next time you are sitting in city traffic and get an eerie feeling when a large panel van goes driving stealthily
by, relax. It probably is not a terrorist with a load of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but it might just be a
Z Backscatter Van™
(ZBV) spraying you with x-rays. OK,
don't relax. AS&E has developed a dynamic x-ray backscatter imaging system that uses a non-descript commercial van
as its mobile platform. Typical radiation dosage information is not offered, but the good news is it supposedly
will not cause cellular damage (even though it can see through heavy-walled steel shipping containers).
system's "drive-by" capability allows operators to conduct X-ray imaging of vehicles and objects while the ZBV
drives past. It can be operated in static mode by parking the system and producing X-ray images of vehicles as
they pass by, or by driving the van past objects of interest.
Low atomic number elements like hydrogen,
carbon, and nitrogen (i.e. the nitrate part of ammonium nitrate in fertilizer and potassium nitrate in gunpowder)
are readily detected and automatically highlighted. But wait, it can also detect contraband like tobacco, alcohol,
and illegal drugs. It even detects smuggled humans.
Nooooow how much would you pay?
So, just as you have grown accustomed to being monitored from cameras on every corner, now you can rest
peacefully knowing that you are being assessed by x-rays as well. Sleep tight.