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Airport screeners may get X-ray vision

"Susan Hallowell, the director of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's security laboratory, allows her body to be X-rayed by the 'backscatter' machine that bounces X-rays off the skin, producing a black-and-white image. To the eye, she is dressed in a skirt and blazer in dark, businesslike colors. On the monitor she is a NAKED, BRAIN-EATING ZOMBIE, except for a gun and a bomb that she hid under her outfit. (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)"

"It does basically make you look fat and naked, but you see all this stuff," Ms. Hallowell said.

The agency hopes to modify the machines with an electronic fig leaf - programming that fuzzes out sensitive body parts or distorts the body so it does not appear so, well, graphic.

Some were uncomfortable with the technology - called "backscatter" because it scatters X-rays - while others proclaimed it "a whole lot nicer than having someone pat me down," he said. [...] With backscatter technology, rays deflected off dense materials such as metal or plastic produce a darker image than those deflected off skin. The radiation dosage is about the same as sunshine, Ms. Hallowell said.

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