New Smog Detector Unveiled

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Vehicles that belch polluting emissions could be easily identified by new technology developed by scientists at the Desert Research Institute in Reno.

The LORAX system uses laser technology to detect pollutants from passing vehicles and calibrates the particles they emit.

"This system measures particles by bouncing a laser beam off the vehicle's exhaust," Hampden Kuhns, DRI manager for the LORAX project, said Tuesday during a demonstration.

A video camera records the vehicle's license plate number, which would allow authorities to contact the owners with a notice to fix the problem.

Scientists said the equipment could be set up along a freeway ramp and check thousands of vehicles a day.

Kuhns said the system has been patented and could be available on the market in a couple years if a manufacture steps up to license and produce it.