Two next-generation checkpoint screening technologies, the R&D 100 award winning Shoe Scanner and the High Definition – Advanced Imaging Technology (HD-AIT) systems, are progressing from functional prototypes to commercial products that can be used in the operational world. Both technologies were funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and developed at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd. of Atlanta, Georgia, was granted a license to commercialize both technologies.
Spurred by the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) passenger screening requirements, which include improved detection capabilities and increased passenger throughput, these technologies could improve the efficiency and accuracy of airport screening and potentially eliminate the need to remove shoes and outerwear when passing through checkpoints.
The HD-AIT system provides higher resolution, reduces false alarms, and is built on an open architecture to provide flexibility and aid in rapid updates, while enabling third party participation. These advancements would allow people to be screened at airports and large public events without having to remove light sweaters or jackets, as they would have had to in the past.
The Shoe Scanner uses the HD-AIT technology to penetrate footwear without the passenger having to remove shoes for screeners to detect concealed objects. Persons screened will step on a low-profile, imaging platform for approximately two seconds while low-power electromagnetic energy is used to generate a composite image of the shoe to determine whether a threat is present.
“DHS S&T has invested in developing the next generation screening HD-AIT and shoe scanner that offer significant improvements to current systems,” said John Fortune, S&T’s Screening-at-Speed program manager. “Reducing false alarms, and thus needing fewer secondary screenings, also means less direct contact between travelers and security personnel.”
Through development of these new systems, S&T is pushing the boundaries of technology, architecture, and industry partnerships to meet TSA’s current and future challenges and improve the screening experience for both travelers and screeners.