Doug Bedell — February 11, 2013, 10:55 am

Expectations of Border Sensor Technology

What are security sensors capable of sensing, how fine-grained might they be? That question arises with the disappointing news that the U.S. government’s plan to deploy improved electronic sensors along the nation’s border with Mexico have been delayed for much of 2013, at least.  The problem, Wired magazine reports, is not only that available sensors are technically incompatible with other border instrumentation – they may not have sharp enough “eyes”.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) wants the replacement sensors “to spot vehicles, and tell different vehicles apart from each other, like in spotting whether a vehicle is a truck or actually a motorcycle,” Wired notes. “Unlike most conventional ground sensors, which rely largely on acoustic and seismic measurements, the (new) sensors would ‘incorporate a variety of external detectors and/or probes, such as, but not limited to seismic, magnetic, acoustic, IR imager, [and] radar,’ the solicitation noted at the time.”

“Most of the 12,800 sensors currently used along the border,” Wired adds, “aren’t as advanced.”  So here’s another example of technology, having shown what tech can do, leads to continually heightened expectations. The safety of CBP officers hinges in part on what sensors lead them to expect to find when they alarm.

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