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New technology is in the works to make it easier to detect bombs at airports and other public places.
Air travelers are familiar with bomb detection technology that's being used to screen baggage and passengers.
And now, a UC Berkeley professor and a team of researchers are working on a laser sensor that could revolutionize the way security at airports and other public places.
The laser sensor is so small, passengers wouldn't see it but researchers say it would work like a smoke detector.
Researchers say it's ten times more powerful than current bomb detection technology.
Passengers tell KTVU they can't help but be concerned about explosives making their way onto planes.
"Travelling at this time in the era that we live in, one has to have it in the back of their minds," said Amy Moyof, an airline passenger from San Francisco
Xiang Zhang, professor of mechanical engineering, and his team of researchers hope to ease those concerns.
"The question is can we have a technology like this to detect those tiny trace," said Zhang who says he and his researchers have come up with such technology.
Zhang showed KTVU what the laser sensor looks like after it's magnified under a microscope.
He says he and his researchers have worked on this technology for five years.
Zhang led a team of researchers who worked on developing this cutting edge technology over the past five years.
The professor says the sensor can outperform bomb sniffing dogs.
"The dogs are very capable but expensive to train," said Zhang.
The professor says the laser technology is so powerful, it can detect very small amounts of an explosive chemical, as small as one part per billion, that's the equivalent to a blade of grass on a football field.
"They are so tiny, one can make millions of them and disperse into a big structure like airport and other places," said Zhang.
One couple from Mendocino says safety on planes are on their minds as they board a flight to the Philippines Monday night and connecting to a Malaysian Airlines flight.
"I worry slightly but I just try not to think about it," said Jesse Rogers, an airline passenger.
Zhang estimates it will be three to five years before the laser sensors will be available for use at airports and other public places.Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:54:25 -0700
A man with a history of reckless driving is in trouble with the law again after being arrested on drunk-driving charges, following a crash that killed a passenger in his car.
Corey McDonah, 23, can be seen in a video racing on his motorcycle between 100 and 120 miles per hour. CHP released that video, which also shows McDonah doing wheelies on Interstate 580 in Oakland, back in April.
Last Friday, CHP says he was driving a Corvette when he hit a light pole on 580, near Park Boulevard in Oakland. He rolled the car and his passenger was ejected. On Monday, that passenger succumbed to their injuries and died.
KTVU spoke with McDonah after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving on his motorcycle earlier this year, asking if he’d learned anything from his mistake.
His answer, “Ride in the fog, because planes don’t see very well through the fog.”
McDonah is due back in court at the end of the month.
The name of the passenger killed, has not been released pending notification of the family.Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:12:58 -0700
A federal judge heard arguments but deferred ruling Monday on whether a San Francisco political consultant accused of possessing a homemade bomb can be released on bail so that he can receive mental health treatment in a hospital.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II's defense lawyer "has credibly argued that this is someone in need of some care that he may not be getting where he is currently housed."
But Chhabria said he was also concerned about security measures if Chamberlain is released from jail to an unlocked hospital.
"What matters is if there's any assurance that defendant is unable to pursue what he was pursuing before," the judge said at a hearing at the federal courthouse in San Francisco.
Chhabria said he will issue a written ruling later. The hearing was an appeal from a U.S. magistrate's ruling last month that Chamberlain must be held in pretrial custody because he is both a danger to the public and a flight risk.
Chhabria is the judge who will preside over Chamberlain's not-yet-scheduled trial.
Chamberlain, 42, is accused of one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device -- the alleged bomb found during an FBI search of Chamberlain's San Francisco apartment on May 31 -- and one count of possessing a gun with the serial number removed.
Federal prosecutor Philip Kearney told Chhabria Monday that he expects to obtain a revised grand jury indictment by the end of the month with an additional charge "based on positive tests for a toxin."
Kearney did not identify the toxin at the hearing. But in a brief filed on Friday, he alleged that powder residue found in vials hidden inside two mini-flashlights seized from Chamberlain's apartment has now "tested positively for the lethal toxin abrin."
Small doses of abrin are lethal to human beings if inhaled, ingested or injected, according to prosecutors.
Kearney, an assistant U.S. attorney, argued that Chamberlain "is a very dangerous individual based on what was found in his possession" and should be denied bail.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Jodi Linker told the judge that two doctors, in reports that have not been released to prosecutors, concluded that Chamberlain needs mental health treatment.
Linker told the judge that Chamberlain is being held at San Francisco jail's San Bruno facility.
She proposed that if granted release to a hospital, Chamberlain would be subject to electronic monitoring and to searches at any time, would be denied mail, would have all visitors monitored and would not be allowed to check out of the hospital voluntarily.
In a brief filed last week, Linker said Chamberlain's mother from Iowa and two uncles from Florida and Colorado have offered to post property as bond.
Linker said she hopes Chamberlain could be treated at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital of the University of California at San Francisco.
If Chhabria agrees to grant bail, Linker said, she would then make arrangements with Langley Porter or another facility and present the details about security to Chhabria for review at another hearing before Chamberlain would be released.
Prosecutors have alleged that bomb materials found in Chamberlain's apartment included a glass jar containing batteries, pyrotechnic powder and a rocket motor; ball bearings and screws believed to be intended as shrapnel; an ignition device; and a circuit board configured as a remote-controlled receiver.
At a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Nathaniel Cousins last month,
Kearney argued the mechanism was a "fully functioning, self-contained destructive device" that was "ready to go."
Chamberlain has been in custody since his arrest near Crissy Field in San Francisco on June 2 following a nationwide manhunt that began after the May 31 search of his Nob Hill apartment.
Chamberlain, guarded by U.S. marshals, appeared in court Monday in orange jail clothing with a small chain shackle at his ankles.Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:58:41 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories