Scientists develop an intelligent X-ray system that can detect explosives and drugs

While most of us think airport security is meticulous, studies have shown that monitors fail to detect weapons, drugs and explosives up to 80% of the time, but a new X-ray method could make it easier for screeners to spot these illegal and dangerous items.

Researchers from University College London used artificial intelligence to develop the approach, which they say can detect elements with 100 percent accuracy.

“This research has shown the potential to transform the detection of covert threats worldwide, as well as contraband as diverse as drugs and illegal wildlife goods,” said Tristram Riley-Smith, a study co-author.

X-ray technology relies on the fact that microscopic changes or irregularities in objects cause X-ray beams to bend as they pass through them, which researchers discovered in previous research. By measuring these tiny bends, X-ray beams can detect different materials.

Professor Sandro Olivo, lead author of the study, explained: “This is a fundamentally different way of examining materials and objects through texture analysis, and allows us a new way to detect illicit materials.”

Professor Sandro Olivo added, “Little bends in X-rays have always been there, but they are not visible to conventional X-ray systems, so this allows us to access a huge amount of previously untapped information.”

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