Good News for Airport Passengers

Good News for Airport Passengers

airport security

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Airport passengers often complain about the long security lines and the security check-ups that they are obliged to go through, mainly having to take off their shoes. New technologies being tested by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could speed up screenings and shorten waiting time at the security lines.

Researchers from  the University of Rhode Island are working on new ways to detect and stop explosives popular with terrorists. In collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they are developing a sensor – called a “digital dog nose” – that will soon be the size of cell phone. Able to be mounted on a drone, it could can detect homemade explosives as well or better than a bomb-sniffing dog.

An additional technology developed is a gel that can surround an explosive or chemical agent and flash-freeze it so it can be safely removed from a transit hub.

Jose Bonilla, the director of TSA’s Innovation Task Force, told that they are trying to make the security process a more seamless process for the traveling public, without  giving up on security capability.

At a new airport “Innovation Checkpoint” in Las Vegas, together for the first time with real passengers, the TSA is testing future technologies. Among other technologies being tested, new scanners can more easily see through all the clutter in bags. New walk-by body scanners display a generic male or female form and flag an area of the body where there may be a concern. The technology is also better at spotting non-metallic threats that a metal detector might miss. The improvement is that the passengers don’t have to take their shoes off. 

TSA may also look to expand its use of facial recognition technology in the next few years.