September 30, 2007

Go Ahead Lead, Make My Day: The Innov-X Handheld XRF Analyzer


The government's been taken over by a bunch of pantywaists from Gucci Gulch who lobby to slash funding for eveything but their own wallet-lining pork. Corporate fat cats are selling the country out, making toys from who-knows-what in order to squeeze one more penny out of you. Meanwhile, the sensationalist news media wants to keep us all cowering in the corner--with the TV on, of course--afraid of a plastic Dora doll.

innov-x_lead_guard.jpgIf you're fed up and want to take back control of your own toy-buying life from the lead scaremongers, the patriotic Americans at Innov-X Systems have just what you need: a badass handheld X-Ray Flourescence detector that can suss out the heavy metal composition of whatever you point it at in less than 15 seconds.

XRF is the most effective, non-invasive, non-destructive technology for detecting lead, cadmium, and over 23 other potentially toxic or environmentally unsafe metals. And Innov-X is the leader in handheld XRF solutions that use non-isotopic X-ray tubes, which eliminates cumbersome licensing and travel restrictions.

The Innov-X XRF Classic and the Import Guard offer a full range of detection capability, while the Lead Guard offers a focused, lower-cost lead-only solution. The Lead Guard can be recalibrated to detect other elements for a reasonable fee above the price difference. [Which tells me that it's largely a question of software, so why not hack the Lead Guard to detect everything yourself by programming in the spectrum settings for all the other compounds and elements?]

Most all models include a free, Palm Pilot-looking data management attachment at no additional cost. They appear to run on Windows CE. There is no mention of Mac compatibility.

The Import Guard is $30,000, and the Lead Guard is some unpublished amount less than that. I expect you could make that back ten times over if you wander the parking lot of Toys R Us this holiday season and offer to XRF peoples' shopping bags.

Innov-X Handheld XRF Analyzers []
Material Screening With The Innov-X XRF Analyzer []


I think we really messed up. When people asked us what our daughter wanted for her birthday we should have replied, "She would like a Innov-X Handheld XRF Analyzer." If she had gotten one of these we could have had a great after present opening tradition of scanning and trashing all the newly opened gifts. She would have loved that!

A little out of reach for your average parent, but why not put one of these in a kiosk in a high-end European wood toy store and invite customers to test stuff they bought elsewhere against the quality stuff in the store?

As an occassional user of the Innov-X Alpha series, I have to say these instruments are pretty nice. You won't get an exact result in 15 sec., but it will give you a ballpark number (it usually takes about 45-60 sec. to get an accurate reading). Plus its use of x-ray tubes lowers the NRC regulatory hurdles that had to be crossed to travel with older-style XRFs. Not to mention that with lead samples analyzed by inductively coupled plasma - atomic emission spectrometry going for about $50 a piece, the $30k price tag can be justified.

Next time I have one at home, I'll try to find a few suspect vinyl toys to shoot.

[sweet, send pix! -ed.]

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