TSA-blocking briefs keep your privates private

Men and women can both wear these undies with crotch-positioned shields that supposedly protect their special parts from the TSA's eyes--and radiation.

Protection for right there: Leaf my junk alone. Rocky Flats Gear

I just had a harrowing incident on a flight from New Orleans to Seattle. Due to a small electrical fire, my plane had to be diverted to Memphis; it then took another day and a half to get home.

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It'll cost you $15 each way, $25 round trip. Matt Hickey/CNET

But what got me more than the thought that my flight could crash was that in Memphis I had to deal with the indignity of going through one of the controversial new backscatter body-scanning machines . A person I didn't know got paid to scrutinize my scrotum. Lucky lady.

But I didn't like it. I felt like I was being virtually strip searched. That's why I'm in favor of these new briefs designed by engineer Jeff Buske. They're regular boxer briefs, with the exception of a fig leaf-shaped radiation blocker located right over your junk. TSA agents looking at your scan will see a shape of a leaf instead of your private parts. Smart, but we're still waiting to learn whether the TSA will let these underpants fly.

The radiation-blocking undies aren't just for modesty, though, as the guards allegedly protect your crotch from various types of radiation, too. (There's fear the backscatter machines could pose a cancer risk; in fact, some say the odds of getting cancer from backscatter machines is more probable than dying in a plane hijacking).

The skivvies, by the way, aren't the only radiation shield garb in the news today, as a new Belly Band is made to keep a fetus safe from radiation--including backscatter radiation.

The briefs are less than $20, unisex, and machine washable, but most of all they're a great idea. The Rocky Flats Gear site also has a variety of other designs and even bra inserts. I'm thinking it could be fun replace your fig leaf with a corporate logo, say Apple's, thereby selling out your nether region as ad space.

That said, I do wish this company just sold an iron-on guard, since the underwear I prefer is typically far, far more exotic than cotton boxer briefs.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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