Monthly Archives: November 2010


In April, University of California, San Francisco scientists wrote Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, expressing their concerns regarding X-ray backscatter scanners. Last month they received a detailed technical reply, posted on the FDA website November 8. One of the more egregious technical problems […]

Latest on X-Ray Backscatter Safety


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Who needs cell phone towers? The largest communications antenna ever placed into orbit, a 22m (72ft) reflector, was launched from Kazahkstan a couple of weeks ago. It will relay signals for a new 4G-LTE mobile phone and data system for North America run by Lightsquared.  (BBC News; RedOrbit)

Orbiting 22m Dish Antenna to Provide 4G Service



Here’s one just for fun. Unfortunately modern microwaves employ a stirrer or agitator so you don’t see standing waves or resonance patterns. I find it remarkable how uniform the fields are. Hat Tip: Neatorama

Neon Bulbs in a Microwave


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Here are a few RTLS and wireless updates: UWB RTLS vendor Ubisense raised £5M to fund expansion. And 50 Ubisense tags are available on eBay with a starting bid of $9.99. Another UWB RTLS vendor, decaWave, was honored for “best technology development” at a tradeshow. It’s Nearly Time for Near-Field […]

RTLS and Wireless Updates



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Here are a few Thanksgiving day updates on full-body scanners: See My Helical Tryst: TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife for an in depth analysis from a biochemist on the radiation dose from x-ray backscatter scanners. He reiterates the critical point that safety […]

Body Scanner Updates


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If you are new to ÆtherCzar, you may be wondering about the Amazon ad for the funky looking baby bowl in the right side bar. With the holiday season around the corner, it’s a good time to revisit the ideal gift for babies, toddlers, or new parents – the Baby […]

A Little Baby Bowl Makes a Big Difference



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This post extends on my post of last week: How Full-Body Scanners Work – and Fail The aim of this post is to explain x-ray backscatter scanning in further detail by examining a few of the patents that describe how x-ray backscatter full-body scanners work. In order to receive a […]

How X-Ray Backscatter Full-Body Scanners Work


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It’s been tough to keep up with all the news on body scanning developments. Here are a few items from the last few days: Your Morning Cup Of TSA Horror – The Consumerist. Representative Holt Continues to Question Science, Effectiveness of TSA Full Body Scanners. Hat Tip: Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing […]

Body Scanner Updates







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Today’s post is a mix of recent updates and older background posts on full-body scanners. Kevin Poulsen writes in Wired that New York City may forbid TSA from using body scanners at New York airports, including JFK. There’s a summary on full-body scanners in New Scientist. Here’s an older piece […]

Body-Scanner Updates and Links



A couple of days ago when I explained How Full-Body Scanners Work – and Fail, I didn’t mention any potential health risks because millimeter wave signals are inherently non-ionizing and the power levels associated with the potentially ionizing backscatter X-ray scanners seemed at first glance to be negligibly small. However, […]

Are Backscatter X-Ray Scanners Harmful?


A few recent items of interest: St. Croix Systems is hosting a free 5-part educational webinar series on asset tracking using Real Time Location Systems. Four of the leading RTLS vendors in healthcare will present their solutions to give the audience a better understanding of how RTLS can support effective […]

RTLS, RFID, and Wireless Updates



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TSA has been introducing full-body scanners to perform a virtual strip search of air travelers. Although technically travelers have the right to opt out, the TSA discourages this behavior with aggressive and invasive pat-down searches. Initially, TSA denied punitive pat-down searches. Then they acknowledged testing a “more aggressive pat-down technique.” […]

How Full-Body Scanners Work – and Fail


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When I first heard about “Blinky Bugs,” I thought they’d make a perfect craft project for my twin girls’ sixth birthday party. Then I took a closer look at the complexity and delicacy of the assembly and realized it was beyond the skill level I could expect of my girls […]

LED Bugs: An Easy Craft Project for Children



John Brandon, writing at Digital Trends, features my company, The Q-Track Corporation, as one of “Six tech start-ups that could change the way we live.” Q-Track’s Near-Field Electromagnetic Ranging technology provides the “indoor GPS” to bring location awareness to the most difficult industrial RF propagation environments. The piece is a […]

Could a Real-Time Location Systems Start-Up “Change the Way We Live?”


An American engineer must overcome the objections of environmentalists as well as the machinations of terrorists to complete a tunnel under the English Channel on time and under budget. Robert Byrne’s The Tunnel (1977) is an action-thriller in an engineering setting. This was Byrne’s first engineering novel. Writing in Behold […]

Review: The Tunnel, by Robert Byrne



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Last week, Joshua Brustein reported at the New York Times  that “Location-Based Services Have Not Caught On,” citing a Pew Center report that shows use of such services has declined from 5% to 4% over the last six months. The most current survey had a +/-3% margin of error. I […]

Is Geo-Location a Passing Fad?


Steven J. Crowley once again has an update on Experimental License Applications before the FCC. A couple of highlights include: “Zimmerman Associates filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority to test the capability of using a full polarimetric UWB radar system for identifying roadside bombs and improvised […]

Experimental License Applications




AeroScout announced yesterday that it has secured $16 million in venture financing to capitalize on the strong demand for its Real-Time Location System (RTLS) and to continue to accelerate the adoption of its Wi-Fi RFID solutions. New investor Evergreen Venture Partners led the round, and all of AeroScout’s existing investors […]

Aeroscout Secures $16M in VC Funding



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Frequent ÆtherCzar visitors will have picked up on my appreciation for Robert Byrne and his engineering novels. If you’re not familiar with his work, the first post below is a good place to start. Engineer as Hero: The Novels of Robert Byrne Book Review: Skyscraper by Robert Byrne Book Review: […]

Robert Byrne Comments on His Novel, Skyscraper


Time for more wireless updates: Here’s a great article about the British precursor to LORAN: “GEE.” GEE was one of the first implementations of the “Time-Difference-of-Arrival (TDOA)” concept used in some modern RTLS implementations. A simple explanation of Ekahau RTLS: “The Perfect Pairing of RF and IR.” Whatever happened to […]

An RTLS, RFID, and Wireless Update