Gee-whiz technologies being developed for homeland security

Government contractors are whipping up a slew of quasi-military technologies for “homeland security” purposes, such as the following:

  • License plate recognition systems — infrared cameras that quickly match images to police databases — already are stopping criminals in cars in New York City, the District of Columbia and 23 states.
  • New satellites that can daily collect up to 750,000 square kilometers of imagery, allowing analysts to pick out suitcase-sized objects.
  • Biometric scanning devices that can read fingerprints from about five meters away — all 10 prints.
  • Under development: The remote-controlled “nano air vehicle,” which resembles the seed of a silver maple tree, can be outfitted with a payload the size of an aspirin. For example, it can be used for chemical or biological detection. Or, swarms of the winged devices could fly over a disaster area to detect signs of survivors.

Source: Reuters, via The Boston Globe (21 September 2007)

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