Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What’s the world coming too?: A camera that sees through clothing!

In this age of counter-terrorism, anything is possible.

Cameras that can see through clothes, like the x-ray vision of Superman, are now technologically possible.

Apparently, with the kind of interest governments have in ensuring security, they will spare no cost in obtaining such a tool.

Accordingly, the Dubai Mercantile Exchange announced that it would deploy a new x-ray camera that “can see through clothing to detect hidden explosives, drugs and weapons.” And, they wouldn’t be the first in the world to do so.

It seems that the commodities exchange and Canary Wharf in London got it it first. The BBC reports that it’s actually a portable camera, known an as the T5000 Security Imaging System. It had been developed by UK-based Thruvision and is to be unveiled at the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) Exhibition on March 12 13.

So, this is a brand new tool, and it’s already being adopted by Dubai. Soon, as you would expect, it will also be used across the region in other ‘hotspots’.

Getting back to how it works. the T5000 can detect both metallic and non-metallic threat objects under clothing on still or moving subjects from up to 25 metres away.
Now, for the piece of information that first jumped to your mind - and mine- upon reading that the camera ‘sees through clothes’.

Could it, possibly, reveal the details of a person’s naked body? Wouldn’t that result in the indecent exposure of unknowing individuals? Imagine the outcry that would follow its use!

If Thruvision’s claims are to be believed, the answer is “no” it doesn’t. Although it can see through clothing, the camera does not reveal "body detail". What that basically means is that you it can’t capture what imaging technicians call “surface anatomical effects."

In plain English; the machine reveals “a silhouette of the form of your body” that looks more like an outline than actual body details.

However, seeing is believing and we’d all like to actually see a demonstration of this camera in action to satisfy our curiosity and set our mind at ease too!

Here’s more on how it works. The camera detects low level energy known as T-rays, that are naturally emitted from all materials, including rocks, plants, animals and people.

Then, it collects the T-rays and processes them to form images that reveal concealed objects hidden under a person’s clothing. Most importantly, it does not subject people to any harmful radiation associated with traditional x-ray security screening.

Anyway, Thruvision’s camera is quite a breakthrough for a commercial application, seeing as such technology was both prohibitively expensive and only available to certain government agencies, like NASA, who created it for astronomers to see very far stars, without being bothered by other stars or space objects that might be standing in the way!

In spite of this ‘official’ response, I’m not quite comfortable being scanned head-to-toe, through my clothes, and not seeing what I look like on a security screen. I’d much rather pretend this camera doesn’t exist!


At 10:58 AM , Blogger TRiPLE M said...

I dont know what to tell you...but the idea of being scanned by the x-ray camera is the same like wearing a see-through clothes...


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