Feeds

'Black box for buses' datachip survives 900° conflag

Tech so secret, even DHS project chief knows naught

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Dastardly terrorists and/or incompetent drivers can no longer hope that the evidence of their catastrophic misdeeds, recorded by security cameras aboard public transport, will be erased in the hellish conflagrations following train wrecks and bus crashes.

That's because the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed a so-called "black box for buses" digital recording system, which can still give up its onboard video records even after being blown up with enormous force in a devastating explosive blast or heated to a blistering 900°C+ in a blazing fuel fire.

According to that fearless inhouse investigative news outlet, DHS Science and Technology Snapshots, the latest fuel-fire tests for the bus-black-box gear were a partial success:

In the middle of a hangar at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, an engineer poured diesel fuel into an open steel box. Two ruggedised prototypes were bolted to a horizontal bracket above the box. Inside these prototypes were the all-important memory chips.

Within seconds, the orange flame climbed to seven feet. Soon its heat reached over 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. After eight minutes of intense heat, the controlled conflagration was snuffed. The prototypes were sprayed with water, which cooled them to a mere 100 degrees within a minute.

Even under these extraordinary circumstances, at least one of the data chips — and its gigabytes of video data — could be tested onsite. The second chip will require further analysis offsite.

Earlier trials had seen seven of eight chips come through functional after the bus they were installed aboard was blown up in a devastating blast by DHS engineers.

It seems that details of the ruggedisation process used by the chip manufacturers remain proprietary, however. Even DHS programme chief Stephen Dennis is apparently unaware of the super-tough chips' secret sauce.

"What special material was used to fortify the lucky prototype?" Dennis asked one of the manufacturers.

"Buy 10,000 cameras," came the wink-and-nod reply, "and we'll tell you."

Read all about it from S&T Snapshots here. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
No biggie: EMC's XtremIO firmware upgrade 'will wipe data'
But it'll have no impact and will be seamless, we're told
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.