New Airport Body Scans Don’t Detect All Weapons

John Hamilton
NPR
Wednesday, January 13, 2009

The Obama administration’s plan to protect air travelers from terrorists is counting on a technology that is powerful but imperfect, experts say.

The plan will place hundreds of full-body scanners in airports around the country. These scanners use a technology called backscatter X-ray to create images that can reveal weapons or explosives hidden beneath a person’s clothing.

But they don’t detect everything, and they won’t be in every airport.

Other experts, though, say backscatter scanners would probably miss a weapon or explosive concealed in a body cavity.

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And that apparent weakness has provided an opportunity for an Indiana company called Nesch LLC, which is developing another low-dose X-ray device that can find contraband where other scanners can’t.

This machine is called DEXI, for Diffraction Enhanced X-Ray Imaging.

“To my knowledge it’s the only one that very reliably can detect the presence of such substances, explosives or illegal substances that are hidden inside of a human body,” says Ivan Nesch, the company’s president and CEO.

View the original article at NPR

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