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X-ray gun: X-ray handguns are on the market now, are X-ray glasses far behind?

A handheld X-ray gun that can look through metal, clothes, wood, rubber and other material to find guns, drugs, explosives or even human cargo is on the market, NewsMax reported Monday. The world’s first X-ray handgun is made by the Massachusetts-based American Science and Engineering Inc. The company introduced the "MINI Z Backscatter" imaging scanner last week.

Could X-ray technology like this be used in police guns?
Could X-ray technology like this be used in police guns?
Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

The company’s press release notes that the gun has potential for a number of uses because of its unsurpassed compact size.

"Leveraging the breakthrough capabilities of our Z Backscatter detection technology, the MINI Z system is AS&E's initial offering of what will be a family of portable backscatter products," said Chuck Dougherty, AS&E's President and CEO in a pres release . "We have taken the technology behind the success of the ZBV® system and miniaturized it — making it more affordable and accessible to a broader range of customers. The MINI Z system is a game-changer for law enforcement and border security officials who are constantly challenged to quickly and accurately detect potential threats in hard-to-reach environments as they work to ensure the highest level of public safety."

The company said the x-ray gun uses a miniaturized technology in its Z Backscatter Van system.

The company noted the following possible uses for the gun:

Public Safety: Quick screening of unattended and suspicious bags and packages for potential terrorist threats in public spaces.
Border and Security Checkpoints: Inspecting vehicle bumpers, tires, panels, and interiors for explosives, plastic weapons, and other concealed threats and contraband.
Drug Enforcement: Investigating suspected drug labs for drugs or currency.
Event Security: Screening hand baggage and deliveries to ensure public safety.
VIP Security: Security sweeps of meeting rooms and furniture for organic threats and IEDs to ensure personnel safety.
Maritime Security: Screening the hulls and bulkheads of suspected drug running boats for contraband or narcotics.
General Aviation Security: Inspecting the seats, compartments, and panels of small planes for hidden contraband.

Defense One writer Patrick Tucker witnessed the X-ray gun being demonstrated and he seemed to be impressed writing, “At a recent demonstration, the device could see through boxes, bags, car seats and airplane wings to reveal various organic compounds — everything from bricks of simulated cocaine to paper, ammonia and other potentially explosive materials. Even a handful of grapes. (Defense One supplied some of the material to ensure the accuracy of the test.)

A lot of folks are wondering whether X-ray glasses will be far behind, but as Tucker notes that see-through X-ray glasses are a ways away from being manufactured.

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