The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced a program to develop wearable technologies, similar to smartwatches, that can detect nuclear bomb threats and other radioactive material. The DHS plans to distribute the "Human Portable Tripwire" (HPT) device to Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and Transportation Security Administration personnel.
In a , director of the DHS's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Huban Gowadia wrote:
"This device has the capability to identify the source of radiation and allow personnel to take appropriate action… These devices are a critical tool for personnel who operate in the maritime environment, at land and sea ports of entry, and within the United States."
The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office awarded a $24 million contract in September to Oregon-based technology firm FLIR Systems to develop and manufacture the HPT devices, according to . Not much detail about FLIR's tech is currently available, only that it must be "capable of detecting and identifying radiation/nuclear threats, storing the identification results, and communicating those results in real-time (wired and/or wireless)."
The HPT wearable devices are part of a larger effort by the federal government to create wearable tech. For example, the Department of Defense recently , an organization that is working on technologies such as smart bandages and jet-engine monitoring systems. Also, Customs and Border Protection is looking into wearables that could track officers' heart rates and other vital signs, and alert help if they are injured or get into trouble.