Firms showcase products aimed at boosting border security

With some technology seemingly straight out of a summer blockbuster movie, companies from across the country showcased some brand new products this week that they hope will increase the security of America’s borders and improve trade.

Products and technology premiering at the Border Security Expo, held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Phoenix Convention Center, included body cameras that can be used at the border.

Utility Inc. showed off its second-generation BodyWorn cameras, which include near-real-time video and audio capture and GPS technology.

“It’s unique and different from the other systems that are out there on the market since it provides real-time triggers for video recording,” said Anthony Baldone, a company spokesman. “Dispatch can create a hot zone where as soon as a body camera enters that parameter it will turn on and start recording.”

With police use of body cameras generating headlines of late, Utility sees a need for them along the border as well.

“There are some real-world use cases for that with the different sensors and things they have out there they could go in and build those action zones and essentially as a Border Patrol agent enters those action zones the cameras would turn on automatically,” Baldone said.

MorphoTrak displayed a biometric system that allows customs workers at airports to scan passports, check fingerprints and obtain retinal scans to confirm a person’s identity. The technology scans fingerprints when a person hold his or her fingers above it.

“This is pretty revolutionary,” said Keith Raderschadt, the company’s senior manager of business development. “There is no other competitor like it that I know of at the moment.”

MorphoTrak also showed off a system called Argus that taps into closed-circuit surveillance cameras and uses facial recognition that tap into watch lists created by law enforcement.

GuardBot demonstrated a robotic ball that can carry cameras and other sensors on land and water, a technology it says can extend the reach of law enforcement along the border.

“One of the things that we tested for Border Patrol, if you put 10, 20 maybe 30 of these, they can be rolling back and forth patrolling the border and then automatically they recharge and come back out of the swarm,” said Philippe Vibien, junior engineer at GuardBot.

Design Sciences is offering a scanner it says can reduce the time needed to search trailers at border checkpoints from eight to two minutes. That’s a significant difference with hundreds of trailers passing through ports of entry daily.

Tony Crego, business development support specialist with Design Sciences, said the benefits include reducing the chance that produce will spoil due to long wait times at border checkpoints.

“We look for security threats like shielded nuclear material, and we also look for contraband such as cigarettes or alcohol that they might be being smuggled,” he said. “Explosive threats, human trafficking and any other materials of interest.”