By Randy | November 23, 2009
Given the global concern over the threat of terroristic actions on flights, the TSA’s restrictions regarding the amount and type of liquid a passenger is allowed to carry on a plane are certainly understandable. While this may be an inconvenience for those with gel shoe inserts, or those who get caught trying to carry on their souvenir snow globe, the technology is apparently not far away that will bring convenience and security back to liquid hording travelers.
According to a recent article I read on The Engineer Online, German researchers at the Forschungszentrum Jülich are working on an advanced system that can quickly identify dangerous liquids in passenger luggage. The procedure uses electromagnetic waves that are able to reflect a substance’s internal molecular structure to provide detailed information about its identity. Although other similar substance identifying technologies exist, there are certain limitations which this new method has overcome. What is even more amazing about this technology, if that’s possible, is that it will do this within one fifth of a second. I’m a pretty patient person, so I would be willing to wait up to two seconds for this process to happen, but one fifth of a second is simply remarkable. In fact, in the time you have taken to read this, they could have identified roughly 150 substances.
While this technology is not ready for current use, head researchers believe that it could be available for widespread use within the next five years. I think more than anything, this should be extremely encouraging for travellers to see how these type of technological advances are continuing to be developed to offset the threat of terror and make our airline travel safer and more convenient.