New camera lets administrators check for objects under an individual's clothes - without seeing the family jewels

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

March 11, 2008

1 Min Read

Remember the "x-ray glasses" they used to sell in the back pages of comic books? They didn't work. But now a British company has invented a camera that really does see through clothes up to 80 feet away.

ThruVision's T5000 system is designed to help security professionals detect weapons, drugs, and explosives and could soon be used at railway stations, shopping centers, and airports around the U.K., according to reports.

It was originally designed for use in spacecraft and astronomy, but researchers soon realized that cameras capable of seeing through clouds of cosmic dust could also see through clothing.

The system uses "passive imaging technology", which identifies substances using the natural electromagnetic rays (also known as Terahertz or T-rays) that they emit. Each material has a distinctive signature, so the system can distinguish between cocaine and sugar, for example.

But before you push aside those comic books to get out your piggy bank, you should know that the camera does not show "anatomical details," according to the company. Oh well, you can't have everything.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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