When Reny Roy was assigned the project 15 years ago, she had no idea it would one day get a Washington DC debut as India’s first defense technology transfer to the US.
That project led to the creation of Explosive Detection Kit, which, as the name suggests, makes it easy to detect all kinds of explosive, especially those used by terrorists.
The kit will be manufactured and sold in the US by Crowe and Company, a South Carolina firm.
“It feels great,” said Roy, a scientist at DRDO’s lab in Pune. Roy got the project “around 1997” with a brief to develop something to stop terrorists.
The kit comes in various forms — one that can fit in your child’s lunch box, one that can go into your husband’s shirt pocket (or wife’s purse) or something bigger and more substantial.
Based on principles of “colour chemistry”, the kit uses reagents — chemical substances that trigger chemical reactions — to detect explosive types by resulting colours.
A few drops or a blast of atomised reagents on suspected explosive material can within minutes confirm, or deny, the presence of explosives — TNT, PETN, or RDX. The kit is widely used in India, marketed by a company licensed by DRDO, which owns the patent, to produce and market it, by law enforcement and other agencies.