TechnologyI’m becoming more and more shocked at the uses for our printers as technology gathers pace.

Most of these advances have been made in the area of 3D printers, and we have already brought you stories of how they will soon be used to save lives. Not only will they soon be reproducing transplant organs, they’ll also be able to replicate the blood vessels needed to transplant these organs into humans.

Printing Bomb Detectors

Now it’s the turn of the humble inkjet printer to save lives, in particular the lives of servicemen and soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and numerous civilians. have reported that scientists from The Georgia Institute Of Technology have designed a wireless sensor device that can detect even minute traces of the key chemical ingredients used in the manufacturing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Astonishingly, the device can be printed on a paper like substance on an ordinary household or business inkjet printer such as the HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format Inkjet Printer

How It Works

The prototypes for this incredible piece of equipment were created by Krishna Naishadham and Xiaojuan “Judy” Song. How they work is that they sense ammonia, which is one of the key chemical constituents found in IEDs. It is incredibly sensitive and can find traces of ammonia as low as five parts per million in the environment. Once the ammonia is detected, it sounds an alarm sends an alert to the soldiers in the close vicinity.

Advantages of the New Detectors

There are a few obvious advantages to this type of device. Firstly, the cost will be much cheaper than the expensive bomb detection systems currently in use.

Being able to simply print off the sensor and the antenna necessary to use utilising standard inkjet printers will bring great cost savings to the armed forces. Whereas one traditional detector runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds, many more soldiers will be able to be equipped with the new style of detector at a much cheaper overall cost.

The other major advantage is the portability of such a device. It can literally be printed off en masse in virtually any part of a war zone.

It is conceivable that soldiers will be able to print them as needed using a truly portable rechargeable printer like the Canon Pixma IP100 Portable Inkjet Printer With Rechargeable Battery. The increased transportability this brings will be an enormous benefit. Not only can it get closer than the traditional bomb detectors, as close as 20 metres, the sheer scale means it can get into smaller spaces and be easier to carry and deploy.

Most importantly, this device can save lives. Since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars erupted ten years ago, over 3,000 of the UK and US armed forces have died as a result of IEDs, with even more injured.

The civilian loss of life, and permanent injuries to civilians, has been even greater. Hopefully, if this technology progresses sufficiently, such catastrophic fatalities and injuries may be significantly reduced.

A Word of Caution

Before the new style bomb detectors can be used in the theatre of war, some more work is needed to refine them. Simply detecting ammonia is not enough, because it can be found naturally in such things as fertiliser and animal urine.

The principal research scientist behind the printed detector issues his own sage words of warning.  Krishna Naishadham said “Two important things need to be done before this technology is made ready for field applications. You want to maximize the sensitivity [of detecting ammonia] while filtering responses to remove naturally occurring gases.”

However, despite these words of warning, there may well soon be a time when instead of seeing soldiers laden with huge robotic bomb detectors like Jack Bauer in an episode of the TV series 24; we’ll see them carrying a rechargeable portable Canon printer in their backpack.

One thing CartridgeMonkey can help our customers detect is the great deals on the web for the best printers, printer ink and toner cartridges!

Visit us today and get the best deal on the web!

Looking for fantastic deals on ink and toner?