Friday, July 31, 2009

Cyber-Security Begins It All

The Technology Alliance announces a new season of the Science & Technology Discovery Series beginning September 11th with a presentation by Dr. Yoshi Kohno, Assistant Professor in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

Dr. Kohno's research focuses on security and privacy of technologies such as wireless medical devices, electronic voting machines and RFID systems. He was named one of the world's top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review in 2007, and is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Dr. Kohno also has earned national recognition for his teachings on "the security mindset."

The Discovery Series meets on the second Friday of the month September through May at the Rainier Club in downtown Seattle. Visit them online to learn more, or contact Amy Bell Rousso at 206.389.7261 with questions about membership.
These other leading researchers as part of the 2009-2010 Discovery Series:
  • Alan Aderem, co-founder and director of Institute for Systems Biology, specializing in how our body's immune system responds to infectious disease, particularly global threats such as AIDS and swine flu;
  • Bruce Montgomery, senior vice president at Gilead Sciences, specializing in the treatment of potentially fatal respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and tuberculosis;
  • Sam Wasser, director of University of Washington's Center for Conservation Biology, a world-renowned pioneer of non-invasive wildlife forensics and monitoring methods; and more.

The Tacoma Tech Consortium is an associate member of the Technology Alliance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

100 Pixels Right Between the Eyes

MorphoTrak's facial recognition imagery was the focus for businesses at the Chamber's monthly Good Morning Tacoma.

Sheriff Paul Pastor talks with attendee about security.

The business group was most interested in what businesses could do to assist law enforcement in the identification and apprehension of criminals. In reviewing the progress and future of law enforcement, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the future of law enforcement is in information: information mining, database management, etc. He said Pierce County, the first to adopt the facial recognition system of MorphoTrak, is on the cutting edge and has solved 50 cases using this technology.

Presenter Robert Taylor, Senior Manager, Tacoma Business Group, MorphoTrak, Inc. said the facial recognition program is an investigative tool, not a positive identification. And, he provided courtesy of his company, a list of recommendations for capturing good quality face images for assisting criminal investigations:
  • Place a security camera where the subject is most likely to be looking. In many instances, the best placement may be at the entrance facing into the building as most robbers look directly at the exit when they are leaving the scene.
  • Place a camera at "head height," or slightly lower, about 5 feet from the floor.
  • Check to see if the resolution of the video will capture enough resolution. 70-100 pixels of data between the eyes is optimal.
  • Use "attention traps" to get subjects to look in the direction of a video surveillance camera.
  • If the business uses looping VHS tapes to record, replace the tapes frequently (every two weeks if possible, every month at minimum). (Think about the grainy images we've all seen on TV!)
  • If the business routinely asks for ID during a business transaction, consider taking a photocopy (at 200% zoom) or using a digital "card scanner" to capture a digital version of the ID.
Today's program was sponsored by Sonitrol, which is also sponsoring a brochure now in development by the Chamber to guide businesses for the most effective placement of surveillance and security cameras. When it's available, this blog will post the information.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fighting Crime with MFI

Tacoma's own Sagem Morpho, an industry leader with its multiple biometric technologies, will present at tomorrow's Good Morning Tacoma.

Sagem's specialized facial recognition application, called the Morpho Investigate (MFI), made national news coverage when the Pierce County Sheriff's department identified and apprehended a criminal from a photo taken at an automatic teller (ATM) machine. The MFI was also used to break up a local identity theft ring that had been stealing AMT cards and using them to withdraw money from the victims' bank accounts.

The breakfast will be held at La Quinta Inn & Suites, 1425 East 27th Street, Tacoma 98421. Cost is $20 prepaid today, but $25 for Chamber members who just walk in. Non members of the Chamber pay $35. Register online or with Janice Hutchins or at 253-627-2175.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tech Deck 2009

How do you know what you haven’t measured? No, this is not a lament about Robert McNamara.

Rather, it's that traditional challenge for Tacoma-Pierce County. How do you measure our local tech industry? Many years ago, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber developed a tech directory of local firms. It’s pre-bust; now's post-boom and it's too dated. And, the Chamber's blog here, had a blog author publish in 2008 her local tech directory . It’s still one of the most currently visited articles on the blog’s history.

The bestest current local tech directory is considered to be on the webpage for Thrice All American under "tech company listings".

Other communities (Wenatchee and Bellingham) have published tech directories, linked via the Technology Alliance webpage (and their own), although other communities have given up because of the administrative workload to keep a directory current.

Now, great news from Andrew Fry, Institute of Technology, UWT. He will be having a student catalog and describe the technology companies in the South Sound for the upcoming SST 2009.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

WTC Awards Over $360K

The Washington Technology Center awarded $376,454 to spur innovation and jobs. Five company-researcher projects have been awarded state funding for the development of innovative commercial technologies.

The $376,454 in state funding went to five researchers working with companies to develop commercially promising technologies. The company defines the research challenge and provides access to the commercial market. The university or nonprofit researcher executes the research with funding from both Washington Technology Center and the company partner. The companies expect commercial adoption of their technologies to create 175 new jobs in Washington during the next five years.

The company partners are: Data Data, of Vancouver; Healionics, of Redmond; Modumetal, of Seattle; Paine Electronics, of East Wenatchee; and Simulab, of Seattle. Winning proposals from the University of Washington and Washington State University Vancouver described innovation in computer systems and microelectronics, advanced materials and manufacturing, and biotechnology and biomedical devices.
Washington Technology Center competitively awards around $1 million in state funding annually. Applications for the next funding round are due to the Washington Technology Center October 22, 2009.