A gate crasher bypassed an unlocked, manual front door and two guards and made it deep into the White House last month, while two K-9s Wednesday night managed to halt a would-be uninvited guest.
So far, this year, there have been at least five intrusions on White House grounds demonstrating that maybe Secret Service officers could use some help protecting President Barack Obama.
The trick is to block the bad guys without blocking tourists, protesters and working Washington. And do so with 550 fewer Secret Service personnel than optimal, by the agency's count.
So, it's go, go gadget time! Here are some devices farsighted futurists say are needed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave:
"As the old saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Replace the Secret Service presidential detail with a pack of robotic pooches modeled after first dog Bo. Their cuddly appearance would go a long way to muting the Gulag-like atmosphere created by the White House’s current security installations. And how much friendlier our president would look when being whisked around by a pack of bouncy, fluffy RoBos instead of serious guys in dark suits.
"Of course, under that fluffy exterior beats the heart of a Terminator-like guardian: RoboCop superpowers, cheetah-like speed . . . superhearing able to detect the click of a rifle-bolt at 100 meters . . . supersmell sniffing for nerve gas . . . PETN [explosive substance Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate]-detecting tongue. Visitors walking past the White House would be charmed by the sight of fluff balls gamboling on the White House lawn, utterly unaware that they were superguards, and school groups visiting the White House would clamor for pictures with their favorite canine superheroes, never guessing that those slobbery dog kisses were actually testing for cocaine residue" -- Silicon Valley tech forecaster Paul Saffo
2. Artificial Intelligence Psychiatrist
All federal workers could be "assigned an AI mental health professional that they have to check in with on a weekly basis to see if they're going off the deep end." -- Thomas Frey, senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute
3. Bullet-proof Business Suits
Armored duds for Obama made mostly out of carbon nanotubes, for high-risk public appearances.
"It's 4X stronger in tensile strength per weight than Kevlar. So vests made out of it are 4X lighter for the same performance. They really are comfortable, unlike Kevlar vests . . . Obama should be using these regularly, if he isn't already. They stop all knives and most handguns, the weapon of choice for the large majority of shooters. A matching wide-brimmed hat could also be made that would make him much less of a target in any open car ride." -- John Smart, founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation
4. Smart Eating Utensils
The “Secret Service [should use] Baidu Chopsticks to test the quality of food before it is served.” -- Frey
Chinese Internet behemoth Baidu has invented Baidu Kuaisou, a set of smart chopsticks that can detect whether food was cooked with potentially toxic recycled cooking oil — better known as “gutter oil,” because it sometimes is pulled from sewers, Quartz recently reported. The company might also develop food-testing devices that identify melamine and other contaminants in one’s diet.
5. Google sunGlass
Smart eyewear that performs automatic facial recognition on bystanders, then queries medical histories and criminal watch lists for matches.
6. Retractable Dome above the White House
To shield the White House from any airborne extraterrestrial explosives, perhaps on Independence Day?
7. Decoy Convoys
"All Secret Service convoys will have multiple look-alike driverless convoys to confuse terrorists." – Frey
8. Boeing's "Black" Spy Smartphones to Replace Walkie Talkies
If anyone tries to bug the agent’s mobile device, this baby will self-destruct.
9. Surveillance Drones
“One fleet tests for anyone in the area with communicable diseases. Another fleet of ultra-tiny drones in stealth mode listens to all conversations within 1-2 miles, scanning for emotional instability. The periscope drones will give them eyes in places they currently can't see. Sensor drones will test for changes in temperature, humidity, microwave transmission. . .” -- Frey
10. Real Estate Purchases
"I think the White House has only two options: buy up more property around the White House -- not likely -- or build a new presidential mansion elsewhere. I hear rumors that [Former Vice President Dick] Cheney has a bunker for sale." -- Saffo