Drive-through scanner

Southampton-based Symetrica has recently benefited from a £500,000 second investment round from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.


UK imaging house Symetrica has recently benefited from a £500,000 second investment round from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), Sulis Seedcorn Fund and Tennants Ventures. NESTA was the seed investor in Symetrica and led the second round of financing.


The Southampton-based company is developing a ‘drive-through’ scanner for radioactive materials to improve security at airports, ports and other sensitive sites. Direct comparison of Symetrica’s technology has demonstrated a ten times improvement in capability over existing products. This performance has won the company a competitive bid for the US Advanced Spectroscopic Portal development programme as part of a consortium.


The equipment is currently under evaluation by the US Department of Homeland Security on a dedicated test site in the Nevada Desert. Discussions with a number of major partners are progressing for several products incorporating Symetrica’s technology, from small hand held devices to active interrogation ‘walls’ for suspect cargo screening.


The estimated potential market in the USA alone over a 3 to 5 year period for hand held detectors is £250m ($450m) and for Advanced Spectroscopic Portals is £500m ($0.9bn).


The technology was developed by Dr. David Ramsden, while he was at the University of Southampton ’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.