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19 January 2009

London, 19 January 2009 - Smiths Detection has launched an advanced people-screener which for the first time uses electronic, real-time imaging in a standard checkpoint layout to detect concealed weapons or explosives.

Using a unique, patented technology based on millimetre (mm)-wave imaging, the screener provides a clear, moving picture of the person passing in front of a flat panel. A remote operator can check for any threat items hidden beneath clothing.

The screener, called eqo because it senses the echo of the transmitted signals, heralds a new era in security scanning as conventional systems are bulky, slow to pass through, and use mechanical scanning which takes a delayed image.

eqo is the first to provide electronically scanned imaging with instant images. It comprises a space-efficient portal and panel configuration and, with no moving parts, its long-term reliability is much greater.

Stephen Phipson, Group Managing Director of Smiths Detection, said: “eqo represents a second generation of people-screeners, its state-of-the-art technology providing real-time rather than snapshot images, as well as improved resolution, throughput speed, and reliability. It consolidates Smiths Detection’s position as a world leader in threat detection.”

Tiny antennae covering the two-metre high panel bounce harmless mm-wave energy around the person standing in front of it. Variations in reflection generate a three-dimensional image that reveals any kind of hidden material threat – metal, liquid, ceramic, or explosive.  

Using a fraction of the floor space of conventional scanners, eqo’s open-plan design helps speed passenger throughput. Air travellers just have to pause to face the panel and then slowly turn around before continuing their journey. Future configurations should allow them to pass through a series of panels without any pausing or turning.

In addition to fully remote operation that provides anonymity for passengers, privacy filters such as face blurring are built into the system.  The equipment is also deliberately programmed to be incapable of storing, transmitting or printing any images. eqo can be deployed in a range of installations, from event venues and jails to government buildings and mass transit points.

NBC's Nightly News show with Brian Williams, on 7 January 2010, included a feature on millimetre-wave body imaging based on a demonstration of the Smiths Detection eqo machine. Click here to view the video on the NBC web site.

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