Scientists in Oxfordshire are developing a security scanner that can "X-ray" airport passengers without subjecting them to radiation.
Unlike metal detectors, they claim, their Thruvision scanner can detect concealed plastic, ceramic and liquid.
The camera uses Terahertz wavelengths, which are long enough to pass through objects but short enough to be manipulated to form an image, they say.
The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory team hope to have it in use by next year.
A working prototype camera has already successfully captured images of objects concealed under clothing, such as guns and explosives.
Security experts have welcomed the development of such machines, as they will also forewarn airport guards what to expect when someone is pulled over for a further search.
The company set up to take on the scanner's future development has just been granted a £25,000 business plan award by the government.
Thruvision's chief executive officer Dr Jonathan James said: "The real benefit of Thruvision's technology is that it is compact and safe.
"Our camera simply 'looks' at people without illuminating them with any form of radiation."