Tuesday, June 24, 2014

US Military and Police to Begin Using Next Generation X-Ray Guns

The company behind the backscatter imaging technology rampant in American airports is back with a new invention: a handheld X-ray “gun” capable of seeing through various types of material.

According to national security website Defense One, the device has been dubbed the “Mini Z” portable scanner and it’s capable of capturing transparent images and sending them to other devices, such as laptops or tablets. The scanner’s manufacturer, American Science and Engineering (AS&E), is currently offering the device to the US military, law enforcement agencies and border patrol officials.

 Not only can the device see through boxes, bags, airplane wings and car seats, it can display and detect a wide range of objects, including guns, explosive material, bricks of cocaine and other drugs and more.


  1. What to be more concerned about, the impact on privacy or health of such devices?

    The accumulation of electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere produced by humans concerns me. In this case it is x-ray for "security" purposes. If it were only Mini Z's used sparingly, the concerns might be negligible. But human produced EMR has proliferated and is hard to get away from. Both mobile and newer cordless home phones are constantly transmitting along with the cell towers that are in all corners of civilization. Wireless this, wireless that, even meters reading the power to our homes are wireless (unless your local energy monopoly allows you to opt out). Are the conveniences of wireless a tradeoff from biological health? There are differing reports on the health effects of wireless technologies. The government agencies (WHO, FCC) seem to be telling us not to worry, while the alternative health community tells us to be concerned and take precautions.

    Hmm... Who to believe?

    1. EMR does not accumulate. Photons, lacking mass, always move at the speed of light, and are gone as soon as devices emitting them are turned off.

      Hard UV, X and gamma-rays are *ionizing* meaning they are energetic enough to tear electrons away from atoms and thus break the chemical bonds. That's why they damage organisms.

      Light, IR, and radio-frequency waves are not ionizing so they either do damage by heating tissues (but to do damage this requires microwave oven-levels power) or by hitting exact resonant frequencies at which lower energy non-ionizing EMR may have biochemical effects. So the effects of light and lower-energy photons are subtler (and generally much less damaging, if at all, depending on frequency/intensity).

      This said, this Mini Z gizmo emits X-rays at intensities sufficient to penetrate sheet metal (significant part of it will be scattered by metal objects). Which means that it *will* give its operators cancer.

    2. Thanks for the info averros. I should have used quantity rather than accumulation.