Past Issues of Government Technology

Product News

Product News

by / October 31, 1997 0
Firearms Simulation
Each day, law-enforcement officers must make instantaneous decisions on life-and-death situations. To help officers train for such a difficult task, Florida's Indian River County Sheriff's Department is using Range 2000, a computer/digital video simulation system.

A video projection -- controlled by a trainer -- creates realistic scenarios that confront the officers. The action of the video images is manipulated by the trainer based on what action the officers take. Scenarios provide either a "give up," "escalate" or "re-escalate" situation.

For the training, a small laser is installed on the officer's weapon. The system also allows officers to train in the use of pepper spray.

Law enforcement agencies can customize their own scenarios to serve their needs.

The system was originally designed for military combat training.

For additional information, contact IES, 8031 N. Academy Blvd., #322, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Call Creg Otte at 719/481-2549.

Also contact Indian River County Sheriff's Department. Call Pete Kersey at 561/569-6700 x405.
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Nonstop Weigh Station
To reduce traffic congestion, accelerate delivery, reduce in-line idling and waste of fuel and time, PrePass allows trucks to be weighed and checked for their state-required safety regulations as they approach a weigh station at highway speed. Thirty-two sites throughout the nation currently use PrePass.

PrePass weigh stations utilize an automatic vehicle classification (AVC) system, employing weigh-in-motion (WIM) sensors and automatic vehicle identification (AVI) antennas. As a truck passes over the WIM sensors, the distance between axles is measured and the weight of each axle or combination of axles is recorded and used to calculate the truck's total gross weight. The in-cab transponder identifies the truck to the weigh-station computer.

After the truck is weighed and credentials are verified, a vehicle-to-road communications (VRC) antenna at the site communicates bypass status to the driver via the in-cab transponder. The in-cab transponder is installed approximately two inches to the right from the center of the windshield and three inches from the top. Bypass status to the driver is communicated via a green or red light and audio signal. By watching the in-cab transponder, a driver knows immediately whether to bypass or pull into a weigh station.

A monthly statement is mailed to the drivers/couriers, providing
date, time, recorded weight and other statistics.

Only the safest carriers can subscribe to PrePass.

For additional information, contact PrePass, 881 Martin Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050-2903. 800/773-7277..
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Safe Approach
To ensure a precision approach and a safe landing, Air China will equip 10 of its Boeing 777 aircraft with the Collins Series 900 Multiple-Mode Receivers (MMR).

MMR allows for the integration of an Instrument Landing System (ILS), a Microwave Landing System (MLS) or a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS), allowing airlines to operate in any instrument flight environment. Both ILS and GPS support two or more landing systems standards.

For additional information, contact Collins Commercial Avionics, Rockwell International Corporation, 400 Collins Road NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52498. Call Thomas Walsh at 319/295-8485.
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Is It Windy?
The Kestrel Pocket Wind Meter allows users to accurately measure wind speeds between 0.7mph and 89mph.

Wind speed can be converted into a variety of units -- knots, meters per second, kilometers per hour, miles per hour and feet per minute -- to serve a variety of applications, such as fire fighting, law enforcement and Coast Guard operations.

It features a liquid-crystal display and has three operating modes: wind speed, average wind speed and maximum wind speed. Two buttons control every function. An auto shutdown feature activates 30 minutes after the last key entry.

The meter is waterproof and shock resistant. It weighs 1.5 ounces and is powered by a replaceable coin cell with a typical life of 400 hours.

For additional information, contact Nielsen-Kellerman Co., 104 West 15th Street, Chester, PA 19013. Call 800/784-4221.
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Border Detection
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed two new technologies that give border-enforcement personnel powerful tools to detect smuggling.

* The Material Identification System allows customs personnel to identify metals and determine material being declared. Various metals can be similar in appearance, and shipments of metals are sometimes labeled fraudulently to avoid a higher duty. Metals involved in the making of nuclear weapons can also be detected.

The system consists of a hand-held probe connected to a laptop computer with a plug-in instrument card. As the probe is passed over a piece of metal, the instrument card measures the flow of electrical current through the metal. Information gathered through this process is used by the computer for comparison against an extensive U.S. Customs database.

* The Ultrasonic Pulse Echo Instrument allows border personnel to determine the liquid content of a sealed container. It uses ultrasound technology originally developed to inspect chemical-weapon stockpiles in Iraq.

The sensor transmits ultrasonic pulses and detects return echoes. The return echoes bouncing off the other side of the container are analyzed with time-of-flight and amplitude-decay data to identify the characteristics of the contents and compare those features against information in the data library. The instrument houses a computer and is linked to a data library and sensor head.

The system can also determine how full the container is, or whether there are cavities, cracks or hidden packages within the container that might hold drugs or other smuggled goods.

Currently, both systems are in use at the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site. U.S. Customs is using the Material Identification System. The U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency recently ordered 10 sets of the equipment for use at borders in Russia and other new republics in Eastern Europe.

For further information, contact Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, Richland, WA 99352. Call Tim Ledbetter at 509/375-5953.
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Virtual Postage
The U.S. Postal Service is requiring that all franking machines operate digitally by the year 2004. Palm Postage is a digital, hand-held franking device that issues stamps for every national post office and major shipping company.

It provides multiple-carrier postage from a central location over networks such as the Internet, telephone, or LAN networks. It also eliminates the need for accounts with various shipping companies by consolidating billing for all providers in a single account.

The unit -- still in beta version -- uses an AC adapter or batteries.

For additional information, contact POSTALelectronics, 30-34 Okoner Parkway, Livingston, NJ 07039. Call 201/740-9283.

AntiVirus Software
Many state and local government employees are using the Internet and other online services at home, and risking one of the most common security threats -- computer viruses.

Viruses are programs written by individual programmers. Some of these programs are written unintentionally, but many are written to infect other computers. Viruses enter a computer by attaching themselves to downloaded files or programs either from a network -- Internet, intranet, LAN, etc. -- or a removable disk.

The course of action a virus might take depends on its type. Some are less harmful and cause only minor problems, such as repetitive crashes. Some are more harmful and can wipe out a hard drive completely.

How to Avoid
and Fight Them

* Always eject diskettes before turning off your computer.

* Always backup your files.

* Use an antivirus program.

If you already have an old antivirus program, remember that antivirus software is only as good as its last update. New forms of viruses are created everyday.

Government Technology tested two antivirus programs -- SAM by Symantec and Virex by DataWatch. Both were installed without incident with a simple point and click. They both check and eliminate viruses from Internet downloads, disks, e-mails, shared files and networks.

Both programs provide easy online updating.

For further information contact, SAM. Version 4.5. Symantec Corporation, 10201 Torre Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014. Call 541/334-6054. Also contact Virex. DataWatch Corporation, 234 Ballardvale Street, Willmington, MA 01887. Call 508/988-9700.


Easy Back Up
Connect a SyJet 1.5GB to your PC or Mac and never worry about running out of storage when copying files of any type on a removable disk.

A 3.5-inch removable cartridge provides 1.5 gigabytes of storage capacity -- about the same capacity as 1071 standard 3.5-inch floppies or two CD-ROMs.

It's faster than many hard drives, with a speed 3-5 times faster than a CD-ROM drive (seek time is less than 12 milliseconds). Government Technology reporters were impressed with how fast it copied large files -- 1300 files (71MB) were backed up in 3 minutes and 35 seconds on a Power Mac 7200/120.

It has an exclusive door seal that, according to Syquest Technologies, reduces the risk of contamination. The disk is easily inserted and removed into the drive, even when the power is off. To save energy, SyJet automatically drops into sleep mode if not used for a specific amount of time, and its rugged construction makes it portable.

SyJet weighs less than 24 ounces, the disks weigh less than 3 ounces, and the drive can be positioned in a horizontal or vertical position to save space.

For additional information, contact SyQuest Technologies Inc., 47071 Rayside Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538. Call 800/245-2278


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