• Planned security network for Lower Manhattan would not have identified bomber

    New York City plans to install a protection system in Lower Manhattan which will consist of surveillance cameras, license plate readers, and chemical sensors; the system will be able to record and track every vehicle moving between 34th and 59th Streets, river to river; because neither the S.U.V. used in the attempt last Saturday nor the license plate on it had been reported stolen, it would not have raised any immediate red flags

  • Taliban suspected in poisonous gas attacks on female Afghan students

    The Taliban is suspected in three separate poisonous gas attacks on girls schools in northern Afghanistan; eighty-eight girls were admitted to hospitals with what doctors describe as symptoms associated with “unknown gasses”; the Taliban banned education for women during its rule from 1996 to 2001, and girls education is still a controversial issue in Afghanistan today

  • Laser decontamination for post-chemical attacks, accident clean-up

    Many building materials — like cement and brick — are extremely porous; getting contaminants off surfaces like these is difficult, since they can inhabit cracks and pores; cleaning up chemical-contaminated structures can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming; what if terrorists attacked an urban center with chemicals? Researchers say the answer is to use laser to decontaminate an area after a terrorist attack or an industrial accident

  • DHS moving forward on cell-all smartphone chemical detection technology

    DHS wants to turn smartphones into chemical sensors; owners of smartphones would volunteer to have tiny chemical sensors embedded in their devices; millions of American could thus become roving chemical sensing nodes to alert authorities of terrorist — or accidental — chemical toxin release

  • Smaller, more sensitive sensors revolutionize public safety, medicine

    There is a revolution under way — the growth of single-molecule detection; sensors known as “e-noses” function as artificial snouts that can identify the most minute trace of compounds in the air, while microfluidic “lab on a chip” sensors can flag individual DNA strands and other entities in liquids; important implications for public safety and medicine

  • Smiths Detection, 20/20BioResponse in global distribution agreement

    The agreement is for BioCheck powder screening test kits; the biological threat assessment tool will strengthen Smiths Detection’s portfolio of emergency and first response solutions

  • Home-made poisons pose risks for first responders

    A 23-year old St. Petersburg, Florida resident committed suicide by filling his car with gas which was a custom-made combination of pesticides and cleaning products; he learned about the deadly concoction from the Internet

  • NYC subway security system: past due, over budget

    In 2005 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded Lockheed Martin a $212 million contract to create a cutting-edge security system the city’s subways, buses, and commuter trains; the cost of the security system has ballooned to $461 million and is now over-schedule by a year-and-a-half; The MTA. has $59 million left in capital funding

  • Researchers propose a new way to scan cargo containers

    In 2007 the U.S. government set itself the goal of screening all aviation cargo loaded onto passenger planes and all maritime cargo entering the country for both explosives and nuclear materials; this is an ambitious goal: there are more than ten millions containers entering the United States every year through sea ports and land border crossings, and there are more than 28,000 commercial flights

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific to acquire Ahura Scientific for $145 million in cash

    Ahura Scientific’s products expand Thermo Fisher’s portfolio of portable analytical devices designed to provide customers with the ability rapidly to identify and authenticate a range of molecular and elemental substances in the field; Ahura Scientific has approximately 120 employees and generated full-year revenue of approximately $45 million in 2009; Thermo Fisher Scientific had $10.5 billion in revenues in 2008; the company has approximately 35,000 employees and serves more than 350,000 customers

  • MBTA holds drill to prepare for a chemical or biological attack

    Scientists hold week-long drill inside the tunnels and stations of the Boston subway system to test the effectiveness of biological and chemical sensors, the test the speed of spread of chemical and biological toxins, and develop evacuation plans.

  • GE Global Research to develop wearable RFID chemical sensor

    GE Global Research will develop a wearable radio-frequency-identification (RFID) sensors to alert people to the presence of chemicals in the air; as the sensors can be made at a size smaller than a penny, they could form part of an identification badge that would provide an early warning for people about the presence of chemical agents

  • NASA develops chemical-detection app for iPhone

    NASA’s Homeland Security Cell-All program has developed an intriguing application to Apple’s phone in the form of a stamp-sized chemical sniffing device; the prototype chemical sensor can sniff small amounts of chemicals like methane, ammonia, and chlorine gas

  • Rockefeller targets container security

    The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) said this week he is working in partnership with DHS inspector general to update current port security procedures better to protect against biological and chemical threats

  • Day of Americans serving as mobile chemicals sensors nears

    NASA Ames scientists demonstrate cell phone chemical sensor; the prototype device, designed to be plugged in to an iPhone, collects sensor data and sends it to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi