I Spy: 5 Tech Tools Getting CIA Money

Along with investments in big data and cloud computing, In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of U.S. intelligence agencies, also lent support to innovations like quantum computing and wearable video cameras.

by / November 27, 2012
Photo courtesy of Mersive.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies, announced its 2012 investment portfolio, composed of 17 technologies. Not surprisingly, the list includes cloud computing, big data management systems and wireless broadband. But Information Week reported that several other innovations supported by In-Q-Tel may also play key roles in future field surveillance and other intelligence gathering activities.

Here are some of the technologies In-Q-Tel invested in this year.

  • Quantum Computing: In-Q-Tel teamed up with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to support the development of quantum computers by D-Wave Systems. Quantum computers represent data differently than traditional digital computers, with significant potential for national security agencies involved in cryptanalysis.
  • Biological Threat Detection: Investment in OpGen is intended to help fund research that will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate to more effectively detect biological threats to public health.
  • Advanced Imaging: An agreement with SiOnyx will facilitate the marketability of advanced imaging technologies using the company’s “black silicon” image sensors. The sensors have implications for vehicle safety as well as night vision goggles often used in surveillance.
  • Wearable Video Cameras: Silicon Valley startup Looxcie offers a wireless wearable device resembling a Bluetooth earpiece that offers live stream video capabilities. In-Q-Tel is partnering with the company to develop a version of the device for the DHS.
  • High Resolution Screens: Massive, “ultra high-resolution” displays developed by Mersive adorn the walls of the White House’s situation room, Department of Defense facilities and more. An injection of funds from In-Q-Tel will go toward displays designed specifically for the intelligence community.

Photo: Courtesy of Mersive.