Water Or Not? New X-Ray Scanner Can Tell What’s In Your Bottle

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on November 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How many times have you guzzled back a bottle of water so as not to waste it before passing through airport security? Or have had to toss the bottle in the rubbish bin? If you’re like me — which is to say absent-minded enough to forget you’re carrying it until the last second — you’ve done this countless times.

Those days might be a thing of the past. According to the Daily Mail, a group of British scientists have developed a new x-ray machine that can differentiate water from other types of liquids. These new machines will be able to more sensitively measure the difference in wavelength of x-rays that pass through liquids, and hence can determine if what is in the bottle is water or something else.

It will also be tied into a vast database that will check if the liquid in a bottle is original or not. This is done after the barcode of the bottle is scanned, the database searched and compared to what is supposed to be in the bottle. The x-ray machine is made by Kromek, whose chief executive, Arnab Basu, said:

The best analogy is that compared to conventional X-ray scanners, this is the difference between seeing an object in black and white and seeing it in colour.

The ban on liquids on airplanes began in 2006, after three Britons were busted by police for plotting to carry chemicals onto an airplane using drink bottles. Those three have now been jailed for life. Rules for allowing liquids carried onto planes are set to be relaxed by April 2011, if the airport has good enough scanners.

[Image: chelzerman / Flickr]

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Tags: airport, liquid, regulations, scanner

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