News & Events
ALERT welcomes United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano November 19, 2012
Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats was pleased to host U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano on Monday, November 12th following her keynote address at Northeastern University’s Veteran’s Day Ceremony.
To kick off the visit, ALERT’s Director, Professor Michael B. Silevitch, provided Secretary Napolitano with an overview of the ALERT Center of Excellence. Prof. Silevitch then introduced undergraduate and graduate students involved with ALERT research and gave a summary of the demonstrations in video analytics and advanced imaging technologies that were prepared for her briefing. Michael described Napolitano’s visit as a significant opportunity for ALERT and its homeland security research, saying,
“It was very important to get validation from Secretary Napolitano about the relevance of our research and its transition to the field in the areas of video tracking of threats and passenger screening. This acknowledgement inspires us.”
Professor Octavia Camps led the first demonstration featuring ALERT’s Engage to Excel (E2E) Video Analytic Surveillance Transition project, VAST. VAST is a program developed in partnership with Siemens and the Cleveland Transportation Security Administration. The live demonstration exhibited the video analytic counter-flow program developed by Dr. Camps and her team and its ability to automatically detect when a person is proceeding the wrong way in an identified traffic pattern (for example, trying to enter through an exit). The resulting detections enable quick identification of an incident and minimize the impact on TSA resources. This project is currently installed within the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Following the video analytics demonstration, Professor Carey Rappaport showed Secretary Napolitano the capabilities of the ALERT Advanced Imaging Technologies (AIT) laboratory. This laboratory fuses together various scanning tools to create next-generation security scanning systems. Professor Rappaport, Assistant Professor Jose Martinez and graduate student Spiros Mantzavinos demonstrated the operation and data acquisition capabilities of ALERT’s advanced portal-based millimeter-wave imaging radar. During the demo, the system scanned a mannequin wrapped in a skin simulant with various representative objects attached for detection. These types of AIT systems can be used to detect illicit items that passengers may be attempting to carry on their person.
“As a DHS-supported researcher, I found Secretary Napolitano’s visit very satisfying,” Prof. Rappaport commented. “She was of course quite knowledgeable about the science and technology we are pursuing, but she seemed keenly interested in how we were improving the state of the art. She was completely supportive and she motivated the students with her passion to keeping Americans safe.”
Spiros Mantzavinos, currently a Northeastern University Doctoral Candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Gordon Engineering Leadership Fellow, had the opportunity to meet Secretary Napolitano. Mantzavinos said, “It was an honor to host Secretary Napolitano for a visit to our ALERT whole-body imaging lab. Receiving attention and recognition from such a prominent figure in the national security arena assures the relevance of the advances we are making.”
Associate Director presents at the first DHS Science and Technology(S&T) Research Council Webinar October 25, 2012
ALERT Associate Director, Carey Rappaport was invited to speak at the first DHS Science and Technology(S&T) Research Council Webinar on Monday, October 22nd. Prof. Rappaport participated in the Explosives Detection Panel, which discussed the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review mission flow down to potential technology solutions supported by S&T with subject matter experts (SMEs) from DHS labs, DOE National Labs, and S&T Centers of Excellence.
In addition to Prof. Rappaport, the panel also included:
Jon L. Maienschein, Ph.D.
Director, National Explosives Engineering Sciences Security Center
Director, LLNL Energetic Materials Center
Leader, PLS Energetic Materials Group
Physical and Life Sciences Directorate
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Richard T. Lareau, Ph.D., Chief Scientist,
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate
Transportation Security Laboratory
David Atkinson, Ph.D., Chief Scientist
Explosives Detection Research
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
An Introduction to the Research and Industrial Collaboration Conference (RICC) October 3, 2012
For more than a decade, the RICC has fostered in-depth dialog among members of the academic, industrial and government communities interested in collaboration in subsurface sensing and imaging and homeland security related topics. This video, taken at the 2011 RICC, provides an overview of the successful event from the perspective of its participants.
ALERT@NU hosts FEMA Region 1 Research to Resilience Workshop September 28, 2012
ALERT at Northeastern is proud to have hosted the FEMA Region 1 “Research to Resilience” Workshop held in Boston, MA on September 27, 2012. More than 200 attendees and 11 DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs) participated in this event.
The Research to Resilience Workshop was developed to link local and government agencies with DHS Centers of Excellence (COEs) in hopes of accelerating the transition of center developed research and education to improve preparedness. This inaugural event was administered through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate Office of University Programs and FEMA Region 1.
ALERT co-director, Prof. Michael B. Silevitch, gave one of the opening presentations for this half-day workshop. The day included discussions about establishing a framework for transition, examples of successful partnerships, a research showcase, and a tabletop exercise to work through the process of transitioning specific COE technology into use.
During the research and technology showcase, the COEs displayed their research achievements at 17 different booths, holding more than 30 hands-on demos for attendees. ALERT at Northeastern showcased its tools developed in video analytics, IED detection, and explosives detection sensors. ALERT at University of Rhode Island also made a strong showing in areas including the development of blast-resistant materials.Read More
RICC Presentations & Posters Now Available for Download December 9, 2011
Selected presentations and posters are now available for viewing on the RICC website.Read More
ADSA05 – May 3 & 4th, 2011 May 3, 2011
The fifth workshop in the Algorithm Development for Security Applications (ADSA) series, this workshop will focus on fusing orthogonal technologies for detecting explosives for aviation applications.This event is by invitation only. For details about this event: ALERT Offices, firstname.lastname@example.org
This focus was chosen for the following reasons, which were articulated by the participants at the first four ADSA workshops:
- A single modality does not exist to meet all the DHS’s future detection requirements
- There are algorithmic and operational issues when technologies are fused
The technologies that will be covered are:
- X-ray diffraction (XRD), along with diffraction enhanced and index of refraction imaging
- Quadrupole resonance (QR)
- Raman scatter
- Explosive trace detection (ETD) and sampling schemes
- Terahertz imaging and spectroscopy (THZ)
Research heads meet in D.C. with homeland security cabinet secretary April 1, 2011
news@Northeastern features ALERT co-Director’s visit to Washington D.C. for the Department of Homeland Security’s University Network Summit.Read More
President Aoun urges protection of Homeland Security research funding March 8, 2011
As president of a university that is home to one of the country’s Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, Aoun is urging Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown to oppose proposed federal budget cuts.Read More
Research-Industrial Collaboration Conference October 13, 2010
This year’s RICC on October 13,2010 focused on Research to Reality – transitioning university research to the field. Student Research Posters are currently available for viewing on the RICC website and conference presentations will be posted shortly.Read More