Government, transportation and military security needs have spurred a wave of unique technology, first solving niche problems, but soon coming to a security department near you. Among pioneering breakthroughs: tracking vehicles and people as well as looking under trucks and under water.

Post September 11th and since commencement of the war in Iraq, security technology firms such as Law Enforcement Associates Corporation (LEA) of Youngsville, Calif., are seeing ramped interest in their niche solutions. For LEA, interest centers on its Under Vehicle Inspection System, which views the underside of vehicles entering and exiting secured areas or facilities for explosives and contraband.

Security technology advances are adding “wow” to traditional equipment. Here an underwater investigator uses an integrated mini-sub, video and detection unit to explore the USS Arizona, USS Arizona Memorial.

Photo credit: USS Arizona Memorial, by Brett Seymour, Submerged Resources Center, National Park Service.

Guarding Facilities

The systems are currently installed in excess of 850 locations worldwide. These include military bases, government installations, embassies, nuclear facilities, oil refineries and United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization locations.

The integrated device provides a clear, high contrast real-time video inspection of the undercarriage of cars, vans and trucks at entry points in half the time of the standard inspection mirror search. In an U.S. military field test, the UVIS was compared to standard inspection mirror searches. The result: as compared to standard mirror inspection search, the UVIS had a higher percentage of target acquisitions, which is the locating and preventing of explosives and other types of contraband from entering a protected facility, according to LEA.

In another unique integrated approach involving vehicles, Honeywell International of Minneapolis, has worked with Dallas-based AXCESS Inc. to retrofit identification technology for military base entry to provide personnel and vehicle access control while the vehicle is moving.

Links People, Moving Cars

For the U.S. Marine Corps, wireless identification credentials speed up base access for authorized personnel. The system at MCBH Camp H.M. Smith will allow real-time personnel and vehicle verification or rejection while the vehicle is moving. The system under evaluation by the Naval Surface Warfare Center as a common approach to reduce long wait times for base entry without sacrificing security.

As a vehicle approaches the base’s gate, an activation antenna automatically wakes up the identification credentials for both the driver and the car. At the same time, a new tri-band imaging camera from Honeywell does a facial scan remotely to determine if there is a match. A positive match means the system matched the database picture, which links the AXCESS tag data with the facial scan.

The identification aspect is based on patented radio frequency identification technology, sold as ActiveTag. The tags contain embedded batteries, which make them active.

Integrated security devices are also going underwater.

As one example, the Florida State University – Panama City Underwater Crime Scene Investigation (UCSI) program recently used a VideoRay (Exton, Penn.) remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) as part of the first water-based simulation to test Florida’s terrorism response systems. The VideoRay is part of “a new paradigm for scientific underwater investigations,” says Tom Kelley, who heads up the UCSI program.

Joerg Hess, an expert in remote sensing and underwater robotics for UCSI, exposed local, state and federal officials to the VideoRay as a first-response tool to aid in underwater terrorist attacks and crime scene investigations. Several video-equipped robots accompanied divers, criminologists, scientists and engineers, who tested protocols and technology for the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The VideoRay is an 8-pound submersible equipped with a video camera operated by one person from land or boat. The submersible is attached to a 500-foot long tether and control box, which allows a person to navigate it through the water and see through the sub’s video eye.

To locate possible targets for investigation, there’s scanning sonar mounted on the VideoRay, which can pick up the presence of something as small as a gun underwater, for example. The VideoRay captures video footage of the area and can even retrieve the gun with its manipulator claw. When divers are involved, the unit frees them from carrying videography equipment.

Other security developments center on water-related threats.

Guardian Solutions of Sarasota, Fla., for instance, has GuardianWATCH, an automated video surveillance system for real-time threat detection, tracking and responder notification. It will be used at Port Manatee, Florida’s fifth largest deepwater seaport that’s located on Tampa Bay. When fully deployed, the personal computer-based system will employee Port Manatee’s new and existing cameras to detect both landside and waterside threats.

The technology was originally developed to detect and track camouflaged snipers. In this application, it simultaneously controls all of a site’s video cameras, acquires and processes all video in real-time, detects and tracks intruders to determine security violations and notifies responders while recording the event.

“Communications on security breeches tend to be in the past tense, with reports on a suspected intruder providing only the ‘last known’ location,” notes Takeo Kanade, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Sniper-proof Detection and Tracking

GuardianWATCH’s detection and tracking algorithm suite was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully tested at the Army Sniper Training Facility, Fort Benning, Ga., according to Guardian Solutions.

Among advantages:

• Early Detection – It detects intruders at a distance four times greater than normal video motion detectors. Abnormal activity within only 12 pixels of a video image (typically 300,000 pixels) will trigger the system to further interrogate the target.

• Outdoor Detection – It detects intruders in environments – dense woods, blowing grasslands, and shorelines – where video motion detectors fail.

• Intruder Differentiation – It differentiates between small animals, humans, vehicles and vessels.

• Geo-Locating Intruders – Responders are given the intruder’s exact location.

• Multiple Intruder Tracking – Up to 25 intruders can be detected per camera.

Night and Inclement Weather Operations – The integrated system works with infrared and low light cameras.

Under current security systems, guards are left to manage large numbers of monitors. Abnormal activity can be missed, and the calling of first responders can be haphazard.

Real-time Video

Normally a facilities security plan would include a maximum-security fence, hundreds of surveillance cameras and often minimally trained staff. When a security breech arises, action and decision-making depends on the guards identifying intruders and making decisions on next steps.

A mixture of wireless and Internet Protocol is part of the “wow,” too.

Fort Sam Houston, one of the most historic active U.S. military installations, is pioneering use of wireless technology for both enhanced security and more successful battlefield operations.

Located near San Antonio, the facility has begun installing surveillance cameras along its five mile by three mile perimeter. The Internet Protocol (IP)-based cameras connect to guard shacks and the base’s main computer system using Sunnyvale, Calif.’s Proxim Corporation Tsunami high-speed fixed wireless equipment, specifically ten Tsunami point-to-multipoint base stations around a water tower that sits in the middle of the base. There are subscriber stations along the perimeter fence. The cameras send real-time images to a converter situated at the water tower’s base that ties into the Fort’s fiber network.

For the security system, Fort Sam looked at laser, fiber, CAT 5 extenders and the Tsunami fixed wireless equipment. The base chose the Proxim equipment because of its cost savings, power and reliability. By contrast, fiber, where it would have even been possible to lay on the historic site, would have been cost-prohibitive. To install one camera on the perimeter by trenching three miles of fiber would have cost $500,000 to $600,000.

SUBHEAD: Another WOW: Cold Fusion

No doubt: there’s more emphasis on higher level security of documents to better identify people or that are issued by governments.

Card printers now create cards with multi-technologies, holograms and special security printing.

Higher volume printing on numerous types of medium also calls for more security, too. One “wow” example comes from Israel and the Oniyah & Shapira Printing company, which produces documents for some of that country’s most important security and financial organizations.

In many applications, these documents must be difficult to counterfeit, individualized to end users and easy to verify electronically.

Oniyah has found use with card printing systems that employ cold flash toner fusion. The digital printing systems (Nipson America, Elk Grove Village, Ill.) produce variable barcodes, personalized printed data and variable MICR printing applications at high speeds. Moreover Nipson’s printing systems handle a broad range of substrates, enabling security applications that often require special papers, plastics, coatings and holograms.


Data integrity is highly important to financial and security documents. In fact, many government and financial institutions demand that documents are produced in a single print run. This ensures that financial information is delivered to the right customer and that security documents identify the correct individual.

For instance, Oniyah produces border passes for the Israeli government incorporating bar codes and MICR printing as well as variable data identifying the holder. Duplex printing makes the documents more difficult to counterfeit and easier to use in scanners.

“Security documentation is very important in Israel and there are many stringent requirements for us to produce these documents,” says Yair Redl, general manager of Oniyah & Shapira. “For instance, the border passes we produce require duplex MICR printing and we are required to print in only one print run. Nipson has the only solution available for printing duplex MICR in a single print run.”

Duplex printing on the Nipson 7000 is achieved using a single-engine duplex (SED) process. Paper on a roll is fed through the printer, printed on one side, then travels around a turn bar and printed on the other side. Information is verified using an optical reader.

Magnetic Ink

Character Recognition

Since Nipson uses a magnetographic printing process, its toner is MICR by default.

“No special changeover to print MICR is required as it is in many other digital printing systems,” says Redl. “This means that we can produce security documents incorporating a wide range of variable data to be read by human beings, bar code scanners and optical MICR readers all in one print run.”

Substrate Flexibility

Using varied substrates is another vital part of printing security and identification documents.

“Since (the printers) do not use heat to fuse toner, printing on plastic cards is not only possible, but also very efficient,” adds Redl. “In the case of social security cards, this allows us to incorporate the card into a paper document which is easily folded and mailed. The end user receives his card along with other personalized vital information.”

Many financial documents require security elements with elements such as foils and holograms. Some documents, such as gift coupons, even represent a cash equivalent, meaning that their printing quality including variable information is essential.

Oniyah produces gift certificates commonly given by employers during the holidays. Again, bar codes, MICR applications and personalized information are printed on paper over foil and holograms.

“These materials can be very difficult to personalize since they react badly to a heat fusion process,” says Redl. “Non-heat fusion digital printing offers us a tremendous advantage because we can incorporate so many elements into one document and personalize each one at the same time.”