Explosive material detection device could prevent a Brussels style attack
13 April 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, International Airport Review
An explosive material detection device created at Loughborough University could be used to prevent a Brussels style attack by identifying minute particles in crowded areas or vehicles.
The technology, developed by Loughborough University professor John Tyrer, can detect explosive particles invisible to the naked eye. It is hoped the invention will help safeguard travelling public from terrorist attacks.
ExDtect explosive material detection device uses laser technology to remotely scan crowded areas and vehicles
Using complex laser technology, ExDtect as it is known, can remotely scan vehicles, cargo and crowded areas, such as airports, train stations and sports stadiums, automatically alerting an operator if it detects traces of explosives and accurately pinpointing its location.
According to Loughborough, the system is non-invasive, works in real time and causes no delays to the public or businesses. It is fully automated, ruling out human error, and the images produced are no more controversial than those generated by CCTV.
The University has already begun discussions with several international organisations that are keen to use the technology. ExDtect is also due to be used by and international courier to scan cargo.
“Never has there been a more urgent need to have technology in place that can accurately and remotely identify cargo, vehicles and people that have been in contact with explosives”
Professor Tyrer, from the University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, created the device along with colleagues from the Department of Chemistry.
“Sadly it seems inevitable now that we are going to see more and more terrorist attacks like those we recently witnessed in Brussels,” says Professor Tyrer. “And had our device been in operation at Brussels Airport I firmly believe those terrorists would have been identified and prevented from entering the terminal.
“Never has there been a more urgent need to have technology in place that can accurately and remotely identify cargo, vehicles and people that have been in contact with explosives.
“When you handle an explosive, the chemicals and various constituent components present, leave traces on your fingers and clothes, and are transmitted to anything you touch. Using some of the laser technology that we have invented here at Loughborough over the past few years, we have been able to create a device that can see the explosives and reject all other materials.
“This really is British engineering and inventiveness at its best – tackling a global threat to public safety.”