Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Renewed Interest in mmWave Body Scanners

With the recent terrorist attack on the flight heading to Detroit, there is a flurry of renewed priority to install scanners that can detect small amounts of explosives hidden on the body. There are two vying technologies for body scanning, low level back scatter x-ray and millimeter wave imaging. They have been slow to catch on due to the cost, speed and privacy concerns but with this new attack, the TSA is reportedly expediting the order for 300 new machines.

It appears 150 of these were already ordered from OSI Systems' Rapiscan unit which manufactures x-ray machines. From our industry's perspective, we hope many of these are mmWave body scanning machines which provide high resolution 3D images. Companies like L-3 would benefit from this increased buying if mmWave technology is used. There are still privacy concerns but the machines have softwave that can prevent abuse. We always seem to have to give up some privacy or rights to improve security.

What do you think - which technology is better? Do the privacy concerns out weigh the security risks??