Friday, August 5, 2011

Weird Science: Traveling With Homemade Gadgets

Device Found At Omaha Checkpoint
Device Found At Omaha Checkpoint
You may have heard in the news recently about how a college student unintentionally closed down a TSA checkpoint with his science project. He had shipped it to Omaha, but decided to travel with it on his departure. Let’s be clear, it was completely innocent. He had no way of knowing his improvised mint tin would look like an improvised explosive device (IED) on our X-ray monitor. Most people wouldn’t realize it and the purpose of this post is to inform folks that homemade gadgets (however cool they may be) can look like improvised explosive devices to our officers on the X-ray monitors. You may remember a blog post from Nico about homemade gadgets from back in 2009. The devices we’re looking for don’t look like the Wile E. Coyote Acme bomb, they are smaller these days and much harder to find.

I spoke with Dave today from TSA’s Explosives Operation Division about what types of thing can cause your bag to be checked. Watch the video to see what he had to say.

So when you pack your bags for a trip, you may want to think about what items you are placing next to others to avoid the hassle of unintentionally creating an X-ray image which could cause TSA to conduct a further inspection of your carry-on and checked bags.


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.