January 23, 2006

New US security device spots weapons under clothes

By Christian Wiessner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new surveillance device using radio
waves to look under peoples' clothing for concealed guns, bombs
or other weapons may be coming soon to a security checkpoint
near you.

But the modest need not worry about screeners sneaking a
voyeuristic peek because the system only identifies non-human
material tucked inside clothing and does not convey images of
the naked form underneath, the maker of the device -- Brijot
Imaging Systems Inc. of Orlando, Florida -- said on Monday.

The BIS-WIDS Prime is the first and only surveillance
camera that immediately detects and identifies the exact
location of objects hidden beneath a person's clothing while
the person is in motion, the company said.

At its first public demonstration on Monday in New York,
the device was able to detect a mock gun and a bomb replica the
company said was similar to that used by al Qaeda.

"The software in the machine itself actually looks at the
person, looks at the objects, and actually tells you what it is
and, most importantly, where it is on the body," said Brijot
Chief Executive Brian Andrew. "It doesn't just go 'bing' like a
metal detector. We can identify weapons' shapes."

The device uses computer panels that display images of the
body to the security screener, with dark patches marking the
location of hidden objects.

The invention was described by company officials as
basically a small radio telescope that "sees" radio waves
transmitted by the body. If a portion of the body is covered by
something underneath clothing, no waves will transmit from that
part of the body, raising a red flag to screeners.

"Our bodies radiate radio waves just like a cell phone
does, and our camera sees that," Andrew said.

Andrew said the BIS-WDS, with a suggested retail price of
$60,000 per unit, was designed to be used anywhere there are
crowds and security is needed.

"We'll see it in the obvious places, any areas of high
risk. Government buildings, train systems, airplane systems,
even private buildings or movie theaters and sports stadiums.
Any place you expect some level of security, you'll see these
deployed," he added.

Andrew was tight-lipped about how many units had been sold,
and to whom.

"There are some deployments. We're not at liberty to say
where they are. No military applications, but there are some
applications involving military," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security
Administration, which oversees airport security, did not return
calls for comment on the device.