For 22 years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has run the Energy-Related Inventions Program (ERIP). Now, the Department of Energy has taken complete charge of ERIP and made it a part of a newly created Inventions and Innovations Program. Under ERIP, the standards agency got first crack at assessing new technologies and ideas submitted by businesses and individual inventors hoping to get government support. Now the Energy Department holds all stages of approval. NIST processed 33,430 requests for evaluations before it stopped taking them last August. Of these, 17,482 were rejected before evaluation. Inventors interested in the new program should access the World Wide Web site at www.oit.doe.gov/ and click on "Inventions and Innovations" under the heading "Technology Access."
Applied Research Associates has delivered several of its Pointman Tactical Robots to the CBP in Tucson, which the agency is using to explore drainage tunnels that run between Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Mexico. These tunnels are out of sight from border surveillance and are increasingly being used for illegal activity.