FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, May 06, 2005

Booby Traps

If it weren't such a serious topic, you might mistake this next item for a belated April Fools bit. Apparently, UK intelligence experts are becoming increasingly worried about the risk of female suicide bombers wearing explosive bras.

Unfortunately, this isn't just the product of some intel analyst's dirty mind. In 2002, a teenage suicide bomber blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket while wearing an explosive-laden bra, killing herself and two others. And in Sri Lanka, an explosive bra detonated while the wearer was being searched. The bomber and four police officers were killed.

If these sort of "innovations" keep up, one has to wonder how long it will be before full-scale strip searches will be required in order to board aircraft or enter secured facilities. Until more fool-proof and less invasive methods of explosive detection are developed, Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine might -- albeit tongue-in-cheek -- have the solution: fly naked.

And on that unsettling note, have a great weekend!

UPDATE: A more sensitive explosive detection system may be on the horizon. MIT researchers have developed a laser-based sensor that can detect TNT particles in concentrations as little as five parts per billion. The technology, which could be theoretically used to detect biohazards, gas leaks and even the presence of alcohol on one's breath, could be market-ready in as little as two years.