- the smart shirt
- PREDICTING EARTHQUAKES FROM SPACE
- THE SAFER BARRIER
- MICROSCOPIC WIRES DETECT CANCERS
- DETECTING "DIRTY BOMBS"
- MINI-ROBOT RECONNAISSANCE TEAM
- CLEANER WATER THROUGH NEW TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY
- A BETTER HEARING AID MODELED ON A FLY'S EAR
- CHEAP, CLEAN, RENEWABLE NON-POLLUTING FUEL FROM PLANT WASTES AND UNIVERSITY SCIENCE
- FUELING THE CLEAN CAR
- RESTORING SIGHT IN BLIND PATIENTS
- SPY PLANES THAT FLY ON WINGS OF SEAGULLS
- SOLAR ENERGY FROM THE WINDY CITY
- TINY PARTICLES DELIVER CURES
- THE HANDYLAB--INSTANT DNA TESTING
DETECTING "DIRTY BOMBS"
As a camera zoomed in on his location, graduate student Janos Sallai cautiously approached a suspicious briefcase on a bleacher in the football stadium. The sensor in Sallai’s cell-phone was picking up radiation from a small piece of radioactive material hidden in the case. The sensor then sent an urgent message to the antennas on the computers where researchers were monitoring his movements. They quickly concluded a “dirty bomb” was concealed in the briefcase.
It sounds like a nightmare, but it’s really part of a dream come true for scientists from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Working together, with the help of a sponsorship from the National Science Foundation, they have been developing a system to detect “dirty bombs”—simple devices with an explosive and some radioactive material that could cause death and destruction in the immediate area while spreading panic and radiation throughout an entire city.
Scientists from Vanderbilt’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a system that discovers “dirty bombs” and pinpoints their locations. Sensors like those in the cell phone detect radioactive materials and send information to tiny radio-receiving computers being monitored by researchers. The computers also focus security cameras on the site of the radioactive material.
This technology will be useful to the American military, the Department of Homeland Security, and police and fire departments. One day, this exercise may not be just a rehearsal—it just might be the real thing.