Research

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Decision Support Tools

X-ray Toolkit

X-ray Toolkit (XTK)

X-ray Toolkit (XTK) is a software program developed by Sandia National Laboratories for the United States Government under funding from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Technical Support Working Group. XTK is a radiography planning, acquisition, processing, and analysis program designed specifically for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians.

XTK supports image acquisition from a variety of commercial scanners and provides image enhancement, measurement, and markup tools through a modern and user-friendly interface. When used in conjunction with Sandia's targeting and aiming kits, XTK can also be used to perform precision disruptions — disabling a device while reducing collateral damage and preserving forensic evidence.

Challenges

Each emergency response incident presents different challenges. The concern may be as small as a briefcase or as large as a shipping container. Sometimes incidents are handled remotely using a robot while others require an EOD technician in a protective bomb suit. In all cases, X-ray images can help responders make better decisions.

XTK is a single software application sophisticated enough to meet the needs of our primary users, highly-trained weapon of mass destruction (WMD) response teams, and intuitive enough for state and local EOD technicians to use effectively with minimal training.

Need

Emergency responders need X-ray imaging systems that are highly capable and easy to operate. Adversaries and the devices they construct are becoming more sophisticated. X-ray images provide responders with crucial information about package contents, enabling them to take appropriate action. Radiography is the only technology available for viewing a package's interior without touching it. All WMD response teams and the Department of Energy (DOE) analysts depend heavily on high-quality X-ray images to plan their courses of action. While most X-ray system vendors provide proprietary software applications to control their systems, these applications do not have the advanced features required for WMD response.

Along with WMD responders, more than 500 certified bomb squads regularly use digital X-ray systems and X-ray software applications to help assess and address threats.

Solutions

XTK was designed and developed to support a variety of users and scenarios and has quickly become the predominant X-ray software application used by U.S. government bomb squads. Approximately 4,500 U.S. responders currently use XTK and the numbers grow daily, including:

  • WMD response teams
  • State and local bomb squads
  • Federal agencies: DOE; Department of Defense; FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Capital Police; Pentagon Force Protection Agency

Features/Benefits

XTK is compatible with most fielded X-ray systems, allowing operators to learn one application instead of one per system. One common toolkit reduces training requirements and ensures that the entire emergency response community is able to exchange and process field images quickly and effectively. Responders produce significantly improved images with less effort, increasing the frequency in which X-ray equipment is deployed by emergency response teams.

XTK supports the deployment of X-ray systems utilizing robotic platforms and the precise targeting and disablement of components. Deploying X-ray systems with robotic platforms removes the first responder from harm's way and can save time. Precisely targeting and disabling internal components is possible, even from a robot.

Additional capabilities and benefits:

  • Compatible with COTS X-ray systems
  • Mosaic stitching
  • Dose prediction
  • File management and sharing tools
  • 3-D model construction
  • Grid Aim for precision disablement
  • Training scenarios and after-action report generator

Applications

XTK was designed and developed for the emergency response community but is also being used in other X-ray applications, such as contraband detection.