New airport scanner can tell what's in your bottles
By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 10:22 AM on 25th October 2010
Roll-out: A new X-ray machine can tell what the contents of a bottle are - which could mean passengers will once again be able to board with water
An airport scanner that can tell the difference between water and liquid explosives has been developed by British scientists.
Manufacturers have been given official EU approval to use the new generation of X-ray machines at all European airports - paving the way for the day when passengers can carry their own drinks on board planes once again.
The device can even check the barcode to make sure the contents haven't been tampered with.
The machine would end the confusion surrounding liquid bans that add to delays for millions of British holidaymakers and could be in place by April next year.
The ban on liquids in hand luggage was imposed in August 2006 after police uncovered a plot to smuggle explosives on to planes using drinks containers.
Three Britons were jailed for life last year for their plan to destroy at least seven planes - carrying more than 200 passengers - using chemicals hidden in soft drink bottles.
The security rules have led to scenes of frustration at airport security desks with passenger forced to throw away drinks containers, bottles of perfume and even tubes of sun cream before boarding.
By April 2011, the regulations are being eased to allow transit passengers to carry liquids on board as long as airports have good enough scanners.
The new scanner has been created by Kromek - a spin-off company from Durham University.
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