Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Explosives

Members of the Rensselaer terahertz sensing research team (Photo: Rensselaer/Daria Robbins...

Hidden explosives, chemical weapons, biological agents and illegal drugs could one day be optically detectable from up to 20 meters away. How? Well, every substance has its own unique terahertz (THz) radiation “fingerprint”, the waves of which pass through anything other than metal or liquid. Scientists from New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working on a way of analyzing those waves, then determining what substance they’re emanating from. The process would be harmless to both the subject and the observer, and could make the world a much safer place.  Read More

A land mine warning - a sight all to common in many parts of the world (Image: Kyle Simour...

Land mines are terrifying and indiscriminate weapons, harming soldiers and civilians alike. Even long after the conflict in which they were deployed has ceased they end up killing and injuring civilians and render land impassable and unusable for decades. There are a variety of methods used to detect mines by both humanitarian and military groups, but many are dangerous, most are less than 100 percent reliable and some of the more reliable detection methods are prohibitively expensive. Physicists have now built a relatively inexpensive land mine detection system using off-the-shelf components – including some sourced from online auction sites.  Read More

MIT researchers have developed a new way to tune the frequency of lasers that operate in t...

New research out of MIT could lead to smarter airport scanners able to detect the presence of drugs and explosives. At the heart of the development is a new approach to laser tuning designed to harness terahertz rays so that they can be used to determine an object's chemical composition.  Read More

A robotic 'ferret' will help customs find drugs, weapons and people hidden in freight cont...

It won’t be cuddly, but it’ll certainly be efficient. The University of Sheffield is developing what it calls a cargo-screening ferret that uses a combination of laser and fiber-optic technology to sniff out the tiniest traces of drugs, weapons, explosives and even illegal immigrants.  Read More

The HazMatID Ranger handheld chemical identifier with detachable PDA

It may be a sad reflection of the times we live in, but there’s a growing worldwide demand for devices capable of detecting chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRNE) threats. Detecting such threats in a laboratory environment is all well and good, but to really save lives such detection needs to be carried out at the site of the threat. That means a detection device that offers lab quality results with a portable form factor - both qualities that Smiths Detection promises in its range of threat detection systems now being rolled-out worldwide.  Read More

HPM bombsuse an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, ve...

High-power microwave (HPM) bombs that use an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, vehicles, guided missiles and communications while leaving people and structures unharmed have been under investigation in research labs for a number of years. Until recently these weapons have been impractically large at over 3.5 meters long, but researchers at Texas Tech University have now built a self powered device with U.S. Army funding that measures 15 cm in diameter and only 1.5 meters long, making it small enough to be considered portable.  Read More

Scientists at the University of California have developed a spray-on explosive detector that glows blue under UV light in the presence of nitrogen-containing explosives. The silafluorene-fluorene copolymer is sensitive enough to detect just a billionth of a gram of explosive.  Read More

Raytheon test: 200 milliseconds after detonation

March 24, 2008 If you're sitting behind a 20 foot thick wall of compressed, steel-reinforced concrete you could be forgiven for feeling somewhat invulnerable to outside attack - but think again. Raytheon has developed a new, lighter and more powerful bunker-busting conventional warhead system which punched through more than 19 feet of a 330-ton reinforced concrete block during tests conducted in late January.  Read More

Reveal Imaging Mobile CT-80

November 20, 2007 Reveal Imaging Technologies, Inc., has announced its first shipment of Mobile CT-80 automated explosives detection system (EDS) to a government customer in the Middle East.  Read More

The USA's Massive Ordnance Penetrator, pictured here, is no match for the latest Russian e...

September 18, 2007 Russia has just announced the completion of successful testing of what it dubs the “Father of All Bombs” – four times more powerful than the USA’s comparatively placid “Mother of All Bombs". Both devices are viewed - somewhat dubiously - as “environmentally friendly” alternatives to nuclear devices, as they leave no radioactive fallout.  Read More

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