EU Is Building a Bomb-Detecting Network — in the Sewer

The EU is creating a network through sewer sensors to detect bomb-making materials.
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The EU is creating a network through sewer sensors to detect bomb-making materials.
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Photo Credit: Flickr/Chris Schrier

The European Union wants to know if you're making a bomb, and they plan to find out through a network of sensor-equipped sewers. The Swedish Defence Research Agency is leading the coalition called Emphasis, which will be implanting electrodes into the city sewage system to detect any discarded chemicals that can be used to make a bomb.

The team is also making their own fake bomb lab to examine how certain materials would travel through pipes.

"We want to test it as realistically as possible," Henric Oestmark, research director of energetic materials, told Fast Company. "If you have a normal lab, you have very clean air, for example. You need to simulate what is happening in real life if you are going to find a bomb factory."

He notes that most homemade bombs are made with a base of hydrogen peroxide or fertilizer.

Since this information is now public knowledge, bomb-makers might choose to dispose of their materials in other ways. However, the sensors do have the potential for cities to spot patterns and learn new ways to become more efficient. 

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