Criminals beware. By the end of this year, law enforcement officers of TV's "What'cha gonna do" fame will have another tool to track you down. The Team Leader vest integrates digital video, still camera, voice recorder, barcode scanner, and specialized sensors into a rugged, weatherproof unit. This system, originally developed for the U.S. Department of Energy for immigration, captures and uses satellite images, terrain features, architectural drawings, site plans, as well as other information to investigate a crime scene. Incorporating an IBM-compatible personal computer, the vest serves as a portable library with access to maps, facility floor plans, data bases, reports, forms investigation protocols, and scientific technical and legal reference materials. Information gathered at the scenes can be disseminated instantly via fax, e-mail, or wireless LAN lines to a base station. Up to eight Team Leaders can exchange information and communications simultaneously. "If Team Leader were deployed at a murder site, for example, investigators could use the unit to track their routes and create a detailed map of the scene," says Dan Irwin, Team Leader project manager at Pacific Northwest Laboratory. "Upon discovery of the murder weapon, investigators could link the evidence to its geographical position with laser measurements and positional data, capture still and video images, and record detailed audio and text notes. The digitized evidence would be transferred immediately to an evidence custodian and could be recalled months or years later during a trial through its assigned barcode." FAX: (509) 375-2242.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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