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Professor wins international design award

July 26, 2006

Martin Linder observes the CT-80 Explosive Detection System in actionAn original design for a system that detects explosives in checked baggage at airports has won an international Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) for Martin Linder, assistant professor of design and industry.

Linder won the bronze award in the Business and Industrial Products category for the CT-80 Explosive Detection System. Linder's product design team included students Chris Morlock, Gary Chen, May Thiers, Cory Bloom, Martin Etkin and Jane Rabanal.

The IDEAs, sponsored by BusinessWeek magazine and juried by the Industrial Designers Society of America, is an annual contest in which product designers are honored in 13 categories. This year's 108 winners represented such companies as Panasonic, Kodak and Samsung as well as the nation's top design firms, including ZIBA Design and Design Continuum. In total, contest organizers received 1,494 entries from 29 countries.

The CT-80 Explosive Detection System, manufactured by Reveal Imaging Technologies, is an alternative to the traditional baggage screening machines found at airports. Its compact size allows it to sit adjacent to a ticket counter, where baggage can be screened in front of passengers.

"The machine's sculpted exterior panels reflect the internal architecture, reducing its bulk and, more importantly, generating a softer profile that appears less menacing to travelers," reads a description of the CT-80 in the June 29 issue of BusinessWeek. "The control interface's touch-screen LCD allows ticket agents to operate the system in an intuitive and expedited manner, leaving the (Transportation Security Administration) agent to focus solely on screening."

The CT-80 is in use at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada. Reveal Imaging Technologies has a $25 million contract with the federal government to deploy the product at airports throughout the United States.

Linder and his students designed the enclosures and covers for the machine's scanner, as well as the touch-screen display panels that run the machines. Students also conducted research on the system's effectiveness at the Reno-Tahoe Airport. Their research earned a first-place award in the 2006 California State University Student Research Competition.

Linder noted that the CT-80 is able to detect explosives that people would be unable to find by screening bags manually. Explosives are sometimes disguised as harmless, everyday items, he said.

"You might see an object that appears to be a tin can of coffee, but it's really an explosive," Linder said. "With this technology, we're trying to catch it before it's too late."

Students in the Design and Industry Department won an IDEA in 2005 and two IDEAs in 2003. Over the years design and industry students have created countless innovations that have received patents and been manufactured and marketed. Student inventions include: the Unball, a cross between a softball and bean bag that was popular in the 1980s; and the Hooper, a plastic harness used to carry two-liter soda bottles.

-- Matt Itelson
Photos: Courtesy of Martin Linder


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Last modified July 26, 2006 by University Communications