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Innovation Fast Track

ALERT, Square One partnership leads to NSF Small Business award August 6, 2012

ALERT researchers at Northeastern University partnered with Square One Systems Design to win a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center – Small Business award in the area of automated landmine detection.  This promising partnership leverages the strengths of academic and industry experts for a project with broad humanitarian and research potential

The partnership involves pairing Square One’s Walking Tri-Sphere (WTS) robot with ALERT’s Ground-Penetrating Radar solution. The WTS robot has the ability to autonomously negotiate rugged terrain, making it well suited for operating in a buried explosives environment, but object detection was a missing critical component.  ALERT deputy director Carey Rappaport and researcher Jose Martinez are leading the Northeastern team in developing an effective and inexpensive Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) solution. If successful, the combined GPR-WTS system will enhance automated characterization of subsurface environments.

Current methods of demining involve slow and dangerous manual probing, or use very expensive and often delicate advanced technology.  Square One and ALERT hope that this partnership will blaze a path toward fully automated demining operations and serve as a jumping off point to other significant subsurface characterizations.

In addition to the humanitarian benefits, this partnership creates a wealth of opportunities for student participation. Graduate and undergraduate students at Northeastern are actively involved in this cutting-edge design project, participating in computational modeling, reconstruction algorithm development, and antenna design and testing aspects.

Northeastern Ph. D. student Margery Hines, working with Carey Rappaport, won judges’ choice in the 2012 National NSF IGERT Online Video & Poster competition for her presentation of a computational study that demonstrated an ability to locate both metallic and non-metallic anti-personnel landmines.

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Be one of the first to back FoRCE – a new product for Data Recovery July 6, 2012

Keith Bertolino, CEO and co-founder of Cipher Tech Solutions, and former Gordon Engineering Leadership student, is launching the prototype of FoRCE. Using an advanced method of digital forensics called “carving,” FoRCE would give even non-savvy computer users the ability to recover large amounts of deleted images, text, and other data files from Windows computers. In order to fund this project, Keith is leveraging Indiegogo to crowdfund his prototype. Get your own copy of FoRCE and help fund the project at Indiegogo!

NSF CAREER Grant Awarded to ALERT Researcher March 15, 2012

NSF has awarded ALERT Researcher, Prof. Ashkan Vaziri the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award. This will be carried out by developing predictive theoretical and computational methods to understand the mechanical deformation of biomimetic systems and by performing detailed experiments at the micro and nano- scale.

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“Bomb Squad Plants” November 30, 2011

ALERT researcher Samuel Hernández-Rivera and team have their work investigating the ability of three Caribbean plants – Rubia tinctorum, Lippia dulcis and Spermacoce remota – to remove TNT featured in the November Issue of UK Royal Society of Chemistry’s “Chemistry World News”.

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Michael Silevitch quoted in FoxNews article, Northeastern News September 8, 2011

ALERT co-director Michael Silevitch was quoted in a September 8th Fox News article “After 9/11: Ten Years of Tech Made Airports Safer, Experts Say”.  In the article, Prof. Silevitch discusses some of the recent ALERT work in crowd behavior and novel sensors – read more here.

This coverage dovetails with his recent Q&A with Northeastern News, available here

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