India developing e-dog to sniff out explosives

January 6th, 2010 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Balaji
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 6 (IANS) Indian scientists are developing an electronic device that will sniff out explosives like RDX which remain undetected by existing security equipments.

“A prototype of the e-device is under development to smell explosives from a distance by a sensor coated with nano materials,” Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Mumbai) professor V. Ramgopal Rao told IANS on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress here.

The government has entrusted the electrical engineering department of the IIT to develop the high-tech device in collaboration with the High Energy Materials Research Lab of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Chandigarh and the Madras Atomic Power Station at Kalpakkam near Chennai.

To enhance security and check use of improvised explosive devices (IED) by terrorists and other criminal elements, Rao said the device with nano sensors could be installed at airports, railway stations, bus stands and other vital installations to detect them in solid, liquid or vapour form and seize before they are timed to explode.

“The device with an electronic nose will be able to sniff presence of IED or RDX in any of the three forms in the way trained canines can do. As training dogs in multitudes and deploying them at many places is a daunting task, an ‘electronic dog’ is a good alternative,” Rao said.

The Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore has also been roped in to develope the portable e-device or e-dog, with a seed funding of $25 million from the government.

Earlier, at a plenary session on Nano Technology and Education in the premier science event, Rao said the e-device would raise an alarm when an explosive like RDX comes within its proximity through the micro-electronic mechanical system (MEMS) of its sensor, coated with nano particles per million (ppm) or billion in a block or specified area.

“Explosives such as RDX or TNT can be remotely detected and monitored using pure nitrogen molecules in nano materials in ambient conditions,” Rao pointed out.

The e-device was demonstrated at a review meeting of the pilot project in Mumbai recently where explosives were detected in vapour form when pure nitrogen from its nano materials got released.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |