Sunday, January 10, 2010

Crack New Scanner Looks for Bombs Inside Body Cavities


The “underpants bomber” has renewed calls for new and more invasive security measures. Already, there’s a push to install scanners that show travelers’ naked bodies through clothing, using either millimeter wave or backscatter X-ray imaging. But even those scanners might not have caught the terrorist who nearly brought down Northwest flight 253.

That’s why one company is trumpeting a sensor that can supposedly “detect substances such as explosive materials … hidden inside or outside of the human body.” First step: Actually build a human-sized machine.

There has already been one report of a suicide bomber carrying explosives internally. Many sources, including the BBC, carried an early report suggesting that Abdullah Hassan Al Aseeri adopted the new tactic of “carrying explosives in his anal cavity” for an attack in September. The target, a Saudi prince, survived, but Aseeri was reportedly blown in half by the blast. Later reports suggest the explosives were actually sewn into his underwear, but security experts believe there is a real danger of “internally carried” bombs, a technique used for years by drug smugglers.

Nesch, a company based in Crown Point, Indiana, may have a solution. It’s called diffraction-enhanced X-ray imaging or DEXI, which employs proprietary diffraction enhanced imaging and multiple image radiography (.pdf)....................................

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