Smartphones Enhanced with Nanotube Hazmat Detectors Help Preparedness

Imagine that a terrorist group has just released a toxic agent into the air we breathe. Normally it wouldn’t be until afterwards that the cause was discovered, and future security efforts would be geared to try and stop such attacks from happening again. Those affected by such an attack would have no way of knowing until it was too late. That might all be about to change.

A new technology developed by NASA, in conjunction with Synkera Technologies, would allow smartphones to be outfitted with special nanotube sensor technology that would literally detect chemicals in the air. Called Cell-All, the technology could be issued to first responders to help them assess a situation and best develop a plan of action to deal with a chemical spill, a gas leak, or even an orchestrated terrorist attack, among other uses.

Once any personal information is removed from the data, the information would be sent to analysts at situational readiness company NC4, which operates monitoring centers for government and corporate clients, and are trained to assess incidents quickly, make any correlations with real-time information, and notify first responders in the area so the situation can be dealt with quickly and effectively.

Some areas where this new technology could be effective include:

  • Emergency and disaster preparedness: Individuals could be notified almost immediately in the case of higher-than usual levels of toxic chemicals nearby. The smartphone would notify the individual so that appropriate action could be taken.
  • This same setup would also notify first responders, taking some of the burden off the 911 system.
  • Workplace incidents could be reduced in the private sector, or in large gathering places such as stadiums. This would allow the pro-active evacuation in cases of terror attacks or chemical spills.
  • State and federal emergency management, in addition to national security agencies, would be better able to prepare with the enhanced real-time data such technology provides.

For more information about the new NASA technology, visit:

http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/24920