New research at the Battelle Memorial Institute could change the way passengers fly.
Within the next 10 years, airline passengers could be allowed to take liquids aboard planes thanks to a new liquid scanner, developed at the institute in conjunction with Columbus-based Sellex International.
“This system was developed to differentiate flammable liquids, explosive liquids and explosive precursors from benign liquids,” said Battelle Principal Researcher Wesley Pirkle.
A sensor uses a radio pulse to check what kind of liquid is inside bottle.
“It’s very low power, so it doesn’t interfere with anything,” Pirkle said. “That wave bounces off the contents of this container, and then we analyze the reflected signal.”
Pirkle’s team tested dangerous materials as well as 2,000 common ones, such as shaving cream, whipped cream, hair spray and bug spray.
“Anything we could think of that someone might possibly want to bring on an airplane,” Pirkle said. “So when you’re scanned through airport security, you could bring your bottles for their scan, too.”
The new technology could help parents of small children who want to carry juice boxes or baby bottles on board.
“Right now, it’s pretty tough, and I hope things will change,” said mother Bethlehem Tesfaye.
Pirkle said that he expected the liquid scanner to be installed in European airports next year and in U.S. airports in a few years.