Monday, November 24, 2014

TerraSwarm PI, Alex Halderman, Part of New Certificate Authority Initiative to Encrypt the Entire Web

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced a new certificate authority (CA) initiative called Let’s Encrypt which was put together with Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust and University of Michigan Researchers.  TerraSwarm PI, Alex Halderman (UMich), is one of the core team working on the Let’s Encrypt CA and agent software.

The goal of Let’s Encrypt CA is to clear the remaining barriers to transition the Web from HTTP to HTTPS so that every website is HTTPS by default. It is scheduled for launch in 2015 and will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them.

The main obstacle to deploying HTTPS in the past has been the complexity, bureaucracy and cost of the certificates required by HTTPS. Let’s Encrypt will reduce encryption set up time dramatically and will employ a number of new technologies to manage secure automated verification of domains and issuance of certificates. It will be operated by a new non-profit organization called the Internet Security ResearchGroup (ISRG).

To read more about Let’s Encrypt and the technologies being used to manage secure automated verification of domains and issuing certificates, go to “Launching in2015: A Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web”.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar Demonstrates Agile Robust Quadrotors

At the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab, TerraSwarm PI Vijay Kumar and researchers Yash Mulgaonkar and Gareth Cross have created small robust quadcopters that can recover from mid-air collisions or even right themselves after an impact.

According to an article published on, the team has taught the quadroters flocking behavior. The project was started earlier this year with the design and development of the pico quadrotor. A video shows 4 pico quadrotors in a ‘tactical delta formation’.   Multiple pico quadrotors can also fly in formation while following the leader.

None of these robots or quadrotors need much computing power to maintain level flight. Because each little robot has a set of sensors and processors built-in, all of this behavior can happen in real time without connection to a back-end computer.

To see these amazing little quadrotors in action or to read the entire Techcrunch article (“Watch these Tiny Robots As They Fly Well with Others”), go to: