Sometimes the experts who design something are the best sources for ways to combat the invention. One example might be reformed “white hat” hackers, who use their skills to help companies defend their networks from cyber attack.

An even better example of this role reversal was outlined in a Federal Computer Week article published last week. Los Alamos National Laboratory, where some of the most powerful nuclear bombs ever made were designed, is now focusing on research to combat and disarm explosives.

The laboratory announced in January the Los Alamos Collaboration for Explosives Detection (LACED), an online portal that looks to enhance the detection of explosives through better coordination between public and private organizations:

The LACED site is a virtual gateway to expertise and capabilities for countering all types of explosives, predominantly through enhanced detection capabilities, according to the lab. The site, which went public in January, provides expertise in sometimes extremely specialized fields.”

No laboratory possesses the number of experts in explosives like Los Alamos. Leveraging this deep talent pool, the LACED project includes 18 technical divisions at Los Alamos and 11 different fields of expertise. These experts have already produced more than 100 publications related to the detection of explosives.

The portal lists specific information on practically any type of device or substance capable of exploding. To cite a specific example, it raises awareness of potential homemade explosives and provides detailed information explosive device safety. Some of the other types of information made available includes access to detection technologies, advanced image analysis, surveillance tools and remote detection.

The pace of technological change to accelerate, and unfortunately some individuals will try and use technology for violent ends. The LACED portal is a wonderful example of collaboration between public and private experts for increased public safety. Los Alamos started conducting classified research into nuclear bombs back in 1952, so there isn’t anything they haven’t seen or researched.

It’s reassuring that these experts are now applying their skills in a less explosive and more palliative manner.