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EPE co-host East Coast Forum Boardroom Breakfast with Ambassador of Ukraine

Very pleased to host His Excellency Vasyl Myroshnychenko – Ambassador of Ukraine, at another excellent East Coast Forum Boardroom Breakfast. Great insights on the resilience of the Ukrainian people as they prepare to face another long hard winter. MAJ Gen Mick Ryan, AM (Rtd) fresh from his most recent trip to Ukraine, provided his thoughts on the current military situation. Ukraine must prevail in this conflict. It will shape the face of the International World Order for the next 50 to 60 years.

EPE. Trusted To Protect, through our partnership with Minelab Metal Detectors was included in the most recently announced aid package supplied by Australian Defence to Ukraine. These land mine detectors are now in country, and helping to reduce the explosive threats faced by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the current counter offensive. They are also an essential tool to help people reclaim their land and homes. So much more needs to be done to help Ukraine fight and win this war.

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The Gas Identification Gap

ThreatID identifiation gap_news

When responding to a Hazmat incident, knowing what you’re dealing with is key to keeping people safe and effectively dealing with the situation.  Once you identify a material, the hazards and properties of that material are readily at your fingertips.  For solids and liquids, there are many tools available for the identification of unknowns.  Led by the “white powder” scares of the early 2000s, FTIR and Raman instruments have been developed which can quickly and easily identify thousands of unknown solids and liquids.  Many Hazmat teams worldwide have successfully used this equipment, providing identification of unknowns and improving the safety of their community.

In contrast to solids and liquids, though, there has been a real gap in the ability of instruments to identify unknown gases for Hazmat response.  By their very nature, gases exist at lower concentrations, making identification more difficult.  Unfortunately, gases pose the greatest danger in emergency response.  They can be toxic at low concentrations, and they are uncontained.  To describe the danger in common terms, “They can come out and get you”.

The new ThreatID-GLS from Redwave Technology addresses this gap by providing identification of solids, liquids, and gases using FTIR spectroscopy.  Adding sensitive gas measurement to the well-known FTIR technology now allows responders to identify gases that pose the greatest danger to both the responders and the community with an already familiar technique.

Detection vs Identification

First responders have many tools to detect and quantify gases.  Combustion gas indications (CGI), photoionization detectors (PIDs), and chemical-specific sensors (such as a 4 or 6 gas meter), all indicate if certain gases are present and predict a concentration, but none of them actually identify the material.  The PID is a great example.  It is highly sensitive, and it can detect a wide variety of gases.  With the proper calibration, it can also accurately quantify many gases.  Teams love using the PID because they can see so many different materials.  This universal nature is both its advantage and its downfall.  If there is a gas present, most likely the PID will respond, telling you something is there.  Unfortunately, you still don’t know what is there.  What are the dangers? How much of it is a problem?  How do you remediate it?  The PID lets you find it but doesn’t tell you what it is.  Pairing the PID with the ThreatID-GLS gives the ability to quickly detect and locate the gas of interest (using the PID), as well as accurately identify the material (using the ThreatID-GLS).  Additionally, once the identification is made with the ThreatID-GLS, the correct calibration factor can be entered into the PID, allowing for accurate quantitative measurement.

Chemical-specific electrochemical sensors and flame ionization spectrometers are more specific than CGI or PID detectors, but their identification abilities are still limited.  Electrochemical sensors are targeted at specific compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide; however, they have cross-reactivity to other compounds as well.  A positive reading is indicative of the gas present, but not a real identification.  Flame spectroscopy detectors (FSD) are more specific than PIDs.  Commonly used handheld models respond to compounds containing arsenic, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus.  Similar to the electrochemical sensors, this allows classification but not identification.

Other instruments provide identification for specific threats; however, the ThreatID provides the largest coverage of commonly found gases at relevant concentrations.  Ion mobility spectroscopy (IMS) and high-pressure mass spectrometry (HPMS) both provide sensitive detection of specific, targeted threats.  Both are important tools for the detection and identification of CWAs and dangerous narcotics. 

For general use, though, they present some issues.  First, the number of materials identifiable by these systems is quite low.  IMS is very sensitive, but it’s targeted at CWA and a few select toxic industrial chemicals (TICs); they provide identification or classification of approximately 50 compounds.  HPMS is more versatile, covering CWA, TICs, and many narcotics.  Each of these can be detected with great sensitivity, but the number of compounds identified is on the order of several hundred.  By comparison, the ThreatID-GLS has 5,600 compounds in the library covering a wide range of TICs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  This allows simple identification of many substances found on typical hazardous materials calls.

Sensitivity vs Usability

An instrument with high sensitivity can accurately identify even a small amount of material.  Obviously, high sensitivity is advantageous when dealing with hazardous materials.  Making an identification at a low concentration helps to keep both responders and the public safe.  Sensitivity can have a downside as well because the system can be easily contaminated with too many samples.  The ThreatID-GLS can identify most compounds at concentrations in the part per million (ppm) range.  Additionally, with partial filling of the gas cell, it can identify compounds over 3 orders of magnitude.  As an example, ammonia can be accurately identified at concentrations ranging from 25 ppm to over 0.5%.   This gives the ability to identify and address both small and large problems.  The preview screen alerts the user when a sufficient sample is in the cell for identification.  If an excess sample is added to the cell, it can typically be pumped clean in a matter of minutes; there is no need to conduct an extensive cleaning, or “bake-out”, procedure.

Small Molecules

Absorbances measured by infrared spectroscopy are based on covalent chemical bonds present in the sample and consequently are unaffected by the molecular weight of a sample.  There is no limit, either high or low, to the sample molecular mass which can be measured by infrared.  Mass spectrometers, on the other hand, have a molecular weight range for which they are effective.  In particular, the minimum molecular weight measurable by most portable mass spectrometers is approximately 50 atomic mass units.

Many hazardous gases which have low molecular weights are identifiable by the ThreatID-GLS, but not by commercially available mass spectrometers.  Examples include ammonia (17 AMU), diborane (27 AMU), formaldehyde (30 AMU), hydrogen cyanide (27 AMU), and carbon monoxide (28 AMU), and phosphine (36 AMU).  All of these gases are listed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as hazardous industrial gases and are identifiable by the ThreatID-GLS.

Simple Use, Important Results

The ThreatID-GLS allows for easy chemical identification, whether they are solids, liquids, or gases.  By extending well accepted infrared spectroscopy identification to gases, the ThreatID-GLS allows responders to increase safety and improve response to chemical gases and vapors which represent one of the larger dangers that they deal with.  Overall, the system can identify over 5,500 gases, and over 22,000 solids and liquids, providing the broadest range of chemical identification available.

Source: RedWave Technology

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Skydio Engagement and Responsible Use Principles

Skydio Engagement and Responsible Use Principles

Our mission is to make the world more productive, creative, and safe with autonomous flight.

We consider the holistic impact our products have on communities and countries. Our focus is on advancing our mission to make the world more productive, creative, and safe. We are shaped by core values of accountability, transparency, and the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Informed by these values, we seek positive impact. This also requires us to proactively understand and mitigate potential misuse.

We use our role as a leader in autonomous flight technology to promote the responsible development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our leadership role offers the opportunity — and the obligation — to shape AI in a way that reflects our values.

We proactively promote best practices on the responsible use of our products with our customers. Our sales processes, training materials, services, and support methodologies will emphasize responsible use, while also anticipating and countering misuse.

We engage in policy and regulatory efforts to support laws, policies, and standards aligned with our values. While we are committed to using our products and customer engagements to make a difference, we believe that companies cannot and should not act alone. We partner with governments, civil society organizations, and industry associations to advance laws and policies that promote responsible use.

We engage in a responsible way with public sector customers in the United States and other free societies. In general, we believe serving government customers in free societies advances our mission of contributing to the public good. We all have a stake in the consequential and challenging questions associated with national security and public safety. With respect to those agencies and others, we adopt an approach of responsible engagement. We believe that our country, and the world, will be worse if leading technology companies refuse to participate. We will use our position to promote the responsible use of our products consistent with our mission.

We will not sell our products to repressive regimes. If our products fall into the wrong hands and are being used for harm, we will take appropriate measures to mitigate potential misuse.

We will not put weapons on our drones and will oppose fully autonomous lethal weapons systems. Our development process is focused on providing full automation, but we believe lethal weapons should not be fully automated.

We seek to create connections between our employees and the customers we serve beyond simply providing products and services. Shared understanding of the challenges, successes, and failures (even when painful) is critical to advancing our mission.

We seek to provide flexibility and freedom for people to choose what they work on. As a small company we need to work as a unified team. However, we will seek to accommodate employee preferences to work on the projects that are the most motivating and important for them.

Source: Skydio