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Safety & Security Category Winner (Winner of an HP Workstation)

LIFE PACK Hypothermia Prevention
Floatation Device Dwight and Jane Cushman
Village Memorial, Portland, OR

Even with floatation gear, when a person who is not prepared for the cold falls into cold water (temperatures of 52 °F or less), the shock of the cold alone can be fatal. Most people who die of hypothermia do so in the first few minutes from failure to breathe or to sustain their heart. The LIFE PACK floatation device is designed to offer protection from coldwater temperatures, and the wearer can hold a child hands-free in water.

altThe LIFE PACK is a dual-bag floatation device incorporating an inner thermal lined compartment that holds a heat-generating, super-corrosion technology sleeve. This slim, lightweight, disposable, magnesium particle-impregnated sleeve is also currently in use as flameless ration heaters (FRH). This heat-generating element creates an exothermic reaction that allows its wearer to maintain hypostasis for several minutes, even in dangerously cold water. In just 12 minutes, the standard FRH sleeve’s temperature can reach 60 °C — enough heat to bring a liter of water to a boil. Heat is generated because the FRH contains magnesium metal-impregnated material that when mixed with water, forms magnesium hydroxide and hydrogen, initiating the emission of excess energy. Adding water breaks molecule bonds, and energy is released when the atoms re-bond to form new molecules. 

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The corrosion is the process of the magnesium metal reacting with the air and water. But where the exposure to air would usually form a film, preventing further oxidation of the magnesium, the salt eats away at the forming rust coating, thereby allowing the water to continue to react directly with the metal and speeding up the corrosion process.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/safetywinner

Honorable Mentions

Leakproof Damper
Stanley Demster, Lenexa, KS

There are many situations that require an absolute leakproof seal of an air duct in a building. This invention consists of a recently patented leakproof damper that includes integrated monitoring of the damper performance that can remotely indicate the condition of the damper. A failing or failed damper is reported to the operator. This process is called “automatic proofing.”

The differential pressure reading provides the proofing function. A small leak in a damper will reduce the pressure, but the blower will cause air drawn from the clean side to leak out to the dirty side rather than have dirty air leak into the clean side. A larger leak may cause a loss in pressure and the system can then alarm. The objective is to detect leakage before it becomes critical.

The damper can be used to replace existing dampers in ducts today. It contains no exotic or rare materials, and should have an operational life that is equal to conventional dampers. This damper can enhance safety and protection when working with dangerous airborne materials.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/damper

LED/Optic Identity Verification in the Visible and IR Frequencies
Harry Wainwright, Bethlehem, PA

altThis is a method of employing a 10+" flexible, embedded, light-emitting alphanumeric display in conjunction with standard night-sensitive security cameras or portable, standard- issue FLIR equipment to verify the identity of proper authority on individuals from a distance. Fusing PMMA optical fibers into the rear of a jacket defining the letters or symbols of an agency keeps the letters invisible until a wearer decides to activate them to be seen.

Two display options are instantly available for a wearer to activate by pressing an embedded switch in the sleeve. One will trigger a high-intensity light output in the visible range so that surrounding observers are aware of the identity of a person of authority, and the second option allows for one to emit infrared through the letters so only others in a team can identify without allowing casual observers to see the display.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/leddisplay