Integrated Defense & Security Systems (IDSS) on Thursday won the Department of Homeland Security’s top prize in a competition for new non-intrusive imaging solutions to detect opioids such as fentanyl in international mail shipments.
IDSS, a small company that is also competing for Transportation Security Administration contracts to bring computed tomography (CT)-based carry-on baggage scanners to aviation security checkpoints, won $500,000. One Resonance, the runner up, won $250,000 for its quadrupole resonance technology.
IDSS’ DETECT 1000 system automatically identifies anomalies in the X-ray images of mail shipments and One Resonance’s QROD scanner uses radio-frequency signals to search for specific material and alarms when a signal associated with an illegal substance is detected.
Fentanyl, most of it coming from China via international mail shipments, is responsible for a new wave of drug addition and related deaths in the U.S.
“The influx of illicit drugs is one of the nation’s greatest threats,” William Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for Science and Technology, said in a statement. “Through this combined effort to address the trafficking of opioids, S&T, our federal partners, and the private sector have produced technology solutions that will better protect the American people from the effects of this devastating crisis.”
Earlier this year, DHS, the White House and U.S. Postal Inspection Service selected eight finalists and awarded them $100,000 each to advance to the next stage of the detection challenge where they submitted prototypes for live testing at the DHS S&T Transportation Security Laboratory.