Business

  • U.K. Borders Agency in immigration biometrics deal with IBM

    The deal is valued at £191 million, and the government says it will save tax payers £50 million. or nearly 20 percent, from the contract price with IBM by cutting aspects of the planned system that were no longer needed

  • Mobile biometric and document device for borders

    NEC shows a tablet computing device for biometric identity enrollment and verification using multiple biometrics — and which can also read travel documents; the company says the device will be sold to border control agencies

  • Chinese practices aim to cripple U.S. energy sector

    The U.S. United Steel Workers (USW) union has filed a claim with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, alleging that China has used hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, performance requirements, preferential practices, and other trade-illegal activities to cripple U.S. industry and gain dominance of the world’s alternative and renewable energy sector.

  • U.K. funds £12 million project for quick detection of farm-based disease

    A new device will be able to detect a variety of different infections, making it useful for outbreaks of human diseases, as well as animal ones; by providing a fast verdict on whether an area such as a farm is subject to an outbreak and needs to be quarantined, it could help stop the spread of the disease

  • Sandia Labs developed an IED-disabling water-blade device

    A device developed by Sandia National Laboratories researchers that shoots a blade of water capable of penetrating steel is headed to U.S. troops in Afghanistan to help them disable deadly IEDs; the portable clear plastic device is filled with water and an explosive material is placed in it that, when detonated, creates a shock wave that travels through the water and accelerates it inward into a concave opening; when the water collides, it produces a thin blade

  • Smartphone security products begin to make it to market

    A modern smartphone has many of the same capabilities as a PC and is way more vulnerable to certain kinds of attack; even so, few smartphone users see security apps as essential; Austrian security testing lab AV-Comparatives has justreleased a study comparing four smartphone security products

  • Israel, Russia in joint venture to develop UAVs

    There may be political tensions between Russia and Israel, but military cooperation is tightening; the two countries have agreed to form a joint venture to develop and produce UAVs, and signed a military cooperation agreement, paving the way for more cooperation in the fields of unmanned systems, counter terrorism, and asymmetric, urban warfare

  • Billion-dollar acquisition deals herald changes in tech industry

    More and more, workers and consumers are using smart phones and other mobile devices instead of desktop computers; at the same time, growing numbers of businesses and others are housing their information in data centers that can be accessed over the Internet, a trend known as “cloud computing”; to cash in on these trends, tech giants are racing to snap up established corporations and catapult themselves into new markets without having to spend years trying to develop the technology themselves; in some cases, the deals have intensified competition in the industry

  • Fake chips from China threaten U.S. military systems

    To withstand the rigors of battle, the Defense Department requires the chips it uses to have special features, such as the ability to operate at below freezing temperatures in high-flying planes; because it pays extra for such chips, experts say, the Defense Department has become a prime target for counterfeiters, most of them Chinese companies; from November 2007 through May 2010, U.S. Customs officials said they seized 5.6 million bogus chips — yet many more are finding their way into the United States and even the military

  • New cement absorbs CO2

    Concrete — the essential material used by the world’s $3.8 trillion construction industry — accounts for 5 percent of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide emissions; each ton of cement emits about 800 kg (1,763 lb.) of CO2 during manufacture — and every year, some 3 billion tons of cement turn into nearly 30 billion tons of concrete, a British start-up has devised a new cement — based on magnesium silicates rather than limestone — that absorbs and stores CO2 when it is produced

  • UAV can withstand severe weather by changing shape

    A newly designed UAV can adjust its shape according to wind gusts, with an advanced version of the prototype also allowing for its wings to morph, or twist, based on flight phase and weather patterns; the amphibious aircraft, which can be deployed for search and rescue, forest fire monitoring, and border control, is expected to be commercially available in 2011

  • Cloud computing addressing security issues

    With cloud improvements such as Google’s “sharding” — the dividing of an individual file among hundreds of systems to prevent someone from gaining a useful amount of information out of individual documents — being implemented and followed closely by competing providers, security and accessibility will become cloud facets continually improved upon

  • Is the U.S. military interested in a Kiwi Jetpack?

    Kiwi company claims the U.S. military is interested in its Jetpack (not really a jetpack, but personal ducted-fan aircraft too heavy to be lifted by its user); the company made the headlines in the spring by saying it was about the sell the first commercial jetpack for $75,000 a piece; the price has since gone up a bit, to $140,00 a unit, but the company says that 1,600 people have “expressed interest” in buying the Jetpack

  • Ford continuing launch schedule of new police-spec vehicles

    Ford is continuing its impressive launch schedule of police-specific vehicles; following the all new 2011 Explorer SUV and the new, Taurus-based Police Interceptor cop car, Ford has also presented the new police-spec SUV — the Police Interceptor Utility model

  • Use of crime-fighting ShotSpotter technology to be expanded in Nassau County

    For a year now Nassau County, New York, police department has been using the ShotSpotter system, and the country police commissioner says the department has been able to handle shootings much more swiftly, and that in certain instances lives might have been lost if it were not for the technology; the system records the number of shots fired, whether the shooter was stationary or moving, and provides audio playback of each gunshot event; this information not only provides situational awareness for law enforcement officers prior to arriving at the crime scene, but it is also offers valuable evidence for post crime analysis and legal proceedings