turn out to be vital in recognizing a problem. For the full development and use of this technology, certain rules will have to be in place.

However, researches show that drones have an important contribution to make when it comes to oil and gas pipeline monitoring and maintenance. Oil and gas companies are proactively working out on how to incorporate UAVs into their Intelligent Pipeline Management imitative. A considerable amount of studies for its feasibility have been conducted, but only a few cases are currently at an operational stage.

Advantages and Restrictions of UAVs for pipeline monitoring

The utilisation of small UAVs, like any other technology, have some advantages but also some restrictions for pipeline monitoring. The Pros of having small UAVs over other methods is that it has a lower cost, better safety and very reliable mission flexibility. Compared to this, ground and manned aerial surveys are further expensive and manned aerial surveys are far less secure and leave little room for flexibility.

In addition, where the UAVs cannot go further to a higher altitude due to wind factor, cloud cover or other climatological factors, small UAVs function at a relatively less height than 150m that further gives high spatial resolution images as an outcome. Also, there are also waterproof UAVs and can fly in bad weather conditions, providing a way safer alternative to manned flights in stormy weather or extreme desert-like climates.

Factors to Consider for Small UAVs

The selection of a small UAV system for oil and gas pipeline monitoring depends on a number of factors. The type and kind of information needed to complete the monitoring process is of utmost importance such as visual records of the infrastructure to be inspected, physical aspects such as temperature, etc.

The physical aspects of the area surrounding the inspection site, such as, ease of access, topography, distance, etc. pose restrictions in the case of certain systems or configurations. A few other factors such as the regulations and compatibility of the components of the UAV are also vital while considering a small UAV system for any particular monitoring operation.

Conclusions Regarding pipeline monitoring

UAV technology has a potential application when it comes to oil and gas pipeline technology. It has the capacity to provide support and also, in some cases, be a substitute for other traditional methods of pipeline monitoring. Small UAV systems are evolving rapidly as very effective tools for closely inspecting the infrastructure and for timely investigation of the environment.

Shrinking the size of specific sensors for the purpose of detection, identifying and reporting of hydrocarbon leaks, improving the battery power for missions that are of a longer duration and demand more power and development of detailed and exact rules are the current characteristics that are necessary for the complete development of this technology which is expected to be achieved soon in the future.

Unmanned vehicles are expected to undertake a variety of tasks which includes monotonous and also unsafe operations and small aerial platforms can improve security and environmental protection. In the near future, UAVs are expected to be an important aspect in oil and gas pipeline monitoring, inspection and maintenance.

read more

New Robotic Exosuit Could Push the Limits Of Human Performance

New Robotic Exosuit Could Push the Limits Of Human Performance

Human performance limits will be tested and enhanced with the new robotic exosuit

In this modern with the emergence of highly captivating performance tools and apps we have grown highly sceptical about our own performance. Our body is designed to work at certain levels and overreaching it doesn’t usually turns up good results. It isn’t possible to improve upon the average running pace or other workouts without required amount of training over a certain period of time. In order to get over these shackles researchers at Harvard University had come up with a highly sophisticated and futuristic kind of Exosuit.

A Exosuit to power your performance

This robotic exosuit is designed to reduce the metabolic cost on the body to great extent to improve up on the overall performance of a human body. In short it aids in bringing the ideas or dream of high performance right into the reality by simply arming a person with a performance boosting exosuit.

Running is described as a costly form of movement which happens to put huge strain on the body. The new soft robotic exosuit technology designed by researchers brings an ideal platform for the assisted running which can be brought to wider masses in near future. Herein users have to wear an exosuit which is made up of textile. It is extremely lightweight so the body doesn’t bear the additional burden while running around. It comes loaded with flexible wires which connect to the apparel placed at the back of the thigh and an actuation unit is placed in the waist belt. When a person runs wearing then the robotic exosuit jumps into the action aids in running by applying force to the legs at each stride.

Testing and Development of the exosuit

Researchers had tested this suit on two distinctly different assistant profiles as well as the patterns of wire pulling. Their testing was based on two aspects one being the human biology interacting with the applied force and another was simply a simulation of the exoskeleton assisted running.

It was found that when force is applied on the running stride on the person going through the simulation then it happened to outperform the biology based profile to a great extent. The simple reason attributed towards this success was given to the fact that it helped in reducing the metabolic cost by quite a number of factors.

The future prospects of the battery powered exosuit

We are not going to see the emergence of popularity of the battery powered exosuit right at the moment and it might even take quite a while before it is brought to the consumers. Researchers has stated that the technology being used to power the exosuit and to derive better performance out of it is still going through development phase and it will take few more years before it is perfected.  But their study has already shown that in future companies will be able to leverage the experience and expertise of the robotic exosuit to the wearable technology as well as biometrics. It will help in improving upon the human performance wherever required thereby showcasing widest variety of application.

read more

Has Yahoo Finally Bitten the Dust?

Has Yahoo Finally Bitten the Dust?

An American multinational company, Yahoo was the pioneer in internet usage during the 1900s. It was well-known all over the world for its search engine Yahoo! Search. It has also other related services which include Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports etc. Though one of the most well-known and popular, globally, Yahoo started to lose its aura from the late 2000s. Finally, on February 2017, Verizon Communications declared its intent to obtain the internet business of it.


Verizon acquired the assets of Yahoo Inc. after a deal of five billion dollars. It will team up with the operations provided by it with that of AOL, which is another company obtained by Verizon in 2015. A new entity Oath will be created merging these two giant companies which will primarily focus on online services, digital media and advertising etc. Oath will belong to Verizon, which is itself a company that deals with wireless networks. As a result of the merger, Verizon will attract a lot of users, estimated over a billion, from all over the world. However, it also has a lot of challenges to overcome.


The new platform Oath, will have services offered from both Yahoo and AOL.  A technological explorer, it has brands in different categories. It has also one of the most used mail services. Popular features from it like the Mail, Finance and Tumblr may remain. After two data breaches which affected more than one billion accounts it asked its users to reset their passwords. It’s Fantasy Sports will also retain its own brand and will not be rebranded as Oath Fantasy Baseball. AOL, another famous technology firm had obtained near about fifty brands like the Huffington Post, Engadget, Tumblr and TechCrunch. Oath aims to work upon the resources offered by both  to reach out to a wider audience.

In other words, Oath will serve as an umbrella brand that will have the familiar names known by its users. The figures of one billion consumers who utilize the collection of more than fifty brands shows that it is one of the most sought after online destination. Tim Armstrong, former CEO of AOL, will head this new platform. He is positive about the very next move as he says that corporate brands like both,” go away to be replaced by Oath under Verizon “. Therefore, the users need not worry about the changes right now.


Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer will resign this July after Verizon had fully acquired it’s internet business excluding the stakes in the Alibaba group and Yahoo Japan. This deal provides Verizon a portfolio of advertisement technology assets and digital properties which will be major positive move in alluring more users. It is supposed to be a third entity in the digital advertising market as it may collect five billion in advertisement sales after taking of it’s business.

read more

Bosch Radar Sensors Signature – The Future Mapping Facility for Cars

Bosch Radar Sensors Signature – The Future Mapping Facility for Cars

The radar road signature developed and provided by Bosch, is a masterpiece that is being used in various brands of cars, throughout the world, which provides best navigation facilities.

We are living in a time, where the science and technology have taken a great leap forward and helped the civilization to register a mammoth growth rate, which has ultimately made our life easy and comfortable. These developments can be seen in almost every sector and the transportation is one of the major segments, where massive changes have occurred, which is helpful in the growth of other sectors, as well.

Some of the most amazing developments have taken place in the design and technology segment in modern vehicles, which are helping this sector to touch the new horizon. The automobile technology, since its inception, has traveled a long way and in the present era, where the computer have taken the center stage of the development process; the vehicles are also clad with digital technology to get superior quality of driving comfort. Today, for the self-driving cars, there are accurate maps have been provided by the manufacturing companies, who know the necessity of their customers.

Issues to be noted

It can be noted that in the contemporary society, the self-driving of cars becoming more and more popular and nowadays people enjoy the driving as the technology of the vehicle has become more comfortable and it is a pleasure to drive these ultra modern cars. In any case, the driver needs to know the exact roadmap and also the traffic details to get the maximum support in reaching the destination, without any hindrance and in lesser time.

The radar road signature of Bosch helps a lot to get the proper signal of the speed limit, stop signs, no entry etc., which are of great support for the driver to get the maximum supports on the road. Along with the maps, the bosch onboard sensors, such as; cameras and LIDAR, provides the driver the circumstantial awareness, which helps in avoiding untoward incidents and from getting jammed in traffic. If somebody wants the redundant systems, then the radar road signature could be the best possible supports consisting the GPS, Map and Onboard sensors.


The partnership between the technology giant, Bosch and TomTom, the mapping company; have developed this efficient and amazing technology called radar road signature is having the potential of making the future maps with great clarity and accuracy. With the help of this technology, human driven cars and also autonomous one can map the circumstantial roads with high precisions and in a very high quality. It is quite an interesting factor that Bosch has taken the initiative by using the radar on the static object; while the current sensors are focusing on the moving objects, like a moving car in front of the driver, which means that there will be a qualitative change in the modified radar sensors for maximum comfort for their clients. As claimed the radar sensor will start collecting data for mapping by 2020.

read more

Why Printers Add Secret Tracking Dots

Why Printers Add Secret Tracking Dots

Early June, agents from FBI were investigating about a top secret document that was supposedly leaked to the press. While carefully examining the document, they noticed there were creases that proved the pages were printed and manually transferred. After this incident, experts began to study the document carefully, which is now made available to the public on the web. Something else of interest was discovered: there were yellow dots (secret tracking dots) in a rough rectangular pattern present repeatedly throughout the page. It formed a coded design or pattern and was hardly noticeable to the naked eye.

All About Secret Tracking  Dots of a Printer

After analysing it quickly, they were able to reveal the exact date and time the particular document was printed or at the most, the time according to the printer’s internal clock at the moment that document was printed. A serial number of the printer was also encoded through those dots. These dots, also known as “microdots” are known very well by security researchers. Most of the colour printers make an addition to the documents printed by them without the knowledge of the person using it. The person never knows of the existence of these secret tracking dots on their document that they have just printed.

 Secret Tracking Dots -4

In the case that the FBI was investigating, they did not reveal to the public that they were able to identify their suspect with the help of these secret tracking dots. But the fact that these microdots were present on a highly confidential document has generated much interest and curiosity. Ted Han from the cataloguing platform Document Cloud said that these secret tracking dots were quite obvious after zooming in on the document. Han was one of the first to notice them and found it interesting and outstanding that there exists such technology in our world today.

Rob Graham, a blogger who has published a blog on how to identify these microdots and decode them, made another observation. He said that their positions when compared with a grid, give specific details like hours, minutes and numbers. These secret tracking dots have been in existence since a number of years. A list of colour printers that are known to use them has been maintained the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Microdots are not only an area of interest to spies, but also have other potential uses, as stated by Tim Benett. Benett is a data analyst at Vector 5, a software consultancy, and was of the persons who examined the leaked document. He also stated that these secret tracking dots could be used to determine forgeries. He explained further that if someone says a document is from 2005, with the help of the microdots on the document one could determine if the document is really of that time. The EFF has an online tool available which will help decode the information the pattern holds if one comes across a document that contains these microdots.

Secret Tracking Dots -2

Secret Tracking Dots Concealed Messages

Similar types of secret messages hidden right under our noses, also known as steganography, have been around for quite some time now. A bit more famous than the microdot, the Eurion constellation, which is a unique five-point design, is featured in many banknotes from across the world. In order to refrain from counterfeiting, when this pattern is recognised by the printer or scanner, they are programmed to refrain from producing copies of the banknotes. The National Security Agency or the NSA gives us an interesting example of secret tracking dots with a hidden message and that is from the World War Two. German Spies from that era had an envelope which had tiny dots taped inside and concealed a memo, which were meant for their contacts in Lisbon.


During that time, these spies worked undercover in acquiring materials from Germany such as radio equipment and secret ink. However, these messages were intercepted by the Allies and their mission was disrupted. The Germans used these tiny dots usually in the form of mere bits of unencrypted text which was squeezed down to the smallest size of a full-stop. This form of communication was largely used during the WWII and later during the Cold War. There are also reports of Soviet Union agents operating undercover from their base in West Germany, using letter drops to convey their messages in this manner.

In today’s age, microtext can be used by anyone who wants to safeguard their property. Companies such as Alpha Dot in the UK, sell small bottles of adhesive that is permanent, filled with dots that are the size of a pin-head. These dots are covered in microscopic text holding a unique serial number. If a stolen item is retrieved by the police, the owner can be verified by matching this serial number. There are many examples of these tiny messages that do not necessarily have an output in the form of a coded design developed from a printer but they are a very good example of how a small message applied physically to any document or object can be traceable and identified.

 Secret Tracking Dots -3

Some forms of steganography that are based on text, are completely devoid of alphanumeric characters or symbols. A security expert at the University of Surrey, Alan Woodward, gives us the example of Steganographic Nature Of Whitespace or SNOW. He explains that this technique puts spaces and tabs where lines end in a piece of text. With the help of the exact number and order of these blank white spaces, a hidden message can be encoded.

Few organisations, such as the NSA, have maintained records of every document that has printed along with having methods to track down their document once its printed. They are aware that people have the knowledge of these secret tracking dots and so don’t fully depend on this method for tracing their documents.  Whether it is ethical for printers to be adding these secret tracking dots to documents without the knowledge of the user is a long ongoing debate. There has also been a suggestion that is a kind of a human rights violation. However, it is believed by many that this use is ideal for maintaining secrecy for confidential and classified documents as it is mandatory for some cases.

read more
1 9 10 11 12 13 17
Page 11 of 17