ALERT Awarded Two New Homeland Security Task Orders
Novel Technologies and Processes to Support Interdiction of Illicit Materials Task Order
ALERT received a task order from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) to support a two-year project known as “Novel Technologies and Processes to Support Interdiction of Illicit Materials,” with a specific focus on the mission needs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This task order builds on ALERT’s existing systems, methods, and algorithms for explosive threat detection, and it aims to improve DHS’s capabilities with respect to detection and interception of prohibited narcotics, agricultural products, currency, intellectual property, and other illegal goods entering through airports, land-border crossings, seaports, mail facilities, and cruise line terminals. ALERT will focus on facilitating the development of existing and emerging technologies and methodologies related to inspection of vehicles, people, mail, and containers in more efficient, effective, and cost-saving ways. This project will also assess the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning for DHS’s automated threat detection, operator assist algorithms, reconstruction algorithms, data-fusing algorithms, and cyber security efforts. ALERT brings specialized knowledge to this project with respect to projection and X-ray computed tomography at multiple energies, trace and vapor detection, Raman scatter spectroscopy, and more.
Enhanced Trace Explosives Detection, an Ambient Desorption Ionization Retrofitted Explosives Trace Detector Solution and a Continuous Automatic Non-Contact Sampler Based on Remote Heating Task Order
ALERT has received a task order from DHS S&T to support a one-year project known as, “Enhanced Trace Explosives Detection, an Ambient Desorption Ionization Retrofitted ETD Solution and a Continuous Automatic Non-Contact Sampler Based on Remote Heating.” This project’s tasks will be spearheaded by ALERT Thrust 1 Lead, Professor Jimmie Oxley (University of Rhode Island), Dr. Miriam Fico of ALERT’s industrial partner Smiths Detection, and ALERT collaborator, Avi Cagan of Eneregan, LLC.
ETDs are regularly used by DHS as a screening tool, but current ETDs have limitations. One component of this project will focus on the development of an Ambient Desorption Ionization module and its integration with currently deployed ETDs to selectively identify current and emerging explosives threats. This ADI retrofit solution greatly enhances ETD capabilities. Further, the work will include the investigation of novel non-contact sampling technologies to expand the ability to perform sampling at airport checkpoints, while minimizing the chances of viral cross-contamination and improving collection efficiency. Lastly, the project will perform a scenarios-based feasibility study on explosive vapor detection.
[Photo: An example of an explosives trace detection scanner used in airports, © Morpho Detection.]