CALSEC and Hitachi to Collaborate

IRVINE, CA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- California Science & Engineering Corp., dba CALSEC of Irvine, CA, has agreed with Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., to jointly develop and market Digital Dog Nose (DDN), the next generation of atometers—the equipment for noninvasive online chemical analysis of unknown materials—as a continuation of CALSEC's research and development effort that began in 2000. Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., will be in charge of development of sensors, one of the core components of DDN. The new proprietary design of DDN, coupled to the sensors, is projected to offer a most powerful tool in its class for detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It is tailored for global deployment at airports, harbor facilities, and entry checkpoints.

"We strongly believe that integration of Hitachi's long-proven sensor technology and CALSEC's DDN may generate new business opportunities," said Mr. Shutoku Watanabe, President of Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd.

There is a significant demand for chemically specific standoff detection of explosives. Present systems are chemically blind and suffer from high false alarms.

"A dog nose has 100 million neurons, while the functional capacity of DDN is equivalent to nearly a billion neurons. Moreover, DDN can 'smell' explosives through 2 cm of steel," said Dr. Bogdan Maglich, CALSEC's Chief Technology Officer.

In atometry technique, unknown objects are illuminated with rays of neutrons, which, in turn, remotely decode chemical formulas of the objects from the gamma rays emitted by same. First-generation atometers were developed at a cost of $42 million in the period from 2000 to 2005, under DOD and private funding. The technology proved to be the only one capable of chemical identification of explosives, but it was time consuming, required cryogenic cooling, and weighty radiation shielding, which rendered it impractical. DDN is designed to be 10 times (1000%) faster and more precise compared with earlier models, and with the addition of a sensor developed by Hitachi Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd., is projected to enable operations at ambient temperature. DDN uses a novel technique for neutron illumination, "Soft-Fast Neutrons," that is expected to emit 100 times lower doses than that allowed by radiation safety standards of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which are accepted as a global standard.

"We feel one of the best memorials to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy would be to provide the world with the best security device that would help prevent a repeat of the tragedy in the future. Upon successful acceptance tests of DDN's prototype, a manufacturing and marketing company will be incorporated in the United States," said Mr. John A. Teberg, CALSEC's President and CEO.

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