U.K. marketThruVision shows T5000 T-ray security imaging system

Published 12 March 2008

T-rays operate in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum; T-ray-based detection system can see through clothing of still or moving individuals at a distance of up to twenty-five meters to reveal hidden objects

If you have nothing to do today or tomorrow, you may want to visit the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) Exhibition. Among other things, you will see advanced security imaging technology that can “see” explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics, and ceramics hidden under clothing from twenty-five meters. Developed by Didoct, Oxfordshire-based ThruVision, a spin out company of the Science and Technology Facility Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), the T5000 passive terahertz imaging system will improve security at high profile sites and at outdoor venues such as sporting arenas. The company claims that the T5000 is the only commercially available camera of its kind in the world, and that it can image both metallic and nonmetallic objects hidden under clothing on still or moving subjects without revealing any body detail.

ThruVision’s passive imaging technology stems from a collaborative European Space Agency (ESA) project which was based on original research carried out over many years by U.K. astronomers, including those at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to study dying stars. The T5000 operates in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum. T-rays are a form of low level energy naturally emitted from all materials, including rocks, plants, animals, and people. They can pass through smoke, clouds, and many solid materials like clothing, and in some cases, even walls. The T5000 passively collects these naturally occurring T-rays and processes them to form images that reveal concealed objects hidden under a person’s clothing without displaying physical body detail and without subjecting them to any of the harmful radiation associated with traditional X-ray security screening.

Clive Beattie, ThruVision’s CEO said: “The ability to see both metallic and non-metallic items on people out to 25 meters is certainly a key capability that will enhance any comprehensive security system deployment.” Dr. Liz Towns-Andrews, director of Knowledge Exchange at STFC said: “Astronomers use T-ray cameras that can see through dust and clouds in space, revealing what lies beyond. ThruVision uses them to see weapons hidden by clothing. This is a first-class example of how fundamental scientific research can be applied to benefit the whole of society. Who would have imagined that research carried out by space scientists to study the stars could result in it being used to protect the public from terrorists and therefore save lives? The impact of this will be remarkable.”