The U.S. patent system creates an environment which inspires inventors to create new or improve upon past inventions. This allows for the continuous improvement of various types of technologies. Additional influences may also be drawn from sources within a larger social context, as seen the efforts of Carlos M. Pereira, Hai-Long Nguyen, Edip Niver, Aladin H. Kamel, and Mohamed A. Salem, who were influenced by terrorist attacks which have been known to use improvised explosive devices (IED). IEDs are bombs which can be hidden in plain sight, as they can be integrated into unsuspecting, mundane objects, such as cars, computers, calculators, etc. This ambiguity and danger could be viewed as a catalyst for the need of a safe solution to handle these deadly bombs, resulting in U.S. Patent #7717023B2, “Improvised Explosive Device Detection/Destruction/Disablement.” The research behind this patent involved a collaboration between faculty and students at Stony Brook University, the U.S. Army, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Ain Shams University. Moreover, the funds contributed towards this invention were given by the U.S. government, indicating efforts to improve national security and assist military forces combating the use of IEDs today. The invention is designed to detect and identify IEDs within a radius of 50-100ft and can subsequently deactivate and/or destroy the explosive at a safe distance. Utilizing this technology can both improve our safety as well as take care of these disguised bombs without placing an individual in harm’s way.
U.S. Patent #7717023B2 allows for impressive integrated features in technology that was once not available. This patent has impacted the way the military can approach areas known to have IEDs in any given location. For example, instead of having to approach and search a dangerous area surrounded with hidden bombs, the military can now see if there are any IEDs in their area, and deactivate or safely detonate them without placing anyone’s life put in danger Any device that is integrated with this patent, while maintaining a satisfactory level of safety, can detect an IED using one or more methods. The methods include detecting internal battery components, magnetic signatures, chemical signatures, and any other high amounts of energy characteristics that may be present within IEDs. When an IED is detected, the device can then further characterize the IED in order to deactivate or safely destroy it by way of using a shape pulse charge (electromagnetic pulse) directed at the device in order to disrupt the bomb’s power source (battery) from a safe distance.
The inventors have credited a number of other inventions prior to theirs, including U.S. Patent #6341551B1, “The Land Mine Hunter Technique,” which has the capability of detecting and neutralizing land mines for mine breaching and mine clearing; U.S. Patent #6825792B1, “Missile Detection and Neutralization System,” which can determine the precise launching point of ballistic missiles and has the ability to neutralize them as well; and finally, U.S. Patent #7071631B2, “Electromagnetic Pulse Device,” with the ability to create an electric discharge from a short circuit in a conductive coil in order to compress a magnetic field. Together these patents can be reflected in the creation of the Improvised Explosive Device Detection/Destruction/Disablement. The Land Mine Hunter Technique and the Missile Detection and Neutralization System both use wireless detection techniques for specific lethal weapons and explosives; along with the capability of deactivating them. The Electromagnetic Pulse Device brings the method of deactivation into a larger scale because it can deactivate any magnetic field, which can render any wirelessly connected bomb useless. Since IEDs are not necessarily land mines or missiles, and they can be hidden in plain sight while being connected wirelessly or with the use of motion detection, the creation of the Improvised Explosive Device Detection/Destruction/Disablement, has allowed for a rather graceful solution to a very dangerous weapons tactic.
U.S. Patent # 7717023 B2 has itself been cited by U.S. Patent #8490538, “System For Protecting Surfaces Against Explosions.” This invention can generate an explosive force intended to counteract an initial explosion by attenuating the shock wave and deflecting shrapnel. This patent is very helpful in that it provides a safety feature for the situation of a bomb that has already exploded by mitigating the damage it would have otherwise created without safe intervention. Due to the number of patents that have influenced one another involving explosives, solutions have been made for identifying a wide variety of hidden bombs as well a backup plan in case an unexpected bomb were to go off. When viewing the cited and referenced patents it became clear that this type of threat detection technology reflects the efforts of many to combat the danger of bomb threats, especially with pressure from typical terrorist attacks which have been known to use IEDs.
Since the Improvised Explosive Device Detection/Destruction/Disablement replaces the need for physical searching of IEDs (given that the device is within detectable range of said bombs), search dogs are also no longer necessary to combat IEDs. Without the need of search dogs, their lives can be spared as well. Not only that, but search dogs can be very costly for a method that only has a 75% success rate despite their heightened senses. It costs an estimated $4,000 to buy a dog trained to search bombs, and $35,000 to deploy them.[i] It is arguably much more efficient for a device that requires little to no risk of life to locate IEDs as well as disable or deactivate it.
Although the patent possess many advantages, it is still not perfect and cannot be used in all situations. The probability of the detection system malfunctioning is presently unknown, a matter which should not be taken lightly, as a defect in the system could easily result in the fatal encounter of a live IED. An additional concern is the invention’s limited detection radius, which only reaches up to 100 ft. The invention would be useless if it were to be integrated onto a drone where detection and deactivation of IEDs would be done with a much safer and more effective rate.
By Samantha Miccio, James Romano, Bryan Taveras
[i] Rick Atkinson, “There was a two year learning curve…and a lot of people died in those two years.” The Washington Post. Oct 1, 2007. Web. Nov 22, 2016. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/30/AR2007093001675.html?sid=ST2007092900754>