New imaging technology can spot concealed ‘weapons’ at 25m

Security imaging technology that can ‘see’ explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics and ceramics concealed under clothing from 25m was due to be unveiled at this week’s Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) at RAF Halton.

Mar 13, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Security imaging technology that can ‘see’ explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics and ceramics concealed under clothing from 25m was due to be unveiled at this week’s Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) at RAF Halton.

Developed by ThruVision Ltd, part of the Science and Technology Facility Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), the T5000 passive terahertz imaging system will drastically improve security at high-profile sites and outdoor venues, such as sporting arenas.

The T5000 is only commercially-available camera of its kind in the world. It can image both metallic and non-metallic ‘threat’ objects hidden under clothing on still or moving subjects without revealing any body detail.

Compact, rugged, portable and easy-to-use, it can be used both indoors and outdoors up to a distance of 25m. Operating well beyond the range of traditional X-ray scanning and metal detector systems, the T5000 is designed for the protection of human life and property at key political, business, tourist and economic infrastructure sites. It offers a powerful new tool for security personnel at international airports, public transport facilities, large sporting events, check point control installations and other high-security points of interest. Furthermore, subjects can be still or moving, reducing the frequent problem of crowd ‘bottlenecks’.

Clive Beattie, ThruVision’s CEO, said: “Acts of terrorism have shaken the world in recent years and security precautions have been tightened globally. The T5000 dramatically extends the security surveillance envelope for ThruVision’s passive body scanning products used at important sites and events. The ability to see both metallic and non-metallic items on people out to 25m is certainly a key capability that will enhance any comprehensive security system deployment.”

ThruVision’s passive imaging technology stems from a collaborative European Space Agency (ESA) project which was based on original research carried out over many years by UK astronomers, including those at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to study dying stars.

The T5000 operates in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum – frequently this region of the spectrum is referred to with terms such as Terahertz rays, or T-rays. T-rays are a form of low level energy naturally emitted from all materials, including rocks, plants, animals and people. They can pass through smoke, clouds and many solid materials like clothing, and in some cases, even walls. The T5000 passively collects these naturally occurring T-rays and processes them to form images that reveal concealed objects hidden under a person’s clothing without displaying physical body detail and without subjecting them to any of the harmful radiation associated with traditional X-ray security screening.

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