Disaster Maintenance: Heat Sensors

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The Heat Sensors are part of Ascendancy Point's building maintenance and security systems, run by Eclipse Security. The sensors allow users to track movement throughout the building. Cubehunters gained access to this system from information found in the private conversations between Pietro Salk, journalist for the Sentinel, and the Advisor. This data, combined with data obtained from the building's Air Conditioning subsystem, allowed the Cubehunters to discover the identity of the Advisor.

Technical Information

Here's some basic information about the security systems:

  • Monitors movement throughout the building
  • All subsystems are interconnected with one another, so that no one system works independently
  • System is prone to crashing, due to aging
  • As subsystems are interconnected, if one goes down, others fail as well
  • Uses 2 network clusters, which tend to run around or below 50% of their possible utilization
  • The system is neural--it's an AI.

Eclipse's website has a blurb about the heat sensors themselves:

Other backups include heat sensors. Mounted in the ceilings of every floor, these heat sensors are relatively low resolution but are highly reliable and can also be used to detect humans and fires. The Autonomous Rescue subsystem encompasses a number of abilities, such as automatic fire-suppression and semi-autonomous rescue vehicles.

Further information regarding the technical details of the security system can be found at Eclipse Security: Technical Details.

System Access

The subsystem is accessible via a back door installed by the Advisor. NOTE: while you can still log into the Eclipse Security System using the information below, access to the heat sensors subsystem itself has now been denied (confirmed on 30-SEP-06; original date of denial unknown).

The Puzzle

When signing onto the Eclipse Security site, users were presented with the Heat Sensor interface. The interface was programmed in Java, and was located at the following address (no longer accessible):


This interface allowed users to track movement throughout the building by watching dots moving around floorplans. Maps of the viewable levels, created by BriEnigma, are accessible here. Logs allowed you to access data from previous days, and were filtered to eliminate non-human heat sources. The available date range was as follows:

  • 25th May 268 is Day 1 (first day available)
  • 19th June 268 is Day 26 (last day available)

The puzzle, then, was to figure out which apartment the Advisor lived in by examining the heat sensor data to find patterns that matched what we knew about the [{Advisor]]'s movements in the building. From Salklogs.doc, we knew that the Advisor had stayed in her apartment for long lengths of time, only venturing out briefly to visit Red Hot bakery or other businesses within Ascendancy Point. The pertinent information is listed below.

The Advisor's Known Locations


DAY 1 
25 May 2005 5.38pm 
Have just taken a quick jaunt up to the bakery 
DAY 17 
Date: 10 June 2005 6.13pm 
It is now precisely 1 day, 15 hours and 43 minutes since I last left my apartment 
DAY 18 
Date: 11 June 2005 10.15am 
I'm sitting in the atrium right now 
DAY 20 
Date: 13 June 2005 8.59pm 
Am in the bakery right now. 
DAY 20 
Date: 13 June 2005 9.26pm 
OK, I'm back, what is it? 
DAY 21 
Date: 14 June 2005 12.41pm 
I'm just in the arboretum right now 
DAY 21 
Date: 14 June 2005 11.22pm 
I'm going. I'll be away for 24 hours. I'll be in touch when I get back. 
DAY 23 
Date: 16 June 2005 5.15pm 
I have just returned home 
DAY 23 
Date: 16 June 2005 7.32pm 
Am going out now 
DAY 26 
Date: 19 June 2005 4.41am 
I'll go now 
DAY 26 
Date: 19 June 2005 4.59am 
I got down as far as the atrium, but I had to come back 

Heat Source Names

As it was difficult to keep the various dots straight, WolverineFan created a file that would name the dots for easier tracking. To make use of this tweak, users saved the file sensor.name.props in your home directory (C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\sensor.names.props on Win2k/XP) as **sensor.names.props**

This initialized the heat sensor program with all the people named based on their starting locations. The naming scheme used was: floor/room, followed by how many people are in the room. For example:

155 01      - The only person on floor 155 in room 1
150 05 1of3 - The first of 3 people in room 5 on floor 150 


By matching the activity shown in the heat sensor's logs with the known movements of the Advisor, Cubehunters were able to determine that the Advisor lived in L157 R19.

Combining this data with the data obtained from the Air Conditioning Puzzle, we learned that the Advisor was PCBC consulting economist Monica Grand.



  • Eclipse Security main site link
  • Eclipse Security Building Maintenance link

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