DEXI Scanner Looks Inside Air Travelers

DEXI - or diffraction-enhanced X-ray imaging uses proprietary diffraction enhanced imaging and multiple image radiography to look inside the body cavities of air travelers to detect illicit materials and bombs.

Rather than simply shining X-rays through the subject and looking at the amount that passes through (like a conventional X-ray machine), DEXI analyzes the X-rays that are scattered or refracted by soft tissue or other low-density material. Conventional X-rays show little more than the skeleton, but the new technique can reveal far more, which makes it useful for both medical and security applications.

“Our patented technology can detect substances such as explosive materials, narcotics, and low-density plastics hidden inside or outside of the human body,” company CEO Ivan Nesch claims. DEXI allows explosives to create contrast, he adds, so it would be able to detect both the underpants bomber and the shoe bomber before they boarded.

The image [below] shows how a conventional radiograph does not detect two packets of “illegal materials” concealed in soft tissue, while they are plainly visible in when DEXI technology is used.


(Conventional X-ray versus DEXI technology)

Members of noble houses in the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert used similar devices to search out assassins who conceal materials inside the body (see the poison gas-dispensing false tooth for an example):

"...In the future, when searching Sardaukar, remember... that each has a false toenail or two that can be combined with other items secreted around their bodies to make an effective transmitter. They'll have more than one false tooth. They carry coils of shigawire in their hair - so fine you can barely detect it, yet strong enough to garrote a man... With Sardaukar, you must scan them, scope them - both reflex and hard ray - cut off every scrap of body hair. And when you're through, be certain you haven't discovered everything."

Hopefully, these measures will not be applied to us routinely when we fly by air...

From Wired; thanks to Moira for the tip and the reference for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/9/2010)

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