The same type of terahertz radiation which is finding its way into uses such as airport body scanners could also be used to detect melanoma before it even appears visible to the human eye, at its earliest and most treatable stage.
New microchips are a “tool for secret agents”.
A new type of microchip developed at Caltech will allow devices such as smartphones or handheld scanners to easily scan and ‘see’ in inside objects using terahertz waves. The tiny chips (pictured above next to a penny) can be manufactured "Using the same low-cost, integrated-circuit technology that’s used to make the microchips found in our cell phones and notepads today", according to the team.
Caltech describe the development like something from a spy novel, but the technology could soon feature in smartphones as well:
A secret agent is racing against time. He knows a bomb is nearby. He rounds a corner, spots a pile of suspicious boxes in the alleyway, and pulls out his cell phone. As he scans it over the packages, their contents appear onscreen. In the nick of time, his handy smartphone application reveals an explosive device, and the agent saves the day.