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"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
- Peter Watts

Boink Biosensor  
  A hand-held sensor that detects the presence of hazardous biological material.  

Two members of a UN team looking for biological WMDs in late 1990's Iraq need to make a quick determination.

"I'm gonna do a hand-held Boink, real quick," Littleberry said. From the suitcase, he lifted out an electronic device about the size of a paperback book. It was a palm-sized biosensor. People called it a Boink because it let off a pleasant chiming sound if it detected a biological weapon. The Boink had a screen and some buttons and a sample port - a little hole. The Boink could test for the presence of twenty-five different known biological weapons.

Littleberry took the small tube that contained the truck sample from his pocket. He took out a disposable plastic pipette. It was a little droplet-sucker. He sucked up a droplet of the sample liquid and dropped it straight into the sample port of the Boink.

From The Cobra Event, by Richard Preston.
Published by Random House in 1997
Additional resources -

In the glossary at the end of the book, Preston refers to the Boink as "a partly real, partly fictional biosensor device that can almost instantly detect approximately twenty-five dangerous infective pathogens."

I think this idea is loosely based on the BioSeeq unit that was available around this same time.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Cobra Event
  More Ideas and Technology by Richard Preston
  Tech news articles related to The Cobra Event
  Tech news articles related to works by Richard Preston

Boink Biosensor-related news articles:
  - Your Own Handheld Biosensor

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