Improving explosives detectors for remote sensing: The end of full-body scanners?

Result monitor of a body scanner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Standing in a full-body scanner at an airport isn’t fun, and the process adds time and stress to a journey.

It also raises privacy concerns. Researchers now report in ACS’ The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters a more precise and direct method for using that “terahertz” (THz) technology to detect explosives from greater distances. The advance could ultimately lead to detectors that survey a wider area of an airport without the need for full-body scanners.

R. Kosloff and colleagues explain that using THz spectroscopy by itself is challenging for sensing far-away explosives. This technology uses beams of electromagnetic radiation that lie between microwaves, like those used in kitchen ovens, and the infrared rays used in TV remote controls. In addition to screening people for explosives, it is used at drug companies for quality-control purposes and, most recently, to study the layers of paint of ancient works of art. With recent advances, the technique is becoming a strong candidate for detecting substances from a distance. Other researchers have developed remote-sensing THz instruments, but they combine it with a second method to identify substances. Kosloff’s group aimed to use THz directly to eventually develop even better remote sensors.

They developed a computational tool and used it to successfully identify two explosives, RDX and TATP, with THz data directly. RDX is a component of plastic explosives, and TATP is an explosive found in the shoes of the “shoe bomber” in 2009. “The ability to perform experimentally and simulate multidimensional spectroscopy should significantly enhance the screening ability of THz spectroscopy,” say the researchers.

via American Chemical Society

 

The Latest on: Explosives detectors

via  Bing News

 

VIDEO: Fully automated parking

Today’s cars can drive themselves in and out of parking spots completely unassisted – conveniently controlled from the curbside using a smartphone.

This is possible thanks to Bosch’s Automatic Park Assist and its remote control function.

Thanks to this innovation, tight parking spots – even ones that are barely wide enough to open the car doors – won’t be a problem much longer. You’ll simply get out of the car in front of the parking spot, open the Bosch app on your cell phone, and press and hold a button to start the parking maneuver. The vehicle will then drive itself into – and back out of – the spot without anyone at the wheel. To abort the parking maneuver, you simply take your finger off the button.

Automatic Park Assist is likely to be available from 2015, and represents an evolution of the Bosch parking assistant that has been on the market since 2008. The parking assistant works on the basis of ultrasound sensors integrated into the side of the vehicle, which scan the surrounding area and identify suitable parking spaces. The system electronics then compute the most favorable steering maneuvers and automatically guide the vehicle in and out of the parking space – in the current version, however, the driver controls the car by accelerating, braking, and changing gear.

via Bosch
 

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Flying electric bicycle invented in Czech Republic

13-06-2013 8-07-40 AM

In the Czech Republic three companies have teamed up to make a prototype of an electric bicycle capable of flying.

For now, the flying bike is still in development and is controlled remotely, but its designers hope that it will eventually be piloted by the rider.

They also hope battery technology will advance to make the invention marketable. At present the bicycle is only capable of five minutes of flight before the batteries need to be recharged.

“Because the capacity of batteries doubles about every ten years, we can expect that in the future the capacity would be enough for the bike to used for sports, tourism or similar things,” said Milan Duchek, the technical director of Duratec Bicycles.

Designed using French 3D software with a frame resembling a small motorcycle, the flying machine has six propellers, two the front, another two at the back and one on each side, that allow it to fly.

These are powered by six engines, all, in turn, powered by electric batteries.

Read more & see the video . . .

via The Telegraph

Thanks to David for the heads up on this!
 

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Tiny Helicopter Piloted By Human Thoughts

mind-quadcopter

You may have had remote controlled airplanes growing up, but they probably weren’t as cool as the quadcopter.

This tiny helicopter looks a lot like a toy, but it’s really a high-tech robot controlled exclusively by human thought.

Developed by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, the four-blade helicopter, or quadcopter, can be quickly and accurately controlled for a sustained amount of time using the electrical impulses associated with a subject’s thoughts.

The team used a noninvasive technique known as electroencephalography (EEG) to record the electrical brain activity of five different subjects. Each subject was fitted with a cap equipped with 64 electrodes, which sent signals to the quadcopter over a WiFi network

The subjects were positioned in front of a screen that relayed images of the quadcopter’s flight through an on-board camera, allowing them to see the course the way a pilot would. The plane, which was driven with a pre-set forward moving velocity, was then controlled by the subject’s thoughts.

By imagining that they were using their right hand, left hand and both hands together, subjects controlled the flight path of the plane. If they imagined raising their left hand, for example, the plane turned left. If they imagined raising their hands together, the plane lifted higher in the air.

Once they got the hang of it, subjects were able to fly the quadcopter through foam rings scattered around the indoor course.

“Our study shows that for the first time, humans are able to control the flight of flying robots using just their thoughts, sensed from noninvasive brain waves,” said Bin He, lead scientist behind the study and a professor with the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.

Read more . . .

via Tech News Daily
 

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Engineers pave the way towards 3D printing of personal electronics

In the long term, this technology could revolutionalise the way we produce the world around us

Scientists are developing new materials which could one day allow people to print out custom-designed personal electronics such as games controllers which perfectly fit their hand shape.

The University of Warwick researchers have created a simple and inexpensive conductive plastic composite that can be used to produce electronic devices using the latest generation of low-cost 3D printers designed for use by hobbyists and even in the home.

The material, nicknamed ‘carbomorph’, enables users to lay down electronic tracks and sensors as part of a 3D printed structure – allowing the printer to create touch-sensitive areas for example, which can then be connected to a simple electronic circuit board.

So far the team has used the material to print objects with embedded flex sensors or with touch-sensitive buttons such as computer game controllers or a mug which can tell how full it is.

The next step is to work on printing much more complex structures and electronic components including the wires and cables required to connect the devices to computers.

The research was led by Dr Simon Leigh in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick.

Dr Leigh said: “It’s always great seeing the complex and intricate models of devices such as mobile phones or television remote controls that can be produced with 3D printing, but that’s it, they are invariably models that don’t really function.

“We set about trying to find a way in which we could actually print out a functioning electronic device from a 3D printer.

“In the long term, this technology could revolutionalise the way we produce the world around us, making products such as personal electronics a lot more individualised and unique and in the process reducing electronic waste.

“Designers could also use it to understand better how people tactilely interact with products by monitoring sensors embedded into objects.

“However, in the short term I can see this technology having a major impact in the educational sector for example, allowing the next generation of young engineers to get hands-on experience of using advanced manufacturing technology to design fairly high-tech devices and products right there in the classroom.”

The printed sensors can be monitored using existing open-source electronics and freely available programming libraries.

Read more . . .

via University of Warwick.
 

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