Sensor System to Protect Chemical Plants Against Terrorism

Technest Holdings says its upcoming sensor system enables response to DHS Secretary Chertoff's call for new protective measures for 15,000 U.S. chemical facilities.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Technest Holdings Inc.'s wholly owned subsidiary, EOIR Technologies Inc., has developed a new remote sensing device named the Automated Adaptive Chemical Examination System (AACES). The AACES is expected to be able to provide highly advanced capabilities to detect and classify a very broad range of chemicals which could be released into the air during a terrorist attack against any one of the 15,000 chemical facilities located in the United States. The AACES is being designed and tested under a Phase 2 SBIR funded by the US Army. Originally intended for use in military applications it can provide a powerful perimeter security capability for the protection of chemical facilities against terrorist attacks.

With government concerns mounting DHS Secretary Chertoff last week stated at a forum hosted by the chemical industry that the US Congress needs to quickly give his department regulatory authority to bolster security at chemical facilities that are attractive targets for terrorists. Chertoff said he envisioned performance standards, set by the Department of Homeland Security, for chemical companies to follow. Congress is considering legislation for federal regulation of the nation's 15,000 privately operated chemical facilities, which counter-terror experts have warned are at the top of the list of likely terror targets. Congressional investigators have revealed spotty results in how well the chemical industry is prepared to respond in the event of an attack. The leading bill, by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., would give Homeland Security authority to shut down plants that fail to submit acceptable security plans.

The AACES can provide break thru security capabilities. The AACES chemical detection sensor and controls can be left unattended in an area to monitor general air quality, or used to detect dangerous chemicals spread intentionally to harm citizens. This unique standoff chemical detection and identification system does not need to come in contact with chemicals to detect and identify them. It can make assessments from a remote location, allowing the EOIR-developed sensor to scan a much larger area than alternative systems that operate by taking a sample of the contaminated air. This helps to avoid system contamination, and also enables the system to monitor continuously to achieve persistent surveillance. The AACES system consists of a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) sensor and digital signal processing/computing electronics. It is designed to operate independently, the system has a pan and tilt operation, allowing it to automatically scan a region or concentrate on a specific area without the need for manual intervention. When in scan mode, the sensor pans a predetermined area until it detects a chemical signal that requires further investigation. At that point, it hones in on that area and focuses the sensor to identify the chemical signal. The system utilizing proprietary algorithms then sorts through a preexisting chemical library to identify the specific chemical detected, and sends a warning message to remote devices via wireless data links.

Field testing of the device has produced very good results to date and the company believes that the potential market for this device to protect chemical facilities is significant.

About Technest Holdings, Inc.
Technest Holdings, Inc. is a provider of: advanced remote sensor systems, chemical detectors, intelligent surveillance and advanced 3D imaging technology solutions to the defense and homeland security marketplaces. Technest is committed to setting next-generation standards in defense and security through the provision of innovative emerging technologies and expert services. Technest's solutions support military, law enforcement and homeland security personnel. Through strategic development, Technest focuses on the creation of dual-use technology and products with applications in both the defense market and civilian homeland security and law enforcement fields.

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