• Nuclear detectionEnhanced detection of nuclear events thanks to deep learning

    A deep neural network running on an ordinary desktop computer is interpreting highly technical data related to national security as well as — and sometimes better than — today’s best automated methods or even human experts.

  • DronesDrones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines

    It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Drones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries.

  • DronesStudying swarm behaviors can teach us how to help drones fly safely

    Civil engineers observe how flying insects avoid collisions, to help devise safe, self-regulated systems for drones and driverless cars. “Many types of animals swarm or flock or otherwise move in coordinated ways,” says a researcher. “No individual animal knows what every other animal is doing, yet somehow they move cohesively as a group.”

  • Data protectionNovel transmitter protects wireless data from hackers

    By Rob Matheson

    Today, more than eight billion devices are connected around the world, forming an “internet of things” that includes medical devices, wearables, vehicles, and smart household and city technologies. By 2020, experts estimate that number will rise to more than twenty billion devices, all uploading and sharing data online. But those devices are vulnerable to hacker attacks that locate, intercept, and overwrite the data, jamming signals and generally wreaking havoc. A novel device uses ultrafast “frequency hopping” and data encryption to protect signals from being intercepted and jammed.

  • First respondersNew app tracks locations, vitals, keeping first responders safe

    When first responders are on a mission, being able to quickly and easily track the location of their fellow responders can be challenging, especially in situations where the team is spread out. Many responders are only able to coordinate their locations by radioing each other or the command post and providing a very detailed message on their exact location. This can be time consuming and can change every second if they are in an emergency situation or on a call. The Watchtower mobile application allows users to track and report their location using the GPS already built into a smartphone.

  • Water securityNext-generation water harvester delivers fresh water from air

    Last October, researchers headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight. The successful field test of their larger, next-generation harvester proved what the team had predicted earlier in 2017: that the water harvester can extract drinkable water every day/night cycle at very low humidity and at low cost, making it ideal for people living in arid, water-starved areas of the world.

  • DetectionNew tool to detect deadly chemical weapon agents: Butterflies

    Every spring caterpillars shed their cocoons, emerging as butterflies. This timeless symbol of change is now being applied to enhanced chemical detection for U.S. soldiers. Researchers from the military service academies, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department, are using butterflies to detect trace amounts of chemical warfare agents with increased precision and speed.

  • DetectionData science improves lie detection

    Someone is fidgeting in a long line at an airport security gate. Is that person simply nervous about the wait? Or is this a passenger who has something sinister to hide? Even highly trained Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security officers still have a hard time telling whether someone is lying or telling the truth – despite the billions of dollars and years of study that have been devoted to the subject. Researchers are using data science and an online crowdsourcing framework called ADDR (Automated Dyadic Data Recorder) to further our understanding of deception based on facial and verbal cues.

  • Sonic weaponsChina sonic attack: how sound can be a weapon

    By Ian McLoughlin

    Reports of “sonic attacks” in China, and previously in Cuba, have left many wandering whether sonic weapons could be targeting U.S. diplomats. Victims have reportedly experienced mild brain injuries with symptoms including “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.” Little is known for definite, but the symptoms do suggest that some sort of sonic interference could have taken place. It is unlikely to be the result of a deliberate “sonic attack.” Instead, these injuries are probably the side effects of intrusive surveillance.

  • ForensicsUsing proteins from bones to identify people

    When a team of researchers led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) developed a new biological identification method that exploits information encoded in proteins, they thought it could have multiple applications. Nearly two years later, they’ve turned out to be right. One possible important application for using protein markers from human bones could be to help determine the identity of partial remains from catastrophic events, such as plane crashes, fires or the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

  • Search & rescueArtificial “nose” helps find people buried by earthquakes, avalanches

    Trained rescue dogs are still the best disaster workers – their sensitive noses help them to track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. Like all living creatures, however, dogs need to take breaks every now and again. They are also often not immediately available in disaster areas, and dog teams have to travel from further afield.. Scientists have developed the smallest and cheapest ever equipment for detecting people by smell. It could be used in the search for people buried by an earthquake or avalanche.

  • Climate threatsAir conditioning a key driver of global electricity-demand growth

    The growing use of air conditioners in homes and offices around the world will be one of the top drivers of global electricity demand over the next three decades, according to new analysis by the International Energy Agency that stresses the urgent need for policy action to improve cooling efficiency.

  • 3D printing & weapons3D printing of weapons: A threat to global, national, and personal security

    Additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing — could benefit military adversaries, violent extremists and even street criminals, who could produce their own weapons for use and sale. As this technology further develops, and without proper controls, violent actors might be able to replicate more sophisticated weapons systems, print lethal drones, and even produce jamming devices or cheap decoys that disrupt intelligence collection.

  • R&DU.S. Noble Prize leadership in the sciences threatened

    Since first being awarded in 1901, most Nobel Prizes for science have gone to the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Calculating Noble Prize productivity (that is, number of prizes per capita), the United States became the Noble Prize leader after the Second World War – and reached its zenith in the 1970s. On present trajectory, Germany will produce more Noble Prize winners per capita by 2025, and France by 2028.

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T awards first Phase 4 award for IOT security

    Atlanta-based Ionic Security is the first company to successfully complete prototype testing and move to the pilot deployment phase as part of DHS S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). SVIP offers up to $800,000 in non-dilutive funding to eligible companies.