SmartBadge techs up U.S. police

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SmartBadge techs up U.S. police

A newly-designed law enforcement gadget aims to improve the safety of U.S. officers by incorporating technology into a next-generation police badge.

The “SmartBadge” combines a camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and an officer’s radio into a single unit.

If supported by facial recognition technology and software to scan driver’s licenses, the device will also allow officers to instantly access information from law enforcement databases.

Described by co-designer Louis Martinelli as “the iPhone meets public safety”, the SmartBadge is expected to appeal to U.S. law enforcement agencies through its use of low-cost commodity technologies that operate within budget constraints.

Martinelli is working with business partner, Sarah DiNovo, and the Albany, New York, police department to optimise communication between the SmartBadge and existing police station dispatcher systems.

Both DiNovo and Martinelli are dual major students of design, innovation, and society, and mechanical engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They are due to graduate this year.

“No other product like SmartBadge exists on the market today,” DiNovo said.

“The closest products to our device are scanners and computers designed specifically for patrol cars, but they aren’t accessible to officers on foot or on bike. The SmartBadge places everything officers need to do their job as safely and securely as possible directly on their bodies.”

SmartBadge is expected to enter a testing phase with the Albany police by late-2008.

The designers expect SmartBadge also to have potential uses for firefighters, emergency medical service providers, and airport security officials.

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