How To: Build a handheld version of the TSA's microwave-based body scanner

Build a handheld version of the TSA's microwave-based body scanner

How to Build a handheld version of the TSA's microwave-based body scanner

With the TSA's full-body scanners occupying a great deal of airports nationwide, the debate remains as to whether air travelers should continue to be subject to immoral security techniques and possible health risks due to the x-ray scanning devices. The "advanced imaging technology" may help keep obvious weapons out of major airports, but scanning naked bodies seems more voyeuristic than crucial to national security. But while the argument continues, one woman is taking a stand… well, not really.

Jeri Ellsworth decided to create her own version of the TSA's infamous body scanners— a miniature, handheld version based off the same microwave principles. This DIY body scanner was made with a couple cheap satellite dish feed horns and other spare dust-collectors.

"By reversing the power transistor on one of the feed horns, one of the horns is made into a transmitter, while one of the other horns stays as a receiver. This data is then fed into a FPGA by way of an A2D converter, where an image is assembled when the scanner is moved over a surface. X and Y axis tracking is handled by an optical mouse also controlled by the FPGA, and the whole setup is output to a monitor."

Watch Jeri's first video for parts, diagrams and a thorough explanation of how she DIYed the microwave-based x-ray scanner, then check out the second video for further (and important) notes.

(1) Part 1 of 2 - How to Build a handheld version of the TSA's microwave-based body scanner, (2) Part 2 of 2 - How to Build a handheld version of the TSA's microwave-based body scanner

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