Article: Russians Develop DUI Camera
Localities may one day issue tickets for the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) by mail. The Russian firm Laser Systems has developed Alcolaser, a device that uses lasers to remotely detect the presence of alcohol vapors in an automobile. The Alcolaser is available in either in the form of a handheld gun the size of a police radar or in a mounted version designed to work from a moving police car.
The device takes about half-a-second to scan an automobile. According to the manufacturer, the laser has a range of 65 feet and can test vehicles moving at up to 75 MPH. Laser Systems claims that Alcolaser can detect amounts as small as a quart of beer or 3.5 ounces of vodka without being fooled by other sources of ethanol that might be present in a passenger compartment.
An individual with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 would on average exhale enough alcohol vapors to bring the level in a car with the windows closed to 3 parts per million within 30 minutes. The level would be lower in a vehicle with the ventilation system active. Alcolaser takes advantage of spectroscopy, through which light hitting a specific type of molecule is scattered in a specific way. The shift in the energy content of the light differs based on the type of molecule hit, allowing one to detect the presence of a particular substance.
The method used would be incapable of distinguishing between a sober driver and a drunk passenger. It would also be fooled by beer spilled in the passenger compartment. Despite the limitations, the device has been demonstrated at a number of international trade shows and the Russian police are reportedly interested in testing the equipment. The firm already supplies a number of products to various branches of the Russian government. Source