News & Events
ALERT Launches SPARC Webinars June 30, 2020
ALERT’s free online summer webinar series, SPARC (Seminars to Promote ALERT Research and Collaboration), kicked off on June 24th! SPARC aims to provide a preview of the ground-breaking technologies to be demonstrated at the ALERT Technology Showcase and will focus on ALERT’s work with industry and government stakeholders.
The first webinar of the series was presented by Professor Eric Miller of Tufts University and principal investigator for project R4-B.2, and Dr. Dan Strellis of Rapiscan Systems. Professor Miller and Dr. Strellis discussed their work in a presentation titled, “On the fusion of X-ray data types for enhanced materials characterization”. They also highlighted the successful collaboration between ALERT and Rapiscan. The webinar was well attended with 70 participants from industry, academia, and government institutions.
The webinar recording will be uploaded on the event webpage, along with the presentation slides. Please check back on the event webpage at a later time!
For more information on the upcoming webinars, please visit https://alert.northeastern.edu/sparc/.
If you are interested in attending any of the webinars or have any questions, please reach out to Tiffany Lam at [email protected] for more information.
ALERT Industry Partners Respond to COVID-19 Supply Needs April 30, 2020
Image source: DonatePPE.org Infographic
As everyone is aware, the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic have stressed the nation like never before. Each day we hear of the many manufacturing companies who are stepping up in support of the fight against COVID-19. With this in mind, ALERT wanted to highlight a few of our industrial members addressing the critical supply needs of frontline workers and hospital systems throughout the nation and beyond.
Ventilators and other Medical Equipment
- Rapiscan is using several 3D lithography systems to make ventilator parts.
- Smiths Group has delayed the sale of its medical segment in England to make 10,000 ventilators for hospitals and increased production to 24/7. In addition, Smiths Detection in California will temporarily transfer its manufacturing over to medical equipment. Read more about this initiative here.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
- Pendar has put their masks and gowns on a Materials list for donations.
- Astrophysics is donating masks and other PPE to local hospitals within the greater Los Angeles County and other local businesses that don’t have access to masks. Read more about their COVID-19 response here.
The ALERT team is very proud of all our partner companies supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on donating or making PPE, visit https://www.donateppe.org/ or https://getusppe.org/give/.
Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence Summit 2019 video now available! March 26, 2020
The Centers of Excellence Summit 2019 was held July 31st – August 1st at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. The 2-day Summit included panels with experts, a student poster and innovation showcase, and demonstrations of tools and technology that focused on two topics – Gray Zone Threats and Homeland Security Challenges in a Highly Networked World. Many ALERT team members participated and attended the Summit: ALERT Director, Michael B. Silevitch led a panel discussion on Gray Zone Threats and ALERT students, Emily Belk of Northeastern University and Annette Colón Mercado of UPRM participated in the Student Grand Challenge Competition.
Check out the Summit recap video here!
Save the Date for CBP ADEPT03! December 18, 2019
Please note: CBP-ADEPT-03 was originally scheduled to take place July 8-9 but has been postponed and the dates are TBA.
The third workshop on Advanced Developments Encompassing Processes and Technologies for Customs and Border Protection (CBP-ADEPT-03) will be held July 8-9, 2020, at Northeastern University in Boston. The workshop will address Creating Effective Engagements with CBP.
This workshop is a spinoff of the ADSA workshops that have been held to address aviation security. The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (DHS-CBP) has funded a new series of workshops dedicated to CBP. The format of the workshop is designed to encourage discussion during presentations. We look forward to seeing everyone in July – more details to follow soon.
More information on CBP-ADEPT-03 can be found here: https://alert.northeastern.edu/transitioning-technology/cbpadept/cbp-adept-03/
Learn more about past ADEPT events here. https://alert.northeastern.edu/transitioning-technology/cbpadept/
ALERT Collaborates with CBP on Technology Demonstration at Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport December 18, 2019
On Thursday, November 21, 2019, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport headed by Chief Victor Todorov, hosted an all-day Technology Demonstration organized and led by ALERT Industrial Liaison Officer, Ms. Emel Bulat. The meeting was well-attended with six members of the ALERT researchers and staff, seven industry representatives, six senior DHS personnel and 25 CBP officers participating.
To kick-off the meeting, General Robert Newman, Executive Director for the Office of Mission and Capability Support at DHS S&T gave welcoming remarks along with Dr. Laura Parker, Program Manager for DHS S&T, Mr. David Taylor, Portfolio Manager, for DHS S&T and CBP Assistant Port Director Edward Morones. In preparation for the event, four of ALERT’s industry partners including Pendar Technologies, Rapiscan Systems, Rigaku Analytical Equipment, and Smiths Detection prepared live demonstrations of six instruments including handheld Raman Spectroscopy units and bench-top or handheld Ion Mobility Spectrometry systems.
One week prior to the event, vendors were given a list of approximately 40 compounds, mostly from a Drug Enforcement Agency list of precursors, to add to their instruments’ lookup libraries for sample identification. Ten samples consisting of 1 to 4 compounds from the aforementioned list were prepared for analysis and scanned. At the end of the meeting, six “live” shipments were scanned on the warehouse floor. A team of CBP/DHS S&T/ALERT evaluators are currently reviewing the results which will be reported to the participating vendors by the end of December.
The enthusiasm with which the CBP Officers and vendors prepared for and participated in the Technology Demonstration made this event a great success. We thank them for their partnership and teamwork.
Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE) 2020 December 18, 2019
The Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE) will be held on April 8th, 2020 from 11:30AM-5:00PM at the Cabral Center, John D. O’Bryant African American Institute on the Northeastern University, Boston Campus. The event is hosted by the ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats) & Gordon-CenSSIS (The Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems).
ASPIRE provides an optimum setting for dialogue among members of the academic, industrial and government communities and also provides networking opportunities for ALERT students looking for internships, co-op opportunities and full-time jobs. The event is targeted at undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of engineering, science, and computer & information sciences interested in careers related to homeland security.
The ASPIRE features representatives from our Gordon-CenSSIS and ALERT industry and government partners. Typical event partners expected are American Science & Engineering, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology, Raytheon Company, U.S Customs and Border Protection and More.
If you are a student interested in attending, please reach out to Tiffany Lam: [email protected].
If you are an industry or government representative interested in attending, please reach out to Emel Bulat: [email protected].
ALERT Hosts IAB Meeting and ADSA21 Workshop December 18, 2019
Last month, the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) Center of Excellence held its annual Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting and ADSA21 Workshop. ALERT’s annual IAB Meeting and other members-only events provide industrial members with the opportunity to network with other industrial members, faculty from ALERT’s partner institutions, and representatives from local, state, and federal government institutions. The ADSA Workshop series is intended to encourage open discussion of the challenges and opportunities related to the development of next-generation security systems and to facilitate collaboration and innovation between researchers from academia, national labs, and industry.
Over the three days of events, more than 150+ attendees from academia, DHS, TSA, government, and ALERT’s Industrial members and more participated in presentations, panel discussions and keynote talks. The week’s events started with the IAB meeting on November 4th at the Northeastern Innovation Campus in Burlington, MA. As the most attended IAB yet, this year’s agenda included a keynote address from Len Polizzotto, Partner at the Practice of Innovation, on maximizing the Innovation Process, utilizing some interesting techniques to keep companies moving in the right direction. ALERT Researcher, Professor Matteo Rinaldi’s presentation on Near-Zero Power Sensors was extremely well received with DHS S&T requesting further information to initiate the next steps for potentially providing additional funding for the project.
IAB attendees also took an in-depth tour of the Northeastern Drone Test Facility and the ALERT Video Analytics Lab. The day concluded with a Student Poster session and networking reception. Thirteen students, both undergraduate and graduate, presented their current research projects while networking with industrial members.
The topic of practicing and supporting innovation continued throughout the week on November 5th & 6th at ADSA21, which addressed the theme of Effective Integrated Systems for Aviation Security. During the two days of workshops, subject matter experts and leaders discussed defining and developing effective integrated systems including human operators, detection versus deterrence versus displacement, and the role of interconnectivity with open architectures, amongst others. In particular, attendees highlighted the Day One Q&A session, overall TSA presence and the introduction of machine learning to projects as their favorite moments during the two days of workshops.
We’re looking forward to the next ADSA Workshop (ADSA22) which will be held at the same location on May 6-7, 2020. The theme of the next workshop will be “ Reducing Cognitive Load of Operators of Aviation Security Equipment.”
Next Monday! Industrial Advisory Board Meeting – November 4th, 2019 October 31, 2019
As part of membership to Gordon-CenSSIS and the ALERT Center of Excellence, Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) members are invited to an annual meeting every fall. This member-only event brings together ALERT industrial members, faculty from ALERT’s partner universities, as well as representatives from the local, state, and federal homeland security enterprise.
The 6th annual Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting will take place on Monday, November 4th, 2019 from 12-6 PM at the Northeastern Innovation Campus in Burlington, MA. This year’s meeting will continue to strengthen collaboration amongst members through keynote presentations, facility tours, networking and more. The day’s activities will include the following:
- Keynote Address: presented by Len Polizzotto, Partner, Practice of Innovation
- ALERT Faculty/Technology Highlight: Zero Power Sensors; presented by Matteo Rinaldi, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ALERT Trace and Vapor Sensors(R3) PI
- Guest Presentation: The Intersection of Research, Innovation, Education and Training; presented by Craig Gruber
- Tours: Northeastern Drone Testing Facility and ALERT Video Analytics Lab
- Student Poster Session and Networking Reception
This is an invitation-only event for ALERT industry and government members. If you are interested in learning more about center membership or how to become a member, please see our ALERT Industry Benefits of Collaboration webpage.
ALERT Technology Showcase: Inspiring Innovation October 31, 2019
For users without YouTube access: ALERT Technology Showcase: Inspiring Innovation
This past May, the ALERT Center of Excellence held its first Technology Showcase at Northeastern University. The showcase featured presentations, posters, and technology demonstrations of the Center’s research and tools, highlighting ALERT’s partnerships with industry and government.
In our latest ALERT video, ALERT Technology Showcase: Inspiring Innovation, attendees discuss the importance of bringing researchers from various backgrounds together to share their work and receive diverse viewpoints on their technical approach. Highlighting how this type of a showcase is rare, Astrophysics, Inc. CEO, François Zayek thought it was a great way to encourage researchers to step back from their interests and learn about new technology.
Not only did researchers like ALERT Video Analytics and Signature Analysis Lead, David Castañón, find sharing their work and innovative technologies amongst peers helpful, they also found the exposure to industry and government stakeholders provided a different, yet significant perspective.
“Companies get to see you, and they’re not always available while you’re doing research at a University. It’s good to get feedback from people from different viewpoints in the company and the government. They say, ‘well this is interesting,’ and this may be useful in a context that I hadn’t thought of.”
– David Castañón, ALERT Video Analytics and Signature Analysis Lead and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University.
Hear more from Professor Castañón and Astrophysics, Inc. CEO François Zayek in “ALERT Technology Showcase: Inspiring Innovation.”
REMINDER: ADSA21 November 5th & 6th October 31, 2019
We look forward to seeing you next week at ADSA21!
The twenty-first Advanced Development for Security Applications (ADSA21) Workshop will be held on November 5-6, 2019 at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. The theme of the workshop is “Effective Integrated Systems.” Presentations and panel discussions will include defining and developing effective integrated systems including human operators, detection versus deterrence versus displacement, and the role of interconnectivity with open architectures, amongst others.
These workshops are by invitation only. Please contact Tiffany Lam at [email protected] if you are interested in attending future ADSA events.