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Canterbury graduate to exhibit Buckingham Palace

Canterbury graduate scientist to exhibit superhuman vision at Buckingham Palace

Former Canterbury University graduate Tim Drysdale is exhibiting at Buckingham Palace a technology that can see through clothes to find weapons and contraband.

The exhibit has possible practical applications in security and counter terrorism as well as the pharmaceutical industry.

The invitation to exhibit to the Queen at a Royal Society exhibition at Buckingham Palace next month came after the runaway success of the group’s stand at the prestigious Royal Society summer science exhibition in London in July.

``The London event was a great opportunity to raise the profile of a field that we are active in. We had a fantastic response from the general public not only to our research but also to the broader issues,’’ Dr Drysdale said from Glasgow today.

``QinetiQ’s airline passenger screening system was a popular talking point at the July expo. QinetiQ is one of the world's leading defence technology and security companies. So we look forward to the show at Buckingham Palace,” Dr Drysdale said. “With terahertz imaging it is possible to see the body beneath the clothes not just the bones that you see with x-rays,” Dr Drysdale said from Glasgow today.

Terahertz waves lie between the highest radio frequencies and the far infrared representing the last unexplored frontier of the radio and light wave spectrum.

The breakthrough came when it was discovered that sending ultra-fast pulses of visible light through specially engineered crystals could generate terahertz waves.

The terahertz waves then generate 3D images of objects. The pattern of reflection and absorption of terahertz waves build the image, Dr Drysdale said.

``The depth of structures can be calculated by the tiny time delay between the wave being emitted and reflected back.”

Dr Drysdale, Canterbury born and bred, is a part of a Glasgow University research team led by Prof David Cumming that develops devices that manipulate terahertz the waves, often in conjunction with makers of terahertz imaging and spectroscopy systems.

The terahertz waves pass straight through "flimsy" materials such as cloth, paper and plastics, but cannot penetrate dense material such as flesh or metal.

Objects such as knives, guns and other weapons can be seen clearly on an imaging system’s display screen, while clothing appears invisible.

Dr Drysdale is the son of Peri Drysdale, the owner of the Snowy Peak and Untouched World lifestyle fashion companies. He will have with him a ‘terrorist’ mannequin (who is smuggling fake knives, guns and explosives within her clothes). ‘She’ will be wearing Untouched World.


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