February 02, 2018 

The latest technology in preventing terrorists from setting off explosives and taking the lives of innocent civilians is being developed – and soon produced – in Manatee County.

Trace Eye-D is a start-up, veteran-owned security development company with a focus on counter terrorism that has developed the science to detect explosive material traces with their patented chemical mixtures. The chemicals are infused into an easy-to-use wipe and can reveal the presence of explosive materials almost instantaneously.

The company has developed a wipe for commonly used nitrate-based – or military-grade – explosives, but also for homemade hydrogen peroxide-based explosive materials undetectable until now.

“There is a key distinction between the two,” said Trace Eye-D CEO Chris Baden, a sixth-generation Manatee County native. “There is no adoptive technology the government has right now to detect hydrogen peroxide-based explosives.”

More frequently, terrorists are using less-sophisticated homemade devices made with everyday components to try to circumvent current U.S. technology that can detect nitrate-based explosives.

“Presently, the (Transportation Security Administration) has a system that involves an expensive piece of machinery that collects the sample and the machine will determine if there are any nitrate-based materials,” Baden said. “It doesn’t work on peroxide materials and it can’t be reprogrammed to detect those materials. We’ve been working together as a team since 2012 in other areas of counter-terrorism projects and technology, but we’ve seen a need to reliably and quickly detect the presence of explosive materials.”

Director of research and development Barry Gorski, a retired U.S. Marine, chemist and manufacturing specialist, developed the chemical mixture. Rob Hartwell, of Hartwell Capitol, serves as the chief marketing officer and Scott Andrews is the company’s director of information technology and software development.

The company potentially could eliminate the need for expensive machines and provide a low-cost opportunity that, thus far, has recorded a 99.7 percent success rate in detecting explosive materials, Baden said. It’s also easy to use and easily portable, making its uses in the field by law enforcement agencies and potentially military personnel invaluable to test suspicious packages or persons quickly and on site.

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