BuzzBites: Old McDonald Had a Robot. Plus, Hack the Vote

Automation also can be found at the dairy farm. We aren't rid of those hanging chads just yet.

October 20, 2006

1 Min Read
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Old McDonald Had a Robot

IT automation is a big deal for today's enterprises. But automation also can be found at the dairy farm. A Swedish company is marketing a robotic milking system that eliminates the need for human milkers. Instead it uses a camera and a pair of lasers to guide a robot arm to the cow's teats. The arm then milks the cow. According to an Associated Press story, the robots have cut milking time of almost 500 cows at one farm from 25 hours to two.

But the robots don't come cheap. A single unit costs a quarter of a million dollars, and the cows must be trained to the new system. Sound familiar? --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

Hack the Vote

As the 2000 presidential election demonstrated, paper ballots can be flawed. Electronic voting machines have been put forward as a viable alternative, but you aren't rid of your hanging chads just yet.

Researchers from the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University have uncovered significant security issues with Diebold Accuvote-TS voting machines. Anyone with physical access to the machine or its memory card can install malicious software to steal votes from one candidate and give them to another, and spread malicious software between machines. The researchers created proof-of-concept malware that demonstrates these capabilities on the Diebold machine. More than 33,000 units are in use in the United States. The paper and video demo are available at itpolicy. --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

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