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Using TraceX® Explosive Detection Kit with a Robot

EOD teams and bomb squads are critical to the war on terror
Explosives remain the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat from international terrorist organizations and local, home-grown terrorists as well. Sadly, Home Made Explosives (HMEs) and IEDs have become a fact of modern life. When a bomb or explosive material is suspected, bomb squads or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams get called to the site to render safe the explosive threat.

Robots help keep EOD and bomb squads safe
Robots have become an indispensible tool for EOD teams and bomb squads. These EOD robots or bomb disposal robots are controlled by a bomb technician, who can maintain a safe distance from a threat. These robots have many uses, with a primary purpose of diffusing or disabling bombs, unexploded ordnance, and landmines. Given their usefulness, most EOD teams and bomb squads now have access to a robot. As robots have become more common in military and law enforcement applications, their uses have expanded. Robots, also called unmanned ground vehicles or UGVs, can operate in environments which are incompatible or unsafe for humans.

TraceX on robot approaching site

Problems with using robots to detect explosive materials
Robots can be outfitted with electronic explosive detection devices to help a bomb technician determine if explosive materials are present. However, the use of these electronic detectors requires a great deal of specialized training, a large budget and regular maintenance. Not to mention, integration of the electronic explosive detector with the robot is difficult, typically requiring extensive technical collaboration between the robot manufacturer and the explosive detector manufacturer. There are a number of colorimetric explosive test kits for use in the field. However, most colorimetric kits are not compatible for use with a robot. For instance, some colorimetric kits are simple chemical droppers, which cannot be easily handled by a robot. Other colorimetric kits have a flexible swab to collect a sample; most robots are not able to grab and manipulate these swabs. See a comparison of the different types of field colorimetric explosive detection kits.

Using TraceX explosive detection kit with a robot
The TraceX collector works with any EOD or bomb squad robot that has an arm and claw. This approach allows the user to keep a safe distance from the suspect material. To use TraceX with a robot, the technician simply follows these steps:

  • At a safe distance from the suspect material, the technician simply closes the claw on the TraceX handle.
  • The technician then maneuvers the robot toward the suspect material, and moves the arm to collect a sample using the TraceX collector.
  • The robot is then returned to the technician who removes the collector and operates the kit.
TraceX in robot claw

More about TraceX
Simple to use and low cost, the TraceX explosive detection kit can be used by every warfighter or law enforcement officer. With a single swab, the TraceX explosives detection kit detects all the major families of explosive materials and their precursors. Thanks to the TraceX's simple color-change alert system, a single color indicates the presence of a particular family of explosive material. No longer does the user have to conduct serial tests, and then try to interpret the results. This brief video clip shows a TraceX explosives detection kit detecting ammonium nitrate. Detecting explosives has never been easier.

The TraceX explosive detection kit was developed by Morphix Technologies under contract from the US Department of Defense, so you know it's tough. It is small enough to fit in a cargo pocket, lightweight and rugged. Each TraceX explosive detection kit comes in its own disposable protective plastic case, so it will be ready to use when needed. No more broken ampoules from rough handling, as can happen with other explosive detectors. And, the innovative collection system protects the sample from user contamination, so you can have confidence in the result. As the name implies, TraceX is sensitive enough to be used for trace explosives detection but may be used for bulk detection too. For more information, view the TraceX brochure.

The TraceX explosives detector is available in boxes of five kits. Just request part number 510100.

TraceX explosives detection kit. Rugged. Reliable. Easy to Use.