Full Body Scanners – How do they work?

The new full-body security scanners might become a popular alternative to body searches with the increased alleged terror threats worldwide. The full-body scanning system has taken the world by surprise in the past recent months. The most advanced method of whole-body imaging technology involves scanning the whole body through clothing, revealing both metallic and non-metallic hidden objects, including weapons or plastic explosives.

Full Body Scanners

The U.S. Transportation Security Agency (TSA) had already tried this concept of whole-body imaging at six airports in mid-2009 to look for threats that typical metal detectors could not find. The process to install these scanners at more airports in several U.S. cities is already heading rapidly, with the recent alleged unsuccessful terrorist attempt on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit. To combat this threatening problem and for the people’s security, the TSA has worked with two essential technologies to upgrade its passenger screening systems- the Millimeter-wave and the Backscatter X-ray.

The Full-body scanners are actually the large machines placed alongside the metal detectors and the baggage X-ray machines at the security point on your way into the departure lounge. Though full-body scanners use different systems, the two competing technologies viz. millimeter-wave and backscatter X-ray are the major components that use radiation of a non-harmful kind and still penetrate your clothing.

The ‘Backscatter’ body scanners use low-level X-rays, which produce a two-dimensional image of the body and detects those components that are bounced back (“backscattered” scientifically) from your body or display objects on your body towards the machine. These scanners are very efficient at imaging organic material, pick up the scatter patterns of drugs or explosives, etc., and create images, thus detecting concealed packets like drugs, liquid bombs, or ceramic knives otherwise passed undetected through metal detectors. This ability and the “Flying Spot” technology (which makes the machine locate a particular X-ray beam location at any given point of time) allow backscatter images to be incredibly accurate.

In the ‘Millimeter-wave’ (MMW) technology, the similar concept of backscatter is used, but this calls for detailed “radar” images and bouncing the radio-frequency waves off people to construct a 3-dimensional image of their bodies on the computer, within a few seconds, detecting the presence of foreign or concealed objects on a body.

The technologies do not pose any health risk, as millimeter-wave energy is already standard globally, and the scanners produce minimum radiation, creating lesser power than a cell phone.

The backscatter and the millimeter-wave intentionally scan blur facial features, and the security official viewing images would not be able to recognize or identify the passenger being scanned. The systems have “zero storage capability” as they delete the scanned images after the viewings. The full-body images are viewed in a walled-off location that is not visible to the public or the security officer assisting the passenger. The officer viewing the image could not see the passenger. With its efficiency in scanning images in not more than 15 seconds, these scanners still make the process a bit slower compared to the time taken by metal detectors. But with its accuracy in detecting some of the most harmful hidden weapons, the full-body imaging concept is sure to raise more, providing a better option for security checks.


  1. Sorry to dispute the \Risk\ statement, but in the real world any radiation goes beyond a simple risk and causes ACTUAL DAMAGE, which over time increases the risk of various identifiable diseases.

    It always causes damage–always. And healing from damage is never 100%. If you look at the low-tissue or cellular level all healing from damage leaves compromised structure behind.


  2. Let it be know the 2 joined at the hip are alas close to proximity. These such means and devices are no more than collection centers. Do not believe that very concern over security for it is no more than an illusion for deception’s cause. The mother is erupting and in turn things you see are becoming more real by the hour. Mark to Mark these be the very things spoken so many moments before.

  3. It should be addressed that these machines have not been adequately tested and there are many scientists who warn of the medical risks involved in full body scanners. Also, there seems to be a conflict of interest between former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff advocating for these machines and the fact that his company, The Chertoff Group, has financial interests involved in the sales of these machines. See this video entitled “Michael Chertoff and the TSA: The Naked Body Scanner Scam” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3cAbw_wdcU

  4. Two questions,
    Where did you learn to speak/ write english, because I’d ask for my money back. Two are you some kind of TSA drone? This is completely nonsensical.

  5. Casey says:
    November 25st, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Let it be known I mean I should address English is not my strong suit however Matt is the only person how seems to have a bit of logic in him. You people don’t believe that there are “waves” that can go through something like clothing and bounce off of skin. I am just going to list things till I get board but lets start with Sonar like Those fish o dolphins use they go threw miles of water and bound off a fish or another dolphine and came back.

    Poor mark who wrote “. . . but in the real world any radiation goes beyond a simple risk and causes ACTUAL DAMAGE…” I am just going to see what some synonymims are for your dreadful Radiation highlight and hit right button i think. . . “1.energy emitted in rays or waves: energy emitted from a source in the form of rays or waves, e.g. heat, light, or sound. 2.Radiating of energy: the emission of energy in the form of rays or waves. lets try wiki see if it is scary. nope Physics defines it as energy emitted in rays or waves: energy emitted from a source in the form of rays or waves, e.g. heat, light, or sound . . .just like above weird!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    3. physics radiating of energy: the emission of energy in the form of rays or waves
    4. effect of radiating: the feeling of something being radiated, e.g. heat from a hot oven

    ONE MORE —————so raditaion is not hands down going to hurt you some heats you when you are cold so for who ever possted this first. . .”but in the real world any radiation goes beyond a simple risk and causes ACTUAL DAMAGE,”….is a child or a smart slug. There are fm radio waves am radio waves doplar radio waves. about 1000,0000 what ever cell phones and cop radioi and alarm systems just pulsign throught you right now you could call it all radiation aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa run for the hills. I hope yo get it.

    and who ever said they havent been tested they have been tasting waves for centuries. I woul dbe supprised if moe than 1 person besides myself and Matt even know wwhat side oe the visible light spectrtum x rays are on. that is right it is all waves fokes just different vibrations. christ i am out.

    Definition of RADIATION
    a : the action or process of radiating
    b : the process of emitting radiant energy in the form of waves or particles
    c (1) : the combined processes of emission, transmission, and absorption of radiant energy (2) : the transfer of heat by radiation — compare conduction, convection
    2 a : something that is radiated b: energy radiated in the form of waves or particles
    3 radial arrangement
    4 adaptive radiation
    Examples of RADIATION
    the sun’s radiation of heat

  6. @Casey Goslen
    Try removing the window off of your microwave and see if that radiation causes damage to you. With your theory you should be able to withstand even microwaves hell even gamma waves. Go Hulk it up man. 😉

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