A Collection of Articles
Edit

Computing

Bomb Buster

Neutron-based device could foil terrorists by sensing explosives in baggage.

Up to 40 percent of checked luggage falsely sets off airport bomb detectors, wasting time and money, and because the detectors look for suspicious objects rather than explosive chemicals, clever terrorists could still evade them. But HiEnergy Technologies in Irvine, CA, has dusted off a technology abandoned as impractical in the 1980s to create new sensors that can chemically identify explosives, even through steel. HiEnergy’s founder and CEO, Bogdan Maglich, says the device sends a harmless amount of neutrons toward an object. It then analyzes radiation induced by the particles to reveal the chemical makeup of the target. HiEnergy’s revival of the technology pivoted on its ability to control noise from neutrons hitting objects other than the ones being scanned. The Spanish government has asked the company to develop the technology into a car-bomb detector for use in parking garages; tests of the detector are scheduled for early December, and those of a baggage- and cargo-scanning system could follow in January.

Other Prototypes

Drivers: Pay Attention

Tree Bot

Games on the Grid

Great Balls of Fire

Security in Black and White

Digital Sketch Pad

HIV Monitor

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider basic

$29.95/yr US PRICE

Subscribe
What's Included
  • 1 year (6 issues) of MIT Technology Review magazine in print OR digital format
  • Access to the entire online story archive: 1997-present
  • Special discounts to select partners
  • Discounts to our events

You've read of free articles this month.