New Scanner Could Allow Liquids on Airplanes

Feb 9, 2011
Outside Magazine

Liquids Photo from Daquella manera on Flickr

With a little help from the wine industry, a new scanner is currently under development that could allow passengers to take innocuous liquids on airplanes, according to

Matthew Augustine, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, patented a device in 2002 to determine whether wine had spoiled without needing to open the bottle. Similar to an MRI machine, the device combined a pulse of radio waves and a strong magnetic field to determine the chemical structure of the wine.

Augustine altered the device to tell the difference between potentially hazardous and otherwise innocuous liquids after a failed terror plot in 2006 lead to the ban of large quantities of liquids on airplanes.

The Department of Homeland Security has funded Augustine, and the small, easy-to-use scanners could be tested at airports within a year.

--Michael Webster

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