Sewer Sensors Sniff Out Signs of Bombs and Drugs
A sewer system full of chemical sensors could sniff out their homemade labs as part of a €4.5 million European Union-funded research programme called Emphasis.
The idea is that once a sewer sensor finds telltale traces of home-brewed explosives, it sounds an alarm and a police team carrying a portable, high-resolution sensing unit can be dispatched to narrow the search and pinpoint the exact location. The technique could also be modified to look for signs of illegal drug factories.
Emphasis is led by Hans Önnerud, an analytical chemist with the Swedish Defence Research Agency in Kista, north of Stockholm. His approach relies on the fact that some liquids and gases from bomb or drug production will leak into the sewers through sinks, baths or toilets, and into the air of a city via windows and skylights. The sensors are designed to pick up signs of explosives precursors, such as chemical reagents and reaction breakdown products.
Read more via New Scientist