U.S. Army Selects Bodkin Design & Engineering to Develop a Homemade Explosive Detector

U.S. Army Selects Bodkin Design & Engineering to Develop a Homemade Explosive Detector


U.S. armed forces, as well as civilians at home, operate under the continual threat of attack from homemade explosives (HME).  In response to this threat, the Department of Defense has awarded Bodkin Design & Engineering $890,000 to develop an advanced sensor to detect the presence of such threats, classify the nature of the materials, and provide stand-off warning to troops.  The instrument can be used at security checkpoints to detect chemical residues on personnel and equipment, as well as hand carried into facilities for onsite inspections.  The techniques can be applied to other materials of interest, including chemical and biological agents.

The program combines Bodkin Design & Engineering’s HyperPixel Array™ (HPA™) imager with basic research conducted at the U.S. Army Chemical Research, Development & Engineering Center at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.  The resulting system will capture high sensitivity chemical imagery of the scene.  Software will analyze the data and identify telltale chemical constituents in the image, and present the results in a color coded video display.  The system enables the operator to look for residual chemical fingerprints on car doors or spills on factory floors.

Typical scenarios involve detection of residue on vehicles and containers at sufficient stand-off distance to allow the operator to maintain a defensive posture (~50 m).  The portable system can also detect nitrates and other components of explosive materials at short range, for use inside facilities or for package screening.

The patented HPA™ imager provides spectral images of the scene under inspection.  The HPA™ utilizes a unique optical processor to capture 3D hyperspectral data-cubes with a standard 2D focal plane array.  Its millisecond data-cube acquisition time makes it ideal for transient events or for use on unstable platforms.  HPA™ processors have been designed to operate in the Visible through Long Wave Infrared bands.

This multi-year project is funded under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  This program was established by the Small Business Administration Office to ensure that the nation’s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts.

About Bodkin Design & Engineering

Bodkin Design and Engineering, LLC has been providing concept development, prototype design/build, and engineering services to commercial, military, and research communities since 1992.  Headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, BD&E holds contracts with the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Department of Homeland Security, National Aeronautic and Space Agency, and the Missile Defense Agency.  In addition, BD&E has overseen the successful introduction of products ranging from miniature infrared cameras and spectrometers to heavy equipment for railroad yards.  To learn more, visit the website at