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Body Cavity Screening: Technology Assessment (Version 1.1)

NCJ Number
Lars Ericson, Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2014
38 pages
Findings and methodology are presented from a technology assessment of a body cavity screening (BCS) system being developed by Quantum Magnetics (QM); the assessment was conducted by the National Institute of Justice's Sensor, Surveillance, and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence (CoE).
The project has been handicapped by schedule and work-efficiency issues due to organizational laboratory moves and the loss of key personnel. Based on information obtained during the site visit, CoE estimates that completing the project will require 2 years of basic research and 1-2 years to complete and test the prototype at a cost estimate of $1.2 - $2 million for basic research and $0.9 - $1.3 million for the prototype. The QM system uses electric field tomography (EFT) as a new method of detecting the presence of non-metallic concealed contraband on or in a person. The system has an antenna positioned along the interior perimeter of a large 4-foot diameter aluminum cylinder for transmitting and receiving low-power radio waves. Wire mesh is used as a shield around the lower third of a person, and a metal plate is secured as a roof to add additional environmental shielding. The system uses a custom-built multi-channel spectrometer to transmit/receive radio waves. The backend software model subtracts the theoretical signal from a human body to reveal the presence of foreign objects. The system has been tested only with a large plastic object and has not undergone parametric test and evaluation or human subject testing. This assessment report combines information from a site visit and a survey of criminal justice practitioners regarding the need for such an instrument. Based on the survey of the limited Technology Working Group, there is a "medium-high" priority for an affordable instrument that can detect both metallic and non-metallic objects concealed on or in a person. 15 figures, 7 tables, and 8 references