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IARPA Wants a Hand-Held Laser Gun That Can Detect Chemicals 100 Feet Away

The U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity wants to develop a hand-held, laser-based remote sensor that could detect and identify chemical weapons, explosives, narcotics and potentially even biological agents – all from up to 100 feet away.

The intelligence community’s research arm has awarded funding through the U.S. Air Force to five companies – LGS Innovations, Physical Sciences, Photonics Inc., Block Engineering Inc. and Leidos Inc. – through its Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures program.

The creative acronym – SILMARILS – comes from "Lord of the Ring's" magical lore. IARPA’s goals for the project are anything but fictional.

Current technologies for detecting narcotics, explosives and other dangerous chemicals requires physical contact between humans and X-ray-based machinery like those stationed within major airports that scan suitcases and luggage.

Read full article here: http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2016/04/iarpa-wants-hand-held-laser-gun-c...