Scanning and screening

  • DetectionWi-Fi signals enable through-wall detection

    Engineers prove the concept that local Wi-Fi signals can be used to monitor moving objects and bodies that are otherwise visually obscured. Although fundamentally similar to traditional radar systems, their novel approach is entirely passive — utilizing the wireless signals that already swamp our urban airways. This technology has a wide range of applications from healthcare monitoring, security and emergency disaster relief, to finding earthquake survivors in fallen buildings.

  • DetectionImproved terahertz technology to benefit passenger screening, food inspection, MRIs

    Researchers are developing new terahertz detectors based on carbon nanotubes that could lead to significant improvements in medical imaging, airport passenger screening, food inspection and other applications.Historically, the terahertz frequency range — which falls between the more conventional ranges used for electronics on one end and optics on another — has presented great promise along with vexing challenges for researchers.A major problem is that the photonic energy in the terahertz range is much smaller than for visible light, and currently there are nota lot of materials to absorb that light efficiently and convert it into an electronic signal.The researchers say there is a need to solve this technical problem to take advantage of the many beneficial applications for terahertz radiation.

  • 3D printed firearmsSecurity agencies concerned about plastic guns

    The Undetectable firearms Act of 1988, which makes it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, process, transfer, or receive a firearm which is not detectable by walk-through metal detection, is set to expire on 9 December 2013. If Congress fails to reauthorize the law, plastic guns will no longer require metal components which are detectable by metal detectors. “When these 3D firearms are manufactured, some of the weapons can defeat normal detection such as metal detectors, wands, and it could present a problem to public safety in a venue such as an airport, an arena, a courthouse,” says ATF assistant director Richard Marianos.

  • AviationGAO says TSA’s costly behavioral detection program falls short

    The Government Accountability Office(GAO) said last week that DHS may have wasted $1 billion on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program. SPOT aims to spot terrorists by detecting “anomalous” or suspicious behavior. The anomalous behavior – perspiration, fidgeting, restlessness – is supposed to be the result of high levels of stress, fear, or deception. Individuals who exhibit anomalous behavior are subject to additional security screening.

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  • DetectionDetecting threats in a crowd

    Around a military camp situated close to a built-up area there are always people moving about. Scientists at FOI, the Swedish Defense Research Agency, have created a multi-sensor system designed to be able to detect threats by identifying unusual patterns of movement involving individuals or groups.

  • Radiation riskRadiation dose passengers receive from airport scanners is low

    An independent task force examining X-ray backscatter scanners at LAX airport determines that that people absorb less radiation from airport X-ray backscatter scanner than they do while standing in line waiting for the scan.

  • A toxic gas detecting wristband for first responders

    To protect first responders from deadly toxic gases that are invisible to the human eye, Morphix Technologies has developed the Chameleon chemical detection wrist band

  • Rapiscan to develop advanced nuke detection tech for DHS

    DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) recently awarded Rapiscan Systems a contract worth as much as $7 million to develop advanced new technologies to address the nation’s most pressing challenges in detecting nuclear materials

  • DetectionBrain, not eyes, performs near-optimal visual search

    In the wild, mammals survive because they can see and evade predators lurking in the shadowy bushes; this ability translates to the human world — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners can pick out dangerous objects in an image of our messy and stuffed suitcases

  • Security screeningVirtual Imaging: versatile detection at low radiation dosage

    Virtual Imaging, a Canon U.S.A. Company, is offering its RadPRO SecurPASS, a full body security screening system that detects and recognizes a range of objects and materials in about eight seconds per person; it uses transmission imaging with an exceptionally low dose of X-rays to scan for dangerous or illegal substances such as liquid explosives, drugs, copper wires, plastic, etc.; its applications range from civil security, that is, airports, seaports, railways, bus stations, to border security, prison security, and high level security as necessitated by nuclear power plants, military premises, and embassies

  • OSI Systems to develop advanced cargo screening system

    Rapiscan Systems, the security division of OSI Systems, Inc., was recently awarded a $29 million contract with DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate to develop sophisticated new cargo screening systems; the program is designed to produce the next generation of non-intrusive cargo screening systems that will be capable of automatically detecting and identifying multiple threats and contraband including explosives, narcotics, and chemical weapons in cargo containers entering the United States by air, land, and sea.

  • Five full-body scanners to be used in Chile to catch drug traffickers

    Chile is deploying full-body scanner at border crossing along its border with Peru to prevent drug smuggling; during a 1-year test period, two million people were scanned, and 51 kilograms of cocaine, carried by 42 different border-crossers, seized

  • IBM filed patents for airport security profiling technology

    IBM has filed a dozen patent applications which define a sophisticated scheme for airport terminal and perimeter protection, incorporating potential support for computer implementation of passenger behavioral profiling to detect security threats

  • 2010: Topics for homeland security discussion

    The only thing we can say for sure about 2010 is terrorists, criminals, and mother nature will surprise us at some point during 2010; still, based on what we do know, we offer a short list of topics we predict will dominate the homeland security discussion in the coming year – from whole-body scanners to 100 percent air cargo screening to social Web sites to communication interoperability to the consequences of climate change (or is there a climate change?)