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Instant Imaging Device
October 18, 2002 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Big Brother dances with joy.
posted by Beholder (34 comments total)

 
Tango, Foxtrot or moonwalking? Jebus, man, do you realize the phenomenal implications of this kind of imaging?

The prospect of low-cost and completely safe medical imaging could provide the opportunity for every GP's surgery to have such a device. Professor Laurie Hall, an authority on medical imaging at Cambridge University, said: "It's a completely new window into the human body."

In the middle ages, the Church prohibited anatomical study due to its supposed evil motivations. Let's not return there by condemning a very useful and powerful medical tool for what it *might* be used for.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:48 PM on October 18, 2002


"If it were mass-produced, there is no reason why it could not be available for a cost similar to that of a digital camera."

Ok, ok, I agree, the medical and security application can be astronomically beneficial. But if this technology can be mass produced cheaply, what precautions are there to stop some smart voyeur from taking pictures of our birthday suits?
posted by phyrewerx at 8:54 PM on October 18, 2002


Weed just got a lot more expensive.
posted by Optamystic at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2002


I saw this device in the recent James Bond spoof, "tripleXXX". Pre-marketing?
posted by troutfishing at 8:59 PM on October 18, 2002


Big Brother dances with joy.

Not to mention Voyeurweb.
posted by y2karl at 9:07 PM on October 18, 2002


Call me paranoid if you want, but I'm not big on the idea of anyone having access to technology, that let's them see through walls. It's fair to say that within 20 years, you'll be able to pick up your own pair of x ray glasses on the black market, and while the peeping tom angle is creepy, the power this will give governments is frightening.
posted by Beholder at 9:07 PM on October 18, 2002


A matter of simple truth...every security measure that admins have devised, hackers (white hat and black) have found a way to crack. Be of good cheer. Technology marches on, but then again, technology marches on.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:11 PM on October 18, 2002


phyrewerx: Ok, ok, I agree, the medical and security application can be astronomically beneficial. But if this technology can be mass produced cheaply, what precautions are there to stop some smart voyeur from taking pictures of our birthday suits?

From the article: A camera that can see through clothes, skin and even walls without X-rays has been developed...

It sees through skin. And somehow I doubt there's a big "voyeur" market for skeletal/muscular images. Which reminds me...

<Marco> Can I control my x-ray vision?
<Sparks> So you can look through people's clothes?
<Marco> Yeah, but I don't wanna see a bunch of bones and guts! Just the <klaxon noise>
<Sparks> Why else would you have it?
<Debbie> Oh, goodie! I'm gonna have robots eyeballing my <klaxon noise>?
<Sparks> No, you'll have a--dammit! Hold on. <turns off the sirens> No. You'll have a cloaking device.
– Sealab 2021

Obviously, cloaking devices are these scientists' next priority.
posted by Danelope at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2002


Big Brother touches the thread with his ever spreading reach, and not yet has the name Bush appeared? I was almost frightened to open the link.

Terahertz?
The terahertz, abbreviated THz, is a unit of electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one trillion hertz (1012 Hz). The terahertz is used as an indicator of the frequency of infrared (IR), visible, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Whatis Definitions

Terahertz radiation, which occupies a region of the spectrum between infrared and radar... EeTimes

Compared to microwaves, terahertz frequencies bring wider bandwidths, smaller antennas and wavelengths appropriate to the resolution of everyday objects. Molecules emit characteristic rotational transition lines at terahertz frequencies, while substances show markedly different opacities to those at other wavelengths. Another Research Facility

Was this just unimportant when learning about light in high school?
And, where oh where are the flying cars already??
posted by kid_twist at 9:28 PM on October 18, 2002


what precautions are there to stop some smart voyeur from taking pictures of our birthday suits

Anyone who tries to see pictures of me in the buff will get exactly what they deserve, and that's my best precaution.

\begin{yaphetkotto}
It's got a wonderful defense mechanism. You don't dare look at it nekkid.
\end{yaphetkotto}
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 PM on October 18, 2002


"As long as the wall is made of dry material, terahertz waves can pass through. Only metal and materials with a high water content block them."

Time to make a trip to the medieval specialty shop and buy a shiny new suit of armor.
posted by Modem Ovary at 9:49 PM on October 18, 2002


And last week, I was laughing at the stupid-sounding "terahertz imaging array" satellite in the TV show Alias, that was used to see tunnels underground.. jeesh.
posted by luriete at 9:54 PM on October 18, 2002


<marco> I'll have the strength of 10 gorillas

– Sealab 2021
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:26 PM on October 18, 2002


Dr Mann admitted that the ability of the camera to see body shape beneath clothing could prove controversial.
posted by straight at 10:57 PM on October 18, 2002


A couple of thoughts. First, I get this warm fuzzy feeling throughout my chest whenever something Neal Stephenson imagined in Snow Crash becomes a reality. Second, I was operating under the assumption that human skin (and muscle tissue, for that matter) contains a great deal of water, so how is it that these waves can pass through said tissue to provide useful medical scans? That was the only bit that struck me as odd.
posted by mmcg at 11:05 PM on October 18, 2002


Modem Ovary:"Time to make a trip to the medieval specialty shop and buy a shiny new suit of armor."

How about a gel-padded bra or one of these filled with water?
posted by phyrewerx at 11:37 PM on October 18, 2002


Weed just got a lot more expensive.

Actually, since the courts ruled that thermal imaging is not appropriate without a warrant, I don't see how this makes it harder to grow weed. The courts thus far have been pretty clear: advancements in technology do not change the definition of "plain sight".
posted by McBain at 11:45 PM on October 18, 2002


OK, so they can record what you say by bouncing lasers off windows, and they can see through walls with terminator googles. So I need lead-plated walls and pants, and what about my windows? Double-glazing?
posted by holloway at 11:51 PM on October 18, 2002


Would it be overly paranoid to assume that any capability with heavy national-security implications that the European Space Agency discovers has already been discovered by the research labs of the US security apparatus years ago?
posted by gsteff at 12:04 AM on October 19, 2002


Thanks, science! Now I have to cover the entire compound with WET METAL!
posted by damehex at 1:19 AM on October 19, 2002


WHOOO HOOO! Scanners that see through my clothes?
Now I have the chance to live a scene from a bad Paul Verhoeven movie
OR at least just a voyeuristic Dockers ad...
posted by FilmMaker at 1:46 AM on October 19, 2002


gsteff: I would belive that to be correct.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:31 AM on October 19, 2002


holloway, stick a soundbug on your window, much cheaper.
posted by yonderboy at 3:43 AM on October 19, 2002


I work in an office directly above StarTiger. All I can say is that they make Terahertz imagers much better than they can play football. ;-)
posted by salmacis at 4:06 AM on October 19, 2002


Would it be overly paranoid to assume that any capability with heavy national-security implications that the European Space Agency discovers has already been discovered by the research labs of the US security apparatus years ago?

No. We're not that good.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:23 AM on October 19, 2002


For the first time ever, I have to agree with ParisParamus. I don't think there's any suggestion that the Americans are any further advanced than the Europeans when it comes to this kind of research. On the other hand, the likes of the CIA and the NSA would like people to think they are that advanced...
posted by salmacis at 9:55 AM on October 19, 2002


"As long as the wall is made of dry material, terahertz waves can pass through. Only metal and materials with a high water content block them." (em mine)

Like, um, human flesh and blood? I guess that flesh is much less able to block these waves than metal, and that you'd need several bodies' worth to add up to, say, a mm of sheet metal -- otherwise, this tech is not going to be much use for medical imaging.
posted by sennoma at 10:38 AM on October 19, 2002


(Ooops. In other words, what mmcg said.)
posted by sennoma at 10:39 AM on October 19, 2002


Look, I'll believe it when I see it. Back in 1979, I bought these out of the back of a Boy's Life magazine for $3.99, and they NEVER worked right.
posted by bradth27 at 1:07 PM on October 19, 2002


Weed just got a lot more expensive.

Not really, you just can't hide it under a thick book anymore.
posted by bradth27 at 1:11 PM on October 19, 2002


It is pretty amazing what the article had to say about the prototype camera's abilities; it was vague enough that everyone in this thread seems to have a slightly different idea of what the "terahertz" camera can or cannot do. The researchers probably want to keep it that way.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:24 PM on October 19, 2002


Where did I put my tinfoil suit?
posted by titboy at 3:20 PM on October 19, 2002


On a positive (for the US & allied militaries) note, this kind of thing with be an absolutely devestating tool for urban warfare. Just use one to look through walls, then shoot the targets inside with a high-powered rifle, right through the wall. You could probably even tell if the people inside were armed or not and avoid civilian casualties.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:59 PM on October 19, 2002


lmao wallhack IRL!
posted by firestorm at 3:52 AM on October 20, 2002


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