We’re getting there! Those X-ray glasses coveted by comic book-reading kids — see nekkid women! — are almost here. As the video above points out, the Mini-Z X-ray gun [holster not shown] uses the same backscatter technology that outraged Americans who didn’t like the idea of government employees ogling images of the public’s sex organs. Still, there’s utility here. Border guards can X-ray vehicles for drugs quickly and easily, as thousands of undocumented children sidle past. In the future, cops will use the technology to see everything inside your clothes and possessions. Then again, what’s the bet clothing and bag-makers will incorporate X-ray blocking material in their products? Why wait? I’m buying shares in lead apron makers right now. And saving up for my Mini-Z, which is almost as useless as some of the other guns in my collection. Just sayin’ . . .

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44 Responses to Obscure Object of Desire: $50k Handheld Min-Z X-Ray Gun

  1. Can’t this be construed as an illegal search? What’s next, devices that can see inside my home? (I’m pretty sure they already exist.)

    • LE sure does look inside your house already. Drug cops up here drive (and helicopter) around with a thermal camera looking for hot basements as a basis to get warrents for suspicion of folks growing pot. Nothing quite like a 3AM knock at the door because you have several large aquariums full of coral…

      • If you’re lucky, you’ll get the courtesy of a knock. Otherwise, it’s flash-bangs and broken doors.

        Better send the dog to live with relatives if you’re going to live a high-risk aquarium lifestyle.

        • Lol @ “High-risk aquarium lifestyle.” Funniest thing I’ve read today (and I’m reading a Vonnegut novel right now).

    • They’ve been in trucks that can (and do right now) see into your house and your naked body and your wife’s naked body too.

      This is clearly a warrantless search, but it will take many years for it to get contested thru the court system. Meanwhile, the right to privacy is even more dead.

      • It is not totally dead as you suggest. SCOTUS just ruled cops “must” have a search warrant to search your cell phone. They have stated they need a warrant for a GPS on your car, they have ruled in many cases to restrict police searches without a warrant.

        That said, government and the police will continue to push the line and we need to push back.

    • They are perfectly legal at border crossings, where the government has a direct interest in searching to prevent importation of contraband. [It has become an issue where the government now claims that there is a 100 mile zone from all of our borders where they are allowed to conduct “border” searches.] Although I understand that NY wanted to equip a van with a backscatter x ray device, I think there are grave constitutional issues raised if this is done without a warrant. As to the other point–the use of thermal imaging–it can legally be used in forests and fields, but there is, as I recall, a specific case that prohibits the police from using such devices to spy into homes, as such areas have an express privacy protection under the Fourth Amendment.

      • The United States Supreme Court, Justice Scalia, held that: (1) use of sense-enhancing technology to gather any information regarding interior of home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical intrusion into constitutionally protected area constitutes a “search,” and (2) use of thermal imaging to measure heat emanating from home was search.

        Kyllo v. U.S., 533 U.S. 27, 121 S.Ct. 2038 (U.S.Or.,2001)

      • Oh yes, we must be protected from those evil dried leaves. We don’t want any of the wrong kind of dried leaves getting into the country, so we better create paramilitary squads and bust into houses and shoot dogs and little girls in the head…

      • NYPD wanted to use the vans instead of “Stop and Frisk.” Because “terrorists.” Chicago and LA were watching. Too bad it didn’t work out. I wonder what schemes Ray Kelley is cooking up now.

  2. I’m pretty sure hitting someone with a backscatter X-ray device constitutes a search, in which case they darn well better have a warrant.

    • I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’d consider a back-scatter radiation emitting device being used on my personal property to be assault.

    • In the sci-fi book “Snow Crash” the main character uses something like this to identify armed guards in a crowd. Sci-fi 20 years ago, reality today. Of course, in the book the scanner was smaller, but give it a few more years.

  3. what’s the bet clothing and bag-makers will incorporate X-ray blocking material in their products?

    Police Man # 1: “Nothing showed up on the X-ray, sarge.”

    Police Man # 2: “He might be wearing X-ray blocking material. You know what that means?”

    Both At The Same Time: Probable cause.

  4. There’s nothing like a bit of warrantless searches and rights violations in the name of “protecting” the serfs from plants. Oh wait… I forgot that the new excuse is “because TERRORISTS!”

  5. They’re gonna x-ray my ‘nads? Don’t think so. I wouldn’t even let ’em x-ray my teeth (which are fine, TYVM for asking).

  6. And in a few years, once these things are more widely used, cue the lawsuits from customs agents, military, and LE users with cancer…

  7. Sort of a rights arms race. Only trouble is we can’t make up more or improved rights to battle the constant infringements and work-arounds that are made up everyday. They go from ram to trebuchet to bunker busting bombs and we’re still stuck with the same mud wall we always had.

  8. Have they herd the terms search warrant, and wrongful search and seizure? This violate the constitution.

    • The border (where this is planned to be used) and defined as 100 miles from the actual border is a constitution free zone.

  9. Yeah…X-rays are ionizing radiation (the bad kind). In small doses, like for medical imaging, it’s not a big deal. But notice how the imaging tech is always in another (shielded) room to avoid the repeated dose from all of the images they take throughout the day. There are serious medical issues associated with repeated long-term exposure to ionizing radiation. You can’t just go spraying it around all willy-nilly.

    Edit: I guess my point is that I wouldn’t expect this to become too widespread.

  10. From a tactical point of view, could this technology be scaled down and used as a rifle scope? It could be very useful to be able to see targets behind cover, and take them out with penetrator rounds. Obviously this couldn’t happen anytime soon, but it could act like a scifi weapon, where the scope becomes the weapon simply by upping the output of radiation until it becomes a finely focused lethal dosage.

    • Not practically, for a while yet anyway.

      You rely on x-rays backscattering, or coming right back at the source, and you need enough of them, quickly enough, to build up an image.

      The catch is, the amount of them you get falls as the fourth power of the distance to the target. Double the range and you need 16 times more output from your x-ray source … And to take the range from 1 foot to 100 feet requires a hundred million times more powerful of a source, all other things being equal.

      So to get any kind of range you’d need a very powerful xray source. Which is likely sitting right next to you.

      • So, a miniature nuclear reactor? That would be capable of producing xrays simply by nature of the power source. It also provides a backup weapon. Aim side arm at reactor, threaten to shoot, watch everyone surrender or vaporize.
        Insert evil laughter here

    • From a tactical point of view, could this technology be scaled down and used as a rifle scope?

      Only if you enjoy brain cancer.

  11. My mom told me that when she was a kid, and x-rays were the new wonder thing, you could go into a shoe store and stand on a device and it would show you your feet being x-rayed and the salesmen would use that to try to sell you proper fitting new shoes.

    Then they found out irradiating the store wasn’t such a hot idea. Lol.

    Check it out:

    http://www.museumofquackery.com/devices/shoexray.htm

    • I remember those foot x-ray machines very well. I wonder if they had anything to do with the fact that I now have peripheral Neuropathy, which effects my feet?

    • Well, it shoots things, in the case, photons. So it’s a gun in the same way a flashlight is a gun.

  12. So all my badass ways of hiding stuff on me is becoming useless? What if I wrap my clothes in aluminium foil?

  13. When CRT picture tubes were common, “aquadag” was sort of a lead paint used to shield from X-rays and provide a conductive surface .

    EPA banned for Joe and Jane citizen of course, but I’m sure drug smugglers could get their hands on something like that to continue their business without having to worry about these devices.

    I’m sure while “border patrol” is a test and dev bed for this tech, the ultimate target would be for police to have them.

    I mean if you’re not doing anything wrong, the LNT model says that a scan or two a year would only knock 6-7 weeks off of your life anyways.

    Isn’t it worth it, if it’ll save just one child?

  14. Heads up for the LEOs here:
    Unless the neutron source is REALLY well shielded, you’re spraying your body from brain to testicles with highly energetic radiation each time you fire that gizmo. That’s the reason TSA put them all in a warehouse.
    Have a nice day.

  15. Heads up RF, Google Chrome is giving a malware warning for this page, there might be a link to a blacklisted site somewhere.

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