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Photo of Acoustic Inspection Device with associated PID Acoustic Inspection Device with associated PID can be used to inspect liquids in closed containers

2003 - Acoustic Inspection Device

Developers: Aaron A. Diaz, Todd J. Samuel, Chester L. Shepard, Joe C. Harris, Laurie P. Berube, Richard A. Pappas, James R. Skorpik, Larry D. Reid, Steven W. Martin, Gary Morgan, Juan Valencia, Theodore T. (Tom) Taylor, and Brion J. Burghard.

On a typical day, the U.S. Customs Service examines 1.3 million passengers and more than 400,000 vehicles, aircraft and ships as it patrols the vast borders of the United States. To help it with this daunting task, the Customs Service is using the PNNL-developed Acoustic Inspection Device (AID).

AID is a non-invasive technology that rapidly and reliably helps its operator determine the contents of sealed, liquid-filled containers. It can determine the characteristics of the liquid as well as detect foreign objects, contraband or explosives hidden inside the containers.

AID is a handheld device roughly the size and shape of a large flare gun. It contains a sensor head, is tethered to a personal digital assistant and is linked to a data library. AID works by transmitting ultrasonic pulses and detecting return echoes to identify the characteristics of container contents.

AID was originally was developed by PNNL for inspection of chemical weapon stockpiles in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, and for U.S. and Russian chemical weapons bilateral treaty verification. The technology was modified, and in January 2002 PNNL signed a licensing agreement with Mehl, Griffin and Bartek, of Arlington, Va., to manufacture and sell the device to the US Customs Service. A similar version of the device is being used along borders in Eastern Europe to detect smuggled goods there.

Excerpted from PNNL FLC webpage.

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