• FDA criticized for ignoring health problems in spinach packing

    You may want to think twice before ordering spinach next time: Inspections of sixty-seven facilities found inadequate restroom sanitation, litter piles, and indoor condensation posing a risk of food contamination by microorganisms; the bad thing is that the FDA has taken no action to correct these breaches

  • New nonlethal weapons uses light flashes to disorient adversary

    As the debate over nonlethal weapons continue — are they more humane because they do not kill? Are they instruments of torture? — DHS funds the development of flash-light-based system which incapacitates by flashing LED lights at several specific frequencies

  • Sea cucumber inspires new plastic for body armor, brain implants

    Sea cucumbers’ skin is usually supple, allowing them to slide through narrow spaces between rocks and corals; when touched, however, a defensive reaction makes their skin go rigid in seconds, thanks to enzymes that bind protein fibers together; researchers apply this process to clothing, creating garments which switch stiffness in response to a pulse of electricity

  • Congressional funding for campus security urged

    There are 17 million students who live in open environments on college campuses across the United States; a year after the deadly Virginia Tech shooting, there are growing calls for Congress to help fund campus security; high-tech alert systems, such as text messaging, are seen as crucial to warn students of possible threats

  • U.K. government lost more than 1,000 laptops in recent years

    The worries about how the U.K. government protects sensitive data continue: A report to parliament admits that the government has lost or had stolen more than 1,000 laptops in recent years

  • Snake-like robots to help in search and rescue missions

    Robots can perform many missions, but they have difficulties operating on uneven, obstacle-strewn surfaces; Norwegian researchers develop a snake-like robot, equipped with sensors, cameras, and communication gear, to slither under, over, and around the rubble of collapsed buildings in search of trapped victims, chemical and biological agents, unexploded munitions, and more — and report back to the command center in real-time

  • 3n, Medworxx show hospital incident management solution

    Simulation and virtualization are growing in popularity, and two companies compile their offerings to enable hospitals to simulate different scenarios and prepare for them; system also allows medical centers to mange these incidents

  • Avalanche of drugs, scarcely any oversight, II

    About $72 billion in drugs and active ingredients were imported into the U.S. in 2006; the FDA that year spent a mere $12.75 million inspecting foreign production plants; between 3,250 and 6,800 non-U.S. plants export drugs and drug ingredients to the U.S.(the FDA’s two main databases each gives a different figure), and are thus subject to FDA inspection; in the last five years the agency has conducted only 1,445 foreign inspections; main reason: In the face of growing drug and food imports, the Bush administration steadily cut the agency’s budget and resources since 2001

  • Fence to nowhere

    DHS received the keys from Boeing — behind schedule, it should be noted — to Project 28, only to find out that it fell short of the promise the department made to Congress, and that Boeing made to the department; Boeing has now received a three-year extension; the Arizona Republic says the failure of Project 28 has deeper meaning for technology and policy

  • Robots designed to search disaster areas for survivors

    Researchers to build robot that uses vision and tactile sensors to navigate homes, buildings, and the outdoors; robot will be equipped with a small camera and a vision algorithm that will allow it to see, recognize and avoid running into objects; goal is to send swarms of these robots to crawl over the rubble of disaster areas in search of survivors

  • MPRI to help CDC prepare for disasters

    Simulation and virtualization are becoming more popular as tools for preparedness; MPRI, a subsidiary of L-3 company, will use its simulation and training expertise to help CDC prepare for all-hazard disasters, including bioterrorism and pandemic outbreaks

  • Blinding flashlight developed as new law enforcement tool

    California company, working with DHS funds, develops a blinding flash light which may well replace taser guns, pepper spray, and rubber bullets as law enforcement’s non-lethal weapon of choice

  • Cooper Notification conducts Mass Notification tour at U.S. campuses

    The latest case of a student shooting fellow students — this time at Northern Illinois University — has only increased interest on campuses across the U.S. in emergency notification systems; on 7 February Congress passed a bill requiring the installation of warning systems on campuses; Florida company conducts campus tour to show its wares

  • LAPD buys forensic 3D laser scanners

    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department adds 3D laser scanning technology from Leica Geosystems to support forensic and investigative activities — but also to help prosecution in impressing juries: “Due to the all of the CSI-type programming on television, jurors these days have much higher expectations about the quality and clarity of information that prosecutors present to them,” says Leica’s Tony Grissim

  • Wireless CCTV shows body-worn surveillance service

    U.K. company launches body-worn CCTV aiming to help security agents in the field; the equipment comes in both overt and covert configurations; devices help field agents gather information and evidence — and it also helps supervisors at HQ to monitor the situation in the field