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Scanner technology targets bedbugs

RICHLAND – Scanning technology developed at a Richland lab to screen airplane passengers could soon be used to target bedbugs.

The technology developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been licensed to a start-up company in Corvallis, Ore., as part of a White House initiative to help young companies grow, the Tri-City Herald reports.

VisiRay in Corvallis, Ore., signed an option agreement with PNNL for millimeter wave technology and plans to manufacture devices to detect pests in buildings. The initial target will be bedbugs, sometimes called wall lice, because they may live inside walls as well as in beds and couches.

PNNL initially developed the millimeter wave technology with Federal Aviation Administration grants to scan passengers using harmless radio waves. It can detect objects hidden beneath their clothing, whether they are metal, liquid, plastic or ceramic. The technology is now in use at about 78 airports nationwide.