Skip the navigation

Super Bowl security to use sensor fusion to fight WMD threats

The Michigan National Guard will be field testing devices for the U.S. Army

By Todd R. Weiss
February 2, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - As some 65,000 football fans gather at Ford Field in Detroit Sunday for this year's Super Bowl XL, Michigan National Guard troops will be patrolling the stadium and nearby neighborhoods with handheld computers and special sensors tied together in a uniform system to fight terrorist threats.
Similar systems have been used separately in the past to combat terrorism, but the one in place for this year's game will for the first time allow security officials to use a single interface, one wireless network and a variety of related equipment to monitor potential threats, providing real-time data wirelessly to all security personnel.
"The big advantage here is that it uses Internet protocols, so [the incoming data] can be loaded into secure or classified Web sites, so personnel up to thousands of miles away can get readings in real time," said Lt.Col. Clark Hinga of the Michigan National Guard's 51st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team.
In the past, National Guard units or other security personnel monitored sensors individually for chemical, biological or radiological threats, which required them to constantly update one another by radio, he said. Now, using sensor fusion technology from Distributed Instruments LLC in Sterling Heights, Mich., security officials at the Super Bowl can monitor a constant flow of data from multiple sensors in one centralized command center.
Some sensors will be mounted in fixed positions, while others will be carried by National Guard personnel as they move around the stadium during the event with handheld computers.
The ability to have a mix of strategically-placed fixed sensors and mobile sensors will improve the security coverage, he said.
"It will allow us to do a better job of placing the remote monitors," Hinga said. "This way, I can have more monitors than people, as well as it being a more low-key operation to do the monitoring. We want to protect the public without scaring them."
The sensor fusion technology is being used by the Michigan National Guard as a field test for the U.S. Army's Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), which is testing the technology to find ways to link sensors, military personnel, vehicles and other equipment using high-speed wireless networks for instant and reliable communications, Hinga said.
The handhelds being carried by National Guard personnel at the game will send readings back to a base station without user intervention. If any readings are abnormal, the base station can communicate with the soldiers by radio and have them investigate further, Hinga said. "We're field testing the beta version," he said. The devices can



Our Commenting Policies