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DHS Laboratory NUSTL Receives Patent for Remote Alarm

Both the ramp and the personal protective equipment worn by hazmat personnel reduce the audibility of alarm sounds from the PRD.

Two inventors from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T’s) National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) were awarded a patent for new emergency responder technology. Electronics engineer Norman Chiu and physicist Paul Goldhagen were granted U.S. Patent 11,140,476 B1 for their invention of the “Remote Audible Alarm Accessory for Detection Instruments with Audio Outputs.”

“This is an incredible achievement that was made possible by Norman and Paul’s dedication to the first responder mission,” said NUSTL deputy director Steve Vargas. “I commend their innovation and intellect in creating and building their invention, and their perseverance and patience in seeing through the patent application process.”

In the event of a radiological or nuclear incident, emergency response agencies and HAZMAT teams would set up community reception centers to screen members of the public for potential exposure to radioactive contamination. A personal radiation detector (PRD) would be placed beneath an entry ramp to detect radioactivity on the shoes of people being pre-screened before entering the main screening area. However, both the ramp and the personal protective equipment worn by hazmat personnel reduce the audibility of alarm sounds from the PRD.

Affectionately called the “Chiubox” among NUSTL staff, the new device provides a distinct alarm that is also louder than standard PRDs and other devices. Additionally, the remote alarm box does not require any batteries nor external power and can be stored indefinitely without maintenance, ensuring that the device is immediately ready for use in an emergency.

Chiu remarked to colleagues, “It is my pleasure to work with all of you on this, and I’m grateful to have been able to contribute to the efforts of the first responders.” Goldhagen added, “Norman beautifully described how I feel about helping get the patent for his invention.”

Chiu and Goldhagen join fellow NUSTL patent holders, physicist Gladys Klemic and mechanical engineer Celia Murtagh, who invented a very thin, wearable radiation dosimeter designed for emergency responders.

For more information about NUSTL and its mission as the only national laboratory dedicated to serving the nation’s first responders, visit www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/national-urban-security-technology-laboratory

Read more at DHS S&T

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