• Lawmakers call on TSA to reverse knife rule

    Two leading lawmakers have called on TSA to reverse its ruling which would allow passengers to bring some types of knives with them on board. “The attacks on September 11, 2001, demonstrated that in the confined environment of an airplane, even a small blade in the hands of a terrorist can lead to disaster,” Rep. Ed Markey (S-Mass.) — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by John Kerry – wrote TSA director John Pistole.

  • June workshop on approaches to CBRNE incidents

    NIST-organized workshop will explore ways to improve an all-of-government approach that increases resilience to international chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) incidents.

  • New explosives vapor detection technology

    Novel explosives detection method focuses on direct, real-time vapor detection rather than collection of explosives particles. It could change paradigm for explosives screening.

  • Increasing the sensitivity of airport security screening

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

  • Revealing full-body scanners to be removed from airports

    One of the more controversial post-9/11 security devices, the ubiquitous and uncomfortably intrusive full-body scanners, will be removed from service by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On Friday, the agency announced it would begin to remove the scanners from U.S. airports this summer. The anatomically revealing backscatter scanners are being replaced by the ore discreet millimeter wave devices.

  • Portable X-ray source offers a mobile terrorism prevention tool

    The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that a engineers have invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation; the radiation source, which is the size of a stick of gum, could be used to create inexpensive and portable X-ray scanners for use by doctors, as well as to fight terrorism and smuggling and aid exploration on this planet and others

  • A dandelion-shaped device to help in demining operations

    Decades of war have left land mines buried all over the Afghan countryside; they continue to go off, killing and maiming hundreds of  innocent people every year; last year alone, more than 812 people were wounded or killed in Afghanistan because of mines left behind after the armies retreated; two Afghan inventors designed a dandelion-like device for demining operations


  • TSA hits new record in gun collection at airports in 2012

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set a new record by confiscating 1,500 weapons in 2012, with 1,295 of the weapons being loaded; most of the confiscated weapons at airports are guns, but TSA has also caught passengers trying to board planes with grenades, stun guns, axes, and throwing stars; one passenger tried to board a plane carrying a bazooka, and another passenger was trying to bring a rocket launcher on board

  • Army engineers develop new roadway threat detection system

    Explosives along roadways remain an unrelenting hazard for deployed soldiers; U.S. Army engineers have developed a system for detecting possible threats by identifying potential threat locations on unimproved roads; the system can perform region of interest cueing of threats at greater standoff distances, which can be further interrogated by the radar as the vehicle gets closer to the threat

  • Terahertz waves for explosives detection

    The chips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, which fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum — between microwaves and far-infrared radiation — and which can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays; when incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming

  • New sensor detects undetonated bombs on sea floor

    More than ten million acres of the world’s coastal waters are contaminated by undetonated explosives, according to the U.S. government; typically these small explosives rust and corrode at sea, making them even more dangerous; scientists have developed a sensor to detect undetonated explosives on the sea floor; the sensor is based on technology used to find mineral deposits underground

  • Improving the sensitivity of airport security screening

    Scientists are reporting a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations; scientists concluded that swab fabrics could be improved to collect smaller amounts of explosives by peppering them with hydroxyl, phenyl and amine functional groups

  • TSA replaces backscatter scanners with millimeter wave scanners at some airports

    TSA is replacing some backscatter scanners at large U.S. airports with millimeter wave scanners; backscatter scanners were criticized for violating travelers’ privacy, and risking travelers’ health by emitting high levels of radiation

  • Different technologies aim to replace dogs as explosives detectors

    Bomb-sniffing dogs are the best and most popular way for airport security quickly to detect anyone planning to bring explosives to an airport; scientists are trying to change that; Dr. Denis Spitzer and his colleagues, for example, are working on a sensor that will detect vapors of TNT and other explosives in very faint amounts; the device they are trying to create would replace dogs as the top bomb detecting method in the field

  • DARPA seeking tools for identifying hidden explosives at standoff

    The threat to U.S. soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is as varied as the makers of IEDs are resourceful in how they design and conceal the explosives; interdisciplinary teams needed to develop proof-of-concept demonstrations of technology for identifying presence of embedded explosives in opaque, high-water-content substances