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The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, US, debuted its first full-body advanced imaging technology scanning machine recently. The new technology, using an automated target recognition software, is now the airport’s primary screening device.

According to the ithacajournal.com, the innovative machine development uses millimeter waves to screen passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons and explosives, which can be concealed under clothing and unnoticed without physical contact.

Currently, approximately 800 of these machines are spread around 200 airports nationwide. The device is pretty user-friendly as well, a passenger enters the machine and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer hits a button on a monitor to indicate a female or male passenger. The lens quickly scans the entire body using automated target recognition software and then sends the results to the monitor. If no threats are found, a green screen with the word “clear” appears.

If threats are found during the scan, a generic image of either a male or female body will appear on the screen with bright yellow boxes indicating the questionable areas. The TSA officer uses the information to pat down the passenger or check the areas of concern.

“Many passengers are concerned with privacy when entering these machines, but the only image that shows is a generic image of a male or female body; the same image used for all passengers,” said Lisa Farbstein of the Office of Public Affairs for the TSA. “The machine does not register height, size or any other dimensions of the body. The only thing we can see is what is displayed on the screen.”

The TSA also declared that the Imaging technology screening is safe for all travelers and meets all known national and international health and safety standards. The energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 1,000 times less than international limits and guidelines. Most passengers have the opportunity to decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening. However, some passengers will not be able to opt out of AIT screening if the boarding pass indicated the person has been selected for enhanced screening.