Can body scanners be made smaller and cheaper?

A recent thread about body scanners, (Security devices at airports that “see” through clothing), got me wondering. Could the devices be made smaller? Say cell phone size. Could the price also come down to say $1000 or less. For the record I am not a pervert (well not a total pervert anyway). I just was wondering. Computers went from the size of a small room to something that could fit on your lap. Could the same thing happen with body scanners, or are there physical size limits do to the nature of the technology?

Sony has had products that can do this for a few years.

I remembered that story from a couple years ago, but googling on camera websites says the whole thing was overblown and the “see-through” capabilities are far less than the articles mentioned.

Never say never, but consider the four technologies people talk about:

  1. Xray: This produces excellent images, and the sources can be made reasonably small, but we don’t have practical lenses or mirrors, so we need imagers as big as the object being imaged. Also, Xrays are dangerous so we have to worry about shielding. This typically ends up heavy and large.

  2. Infrared: Clothing is not generally transparent at infrared wavelengths (see comments above by RaftPerson).

  3. Millimeter wave: Wavelength is typically around 1 cm. You need to make an antenna/mirror/lens that is many wavelengths in linear dimension, or scan a smaller antenna over a comparable range. For example, if you want megapixel resolution, forget it. If you are content with 40 kilopixels (200x200) you need an antenna about 1 meter square (assuming one half wavelength per pixel).

  4. Terahertz: At wavelengths of a few hundred microns, you might be able to see through clothes adequately, yet be able to miniaturize the antenna/lens. The technology is difficult, but this may be the best bet.