Monday, January 26, 2004

"SENSOR: Universal detector updates coal miner's canary"
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have updated the idea of the "canary in the coal mine" with a microphysiometer containing real human cells that reacts quickly to all manner of toxins. Coal miners handled old-school hazards by sending down a caged bird to test for "bad air." Birds react similarly to humans in the presence of arbitrary toxins, but because of their faster metabolism, they react more quickly, thereby offering an early warning. Today, electronic sensors tuned to specific contaminants have all but replaced such broad-stroke early-warning measures. But anti-bioterrorism developers that need to sense arbitrary toxins must either build arrays of sensors for every known substance or go back to the caged-bird model.
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Friday, January 23, 2004

"SOFTWARE: Security experts nix Internet voting plan"
An Internet voting scheme called Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment may be dead, at least according to an independent report. The report was released by four whistle-blowing security experts hired by the Federal Voting Assistance Program to evaluate the program, also know as Serve. Serve is scheduled to become operational in time for 2004 primary elections beginning in February.
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Thursday, January 22, 2004

"Des lunettes d�tectrices de mensonges laissent entrevoir ce que sera l'avenir de la s�curit�"
Il ne faudra peut-�tre pas attendre longtemps avant que des pr�pos�s � la s�curit� des a�roports vous demandent si vous avez l'intention de d�tourner un avion. Une soci�t� am�ricaine utilisant une technologie mise au point en Isra�l propose un d�tecteur de mensonges si petit qu'il peut �tre int�gr� dans les lunettes des forces de l'ordre. Selon ses inventeurs, il peut d�tecter si un passager est un terroriste en analysant sa r�ponse � cette simple question en temps r�el. La technologie, �labor�e par le math�maticien Amir Lieberman � Nemesysco � Zuran, en Isra�l, pour les militaires, les compagnies d'assurances et la police, a fait l'objet d'un nouveau conditionnement et est cibl�e pour des applications commerciales et personnelles par V Entertainment (New York).
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Friday, January 16, 2004

"SECURITY: Lie-detector glasses offer peek at future of security"
It may not be long before you hear airport security screeners ask, "Do you plan on hijacking this plane?" A U.S. company using technology developed in Israel is pitching a lie detector small enough to fit in the eyeglasses of law enforcement officers, and its inventors say it can tell whether a passenger is a terrorist by analyzing his answer to that simple question in real-time. The technology, developed by mathematician Amir Lieberman at Nemesysco in Zuran, Israel, for military, insurance claim and law enforcement use, is being repackaged and retargeted for personal and corporate applications by V Entertainment (New York).
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Thursday, January 15, 2004

"MAGNETIC: Team tinkers with magnetic layers to build better MRAM"
Researchers at NVE Corp. said they have achieved the highest spin-dependent junction tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) to date � a 70.4 percent change between two stable states at room temperature � in a magnetoresistive �sandwich� structure. The key, the researchers said, was using CoFeB for both the free and pinned magnetic layers in the structure's magnetic tunnel junction. Since 1995, spin-dependent tunneling in magnetoresistive materials has offered the hope of nonvolatile magnetic RAM as well as more sensitive read heads and magnetic sensors. Advances in materials and techniques have brought steady progress in raising TMR from the 10 percent cited in 1995 to 45 percent in 1999 and 59.5 percent in 2002. Now NVE says it has raised the bar.
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Monday, January 12, 2004

"BIOSENSOR: Process quickly, cheaply yields microfluidic chips"
A faster, less expensive way to prototype microfluidic chips has been developed at Purdue University. For just a few dollars, the tiny chips--which sense potential toxins in molecule-sized samples--can now be fabricated in hours, not weeks, and at room temperature instead of in vacuum ovens. The method developed at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.) mates specially selected and prepared nanoscale "wicks" with easy-to-assemble polymer deposition. The chips and the postage-stamp-sized analytic devices made with them have potential applications in food safety, biosecurity, clinical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and electronics, according to the researchers.
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Monday, January 05, 2004

"ANTI-TERROR: Bomb blast simulator looks to 'harden' structures"
The world's first bomb blast simulator aims to catapult "battle hardening" from a medieval black art into a 21st-century science. A University of California, San Diego, team thinks it can extract precise computer-aided design parameters that characterize a "bomb-proof" material's strength with the $4.2 million simulator.
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