McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The Department of Homeland Security is working with a technology company to equip agents on the border and at land and air checkpoints with portable 3D X-ray machines that can be used in the field to evaluate suspicious packages, the agency says.

This “cutting-edge screening equipment” will keep the public safer “and keep security lines moving,” according to an article published on the agency’s Science and Technology division.

The compact 3D X-ray scanners are being developed with the help of Xoran Technologies LLC.

“DHS staff and first responders in the field need imaging capabilities that will enable them to safely, effectively, and efficiently scan and detect hidden explosive devices, such as bombs or improvised explosive devices (IED), that can be easily concealed in a small container or bag,” Science and Technology Program Manager Karen “Maua” Johnson said. “The 3D X-ray could potentially help us meet this critical security need by greatly enhancing the ability of our frontline operators to find and intercept these dangerous devices before they can be used to harm the general public.”

The equipment combines 2D and 3D computed tomography (CT) imaging that can detect explosive devices and other illegal material without having to open the packages and put first responders at risk.

The size of a roller bag and weighing 70 pounds, these devices could be used in the field via remote-controlled robots or manually put over an object, like a backpack lying on the ground.

Prototypes are still being tested and should be delivered to the agency by the end of September where the devices will be used by in pilot tests in the field, the agency said.

Xoran also produces X-ray machines used in veterinarian offices.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com