Device Sniffs Out Smuggled Money

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Ahhhh, the smell of money. That distinctive ink-on-linen scent. I’m surprised Glade hasn’t bottled it. I’m even more surprised that about $30 billion of U.S. currency is smuggled into Mexico each year from the United States without a trace.

Now researchers have come up with a technology that’s able to sniff out hidden money bound for the border.

Money Is Disgusting

Suiqiong Li and Joseph Stetter of Newark, CA-based KWJ Engineering have developed a portable device that mimics the way trained dogs sniff out trace chemicals emitted from money. But unlike dogs, this device doesn’t have to be fed, walked or trained.

It works by extracting gas samples from a traveler, a bag, a vehicle or even a shipping container and then analyzing the sample for the signature chemicals that make up that money-smell.

“We have found that U.S. currency emits a wide range of volatile organic compounds that make up a possible ‘fingerprint’ that we can identify in less than a minute,” explained Stetter in a press release.

Can Money Really Buy Happiness?

A security officer would simply wave the probe over clothing or inside a piece of luggage and if the chemicals were detected, an indicator light would come on.

The researchers say that it could take two or three years to develop the device and get it ready for use at border crossing or at airports.

via American Chemistry Society

Credit: Thinkstock

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