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Nano-Scale Terahertz Antenna May Make Tricorders Real

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-future dept.

Input Devices 185

MrSeb writes "Researchers from Imperial College London and A*STAR in Singapore have shown off a terahertz antenna that's just 100 nanometers across — about 30,000 times smaller than existing terahertz antennae — and two orders of magnitude stronger than other T-ray beam-forming techniques. T-rays are a lot like EHF (extremely high frequency), which is used by millimeter wave scanners in airports, medical imaging, and emerging wireless networking standards like WiGig — but stronger, faster, and more detailed. Where EHF radiation can see through your clothes, T-rays can penetrate a few millimeters of skin. Furthermore, because atoms and molecules have a unique terahertz-range signature, T-ray scanners can detect toxic substances, bombs, drugs — or even cancerous tumors under your skin. Most importantly, though, due to the nano scale of these antennae, it's possible to create huge antennae arrays on a single silicon chip, meaning hand-held T-ray scanners are now a possibility. In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of detecting cancer or other diseases."

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185 comments

Detecting Cancer....... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791193)

or giving it to us.

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (4, Informative)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791735)

Given that Tetrahertz is mostly infrared (or visible towards the gigahertz magnitude), you'd be hard pressed to give anything cancer.

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791909)

When you said "hard pressed", did you mean it "literally"?

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792163)

Well, you'd be more crushed than cancerous if it was literal. Which makes sense if you are trying to crush cancer, figuratively speaking.

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792479)

But if you keep in mind that this terahertz waves are able to penetrate even the skin some millimeters, my question becomes more literal.

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792165)

Given that Tetrahertz is mostly infrared (or visible towards the gigahertz magnitude), you'd be hard pressed to give anything cancer.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

integrate it into my shower... (2)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792605)

Wake up, get your morning coffee, then into the shower for your morning rinse and medical scan.

Re:Detecting Cancer....... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792539)

or somehow banned for personal ownership by the pharmaceutical companies.

I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792679)

...for the chance to discreetly scan my hot neighbor.

WOOHOO!

Change last sentence (3, Funny)

Exitar (809068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791195)

into "In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of giving you cancer or other diseases."

Ring ring, this is the clue phone. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791275)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation

Re:Ring ring, this is the clue phone. (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792209)

EM radiation can give you cancer too. It's all a question of dosage.

Re:Change last sentence (1)

gciochina (1655025) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791371)

congratulations OP you sound just like CNN!! lol

Re:Change last sentence (3, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791725)

"In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of giving you cancer or other diseases."

That's the misinformation the medical establishment would like promulgated, so thanks for getting a jump on it.

It's really important that technology like this be seen as "potentially dangerous" so it's use can be restricted to highly paid professionals whose business model requires such legal limitations "for your own safety."

There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

Re:Change last sentence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792293)

There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

Nope. I can use my ultrasound unit on anybody I want, I just can't offer an interpretation/diagnoses. That would be practicing medicine.

Re:Change last sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792401)

Amen to that, there is enough scare-mongering going about these days.

Re:Change last sentence (5, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792463)

There is exactly zero evidence, for example, that diagnostic ultrasound carries any risks, but there are still limitations on its use (you can buy your own unit but can't use it on people unless you're a trained, insured, highly paid professional.)

The risk of some untrained people using diagnostic ultrasound is that they may tell someone with cancer that they don't see anything to worry about.

Re:Change last sentence (3, Insightful)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792519)

Surely some of that protectionism is in the public interest, since those trained, insured, professionals actually know what they are looking at (and when they get it wrong they have liability insurance). Look at all the wonky alternative medicine that's already out there and tell me you want to create an industry of people with legitimate diagnostic equipment that don't know how to correctly gather or interpret the results from those machines and then using them to diagnose people with all manner of nasty things that they probably don't have.

But will they make me breakfast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791205)

Come on if you are going to be cooking my gonads the least you can do is make me breakfast too...

Re:But will they make me breakfast (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791245)

I think you'd want a replicator to do that.

Re:But will they make me breakfast (2)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791413)

One order of juevos coming up!

Re:But will they make me breakfast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792203)

How many milliWatts are required for this shortest antenna and for transmiting its signal to longer distances (many millions of Angstroms) with lesser quantity of noise and lesser quantity of quality quadratic loss with the distance?

It requires many-fold of dBs!!!!

And it is only justly an antenna, without counting the electronic blackbox where this antenna is plugged.

Don't forget that Spain was piooneer in telecommunications, of a magnitude order a lot superior than them.

JCPM>

Re:But will they make me breakfast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792701)

WTF are juevos? Perhaps you meant huevos?

Re:But will they make me breakfast (4, Funny)

Zaldarr (2469168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791595)

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Re:But will they make me breakfast (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791613)

"Come on if you are going to be cooking my gonads the least you can do is make me breakfast too..."

One order Mountain Oysters coming up!

You don't have one already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791227)

This Earth place is pretty primitive.

Every household? (2)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791229)

Awesome! It'll be my next purchase right after I get my flying car!

Re:Every household? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792141)

If apple includes the hardware into the next version of iPhone, it would be trivial to create the software necessary to interoperate the scanning results. For that matter, throw in this technology for Droids phones too.

Imagine the near endless possibilities. Software that will pick up increased pheromone for that nifty little dating app. Or how about one that allows parents to sniff out pot stashes or monitor other illegal forms of drug abuse. Maybe you're a gold prospector in Alaska. Yup, there's an app for that too.

Argh (4, Funny)

INT 21h (7143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791237)

If you meant *medical* tricorder, why didn't you say *medical* tricorder? There's a difference, ya'know.

Re:Argh (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791355)

What? I'm missing your point.

Anyway: The airport scanners have been banned in the EU due to potential skin cancer risks. I see the terahertz scanners to be a non-starter that will be banned for the same reason.

Re:Argh (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791461)

Backscatter X-ray scanners have been banned in Europe. Europe decided to use only millimetre wave scanners.

Re:Argh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791635)

TTerahertz scanners have not been banned, it's just been decided that they are ineffective and slow at the current level of technology. Out of curiosity, I went through one of those scanners once (it was optional at the airport), and the sole reason why I never went there again was that it took 10 times longer to scan someone than with a conventional arrangment. If these scanners were mandatory, everyone would need to come 4 hours before the flight on monday mornings and friday evenings just to get through the security check in time.

Silly Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791243)

Please don't say something is 30,000 times smaller. "100 nanometers" is good enough. And what does "two orders of magnitude stronger" mean?

Re:Silly Scale (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791449)

And what does "two orders of magnitude stronger" mean?

Around 100 time stronger.

Re:Silly Scale (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791629)

Log scale: 10^2 = 100 = 2 orders of magnitude. Still a bit nonsensical to say 30,000 times smaller though. Most of us can't really get a handle on what that means (although 100 nm might also be hard to grasp for some).

Re:Silly Scale (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792591)

Yeah, I hate when people say "30,000 times smaller" or "5 times slower". I know what they mean by it, but it doesn't really make sense.

Re:Silly Scale (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791691)

And what does "two orders of magnitude stronger" mean?

Around 100 time stronger.

For non-binary reading folks, that's 4 times stronger in decimal.

Prediction (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791257)

I predict this: should such technology be realized, it will be illegal for ordinary citizens to use it (except as part of carefully restricted appliances), but the police will use it to scan all of us as we walk around.

Just another way to get genital cancer (1)

chrisphotonic (2450982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791261)

I love the idea of a tricorder, but please, invent something that is PASSIVE.

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (4, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791437)

Why? Do you dislike flashlights too?

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (1)

chrisphotonic (2450982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792025)

Why? Do you dislike flashlights too?

Flashlights sure. Fluoroscopes not so much.

I was hoping for some thermal scanner to detect cancer...oh wait, they already have that.

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (1)

zeroeth (1957660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791439)

"I love the idea of a tricorder, but please, invent something that is PASSIVE."

---

#include <stdio>
#include "acpi/dilithium.h"
#include "sf/medical/diseases.h"
#include "sf/shared/science/scanner.h"

int main(void) {
  scan_for("Cancer");
  printf("You have cancer!");
}

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (1)

chrisphotonic (2450982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792111)

lol

I agree. They are missing:

if( scan_for("Cancer") )
{
printf("You have cancer!");
}
else
{
printf("We just gave you cancer! Your odds were 1/50 per x-ray when functioning normally, and we didn't calibrate the machine properly. Your the NON-winner!");
}

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792425)

Do the viruses have this kind of antenna?

JCPM: why are they (the secret agents, almost of them are govts-related) spreading chemtrails everywhere?

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792331)

Obviously. But you're missing some rather important libraries.

Re:Just another way to get genital cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791495)

I love the idea of a tricorder, but please, invent something that is PASSIVE.

How about passive-agressive?

Marvin: I've calculated your chance of survival, but I don't think you'll like it.

Tricorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791265)

Yeah, go ahead and assume we all know what a fictional device is...

Re:Tricorder? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791315)

Why not? This is Slashdot, where every delusional sci-fi daydream is the equivalent of actual, real engineering. Space Elevator? Simple. Terraforming Mars? Child's play. Mining asteroids? Slam dunk! Life extension? AHHHHHH THE DEVIL!!! NO!!!!!!!!!

Re:Tricorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791453)

I only wish I could mod you up.

Re:Tricorder? (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791485)

Summaries aren't meant to be complete explanations of everything you need to know. They're meant to be short. If you don't understand a word, look it up on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go or whatever other search engine you favor.

Re:Tricorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791917)

I believe you are now required to relinquish your geek card.

there's still no cure for cancer (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791267)

So pretty soon, your cell phone will not only be able to give you cancer, it will also be able to tell you that you have cancer, too! All they need is an app to cure it next! I see a tremendous marketing opportunity here!

Re:there's still no cure for cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791597)

So pretty soon, your cell phone will not only be able to give you cancer, it will also be able to tell you that you have cancer, too! All they need is an app to cure it next! I see a tremendous marketing opportunity here!

"We're helping you to hire us to help ourselves. We're serious".

Re:there's still no cure for cancer (1)

littlewink (996298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791611)

Just like the credit bureaus!

Why is it always a medical tricorder? (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791287)

Correct me if 'm horribly wrong, but in Star trek, even though tricorders are multipurpose sensors, there are different types of them. Like engineering tricorders or just regular tricorders. Every story I see that says tricorders seems to only refer to medical tricorders. But really, if I was given a tricorder, I'd use it for determining the spectrum usage, what kind of radiation is around me, interfacing with computers, etc...

ST:VOY (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791375)

Holographic Doctor: Hand me a tricorder.
Clueless Crewman: *hands him a tricorder*
Holographic Doctor [annoyed]: A medical tricorder.

Re:Why is it always a medical tricorder? (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792367)

Sure, but while some kinds of engineering tricorders might be possible today, medicine is the killer app.

safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791299)

Before everyone starts blasting each other with tricorders (or hang arouind at the scanners too often ati the airports), considering safety might be in order. Non-thermal effects on gene expression have been seen.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21991556

Comparisons with Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791329)

Comparisons with Star Trek are not a good idea. What looks really cool as a prop on TV, becomes decidedly less cool in reality.

The comm badges become the oh so dorky bluetooth headset. Three to beam up.
The rugged touch-screen devices, become gimmicky ipads. Raise shields? I bought an app for that somewhere...
Geordis visor becomes a bulky VR headset with loads of cables coming out of it.

Scariest thing in Star Trek (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791557)

The ship's computer would always oblige when asked where to find a crewman.

"Computer, locate Ensign Smith"
"Ensign Smith is currently in Holodeck 3 running his porn program again"

Re:Scariest thing in Star Trek (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792069)

Wouldn't it be worse if the computer could not find each crewman?

The computer has control over probably every part of the ship so the computer needs to know where each person is for security issues as well as environmental concerns.

Remember, the Enterprise wasn't a cruise ship, it was a military vessel.

Re:Scariest thing in Star Trek (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792157)

Computer, locate the Captain.

The Captain is currently in a lifeboat, approximately 2 miles distant from the ship, with a young blond lady, and a lobster dinner.

Re:Comparisons with Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792493)

Comparisons with Star Trek are not a good idea. What looks really cool as a prop on TV, becomes decidedly less cool in reality.

The comm badges become the oh so dorky bluetooth headset. Three to beam up.
The rugged touch-screen devices, become gimmicky ipads. Raise shields? I bought an app for that somewhere...
Geordis visor becomes a bulky VR headset with loads of cables coming out of it.

Not the hand held communicators from the original series...those turned into really cool flip phones!

Yeah, lets spread cancer all over the place (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791333)

Terahertz radiation is is right in the frequency used to modify DNA. These ranges cause cancer! Any living material they hit gets it's DNA altered. Stupid people, screwing around with technologies you know absolutely nothing about!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791347)

This "feature" will be rolled out to all Law Enforcement across America soon! Starting with the TSA, of couse.

the tech will be abused to violate privacy (1)

gr3yh47 (2023310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791379)

..In the not so distant future, you will be randomly searched with a tricorder in violation of your constitution rights on a regular basis

SCOTUS does not support this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791689)

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on infrared detectors looking through the walls of a house. They have ruled that you need a warrant for that. Even the fairly authoritarian Scalia was agin' it, IIRC. Certainly this would apply to surreptitious looking inside a person's clothes.

If there's any place you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, it's in your home and under your clothes. "Persons and papers". And by papers they mean your written documents, not things written on sheepskin or hemp rag or whatever anachronistic bullshit people want to claim limits what the founders said.

Yeah, the US has fallen down on that last one.

Antenna length (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791393)

Depending on the resistivity of the antenna, its length is N / 10^12 meters (or *3 in feet). For radio N is ~100. Thus a 100 nm length for a THz frequency.

dissed BIG SIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791433)

TO BALDLY GO, where First Officers go.

Radiation? (1)

jason777 (557591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791539)

Am I the only one that still fears radiation? Or, is it ok now to just blast everybody with heavy doses? Airports, border patrol, and now from police cars. Isnt anyone else worried?

Re:Radiation? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792003)

Unless you're in a pitch black room, you're currently being blasted by terahertz radiation. 1-400 THz is IR. 400-700THz is visible light.

Re:Radiation? (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792177)

Damn it! They should be working on getting rid of the Sun!

Re:Radiation? (2)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792213)

Well, that would certainly put and end to global warming.

No tricorder in the future. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791559)

There is no money to be made by early detection and early treatment. Medical industry loves chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension that require a steady stream of patented drugs to be continuously consumed with a steady monetized revenue stream. Tricorder, early detection, bah! humbug. Free markets and unfettered capitalism will take you there. Solution is not socialism but fettered capitalism and fostering competition. But don't hold your breath waiting for it, because the fox is guarding the henhouse.

Re:No tricorder in the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791621)

Only in your backwards country. In countries with public healthcare, making sure people aren't sick is much more profitable.

Re:No tricorder in the future. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791891)

Hey, hey, hey, you don't have unfettered capitalism. We in America are proud to have unfettered capitalism. All our corporations, which are really people, are unfettered. America has the best freedom and liberty money can buy. What? You don't have the money to buy your freedom? mmm. we have heard that kind of talk before. Tough luck buddy. BTW, what happens when people who are at the receiving end of these corporations decide to find, mm, eh, second amendment remedies against the corporations?

Re:No tricorder in the future. (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792351)

There is money to be made by early detection and early treatment. Medical industry loves testinf for chronic diseases that require a steady stream of patented technology to be continuously performed with a steady monetized revenue stream. Assuming tricorders would be patented, and require a professional license to interpret the readouts...

"Socialists OR Capitalists, you must decide" Nope. This isn't a false dichotomy zone. Socialist constructs such as unions and GOVERNMENTS BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE work hand in hand with Capitalist constructs like free markets. It's when either begins morphing into the other that we have problems, Corporations influencing Governments & Buying laws, Corrupted Unions that needlessly throw their weight around.

As in all things the absolute extremes are uninhabitable; Moderation is key.

supply and demand (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791573)

> In the not so distant future, every household might have a Star Trek-like tricorder capable of detecting cancer or other diseases."

I find that unlikely. Much more likely: Even though the device itself costs $12 to make, it will be rigidly controlled and only available at high cost (either through insurance premiums or taxes) from your health provider.

I take one of the most common blood pressure medications available. It's so common and the quantities are so high that manufacture is cheap, so the drug is cheap. I don't even bother with insurance -- I pay cash for the drug. (Approx $20 per month.) However, I can only get it by prescription. My doctor requires monthly visits, including a blood pressure check (fairly pointless as I do it myself 3-4 times a week) and a blood test requiring lab work. After insurance, the cost to me is approx $200 a month. They keep my prescriptions on a short leash, designed to run out right at my appointment date. (Sometimes if they're busy my prescription will run out before my appointment, so when I see them I've been off the drug for 3-4 days, unless I call the office and beg for an extension.) The doctor says this is to insure that I keep my appointment. When I point out I have never missed an appointment and don't deserve to be treated like an errant child, I'm informed that all patients are treated this way.

To recap, a common, well tested drug that costs $20 a month (cash -- no insurance) that I've been taking for years costs me $220 a month total to take due to additional visits and tests required by the doctor's office before they'll allow me to continue taking the drug. Based on this business model, even if full ST:TNG-type scanners were available for less than the price of an iPad, I strongly suspect the actual devices will be rigidly controlled by law and only available through expensive doctor's visits.

(In December I told my doctor to shove it. I'm now shopping around for a doctor who doesn't hold my meds hostage.)

Re:supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792019)

The $20 is probably a rip-off too. The medicine I take (in the UK) costs about $6 with a private prescription which the doctor will charge me $30 for. Or I can get a free NHS prescription and pay $12 for the medicine. The same medicine is available abroad for $1 (and that's imported from France, not some hookey Asian knock-off).

The whole prescription thing is a racket, and both doctors and pharmacies are profitting handsomely.

Re:supply and demand (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792415)

The thing is, $20 a month is ok with me. It's down in the noise compared to my other legal expenses. It's the $200 monthly office visits that's killing my budget.

I'm not looking for free medicine, but common, routine things like this shouldn't need constant doctor's supervision. I suspect a profit motive.

Re:supply and demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792027)

Dude, get a different doctor. Once a month might make sense when you're starting on a medication but it should quickly transition to every 90 says or more.

Re:supply and demand (2)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792393)

Like many things, medical regulations are often designed to protect the people who are unable, for whatever reason, to take care of themselves. Someone like yourself is probably responsible enough and qualified enough to handle your own medication and measurement of the side effects. However, for every responsible and educated person like yourself, there will be several people who aren't responsibile and educated enough to self-medicate. There are also many people who, in the absense of a prescription system, would accept drug advertising as fact, and proceed to self-diagnose, and then buy and apply inappropriate medications. I would like to see a system where people like yourself can opt-out and self-medicate to a large degree, but the system also needs to recognise that the majority of peole are not educated well enough to be given uncontrolled access to the contents of a modern pharmacy, and that we don't want a return to the era of unqualified quack-doctor-advertisements telling patients that random drug X will "help" cure their cancer.

(Incidentally, I came across this interesting blog post recently : A blog in support of stupid people’s rights [moneysavingexpert.com] . The list of "stupid" people probably includes a large number of the population at some time in their lives).

They can detect everything! (1)

XrayJunkie (2437814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791575)

"Captain, the tricorder shows a disturbance in the force."

"T-Rays"??? Microwave Ovens and Heat Lamps (0)

littlewink (996298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791589)

These are EHF in the terahertz range lying between microwave frequencies and those of infrared light [wikipedia.org] . So "T-rays" would tends to cook you. Nice scanning technology there!

I must be on the cutting edge: I have a T-ray cooker in my kitchen and a T-ray tanning lamp in my storage closet.

Re:"T-Rays"??? Microwave Ovens and Heat Lamps (2)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791801)

So "T-rays" would tends to cook you.

Funny! Like saying, "Cell phones use microwave radiation, so OMG I'm being cooked by my phone!" Sadly, there are idiots of the kind you're parodying who really don't understand anything about power levels and who really do give credence to such nonsensical thinking, which is something I call "argument from abstraction": "X is a member of abstract category C. Y is also a member of abstract category C. Y has effect E, therefore X has effect E." It's nothing but a special for of undistributed middle, but it's common enough to deserve its own name, I think.

IF You Have Nothing To Hide (4, Insightful)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791603)

Why are you wearing clothes?

Re:IF You Have Nothing To Hide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791701)

People get angry and call cops if i go out naked, what's your excuse?

Re:IF You Have Nothing To Hide (2)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791737)

When I go out naked my wife makes fun of me

Re:IF You Have Nothing To Hide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792119)

That's 'cos you've got nothing to hide.

re: radiation (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791625)

I think the radiation issue referred to by many responders is a little exaggerated. It's not like you will get scanned routinely. ('For instance, every time you step on a plane...) It's much more likely that you will be scanned when other symptoms indicate that something is wrong. Test by, if you go to the doctor for a cough, they don't routinely prescribe a chest x-ray.

Or, come to think of it, maybe your doctor does. Practices vary widely. Maybe your exposure would depend on how enamored your doctor is of the technology.

Re: radiation (3, Informative)

IAmR007 (2539972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791861)

Terahertz radiation is not nearly ionizing radiation; it's between infrared and microwave. It can't hurt you unless you use high enough intensities to cause burning.

The awesome thing about terahertz is that can also be used for spectroscopic analysis as well as imaging. The terahertz energies correspond to crystal phonon energies, which means substances and their crystal structure can be determined by a terahertz scan. This means that for security applications, you don't even need to form an image unless the signature of an explosive substance is seen, which reduces privacy concerns of such technology considerably.

The major downside, at least for devices operating at around 1THz, which I've worked on at the University of Leeds, is that water is opaque. Atmospheric water is highly annoying (samples in labs are run in dry nitrogen environments) and a damp cloth would completely block such scans. Many of the commercial devices run at 300GHz, however, so I'm not sure if water is a problem for them.

Paramount lawsuit (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791631)

in 3 2 1

Hum... (1)

emagery (914122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791697)

I see the benefits, but... they're already unwilling to tell us about the toxic results (not to mention, cancer clusters among workers using them) surrounding the existing 'chertoff porno-scanners' as hartmann likes to call them.

25 million American diabetics: "Faster please." (5, Informative)

hirundo (221676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38791907)

Seems like this story dropped the lede. The most significant use of this technology will be to detect blood glucose levels without lancing through the skin, making it a less dreaded process for millions of diabetics to monitor their conditions.

Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791985)

The two main groups who will use this device are police and insurance companies. The doctors will shun it since it will change there 300 year old diagnostic model that they cling to for dear life.

Forgot about cancer, scan for guns (1)

GreenTom (1352587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792031)

Maybe it's because I live in Baltimore and my chance of getting murdered is not too much lower my chance of getting cancer, I'd say forget about scanning for tumors. If they invent something that lets cop cars scan for concealed firearms while they drive down the street, that's at least as much a public health benefit as improved cancer screening. Or does the 2nd amendment mean we have to pretend that getting shot isn't bad for your health? And, just to anticipate to the inevitable psuedo-constitutional argument, what part of "well regulated militia" applies to people with criminal records walking around with unregistered concealed firearms?

T-Ray-Corder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792055)

Enjoy your T-Ray-Corder.

He's dead Jim! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38792301)

- Bones

Technology optimiism (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38792699)

The OP seems to be still suffering from the thought that technology is going to cure it all: terrorism, diseases... C'mon, dude. We live in the XXIth century now.
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