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Author Topic: A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?  (Read 16749 times)

Offline graham.d

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I read in last week's NY Times that a British company (ATSC UK Ltd) has been selling a device to the Iraqis that is supposed to detect bombs, guns, drugs and pretty well anything that needs detecting. The contract was worth, accordingto the NYT, $32M in 2008 as the devices sell for up to $60,000 each. The device is known as an ADE 651 and ATSC reportedly says it uses "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction". In practice it seems to work like a divining stick and has no power supply. The James Randi Educational Foundation has "publicly offered ATSC $1M if it could pass a scientifiv test proving the device could detect explosives... no one from the company has taken up the offer".

This may be a case of the buyer beware but this is clearly, in my opinion, not a device that is based on any sound science and should not be used. Iraqi, Major General Jehad Jabiri seems to believe in it though, so it must be of benefit to him somehow. I guess he does not have to be the guy doiing the so called detection though.

Would this company be in any way liable should someone be killed because this device failed to detect a bomb? I would suppose not as it would be down to the user. I would be interested to see exactly what the company claims for the device though as they may be liable to some sort of fraud perhaps. The NYT says that the company claims it can find "even contraband ivory at distances up to 1km". But I guess it would be up to the customer to complain, which maybe unlikely.

Any thoughts?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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You are right- it does look like outright fraud.
 

Offline JP

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It probably depends on the local laws and the claims they make about their magic wands.  In the US, for example, you can sell all sorts of junk medicine as long as you put a disclaimer on that it hasn't been evaluated by the FDA.  This is another good example of why scientific literacy is important even for non-scientists, since it could save the millions spent on these devices as well as the lives lost due to the bombs they fail to detect.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/world/middleeast/04sensors.html
 

Offline Don_1

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This 'magic wand' produced by ATSC & Global Technical is identical in all but the label to one manufactured previously by Quadro of Sth Carolina.

There are test results by Sandia here. Although it doesn't look like these were very comprehensive test, I think the claims by the manufactures to have produced the equivalent to the 'wonder cure-all elixir of life' are so fantastical as to put off any serious and meaningfull evaluation.
 

Offline lightarrow

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The NYT says that the company claims it can find "even contraband ivory at distances up to 1km".
If I could have some little doubt, reading this I don't have anylonger  :)
 

Offline graham.d

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I'm glad to see this company has been finally called to task over this and the MD is being questioned by police. He is an ex-police officer as well. It has taken years though!

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6997859.ece
 

Offline yor_on

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Now Graham?
How can this possibly be a fraud?

I read your article and as I saw the explanation for why those unfamiliar with the science behind thought it to be a fraud, and furthermore, the ingenious solution to that problem I realized that this had to be a state of the art 'explosives sniffer'

"Mr McCormick told The Times that his device was being criticised because of its crude appearance.

He added: “We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.” "

Yes, this will work...

 

Offline Don_1

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Ah! Now we're talking hi-tech.

With some flashing lights, all it will need are some Phirips style functions and specifications and it will go like a bomb!

Hmmm, perhaps not the best choice of words.
 

Offline yor_on

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Maybe 'hit the roof' would be better?
 

Offline alanturing

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Belive or not but they have a site dedicated to newbielink:http://www.ade651.co.uk/ [nonactive]!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?
 

Offline RD

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Offline Madidus_Scientia

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #11 on: 26/02/2011 03:33:00 »
What's more dangerous, those who sell this kind of stuff, or the lack of critical thinking abilities of those who buy it?
 

Offline Geezer

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #12 on: 26/02/2011 06:36:26 »
I thought they had been shut down already. Considering how intrusive the UK government has become in recent times, I'm amazed that they are still in operation.

There was a prog on the telly about it recently. I was not paying much attention, but I seem to remember seeing some high-up UK army johnny, who had been hoodwinked by this, squirming and trying to defend his position - presumably on the grounds that he didn't know the difference between science and a hole in the ground.
 

Offline RD

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #13 on: 26/02/2011 12:16:45 »
They should have bought some "X-ray specs" : they're a lot cheaper and just as effective.
« Last Edit: 26/02/2011 12:33:14 by RD »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #14 on: 26/02/2011 14:43:39 »
Belive or not but they have a site dedicated to ADE 651!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?
I can explain it.
They are simply telling lies.

It is not possible.
 

Offline CliffordK

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #15 on: 06/03/2011 02:54:01 »
Whew..
There's a long Wikipedia Article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651

The first thing I usually do when I buy a new "nifty gizmo" is to check to see if it works.
If something is supposed to detect explosives, explosive residue, and etc.

Pull out some ammo, a grenade, dynamite, TNT, whatever.  And, see if it does what it is supposed to do.  False positives are annoying.  False negatives are deadly. 

Although, a wand with blinking lights and various beeps and squeals can be a good deterrent.  I'm sure you could build an equally effective device out of a toy store light-saber kit.  :)

Most precision instruments also have some kind of a calibration routine.

Anyway, it sounds like a disjoint between the purchasing agents and the field technicians, and overall very poor communication, and training.
 

Offline grizelda

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #16 on: 06/03/2011 09:13:59 »
It's a wide-open field: the current state of the art involves sending a few mules out in front of you.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #17 on: 06/03/2011 12:46:13 »
It seems to me that, rather than the mules, we should use the directors of the company that makes the product. They can use their product to find a safe path if they like.
 

Offline CliffordK

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #18 on: 06/03/2011 13:27:04 »
It seems to me that, rather than the mules, we should use the directors of the company that makes the product. They can use their product to find a safe path if they like.
They could just be extradited to Iraq, to be tried in an Iraqi Military Court. Perhaps the Iraqis would accept a plea for leniency.

It sounds like a most unique device.  According to the notes... it is called an ideomotor effect.  The device doesn't do anything.  The swivelling antenna essentially points where one points it...  which is probably why there were complaints of it picking out perfumes and women.

See halfway through this article.

http://ohpmartin.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/hello-world/

 

Offline Bored chemist

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #19 on: 06/03/2011 18:30:52 »
It seems to me that, rather than the mules, we should use the directors of the company that makes the product. They can use their product to find a safe path if they like.
They could just be extradited to Iraq, to be tried in an Iraqi Military Court. Perhaps the Iraqis would accept a plea for leniency.


I suspect the effect would be rather similar, but in one case, at least a few mines would be cleared.
 

Offline alanturing

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #20 on: 14/06/2011 14:15:30 »
Belive or not but they have a site dedicated to newbielink:http://www.ade651.co.uk/ [nonactive]!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?

how can this be?
 

Offline CliffordK

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A weapon detector; how do companies get away with selling this?
« Reply #21 on: 14/06/2011 22:10:19 »
Belive or not but they have a site dedicated to ADE 651!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?
how can this be?
It is fancy, official looking packaging.
But, the basic idea is that it will point wherever you point, whether it is conscious or not.

The way it works is that the antenna is on a swivel.  You drop your hand and it swivels towards what you are pointing at.  If you know where to look, then it will take you there every time.  If you don't, then you'll never find it.

It is a pure scam of the worst kind.  I'd hate to be charged to finding improvised explosive devices with something like this.  The perpetrators should be sued for billions of dollars for every false negative that leads to lethal consequences.
« Last Edit: 14/06/2011 22:11:53 by CliffordK »
 

Offline steelrat1

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HEDD1 Explosive detector real or a dangerous fake?
« Reply #22 on: 15/06/2011 14:40:40 »
please have a look at this site link
HEDD1 its states that its an explosive detection device and designed to protect
people from hidden threats.. i work with explosives / pyrotechnics and this device looks like its a divining rod with as much science behind it as a Y shape Twig
they call it Pre-initialized magnetic interference.. so I'm asking you guys what do you think?

http://www.unival-group.com/unival_pdf_downloads/hedd1_manual_2010.pdf [nofollow]

most concerned that this is a genuine company that is selling this!
also if you think it works , i like an explanation please.
 

Offline Don_1

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HEDD1 Explosive detector real or a dangerous fake?
« Reply #23 on: 15/06/2011 15:06:31 »
Would C4 or any other explosive have an effect on a magnetic field and even if it did, would a simple car ariel be a means to detect any such reaction?

I'm no chemist or explosives expert, but this does, as you suggest, smack of a divining twig.

I would rather put my trust in a well trained dog.
 

Offline imatfaal

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HEDD1 Explosive detector real or a dangerous fake?
« Reply #24 on: 15/06/2011 15:43:07 »
I am not sure if it is the same thing - but take a look here

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=26976.msg285562#msg285562

The forum members were pretty scathing
 

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HEDD1 Explosive detector real or a dangerous fake?
« Reply #24 on: 15/06/2011 15:43:07 »

 

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