• Highly sensitive tactile e-whiskers for robotics, other applications

    From the world of nanotechnology we have gotten electronic skin, or e-skin, and electronic eye implants or e-eyes. Now we are on the verge of electronic whiskers. Researchers have created tactile sensors from composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles similar to the highly sensitive whiskers of cats and rats. E-whiskers could be used to mediate tactile sensing for the spatial mapping of nearby objects, and could also lead to wearable sensors for measuring heartbeat and pulse rate.

  • New system uses low-power Wi-Fi signal to track moving humans -- even behind walls

    The comic-book hero Superman uses his X-ray vision to spot bad guys lurking behind walls and other objects. Now we could all have X-ray vision, thanks to a new system developed by researchers at MIT. The system, called “Wi-Vi,” is based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging. But in contrast to radar and sonar, it transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track moving humans. It can do so even if the humans are in closed rooms or hiding behind a wall.

  • Better earthquake early-warning system

    Geophysicists have developed a new way of calculating the magnitude of an imminent earthquake by making better use of measurements of the compression waves produced early in the event. They say that the technique could be used to create a better early-warning system for earthquakes that could be used worldwide.

  • Modeling earthquakes and explosives reactions

    Researchers are developing mathematical models that can help in reducing rock fracturing and soil liquefaction caused by natural or man-made disasters. The outcomes of the research could improve safety levels in the mining and petroleum industries, and play a critical role in the ability of civil infrastructure to withstand disasters such as earthquakes and explosions.

  • Pyreos, ultra‐low power consumption IR sensor specialist, secures $4 million investment

    Edinburgh, Scotland-based Pyreos Limited, a specialist in ultra‐low power consumption infrared sensor technology, the other day announced plans for international expansion after securing a further funding round of $4 million. It is possible to use Pyreos sensor arrays in many applications, among them border security, where they can identify human movement at distances of several kilometers.

  • Squeezing light improves performance of MEMS sensors

    Microelectromechanical systems, known as MEMS, are ubiquitous in modern military systems such as gyroscopes for navigation, tiny microphones for lightweight radios, and medical biosensors for assessing the wounded. Such applications benefit from the portability, low power, and low cost of MEMS devices. The use of MEMS sensors is now commonplace, but they still operate many orders of magnitude below their theoretical performance limits, due to two obstacles: thermal fluctuations and random quantum fluctuations, a barrier known as the standard quantum limit.

  • Smartphone technology to accelerate development of unattended sensors

    DARPA wants to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors – to be used by the military on the ground, in the air, at sea, and undersea – in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process. It hopes to do so by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry.

  • Large robotic jellyfish to patrol the oceans

    The Office of Naval Research wants to place self-powering, autonomous machines in waters for the purposes of surveillance and monitoring the environment, in addition to other uses such as studying aquatic life, mapping ocean floors, and monitoring ocean currents. Researchers have built a device for that purpose — a life-like, autonomous robotic jellyfish the size and weight of a grown man, 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighing 170 pounds.

  • License plate scanners in Canada under fire from privacy commissioners

    British Columbia’s privacy commissioner is not happy about the way police departments are using their license-plate scanners; in a report released last week, Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said changes must be made to the Victoria police department’s Automated License Plate Recognition Program (ALPR), after it was discovered that the program could be used as a surveillance tool

  • DARPA seeking surveillance technology to predict future behavior

    DARPA has teamed up with scientists from Carnegie Mellon University to create an artificial intelligence system that can watch and predict what a person will “likely” do in the future, using specially programmed software designed to analyze various real-time video surveillance feeds; the system can automatically identify and notify officials if it recognized that an action is not permitted, detecting what is described as anomalous behaviors

  • New fluorescence technology pinpoints oil leaks at sea

    Cambridge Consultants uses fertility monitor technology in oil leak early warning system; the company has built an oil spill detection technology platform which is capable of detecting the natural fluorescence of even tiny amounts of oil in or on water

  • Radiation-enabled computer chips allow low-cost security imaging systems

    With homeland security on high alert, screening systems to search for concealed weapons are crucial pieces of equipment; these systems, however, are often prohibitively expensive, putting them out of reach for public spaces such as train and bus stations, stadiums, or malls, where they could be beneficial; until now

  • DHS submersible Pluto mimics the real narco-subs

    In the early 1990s, South American drug cartels came up with a new tactic to transport narcotics destined for the United States: small, radar-dodging, self-propelled, semi-submersibles (SPSSs); better to address the submersible problem, DHS Science and Technology Directorate created its own submersible and called it Pluto, after the planet which is difficult to spot

  • Remote monitoring market exceeds $29 billion in 2011

    A new reports says that the world market for remote monitoring services was worth more than $29 billion in 2011, equivalent to $2.4 billion in recurring monthly revenues (RMR) across the year; the report also estimated that, in the same year, 54 million accounts, or customer locations, were provided with services

  • DHS seeks better ways to detect ultra light aircrafts used by smugglers

    As the war on drugs continues with every sunrise and sunset, DHS has awarded a contract just short of $100 million for a specialized system which will be able to detect ultralight aircrafts which are used to smuggle drugs across the border