As if the public isn’t paranoid enough of conspiracy theories, a technology is being developed that could exacerbate the public’s fears of privacy invasion. On top of that would be the lengthy legal trials to get this technology in consumers’ hands. On the other hand, its social ramifications notwithstanding, the X-ray phone (if it ever goes public) could be a useful tool in the right hands.
Before we go on any further, it’s best to put comic fanboy fantasies to rest for the moment. No, it doesn’t give anyone Superman’s x-ray vision.
With that out of the way, and with more objectivity injected to the topic, what is guaranteed by the creators from the University of Texas is that it could be useful not in terms of immoral voyeuristic endeavors but in terms of more practical usage more in line with industrial applications. It will also be useful with detecting fake money or fake documents. Now that could be really useful in the hands not only of the authorities but the public as well.
This so-called specialized CMOS imaging hardware which utilizes one portion of the electromagnetic spectrum called the terahertz range to see through concrete, wood, plastic paper and other objects. This band falls between the infrared and microwave. This could be the first time the terahertz range would be accessible to the consumers and if used the right way, this could be a lifesaver as the medical application of this will really be enormous.
For now, due to legal impediments posed by the aforementioned privacy issues, the equipment which can be integrated with mobile phones can only be used at a distance of 4 inches. Although still in its infancy, it is already bursting with enough potential that the explosion of x-ray capable mobile devices is on the horizon and social complications or not, there will be enough use for the technology that will overshadow the public’s fear of it.
No date as of yet when this will be ready for public use but when it does come out, it would undoubtedly be different from how mock-ups are portrayed today. What they didn’t tell however, is if like Superman’s vision, it cannot penetrate lead.
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