• Ceramic armor receives development prize

    New ceramic armor has many advantages: currently the ceramic composite offers a 30 percent weight saving compared with an armor plate of the same size made of alumina ceramics and is 15 percent lighter than another widely used ceramic armor, silicon carbide; it also requires a much lower furnace temperature meaning less energy is used and less CO2 is produced in manufacture, making it an environmentally-friendly product

  • Improving safety in the presence of chemical hazards

    A new kind of sensor could warn emergency workers when carbon filters in the respirators they wear to avoid inhaling toxic fumes have become dangerously saturated; first responders protect themselves from such vapors, whose composition is often unknown, by breathing through a canister filled with activated charcoal — a gas mask; airborne toxins stick to the carbon in the filter, trapping the dangerous materials, and as the filters become saturated, chemicals will begin to pass through; the respirator can then do more harm than good by providing an illusion of safety

  • West Virginia signs up for free mass alert system for missing persons

    The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and the Princeton Police Department are now using the A Child Is Missing Alert Program which uses computer mapping programs to place up to a thousand calls a minute to residents and businesses near where a person is reported missing; the call contains a message that details the missing person’s description, last known location, and other critical information; the A Child Is Missing Alert program is a free service provided to law enforcement agencies

  • Mexico violence boon to security garment industry

    The deteriorating security situation in Mexico is a boon to the security industry; the Ninth Expo-Seguridad in Mexico City saw many companies offering bullet-proof garments — vests, scarves, shirts, and underwear — that protect against attacks with sharp objects; also on display was the more traditional personal protection gear such as helmets, gloves, goggles, and bullet-proof vests able to stop rounds from AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles; one star of the show was Colombian businessman Miguel Caballero who is known for the bullet-proof jackets and vests he has produced for politicians, businessmen, and former presidents from across Latin America

  • Local police wear vests at all times to receive Justice funds

    The Justice Department has said that it will withhold federal funding for local police departments to purchase body armor unless they make it a requirement that all uniformed officers wear the armor; last year, the Justice Department distributed $37 million to reimburse more than 4,000 local agencies across the country for the purchase of nearly 200,000 vests; the new requirement comes after a sharp increase in the fatal shootings of police officers while on duty; there was a 44 percent increase in the number of fatal police shootings last year and a recent study showed that 41 percent of police departments do not require officers to wear body armor

  • Border agent seizes student's laptop without warrant

    On 1 May when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent stopped Pascal Abidor, an Islamic studies doctoral student at McGill University in Montreal, at Champlain, New York’s port of entry; the agent turned on Abidor’s computer and found a picture of a rally by the Hamas militant group, something he had downloaded from the Internet for schoolwork; Abidor’s life has not been the same since

  • Force Protection Equipment Consortium to meet in mid-May

    Held every two years since 1997, the collaborative effort between government and more than 575 exhibitors from U.S. and allied industries known as the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration will feature more than 3,000 commercial off-the-shelf items of equipment and systems for countering terrorism

  • New study aims to find why body armor fails

    A new study is currently underway to discover the best materials to use in the construction of body armor and to understand why body armor can at times fail; working in conjunction with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Baltimore based H.P. White Laboratory is researching which materials can best stand up to the rigors of real-world physical and environmental impacts and still maintain their efficacy throughout a body armor’s lifespan

  • 9 million Euro project aims to develop stretchable electronic fabrics

    Belgian researchers are working on developing smart electronic fabrics; the project will focus on making electronic packages conformable to the properties of textiles instead of just weaving rigid electrical components into fabrics; the fabric will also feature stretchable electrical interconnections

  • Strongest-ever nano-material developed

    Israeli scientists develop a revolutionary new ball-shaped nanostructure — fully derived from very simple organic elements yet strong as steel; potential uses of the nanotechnology include bullet-proof vests, medical implants, space, and aviation applications

  • New cotton fabric stays waterproof through 250 washes

    Most waterproofed fabrics lose their super-hydrophobic properties after only one or two washes, and they become uncomfortable to wear because they do not allow air flow through the material. In contrast, the new fabric, which according to the researchers looks almost identical to ordinary cotton fabric, is completely impermeable and breathable, and retains its properties even after being laundered many times

  • Four vans go from Italy to China -- without driver or map

    Four vans, equipped with four solar-powered laser scanners and seven video cameras that work together to detect and avoid obstacles, successfully ended an 8,000-mile test drive from Italy to China; the sensors on the vehicles enabled them to navigate through wide extremes in road, traffic, and weather conditions

  • Uniform bomb suits standard being developed

    Several federal agencies are now working with first responders to create the first nationwide standard for minimum bomb suit performance requirements; having a standard will give some assurance of quality to DHS and other agencies that award grants to bomb squads for equipment purchases; if the standard is adopted, DHS will change its grants process to ensure awards are spent on bomb suits that meet the requirements

  • Spray-on clothes to help injured soldiers

    Researchers develop spray-on clothing which could be used by people in a hurry, but also by first responders and soldiers in the field for spray-on sterilized bandages; drugs may be added to the spray-on bandage to help a wound heal faster

  • Smart clothing will power electronic devices

    Researchers are set to develop clothing fabric that generates electricity through wearers’ movement and body heat; this technology could be used to power personal devices such as MP3 players or wireless health-monitoring systems; soldiers and first responders could one day power electronic devices such as personal radios using just their own movements on the battlefield or in a disaster area