PNNL's body scanner garners federal commercialization award

December 15, 2004

RICHLAND, Wash. - A technology developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for its successful transfer to the commercial market. The Federal Laboratory Consortium announced PNNL has won a 2005 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for the lab's holographic body scanner, an imaging technology that is being applied in two widely divergent industries - apparel and security.

The FLC recognizes federal laboratories and their employees who have made significant contributions in transferring federally funded technology into the private sector. The FLC is comprised of more than 700 federal laboratories and centers nationwide. The PNNL technology is among 24 recognized nationwide by the FLC this year. With 58 awards, PNNL has been honored by the FLC more than any other federal laboratory since the recognition program began in 1984.

Originally developed by the laboratory for security applications, Pennsylvania-based Intellifit is using the technology to create body measurements for custom-fit clothing. The holographic imager creates a 360-degree high-resolution 3-D scan of a body in less than 10 seconds, allowing Intellifit to provide tailored measurements to designers or provide recommendations on best-fit clothing.

Here's how it works: millimeter waves harmlessly penetrate clothing and reflect off of the body, sending signals back to a transceiver; the transceiver then sends the signals to a high-speed computer that creates a final 3-D holographic image. Lastly, Intellifit's body measurement software is used in conjunction with the 3-D holographic image to obtain 80 accurate body measurements.

Another company, Safeview, Inc., of Santa Clara, has commercialized the technology for use in aviation, prison, building and border crossing security. The scanner can quickly show the presence of non-metallic threats such as plastic and ceramic weapons, in addition to metal objects.

A formal ceremony honoring the winning entries will be held at the FLC National Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on May 4, 2005.

The technology also earned an R&D 100 award and the magazine editors' choice award for "Most Promising New Technology" in 2004.
Business inquiries on the award-winning technologies or other PNNL innovations can be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or

PNNL ( is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 3,800, has a $600 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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