By Evan Ackerman
I know, I know, you wanted this to be some kind of gun that shoots X-rays and turns you into a superhero. Sorry to disappoint, but all this thing does is grant you X-ray vision. LEXID stands for Lobster-Eye X-ray Inspection Device; the Lobster-Eye bit refers to the way a lobster focuses light, as lobsters focus using reflection, while humans focus using refraction (bending). Lobsters are much better than we are at seeing things in low light environments, and adapting the characteristics of their eyes to an X-ray emitter allows very low power (i.e. safe) X-rays to be used (no lead underwear necessary). The image produced “isn’t high definition TV quality,” but it’s good enough to peep through walls or 75mm steel and see basic shapes (weapons, people, naked people, etc.) on the other side. You probably have already guessed who’s funding this; so far the Deparment of Homeland Security has put about $1 million into it. The LEXID should be ready to go in about a year, and is supposed to be commercially affordable. We’ve never been so close to a legit pair of X-ray specs… I’m totally excited. For, you know, research and stuff.