June 12, 2012

Law Enforcement Meets Star Trek

A hand-held Star Trek type scanner that can be programmed to recognize drugs or explosives in seconds is increasingly being used by federal narcotics officers to detect drugs and by law enforcement in forensic work, according to an article in The Atlantic. The device looks like a vintage cell phone and weighs about 13 ounces. It can be programmed to detect about 100 narcotics, according to Delta Nu, a manufacturer of the devices. Held against a bag of white powder, it emits a beam of laser light that in 20 seconds can tell whether a substance is heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or powder, thereby eliminating the expense and wait time associated with sending samples to a laboratory for testing.