Czech firm aims to improve life for fliers with new liquid detector

If you ever had to dump a bottle of your favourite drink before boarding your plane, or plead for a plastic bag at one of the airport’s stores to put your nose drops in, you will appreciate an invention that might soon do away with all this. A company in Prague has developed a portable detector of dangerous liquids that will tell the airport security people that your drink is harmless. The director of the company RS Dynamics Jiří Bláha explains more about the detector, known as Explonics.

Jiří Bláha, photo: Zdeněk VališJiří Bláha, photo: Zdeněk Vališ “Explonics, as the name indicates, is a device which enables fast and reliable detection of any explosive contraband, together with background detection of any radiological contraband. For next year, we are working on a special add-on which will make it possible to detect any dangerous liquid. In this concept, the instrument will be able to effectively guard check-in gates at airports or any mass transport facilities against the entry of any dangerous materials, making air-traffic much safer and check-in much more comfortable.”

I imagine it’s rather complicated to analyze a bottle’s contents without actually opening it. How does your detector work?

“The detector is based on the electromagnetic properties of liquids; it measures their electromagnetic and dynamic-magnetic properties. It can determine if the liquid is water or a drink, or if it’s an energized material which could be dangerous.”

Are there for instance any bottles or cans that are more difficult to analyze than others?

“There are of course a lot of problems which prevent this new technology from being immediately applied at airports. We mainly have to focus on glass containers, plastic bottles, but no such detector on the world market is, unfortunately, capable of detecting what is in metal cans.”

How long has it taken your company to develop this detector?

“The current product which combines effective and fast detection of explosive traces together with radiological contraband has been developed for seven years. For a year and a half we have been working on the programme for the detection of dangerous liquids, and we would like to complete it in 2009.”

Do you think that by that time, these detectors might be actually put to use at airports?

“We suppose so, because this year we have won a tender for the delivery of more detectors to Prague Airport. Those people are anxious to test and apply the new, very reliable detector of dangerous liquids. Taking away liquids from any passenger is still a nightmare in flight preparation, because people are very unhappy with this procedure; it’s not comfortable, it’s boring and even frustrating for some people, so the demand for a reliable and good detector of dangerous liquid is still there.”