New Scientists’ research reporter Barry Fox has found an interesting new patent that could stop many bombs from every being detonated. With the increase in terrorist activity such as the London bombings, US Defence contractor Raytheon Company has designed a portable device that can quickly identify and disable cell phones that could be used to remotely trigger a bomb.
Within the device is a transmitter that mimics a cellular base station, a metal horn concentrates the signal from a 10 milliwatt power source in one direction. It scans suspicious luggage with the tool and tricks any concealed or nearby phones into thinking it is within range of a new network tower then blocks it from any genuine towers in the area.
The patent explains “The device has a response unit for providing a response when a telephone-activiated device is detected, such as providing an alarm to an operator or interdicting operation of telephone-activated device.”
What will stop this from detecting every generic phone that is in the bags of innocent travelers is not known or described in the patent. If there is no method to distinguish the two, this technology may not be as helpful in finding triggering devices as initially intended.