If you're a light traveler, you've no doubt dealt the vexing fluid restriction that comes with traveling via airplane. It's always a devil's gambit of whether or not the particular TSA agent you're dealing with will permit you to hold onto your toothpaste or shampoo if they happen to exceed the 100ml volume limit. More often than not, I never check any luggage because I'm cheap but sometimes I forget to plan accordingly for this dumb fluid restriction and end up having to toss out toiletries that don't pass the test.
Hopefully, though, those days of stupid fluid precautions may be numbered thanks to a new bottle scanner that can, among other things, detect whether or not that really is shampoo in your Herbal Essence bottle. The INSIGHT100, developed by Cobalt Light Systems, scans containers with "a near-infrared laser" to test and identify a liquid within five seconds. Check out the video below to see how the INSIGHT 100 works.
The first impression of this bottle scanner only taking 5 seconds to scan an item is encouraging, but think about this in the real world. If travelers bring more than one bottle - and knowing Americans, they will - those 5 seconds are going to add up with the time taken to insert and remove the bottle from INSIGHT100. Also, given that 1 out of every 200 might turn up a false alarm, that's more time eaten up by some harried traveler trying to explain to a gang of TSA agents that, yes, that really is just Crest toothpaste in that tube labeled Crest and not red mercury. Suppose you have a couple hundred travelers on an international flight and each traveler brought along two bottles to be scanned by the INSIGHT100. That's roughly four hundred bottles that will be scanned and at least a couple of false alarms expected. Are you starting to see how much of a money- and time-waster this scanner will be?
So it's decision time, America: Is the placebo of travel safety so strong that you don't care how long it takes for you to board a plane so long that you get to carry along your bottles of water and whatnot? Or would you rather wait around in line at the TSA groping booths a little less if it meant you still couldn't bring your fluids onboard (granted they weren't disqualified by the 300ml rule)? What say you, travelers? Share your opinions below... now!