Carrying Liquids on Board

By | Category: Travel news

Cobalt's liquid scanner

As you are aware, no liquids can be carried in airline cabin baggage unless they are in bottles containing no more than 100mls. This causes untold problems as many personal items like gels, and moisturisers are the items that get confiscated because they are in larger containers. And there are bottles of water. How often have you either seen someone swigging the last drops or having them confiscated by security staff? By 2014, it is hoped that liquids can be carried on board in larger sizes but until then…
One company, Cobalt Light Systems, has developed a small screener not just for liquids but also gels and powders that can analyse the contents of a container in under 10 seconds. They believe that they can reduce this time in half as well. Launched at the Transport Security Expo in London on Tuesday, the screener (called Insight100) is not the only type of machine on the market but it does have advantages. For a start it can screen a bottle as large as 3 litres which is about the largest size than any passenger would want to carry on board. Secondly it is fast and finally it can scan through coloured glass and opaque plastic containers, the sort used for moisturisers, deodorants and shampoos.
It works by analysing the molecular structure of the contents. If it doesn’t match with established molecule differentials it rejects it. Tested across 500 samples, the detection error rate was just 1.1% on the most difficult structures. That’s enough science. The other important feature is that the machine is small, thus taking up little room in already crowded security areas.
Since it is so new, no airports have adopted it and the problem might be that, if such equipment isn’t at all airports, the Civil Aviation Authority may not be happy that us travellers might get confused in what we can take as hand baggage in different places. Still it augurs well that at least one bugbear to travellers is solved. We just await its early adoption by airports.

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