“Potted” video can include a “brick” that is epoxy encapsulated, making it tough enough to hold up in severe environments ranging from deep sea to aerospace.

Dielectrics, mesh networks and potted video – what the heck is happening on the technology side of the security industry? Or is it just a case of old folks like me, used to Beatles songs, running into a hip hop music world?

Before I get out my journalistic walker out, behind some of these new buzz words are solutions with great current and future promise.

Dielectric low-level microwaves are at the heart of a new people scanning platform that’s caught the eye of Homeland Security in an effort to strike a balance between effective body scanning and private invasion.

The People Portal II (PPII) is the brain child of Tex Yukl, technology inventor of Seattle-based EMIT Technologies LLC. This full body scanning portal displays a non-descript wireframe body image which accommodates even the most modest travelers, while helping security personnel locate weapons, drugs and other concealed contraband in a matter of seconds.

The handheld scanner came to the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration by routine “bird dogging.” Many large organizations – private and government – have “bird dogs” that seek new ways to solve complex problems. They find them through patent searches and network relationships.

The low energy microwaves emitted by the system during operation are less than that of overhead fluorescent lights. Unlike other scanning technologies (X-ray and metal detectors), PPII shows operators only the location of objects that are neither living nor part of clothing. “Our unique dielectric process allows us to measure the electromagnetic energy movement through materials,” said Yukl. “This gives us the data to accurately detect and locate potential threats and eventually categorize the material make up, however, it does not attempt to identify what those objects are.”

Then there’s potted video.

Dielectric low-level microwaves are at the heart of a new people scanning platform that’s caught the eye of Homeland Security.

Security systems designers, integrators and installers recognize the added reliability of embedded or “potted” video and audio switches and distribution amplifiers used by broadcast, military and aerospace industries to clean up noise, while operating in harsh environments. But even today’s more sophisticated security surveillance systems are often plagued by reliability problems. In some ways, more complex video systems are susceptible to signal and other dependability problems simply because they are multifaceted.

Systems integrators may know what cameras and recorders to use in a given situation, but they also need to consider how subcomponents could play a critical role under certain conditions.

“You never know what you’re going to run into when you get into integrating video systems into aircraft,” says Chuck Blalock, chief engineer for L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace. One of Blalock’s favorite solutions to multiple video inputs is a 4-channel VDA (video distribution amplifier) from VAC of Boulder, Colo. This “brick” is epoxy encapsulated, making it tough enough to hold up in severe environments ranging from deep sea to aerospace. One of the most dramatic examples of stability achieved from this embedded, or “potted,” technology is the use of the VAC DA brick on A-10 Thunderbolt military aircraft behind a jarring 30mm nose-mounted cannon that fires at a blistering rate of up to 4,200 rounds per minute.

Look for “potted” video to seep into corporate security as has mesh networks.

Mesh networking is a way to route data, voice and instructions between nodes. It allows for continuous connections and reconfiguration around broken or blocked paths by “hopping” from node to node until the destination is reached. A mesh network whose nodes are all connected to each other is a fully connected network. Mesh networks differ from other networks in that the component parts can all connect to each other via multiple hops, and they generally are not mobile. Mesh networks are self-healing: The network can still operate even when a node breaks down or a connection goes bad. As a result, a very reliable network is formed.

A mesh pioneer is Viscount of Burnaby, British Columbia. Earlier this year, it installed what it calls MESH at a large multi-building campus and gated complex in Los Angeles. The equipment order shipped for the first phase was in excess of $50,000. The system includes MESH panels, servers, RFID readers and long range vehicular readers networked across the multi-acre site. “This project was technically very sophisticated and the initial equipment has been successfully installed. Our integrator did a fantastic job in an environment that traditional systems could not handle,” noted Stephen Pineau, CEO of Viscount. Since MESH is unique, such reference projects are very valuable.”

Zalud’s Blog on the Security Magazine Web site – securitymagazine.com – covers new technologies on a weekly basis. Check it out. The Web site also boasts a daily news service through a partnership with LexisNexis, which posts new tech news, too.