Public Safety

  • Water mist puts out fires at low pressure

    A new water mist system allows for fires to be extinguished from a distance of eight meters; the system’s special nozzles generate a fine mist of tiny water droplets; the water and the propellant nitrogen are non-hazardous, environmentally friendly, and leave no residues

  • Antenna-equipped garments here

    To make communications devices more reliable, researchers are working on incorporating radio antennas directly into clothing, using plastic film and metallic thread; the new antenna design has a range four times larger than that of a conventional antenna worn on the body — one that is used by American soldiers today

  • Columbine lessons helped thwart Tampa school tragedy

    Police, having learnt the lessons of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, was in a better position to prevent violence in Tampa, Florida, last week; many school districts have threat assessment teams to try to connect the dots if there is a troubled, and potentially violent, student in their mix

  • Researchers developing graffiti analysis app

    Law enforcement officials could soon have an app for their mobile phones that allows them to snap a picture of gang graffiti and have its meaning translated; gangs often use graffiti as a way of communicating messages like challenges or warnings to rival gangs and understanding its meaning could help fight crime

  • Micro Unmanned Ground Vehicle helps soldiers, first responders

    Weighing just over ten pounds, Dragon Runner 10 (DR10) is small enough to carry in an assault pack and rugged enough to throw into buildings and hostile environments; the DR10 has multiple sensor and payload options, and thus is suitable for reconnaissance and surveillance missions to support small military units, patrols, and first responder teams

  • New tool helps visualize post-event disaster environments

    Using iPad mobile devices, emergency preparedness officials and first responders participating last month in the FEMA’s National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE-11), were able, for the first time, to make use of a new, science-based software tool that allows them to view and modify accurate models of building damage and other post-event disaster effects

  • Phoenix police banned from sporting tattoos

    In an effort to present a more professional image, an increasing number of police departments across the United States are requiring officers to cover up their tattoos; the Phoenix police department recently began requiring its officers to cover its tattoos, a move that has generated criticism due to the intense Arizona heat

  • Innovative disaster communication tech developed

    Communication networks typically collapse when they are needed most — during and in the immediate aftermath of massive disasters; researchers have developed a — an innovative wireless system called LifeNet designed to help first responders communicate after disasters; LifeNet is a mobile ad-hoc network designed for use in highly transient environments that requires no infrastructure such as Internet, cell towers or traditional landlines

  • Ensuring reliable wireless alarm beacons for first responders

    Wireless emergency safety equipment could save lives — if signals are transmitted reliably; NIST is studying interference between Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) with wireless alarm capability, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems

  • Autonomous multi-target, multi-user tracking capability

    An autonomous multi-sensor motion-tracking and interrogation system reduces the workload for analysts by automatically finding moving objects, then presenting high-resolution images of those objects with no human input

  • New rescue robot can reach trapped miners, people under rubble

    A new rescue robot can find dangers — poisonous gases, flooded tunnels, explosive vapors, and unstable walls and roofs — and provide relief to trapped miners or people buried under rubble; it is able to navigate through eighteen inches of water, crawl over boulders and rubble piles, and move in ahead of rescuers to evaluate precarious environments and help plan operations

  • Pakistan likely let China examine U.S. stealth helo

    U.S. intelligence officials believe that Pakistan’s intelligence service allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a new stealth helicopter used in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden; the helicopter was damaged in the assault on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May and Navy SEALs were forced to leave it behind

  • Face-mapping app for smartphone searching

    A new app, when combined with a centralized server, combs people’s cell phones looking to find photos that have a face in them that match what someone is looking for; the app could be used to look for an abducted child, or a criminal hiding in crowds

  • Anonymous retaliates against BART

    The hacking collective Anonymous released personal data on Sunday belonging to more than 2,000 public transport customers in the San Francisco area in retaliation for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system’s shutdown of mobile phone service on Thursday night

  • Day of "solar" soldiers nears

    Researches develop wearable light-weight solar panels which will allow soldiers to generate power in the field and reduce the need for batteries for their electronic devices; they will also establish a power supply that keeps electronic devices operational throughout the duration of missions