The specter of suicide bombers in transportation systems in large cities has authorities everywhere up at night. Discovering suicide bombers is one of the most difficult challenges to the intelligence and police communities. Equally difficult is stopping gunmen intent on killing large numbers of people and terrorists who use chemical-based weapons to cause harm.
As a result, the United States, European Union, and others are developing new detection systems to find bomb makers and weapons before harm is done. The recent availability of cheap sensors is now allowing scientists and engineers to develop these new detection systems.
Using Sewers To Flush Out Criminals
The European Union, for example, is now funding a Swedish Police project, EMPHASIS, to the tune of €4.5 million that will place networks of chemical sensors in sewer systems. These sensors can detect over 400 chemical signatures of explosives and potentially harmful explosives precursors, chemical reagents, and reaction breakdown products. Once substances leaking into sewers from sinks, bathtubs and toilets are detected, police will be dispatched to the area with highly sensitive handheld devices to investigate further.
Swedish scientists set up a replica of a home kitchen in Leeds, UK, where dangerous explosives were manufactured. One of the challenges was to create sensors that would work in sewers that carry a variety of wastes, both human and chemical in nature.
The EU is testing sensors in other locations such as on rooftops, on cars and in subways to detect substances leaking out of windows, skylights, under doors and from people.
According to sensor expert Frank Schnurer of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany, “We are thinking about illicit drugs detection as well.” Meth labs, such as the one pictured below, will be easily detected using new sensor networks.
US Tweaking Technology To Create New Defense Tools
The U.S. Department of Defense is funding a project at the University of Michigan, run by Professor Kamal Sarabandi, with the purpose of developing a specialized type of radar technology to detect weapons and bombs concealed on people and in buildings.
The following video explains Sarabani’s weapon detecting radar system that is currently in development.
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References and related content:
- A new concept for a sewer sensor network would detect what?
- Determination of key sensor locations for non-point pollutant sources management in sewer network – Springer
- IEDs explosive detection | Homeland Security News Wire