INVENTIONS FOR ANTITERRORISM

Updated 4/19/06

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Fighting Terrorism Dominates Much of Our Thinking Today. And, innovative ideas will be the key to reducing the problem over the next decades. However, at least for now, don't expect to easily find a U.S. company that will serve as an incubator for your 'brilliant' antiterrorist idea. As Stephen Flynn points out in his October 4, 2004 article in Forbes (p. 48), '... the private sector is not reporting for homeland security duty.' With many sectors of our industry simply trying to survive in the post-9-11 era, it must be left now to government-funded National Laboratories and the like to provide the needed technological leadership in antiterrorism.

But, the litany of things that can be done to make us safer is huge as the author above has outlined in his best-seller book, AMERICA the Vulnerable (this is a "must read" for everyone). In every sector of commerce from maritime/aviation cargo and food safety to securing energy generation sites and chemical manufacturing/transportation infrastructure there are truly unique opportunities. Happily, there is good news for an inventor who has an exciting new idea that he or she would like to rapidly take through the prototype phase. And later, industries will be looking to buy these technologies!

Good News For Development of Antiterrorism Technology. The Wall Street Journal featured the first definitive article on the government role in new technology for homeland security on March 4, 2003, entitled Obscure U.S. Agency Seeks novel Gizmos To Combat Terrorism *** Air-Conditioned Undershirt, Dishwasher-Safe Laptop -- Get Government Funding, It explained that if you had an idea or invention that would help our fight against terrorism, there is funding available should your idea be selected for development.

The article by Nicholas Kulish explained that 'the 70 employees of the Technical Support Working Group were the nation's talent scouts for antiterrorism gadgets. Their job is not to build the stuff but to fund it, and ensure that needed gizmos find their way out of the laboratory to the marketplace and into the hands of those who need them. The first public call for antiterrorism gadgets on behalf of the then new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was the second week in March, 2003.

Grants Available -- 30 Million Dollars Was Set Aside. The Working Group, with the official logo at the right shown in the article, had as its top science adviser a 22-year Navy veteran. What seemed important here was that many of the development projects -- like a $3.00 sensor the size of a credit card to show whether a person has been exposed to a dirty radioactive bomb -- were small (not the huge defense-contract kind of programs one might associate with national security). For example, the Agency was able to accelerate delivery of the dosimeter from laboratory to workers in the field who respond to terrorist acts for an amazingly small six-figure investment. And this device had obvious commercial markets. Initial budget for programs was $30 million.

Goal Is To Promote Rapid Prototyping. The article explained that the Agency makes grants to 'companies, laboratories and universities with projects on the drawing boards. At that time, more than two-thirds of the projects the Group had funded had resulted in usable products. Overhead, salaries included, consumes just 8% of the budget. The rest goes to funding products, such as a portal that sniffs people for traces of explosives. It looks just like a big metal detector but blows air at a subject to gather bomb residue.' Article noted that a prototype of this device had already been used at military bases in Europe and also in the Persian Gulf.

Some Other Inventions Already In The Pipeline. It noted, 'Under development are undershirts that for four to eight hours will cool a perspiring person clad in body armor. . . . The Chemical Biological Response Aid, or CoBRA, is a rugged laptop with wireless communications, a digital camera and a scanner that can be used to collect and disseminate information at disaster scenes. One convenient feature is that it can be decontaminated by running it through a dishwasher.' This device was subsidized by the Agency with a $600,000 grant -- a company in Alexandria, VA had signed a $14 million contract to supply them to FBI bomb squads. 'A list of works-in-progress claims that a sniper detection and warning system (another device that has been funded) would be able to 'identify a potential sniper before the first shot.'

At 'The Cutting Edge.' Our consulting group, Bartley Technologies Inc., with expertise in many of the technical fields relevent to these kinds of 'gadgets,' currently has a truly innovative aviation security proposal under review by DHS. Using brand new, but 'off the shelf,' security hardware, and a unique third-party philosophy for intelligence-sharing between agencies, the plan we have devised with a partner firm can revolutionize airport security in the U.S. and alleviate the very serious problems in the present system in place that are identified in two reports released in April 2005 by the GAO and by the Homeland Security Inspector General. But more importantly, partnering with several firms, we are exploring internationally exciting technology and the use of unique platforms that would significantly reduce the risks of cargo -- large as well as small -- entering our ports and carried aboard aircraft. Hence, we believe we can be very helpful to other groups concerned with fighting terrorism both in the grant writing and product development phases.

So, Give Some Real Thought To This Window of Opportunity. As an inventor you have a chance to help build a safer world and at the same time develop a 'New New Thing' that could also have major commercial applications. But, as the Journal article pointed out, the inventor of the dosimeter mentioned above, Mr. Gordhan Patel, quickly realized that for him to meet the Working Group's requirements he would have to shelve all of his small company's other projects. 'His son quit his job as a marketing vice president at Sun Microsystems to take over the administrative and licensing side of his father's business.' As a counselor and coach -- with manufacturing engineering experience -- we are equipped to considerably ease those burdons.

If you think we can be of help, send us an e-mail at our HOT E-mail address: bartleytech_@_yahoo.com (Please back out UNDERSCORE on each side of @ placed to avoid spamming.)

 


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