Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Do Not Buy Bogus Detectors


From time to time, there are new devices that enter the market. Most companies make reasonable claims, and their products are based on solid scientific principles. Claims for some other devices may seem unreasonable or may not appear to be based on solid scientific principles.
An old truism that continues to offer good advice is “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.”
If there are any questions as to the validity of a device, caution should be used and
thorough research must be performed before a purchase is made. Money can be wasted and even lives may be risked. Although there may be other types of nonoperational devices around, dowsing devices for explosives detection have emerged during the past couple of years.
Modern dowsers have been developing various new methods to add discrimination to their devices. These new methods include molecular frequency discrimination (MFD) and harmonic induction discrimination (HID). MFD has taken the form of everything from placing a xerox copy of a Poloroid photograph of the desired material into the handle of the device, to using dowsing rods in conjunction with frequency generation electronics (function generators). None of these
attempts to create devices that can detect specific materials such as explosives (or any
materials for that matter) have been proven successful in controlled double-blind scientific
tests. In fact, all testing of these inventions has shown these devices to perform no better than random chance.
Mostly these devices are used to locate water and now are used extensively by treasure hunters
looking for gold and silver. In recent years some makers of these dowsing devices have attempted to cross over from treasure hunting to the areas of contraband detection, search and
rescue, and law enforcement. The Quadro Tracker is one notable example of this cross-over
attempt. This device was advertised as being a serious technology with a realistic sounding
description of how it worked (close examination showed serious errors in the scientific sounding
description). Fortunately, the National Institute of Justice investigated this company and stopped the sale of this device for these purposes, but not before many law enforcement agencies and school districts wasted public funds on the purchase of these devices.
Things to look for when dealing with “new technologies” that may well be a dowsing device are words like molecular frequency discrimination, harmonic induction discrimination, and claims of detecting small objects at large distances. Many of these devices require no power to operate (most real technology requires power). Suspect any device that uses a swinging rod that is held nearly level, pivots freely and “indicates” the material being sought by pointing at it.
Advertisements that feature several testimonials by “satisfied users,” and statements about pending tests by scientific and regulatory agencies (but have just not happened yet) may be indications that the device has not been proven to work. Statements that the device must be held by a human to operate usually indicate dowsing devices. Statements that the device requires extensive training by the factory, the device is difficult to use, and not everyone can use the device, are often made to allow the manufacturer a way of blaming the operator for the device’s failure to work.
Another often used diversion is that scientists and engineers cannot understand the operation of the device or the device operates on principles that have been lost or forgotten by the scientific community.
In general, any legitimate manufacturer of contraband detection equipment will eagerly seek
evaluation of their device’s performance by scientific and engineering laboratories.

Any of this sound familiar...........Mr Jim?


Anonymous said...

Well put Techowiz. It is clear that ATSC with the ADE and Global Technical with the GT, make entirely spurious claims for their technology.

In simple terms, for these bits of equipment to work, the materials to be detected would have to be emitting something e.g. a smell, or a signal of some sort. In the case of the ADE and the GT we know that they are not claiming smell detection, particulraly when they are suggesting that they can detect substances at considerable distances.

This leaves an electrical emission of some sort. ATSC claims that the ADE detects electrostatically. This means that the substances to be detected must have an electrostatic charge to be detected. This theory has been comprehensively debumked as absolute nonsense.

Of course, there is one other possibility. That the detector sends out a signal which is bounced back in some way by the substance to be detected. As with the idea of electrostatic attraction, this is nonsense, especially where the claims are that the substances can be detected at great distances and through shielding materials or water.

So, unless there is some entirely new way of detecting substances other than those mentioned above then there is no way that a bit of metal stuck in a bit of plastic can do what the manufacturers claim. NO WAY AT ALL!

Techowiz said...

Here is my response and subsequent questions for Mr Jim on his blog, I have to put them on here because as you all know he wont publish critical comments:-

You see, if you ask civil questions, you will get civil answers.

'Grow up'.

You and 'some-persons' like you, are out to try and discredit both me, my company and anyone else that 'you' believe, is pulling the wool over ones-eyes when in reality, this 'type' of technology works!

'What you describe as, 'technology' is no more than suspicion, rumour and has no more credibility than reading tealeaves'.

OK, I admit that explanations given to you may not fit in with what you understand as technology

'My understanding on technology, is things based on solid scientific fact and have been the subject of independent scrutiny and testing, whats yours?'.

and I fully take on board comments that ask genuine comments....unfortunately, people like yourself have taken a personal vendetta for whatever reason....

'It is nothing to do with vendettas or grudges, I have already explained my dislike of fraudsters who put OTHER peoples lives at risk for money'.

but having seen a lot of these comments, I am now building a picture as to what really 'bugs''s not the fact that you believe it doesn't work,

'You know that remark is nonsense'.

nor do I sincerely believe that you are genuinely concerned about the saving of lives in war-torn territories

'I thought you were actually describing yourself with that statement, further nonsense, not just trying to 'pad' out this blog are you?

but that, companies like mine are making money our of this and that this money is ultimately coming (perhaps) from US sources.....

'I don't care if you make millions, go under or hang yourself, what I object to is selling this fraud that puts other peoples lives at risk'.

I cannot be sure of this myself but I am sure that you have formed a cult that believes this cannot work and irrespective of what I say, you will always find cause to discredit it

'Absolute tosh and you know it, I will type the next bit slowly for the hard of understanding, This application of science, if it were true, would be an achievement recognized and applauded the world over. Put simply it's not because it isn't. If it were proven real, which it can't on the basis of evidence released,and what you claim, I would be its biggest supporter' have to read all of the answers and comments that have been posted and in many cases, you will find contradiction in peoples comments....for example, someone mentioned that they saw my Thailand Police video and that they saw that something was found but then went on to say that I probably set it up yet,

'Well think about it yourself, I could 'set up' a video without independent oversight and show a car apparently running on tap water, its not rocket science'.

when I discovered 83 cluster bombs in the South of Lebanon.....'where was the video evidence'........ehh? am I missing something here?

'I appreciate you are wrong if you do and wrong if you don't, but saying you found these munitions is even easier than setting up a video'.

Please, do not be offended when I say that I cannot take a lot of your comments seriously......I now see you asking for people to provide you with information to prove our equipment, (and the like) cannot work which,

'I kwow your equipment does not work, I was asking for people experienced in EOD work for their opinion of your equipment. The scientific claims you make I can rubbish on my own, but I have no EOD experience'.

in my eyes, proves you really do not know what you are talking about anyway!

'You are starting to sound desperate now and clutching at straws,I have already told you that on scientific matters I can stand my corner and will challenge any invented principle, I have repeatedly asked what your qaulifications are in this or any field, you have yet to answer'.

However, to satisfy your 'thirst for information', I will simply respond to your question as follows:-
The unit is designed as a Long-Range was never designed for short-range use and in fact, I have stated (on several occasions) that it is NOT a pin-point device. It cannot tell you "it is here!"....all it can do is identify an area that needs closer inspection.....(no.1).
(no. 2)....ALL of the tests that have been performed on these-type of equipments, have been tested in conditions that ALL of them would find VERY difficult....

'Again, I simply cannot agree, surely a live operation for the search of explosives is a, 'double blind test', only the person who planted the explosives knows the location. Your advertising material makes all this sound very simple, you make no mention of, 'operational difficulties'.

(despite what you may have read before from agents, suppliers, obtain a accurate reading...(yes, an antenna on a stick as you call it)...

'Lets take that very point, the pointer or whatever you wish to call it, is in fact an omni directional ariel, that means it will pick up signals across 360 degrees, so how is it 'trained' to ignore the other 270 degrees of reception'?.

but at close range, it is difficult to find a reading that will identify a smaller is not impossible, but more often than not, a signal will be of the actual target.......

'I'm sorry I do not understand any of that, with respect it seems complete and utter BS. Allegedly it is programmed to look for a defined explosive, then it just goes off pointing at something else, whats that all about? You are saying at long range this device clearly and accurately will give a defined search area, but close in that signal is lost or acquires a mind of its own, if so, what has changed, the static charge, the signal given off from the explosive, what? it does not and cannot make sense'.

I would be wasting my time to explain this further, but this is what happens in reality. Therefore, of all the tests and in particular, the double-blind test, all readings that were done, were done in conditions that would make it very difficult for devices like ours, to work.......

'Re read some of the tests, especially the Dale Murray one you quote, it should have been a walk in the park for the equipment based on the claims you make. If yours and others equipment find that difficult, how does that sit with your, 'real life situations' you are so fond of claiming, it really does not get any easier than that'.

unfortunately, those people who initially 'volunteered' for such tests....failed miserably.....

' I would suggest it was the equipment that failed'.

however, also unfortunately to those people who conducted such a test, (a certain Mr Dale Murray comes to mind)...refused to conduct a second test stating that "he did not have authorisation for 'budget' approval to conduct a second test" and decided to go public with what he had......the rest, history.
So, (I now hear you ask), why don't I put the records straight....well simply, because now there is a change in policy with Joe Public......

'You see you misread everything all the time, I for one would love this to be real, we live on an island if it worked as claimed, it could wipe out the scurge of drugs before christmas, so why has your home market not been interested?'.

That being said, there will be testing done over the coming months and this will be done independently of public demand, although we will endeavour to use an Internationally recognised Authority that will also be willing to go public with their findings,

'If that is the case I would applaud you for that. I do however find it strange that any recognised authority would be ashamed or frightened to publish its findings, but we will cross that bridge if we ever get to it'.

but please sure of this, it will not be anyone who has any remote association with the Randi organisation.......

'This is where it all goes weird agin, why not let them oversee it and take an easy million into the bargain, I'm sorry but the logical thinking is just not there'.

when? all I can say is soon but be prepared for a long wait.....

' The wait has gone on for years, doesn't mean we will be off your case, we will still continue to push for the authorities to take action over the sale of this equipment'.

it is not that we cannot find the right authority,

'Are you talking about one you can bung a few quid to'?

it is finding an authority that is willing to go public with its findings.....

'After taking a bung, not surprising'.

because of your 'kind' support for such equipment, a lot of people have shy'd away........funny that!

' You seem surprised that reputable companies may not wish to be associated with you and your company, thats surprising'.

I am sure this has not helped you in any way, and I am also sure that, true to your form, you will pick holes in my comments....but again, please do not be offended if I ignore any further comments you have made unless, of course, you want to apologise now.......

'For what, PROVE your equipment works to recognised independent standards and I will withdraw my blog, and issue a very prominent apology. Otherwise, lets have your apology for the lives you are putting at risk, no, I thought not either'.

I hope this answered your question.....sorry for the long-winded reply.


RichardatNY said...

I have also challenged the fraudster who goes by the name of Mr Jim. He refuses to respond despite his statement about providing some evidence of this scams credentials. I have seen this rubbish in Hong Kong, it is an absolute disgrace.
Good luck in your exposure of these frauds.