Airport Travel Is About To Get a Little Easier
New technologies are being developed out of Richland, Washington, to make security check points at airports even more hassle free for all travelers.
Take your shoes off and place them in the bin! That’s been part of the flying experience since 2006. It’s the outcome of a number of threats to the aviation sector that emerged after the fateful events of September 11, 2001, including a failed attempt by an air-borne terrorist to light a fuse hidden in his shoe.
It’s one of the most inconvenient parts of flying and one that can slow the security screening process. But one day soon, even those without a “pre-check” status may be able to keep their shoes on, step on shoe scanner, walk through a next-generation body scanner and speed safely on to their boarding gates.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed the original holographic millimeter wave scanning technology—now used at airports worldwide—which can detect a wide variety of potential weapons or threats concealed under clothing.
Working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, researchers at PNNL have expanded and advanced the capabilities of the original scanners, with an eye to improving the passenger experience. The result is a next-generation, high-definition scanner that can identify even smaller threats with fewer false positives. In the process, they designed a similar technology that can screen a passenger’s footwear while on their feet.
PNNL recently licensed the two technologies to Liberty Defense Holdings, Ltd., a concealed weapons detection company. Licensing government-developed technologies to the private sector is one of the missions of national laboratories like PNNL.
“Liberty Defense is committed to protecting the public through its next-generation body and shoe scanning solutions,” said Kannan Krishnaswami, a commercialization manager at PNNL. “With their leadership and experience, they are well positioned to bring PNNL-developed scanners to market, along with threat detection algorithms to enhance security for travelers and people attending events at large venues.”
Article courtesy of:
Susan Bauer, PNNL (News Release)