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ThruVision - Making Travel Safer or Infringing on Privacy?

Thruvision T5000 sees through your clothes

Remember those X-ray goggles your brother used to tease you? Remember how he told all his friends he could see "everything" with them, including your polka-dot panties? His dreams may finally be a reality the new ThruVision or "Strip Search" camera.

ThruVision Security CameraThruVision Security CameraA UK firm, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, has taken security to another level. ThruVision actually sees beyond your clothes to what you may have hidden below.

But before you get your knickers in a knot, it can image metallic and non-metallic objects (still or moving) but it doesn't reveal body detail. It picks up tera-waves, low-energy rays emitted by everyone and everything. The camera can detect those rays through smoke, clouds and solid materials like clothing and even walls as far as 80 ft away.

Uses for the camera are obvious - train stations, bus terminals, airport security, sports and music events. A commercial version for use in office buildings has a scan range of 40ft. The system has already been installed in the Canary Wharf complex in London (a known terrorist target) and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.

If you're curious about the camera, you'll be able to see it in action at the Home Office scientific development branch's annual exhibition in Buckinghamshire this week.

"Acts of terrorism have shaken the world in recent years and security precautions have been tightened globally," said Clive Beattie, ThruVision's chief executive. "The T5000 dramatically extends the range over which we can scan people."

The technology raises more questions than it reveals though. Does it invade too much personal privacy in the interest of keeping us all safe? How much privacy are you willing to give up to keep terrorism at bay?

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