Since the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001, detecting and preventing hiddencontraband and weapons of mass destructionfrom entering through American borders isnow a high priority. A team of scientists andengineers from Pacific Northwest NationalLaboratory (PNNL) is helping to solve thisproblem by developing the Acoustic InspectionDevice (AID), which provides noninvasiveexamination of sealed containers and helpsscreen bulk solids. The AID rapidly andreliably discriminates and identifies liquidcontents in the sealed containers; determines ifthere are concealed compartments within thecontainers; and detects hidden compartments insolid forms that may contain contraband orweapons of mass destruction.The PNNL team transferred the technologythrough a licensing agreement to Mehls, Griffin& Bartek Ltd. (MGB Ltd.), an Arlington,Virginia-based company. In addition, the U.S.Customs Service provided funding to furtherdevelopment of the technology. MGB Ltd. iscurrently customizing the AID for the CustomsService, which will be a prime user of thetechnology.In general, all Americans will benefit from thistechnology. The AID will help prevent thesmuggling of weapons of mass destruction, aswell as other contraband or illegal items intothe country, while reducing the amount of timetrucks and ships must spend at U.S. bordercrossings—allowing products to get to marketfaster and more securely than under currentinspection procedures.
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Far West