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Underwear to shield vital parts from full-body scanners

Posted by on March 16, 2011 0 Comment

London, March 16 (IANS) An underwear to protect passengers’ modesty when they walk through airport full-body scanners could soon become a reality.

Steve Bradshaw, 54, has invented underwear and vests – for men and women – that are covered with a special paint made from a mixture of metals and glass.

The T-shirt printer claims the coating masks body parts but still allows operators to see dangerous objects such as guns, knives and explosives.

He was inspired after being questioned by armed police and missing a flight when he refused to enter a ‘naked scanner’ at Manchester airport earlier this year, the Daily Mail reports.

“The machines operate at different wavelengths and the pants contain materials which react to radiation at different wavelengths,” Bradshaw said.

“I have been for 35 years in screen printing and I know about inks and what they are made from. I ended up making a coating which is a printable plastic ink. It reflects back and scatters the X-rays and is printed in a pattern,” he said.

“Small cut-outs in the design allow a large metal object or gun to show up the operator’s screen. I believe it is a compromise because it diffuses the image, allowing dangerous items to be seen without showing graphic detail.”

Passengers are randomly selected to go through the X-ray scanners at several British airports. Under government legislation, anyone who refuses is turned away.

Bradshaw, from Poynton near Stockport, is yet to test his underwear with a scanner but has written to the Department of Transport to seek approval.

An official replied that the government would not endorse his underwear but “this would not stop” him from developing his design.

Nick Bowring, a scanner expert at Manchester Metropolitan University, believes Bradshaw’s technology could work.

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