Open main menu

The FIDO explosives detector is created by ICx Technologies, Inc. and is based on a proprietary technology developed by MIT called amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP). The AFP technology was invented by Timothy M. Swager and won him the 2007 Lemelson-MIT Prize.[1][2][3] It was adapted for use in the FIDO explosives detector to detect trace levels of explosive materials. The product is so named because its level of detection is comparable to highly trained explosives detection dogs, the gold standard in explosives detection technology.

The overall system of the Fido Explosive Detector included a component called the Fido XT Explosive Detector developed at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.[4] This sensor can be used for detecting traces certain vapors, including those of explosives. It could also be used for screening people, vehicles, or buildings.[5]

This lightweight system is based on a sensitive amplifying fluorescent polymer. It is used for detecting explosives, in various methods including direct detection or tethered sensing. In tethered sensing, the system is mounted on a robotic platform, such as unmanned ground, aerial, or on underwater autonomous vehicles.[4]

Dr. Stephen Lee is credited with inventing the FIDO Explosives Detector while working at the Army Research Laboratory.[6]

FIDO is designed for operation in either handheld, desktop or robot-mounted configurations, and has recently been integrated on to the iRobot Packbot and Foster-Miller Talon as an explosives detection payload for EOD applications in both Iraq and Afghanistan. FIDO won the U.S. Army Greatest Invention Award in 2005 and Packbot in 2006.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Timothy M. Swager". Lemelson-MIT Program. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  2. ^ Sherer, Kyle (2 April 2007). "Chemist Inventor 'Sniffs' His Way to Prestigious US$500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize". New Atlas. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  3. ^ Lombardi, Candace (4 April 2007). "Bomb detection innovator wins $500,000". CNET. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b History of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Government Printing Office. p. 74. ISBN 9780160942310.
  5. ^ Ma, Jianjun (27 December 2013). "Fiber-Optic Sensors for Explosives Detection" (PDF). The Open Optics Journal. 7 (1): 141–158. doi:10.2174/1874328501307010141. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Research lab chief scientist gains presidential recognition". U.S. Army Research Laboratory. U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  7. ^ "US Army Awards for Top 10 Inventions of 2005". Defense Industry Daily. 26 June 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  8. ^ "US Army Awards Top 10 Inventions of 2006". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved 4 April 2019.

External linksEdit