Popular Science: A Buoy-Based Security System

About 40 percent of U.S. trade—some $1.4 trillion a year—passes through the country’s 360 ports and waterways. (The rest arrives via truck, rail or plane.) And despite increased protection since 9/11, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says that these ports remain especially vulnerable to attack from small vessels carrying improvised explosive devices, including radioactive dirty bombs.

The problem is that today’s radar and video-based systems have trouble accurately tracking small boats. Intellicheck Mobilisa, a wireless-technology firm in Port Townsend, Washington, is trying to address this vulnerability with the first buoy system that can communicate in real time to the shore.

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