Draper Labs awarded $2.6 million contract by DHS

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, has received a one-year, $2.6 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate to investigate various off-body sensors and sensor systems capable of providing indicators of mal-intent based on physiological respiratory and cardiac responses at various distances in screening lines.

The contract comes under the Future Attribute Screening Technologies (FAST) and will support research and development of the FAST Mobile Module (FAST M2) Screening Laboratory facility. The mobile facility will be deployable at air, land and sea ports as well as special security events and access control for critical infrastructure, DHS S&T tells TR2 in response to questions.

"FAST M2, a prototypical mobile suite, will be used for primary screening at security checkpoints, providing a transportable facility for the development, integration and implementation of human centered/behavioral screening technology," DHS says. "While existing screening technologies--such as biometrics--offer the potential to identify known terrorists, FAST technologies focus strictly on real-time psycho physiological/behavioral patterns in an attempt to prevent the unknown terrorist from gaining successful access to his or her desired location. This will be accomplished through the use of mobile, real-time, multi-modal behavioral and physiological sensing technologies that provide culturally neutral indicators of mal-intent."

Draper Labs, a non-profit corporation, declined to comment regarding the contract.

The award to Draper Labs follows two others that DHS has made under the FAST program, which was initiated last summer (TR2, Feb. 7 and July 25, 2007).

Battelle Memorial Institute received a FAST M2 contract in FY '07 to fabricate a portable research and test facility based on a reconfigurable, modular design for behavioral screening demonstrations and as a potential screening facility for operational use. The facility is slated for deliver later this year.

The Navy Research Laboratory is also working on behavioral screening technology, what DHS calls "A real-time, multimodal, culturally neutral and non- invasive hostile intent detection prototype (behavioral, physiological, auditory) to identify unknown or potential threat terrorists."

Under the FAST program DHS is hoping to simplify the screening process by exploiting new advances in behavioral and human centered screening techniques.