How to build a better baggage screener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.?"The most important product to take the Demo stage" in the new technology conference's 15-year history is how the trade show's producer described the contraption that's neither computer hardware nor software. In fact, at a venue that previously launched such successful technologies as TiVo and the Palm Pilot, the massive product seemed downright ungainly.

At the Demo@15 Conference, company officials of QRSciences Ltd. yesterday presented their T3-QCP Explosive Detection System, a baggage-screening system designed to detect plastic explosives and other hard-to-identify hazards.

It uses low-frequency radio waves in what is called quadrupole resonance, which is similar to magnetic resonance imaging. QRSciences claims that the technology can detect about 10,000 chemical substances, is less invasive than vapor or particle detection and costs less than computer tomography systems.

The T3-QCP satisfies "an unfulfilled security requirement," said Kevin Russeth, CEO of the Perth, Australia, company.

It can be deployed as a standalone baggage screener or integrated with existing systems and has a low false-alarm rate, which can improve the overall efficiency of existing X-ray systems, according to the company.

Last month, QRSciences won a contract from the Transportation Security Administration. Citing security, company officials would not describe the contract beyond saying QRSciences would work on the system at its Perth facility and complete the contract at an undetermined U.S. airport.

The company also recently announced that it will move its headquarters to San Diego to better serve government customers.

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