Flyers will once again be able to can carry their own drinks on board planes, for scientists have developed a new generation of X—ray machines which can reveal the contents of a bottle.

A team at Durham University in Britain has come up with the scanner that can tell the difference between water and liquid explosives; the device can even check the barcode to make sure that the contents haven’t been tampered with.

Manufacturers have been given official European Union approval to use the new generation of X—ray machines at all European airports, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

The machine would in place by April next year. The ban on liquids in hand luggage was imposed in August 2006 after police uncovered a plot to smuggle explosives on to planes using drinks containers.

The new scanner has been created by Kromek — a spin off company from Durham University.

Arnab Basu, the company’s chief executive, was quoted as saying, “The best analogy is that compared to conventional X—ray scanners, this is the difference between seeing an object in black and white and seeing it in colour.”

The new scanner is far more sensitive and can distinguish between different wavelengths of X—rays.

“You don’t have to open a bottle or sniff it to take a sample. You just put a bottle in the scanner and it will show whether it is water or a chemical explosive,” said Basu.

The company’s scanners can also read the barcode on a bottle of drink and then check to see whether the contents have been tampered with by looking at a vast database of products.

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