The e-newsletter of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate, S&T Snapshots, features stories about current research projects and opportunities with laboratories, universities, government agencies, and the private sector.
- Interoperable Communications Across Borders: (March 25, 2013) On the morning of December 6, 1917, in the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, near the U.S. border in Maine, a French ship, the Mont Blanc, filled with military explosives collided with another vessel. Twenty minutes later, a fire set off the Mont Blanc’s volatile cargo and caused a catastrophic explosion—killing thousands and destroying an entire section of the nearby city. Rescue efforts were dispatched immediately from the Canadian mainland as well as the United States, but confusion and lack of immediate information delayed some of the rescue efforts for hours.
- Arresting a Fleeing Vehicle at the Push of a Button: (Feb. 28, 2013) In 2010, the characteristics of a squid’s sticky tendrils were combined with the concept of Spiderman’s super-strong webbing to create a prototype of the first remote device to stop vehicles in their tracks: the Safe, Quick, Undercarriage Immobilization Device (SQUID).
- Protecting our Harbors and Ships with the BIOSwimmer: (September 18, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is funding the development of an unmanned underwater vehicle designed to resemble a tuna, called the BIOSwimmer™.
- Homeland Security’s 'narco sub’ PLUTO mimics the real thing: (September 11, 2012) Surrogate semi-submersible engineered to mimic the design of the “dark vessels” being used to bring narcotics and other illicit cargo into the United States.
- Boston Subway System to be Used to Test New Sensors for Biological Agents: (August 30, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate’s “Detect to Protect” program will assess trigger and confirmer sensors designed to detect biological agents within minutes.
- Dismantling a Pipe Bomb - and Preserving the Evidence: (August 27, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s new low-cost device for dismantling dangerous pipe bombs may look like a tinkerer’s project, but that’s no accident. The Semi Autonomous Pipe Bomb End-cap Remover, SAPBER, is unassuming in appearance, but sophisticated enough to preserve the forensic evidence needed to track down the perpetrator.
- A World Free of one of the Most Virulent Animal Diseases?: (July 3, 2012) The Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture have developed a novel vaccine for one of the seven strains of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease, paving the way for the development of the others.
- Homeland Security's New Smartphone Application for Bomb Threats: (June 26) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and its public and private sector partners have developed a must-have "app": the First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) for computers and smartphones.
- Testing Vintage U.S. Bridges for Vulnerability: and finding ways to protect them (May 1, 2012) The Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has joined forces with the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center to conduct series of experiments that assess potential vulnerability of critical structural components of aging steel bridges.
- Katrina Changed Everything: New Software for Flooding Protection (April 16, 2012) Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate and Dams Sector partners team up to develop new software systems for fast simulation of catastrophic flooding
- Resilient Tunnel: 35,000 Gallons of Prevention (March 27, 2012) Containing a Tunnel Flood with an Inflatable Stopper
- Power Hungry: Prototyping Replacement EHV Transformers (March 2, 2012) EHV transformers, and the nation's electric grid, are on the Department of Homeland Security's mind.
- Ship Cargo Containers – Finding Out What's In Them Before There’s Trouble (March 1, 2012) The Container Security Test Bed allows researchers and developers to explore novel ways to detect threats in a cargo container.
- Building and Infrastructure Protection Series: Designing Buildings to Withstand Almost Anything (January 31, 2012) By helping buildings withstand unusually severe hazards, DHS aims to keep critical infrastructure open for business.
- Urban Blast Tool (UBT): From Opening Thunder to Closing Whimper (Januaray 31, 2012) Predicting bomb shockwaves, building vulnerability, and evacuation priority.
- When Clean just isn't Clean Enough (December 23, 2011) Backboard Covers Protect Patients from Cross Infections.
- Making Domain Names Safe and Reliable (November 22, 2011): Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) Project.
- For Wildfires, a Doorstop at Nature's Doorstep (October 5, 2011): DHS-funded research helps define fire standards to protect homes.
- Racing Against The Clock (September 15, 2011): New tools now available for rescuing those trapped beneath concrete.
- The Coast Guard's Arctic Agenda Heats Up (July 15, 2011): The Coast Guard charts a course for basic research before Arctic travelers find themselves on thin ice.
- DHS's First Patent: A Citizen's Dosimeter! (June 27, 2011): It fits in your wallet and can save your life.
- Where There's Smoke, There's a Signal (June 16, 2011): For firefighters, wireless self-powered router “breadcrumbs” that won’t become toast when baked or soggy when hosed. (First Responders)
- Sentries in the Garden Shed (February 15, 2011): Plants that can detect environmental contaminants and explosives. (Chemical & Biological)
- Secret Service Site Security Training Gains a High-Tech Edge (January 24, 2011): Secret Service employees receive high-tech modeling and simulation training with S&T funded Site Security Planning Tool. (Chemical & Biological)
- Resilient Homes: Last Room Standing (June 15, 2010): The Department wants you to know that safe rooms can be life savers in the face of Mother Nature's wrath (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- ISIS: New Video Camera Sees It All (May 6, 2010): 360° surveillance video promises high-res detail, multiple views, and DVR features (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- Laser Decontamination: Shine a Light (April 22, 2010): Using lasers to decontaminate the site of a chemical explosion (Chemical & Biological)
- The Importance of Being Resilient (April 1, 2010): Resilience research recognized at S&T summit (University Programs)
- It Takes a Water Purifier (March 23, 2010): Dirty water is one of Mother Nature’s overlooked assassins. S&T seeks to clean it up. (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- SportEvac: Choreographing a Stadium Stampede (March 16, 2010): Need a plan to evacuate 70,000 sports fans in one hour? Try rehearsing with 70,000 avatars (Infrastructure and Geophysical)
- Cell All: Super Smartphones Sniff Out Suspicious Substances (March 9, 2010): Crowdsourcing cell phones to detect dangerous chemicals (Chemical and Biological)
- Bomb Scare: An ODD Solution (February 23, 2010): A new and better way to detect explosives (Explosives)
- Honing the Art and Science of Fingerprinting (February 4, 2010): A Pictogram Is Worth a Thousand Translations (Human Factors)
- The Magnetic Vision Innovative Prototype (MagViz) - R.I.P., 3-1-1 (January 25, 2010): Government brainiacs rethink the brain scanner so you can fly with all your liquids, gels, sprays, spreads…and so on (Explosives)
- Mapping an Emergency (January 12, 2010): Making communications among first responders interoperable (Command, Control & Interoperability)
- Boston's Big Sniff (December 9, 2009): Researchers collect data during a study on airflow in Boston's subway system (Chemical & Biological)
- If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Off the Bus! (November 25, 2009): Forensic camera to be utilized on public transportation tested (Explosives)
- Mean Old Levee: Homeland Security's Levee PLUGS Pass a Second Test (November 17, 2009): Levee breach plug technology tested by the Department (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- The Beginning of the End of the Single-Band Radio for Public Safety (October 20, 2009): Radio technology that lets first responders talk to each other across difference bands will allow departments to improve emergency service and save money (Command, Control & Interoperability)
- What in Blazes is Going On? (October 13, 2009): Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology sends Ph.D. fireman to help firefighters seek—and get—tougher, safer gear (First Responders)
- Put a Plug In It! The Super-Duper Plugger-Upper Just Got Better (September 14, 2009): Pressurized testing of tunnel plugs (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- Powering American Cities in the New Century (August 7, 2009): Superconducting cables will mean a more powerful, more resilient electric grid (Infrastructure & Geophysical)
- Tunnel Vision (June 26, 2009): Department scientists want to help Border Patrol agents find tunnels with ground penetrating radar technology (Borders & Maritime)
- To Boldly Go Where No Medical Response Has Gone Before (May 20, 2009): Technology to capture a disaster victim’s vital signs from up to 40 feet away (First Responders)
- Cerebral Melodies (April 22, 2009): Improving emergency response through music (Human Factors)
- Success Strewn Amidst the Wreckage (April 17, 2009): Inexpensive memory chips inside new forensic cameras for mass transit protection survive a massive explosion (Explosives)
- Reap What You Search (April 8, 2009): Department of Homeland Security software seeks to harvest Department of Energy research (Laboratory Research)
- Toxic Chemical Spilled in Los Angeles, but the expert is in Los Alamos? No problem! (March 18, 2009): A new detection system beams readings from the hot zone to scientists around the world (Chemical & Biological)
- Lights, Camera, Ka-Boom! (March 5, 2009): Inexpensive, lightweight bomb-proof cameras may help protect mass transit (Explosives)
- Lost in Digital Translation (February 25, 2009): To improve firefighters' radios, recording garbled speech is the first step toward clearing it up. (Command, Control & Interoperability)
- Science Aids Hudson Rescue Workers (February 13, 2009): Underwater sensors used in response and recovery of US Airways Flight 1549 (Borders & Maritime)
- Good Liquid, Bad Liquid (February 5, 2009): Los Alamos scientists successfully test system that detects potentially explosive liquids, gels, and lotions (Explosives)
Pre-2009 articles are available in our S&T Snapshots Archives.