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The REAL X-Ray spex: New 'terahertz' scanner lets mobile phones see through walls - and through clothes

April 20, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
xray_specs.jpg
  • Scanner uses 'terahertz' spectrum - between infrared and microwaves
  • Can see through walls, wood and plastics
  • Doctors could use small, cheap devices to see tumours inside body

April 19, 2012 by Rob Waugh via DailyMail.co.uk -- Comic-book superpowers could become reality as scientists have designed a phone that works as 'X-Ray spex'.

A hi-tech chip allows a phone to 'see through' walls, wood and plastics - and (although the researchers are coy about this) through fabrics such as clothing.

Doctors could also use the imagers to look inside the body for cancer tumours without damaging X-Rays or large, expensive MRI scanners.

The researchers claim it could allow DIYers to detect studs within walls, or allow businesses to detect counterfeit money.

At present, it's designed to work over a short range - and works with a normal-sized microchip that could fit into phones or other handheld electronics.

The team's research involves tapping into an unused range in the electromagnetic spectrum.

But the terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum, one of the wavelength ranges that falls between microwave and infrared, has not been accessible for most consumer devices.

'We've created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications,' said Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas.

'The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all.'

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