Besides having to remove our shoes, the volume limitations regarding liquids and gels in carry-on baggage has become a major hassle in the world of post 9-11 airport security. Hopefully, however, we may soon be able to once again bring our big bottles of water and tubes of toothpaste aboard airliners in our overnight bags. Britain’s Cobalt Light Systems has developed a scanner called the INSIGHT100, that uses laser light to assess the liquid contents of containers, even if those containers are opaque.
The video below shows how the INSIGHT100 is to be used.
The scanner utilizes Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, or SORS. The process begins with security personnel placing an individual container inside the microwave oven-sized device. Then, the system shines a near-infrared laser into that container at various locations. Some of that light is reflected back to the device by the liquid. The wavelength of that light, however, is shifted by energy levels of the liquid’s molecules. By assessing the wavelength shifts of those various light readings, the machine is able to identify what the liquid is – within five seconds, to boot.
The INSIGHT100 reportedly has a false alarm rate of less than 0.5 percent, and works with clear, colored or opaque plastic or glass containers. It can be used on bottles up to three liters (0.8 US gallons) in size, and the height of its reading device can be adjusted for partially-filled containers. Additionally, its library of various liquids’ SORS signatures can be continuously updated, to recognize newly-identified security threats.
According to Cobalt, the scanner recently passed its European civil aviation security tests, which means it could start showing up in airports sometime soon.
CAMP RED CLOUD, SOUTH KOREA — Many water bottlers draw their raw water from pristine places, but only one has a very hazardous source — the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North Korea and South Korea, according to a December 1 article in Stars and Stripes.
Lotte Chilsung Co., a bottler in South Korea, is now drawing water from beneath the DMZ for its operation, after having obtained special permission from the South Korea Ministry of Defense to set up a pumping operation, reported Stars and Stripes, a newspaper circulated to theUSmilitary.
Because the DMZ has been in a totally natural state since the end of the Korean War in 1953, its ecosystem “is the best in the world,” claims Chun Woo-chul, a spokesman for the company. Sprinkled with land mines, heavily fortified and considered one of the most dangerous places on Earth, the DMZ is a strip of land 2.5 miles wide and 155 miles long, the article says.
For the past three months, the company has been producing and selling its “DMZ” brand of bottled water, sales of which have been good throughout Korea, Chun was quoted saying in the article. He said the company is thinking about exporting the brand.
Naturalists have previously noted the abundance and variety of wildlife and plant species that thrive in the DMZ. Chun said company officials at first were concerned that a “DMZ” brand might have negative connotations due to the continuing tensions between the two Koreas, but apparently many bottled water consumers also know the zone is untouched by human hands.