Image Insight Inc. (I3) has developed a low-cost security network that uses smartphones and surveillance cameras to detect radiation. The motivation for the company originated during the aftermath of 9/11. After reading of radiological threats, Eric Rubenstein wondered “as an astronomer, how can I help prevent an attack?”. After completing ten years at the Yale University Astronomy Department, and right before joining Advanced Fuel Research (AFR) to work on alternative energy, he had an idea to use cameras in smartphones and surveillance cameras to detect radiation. The idea attracted funding by U.S. defense and security agencies, helping a research project grow into a spinoff company. AFR’s CEO Peter Solomon became CEO of I3, Eric became president and brought on his former Yale colleague Dr. Gordon Drukier as a technical cofounder.
I3’s software, GammaPix™, provides maps in the form of a Common Operating Picture (COP), a visualization of temporal and spatial information that helps decision makers ensure public safety. From a security officer who has tested the system comes a quote that has become the company’s mission statement: “extract extraordinary capability from ordinary devices.” By mapping radiation measurements taken by cellphone and video cameras equipped with GammaPix apps, and through thorough vetting and analyses, the network promotes data from public devices to privileged information. A K-9 bomb disposal unit of the NYPD, a major sports stadium, a Las Vegas convention center, and metros, including the Washington D.C. Metro all utilize the GammaPix network.
I3 is working with partners to integrate and enhance their technologies to address evolving threats. Through partnerships with curated best in class sensor makers, I3 intends to expand the network to detect an array of threat materials: explosives, chemicals, and biologics. I3 has proven “secure pipes” and a “secure moat,” (multi-layer security implementations that prevent intruders from hacking the network through a single device) as well as C2 (Command and Control) capabilities. By leveraging these capabilities, I3’s partners can focus their resources on improving the price performance of their sensors in the field. Examples of I3’s partners include SensIT Ventures, Inc., a company that is developing miniature chemical sensors based on the work of Professor Cristina Davis. Another company Geoweb3D that specializes in high end geospatial visualization is working with I3 to provide not only the latitude/longitude coordinates, but also the z dimension, altitude, of radiation threats.
Written by: Vivian Chen