An MIT Police Officer running for a fallen comrade. An undergraduate student who came to know Officer Collier, became his friend, and climbed mountains with him. A staff member who had just crossed the finish line when the first bomb exploded. The MIT Strong marathon team has come together with 35 runners — and as many motivations for taking on the 2014 Boston Marathon on behalf of the MIT community and in honor of murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.
Dogs are very effective at sniffing out bombs because their noses are astonishingly sensitive. Graduate student Joseph Azzarelli says running the marathon will inspire his research to improve public safety with technologies that mimic dogs’ natural ability. His vision, he says, is of networks of low-cost sensors that could make attacks like the Boston Marathon bombings more difficult to carry out.
“With the help of my colleagues, I aim to enable widely distributed, wireless, real-time explosives detection in cities, parks, and major metropolitan throughways,” says Azzarelli, a PhD candidate in chemistry in the laboratory of MIT professor Timothy Swager, a pioneer in sensors to detect explosives. “Perhaps we can create a future where incidents like those that occurred at the Boston Marathon can be mitigated before they manifest themselves.”
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