A new state-of-the-art technology prototype computer using 3D tomography scanner technology is being tested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in partnership with American Airlines.
The hope is that this state-of-the-art technology – being used for the first time on carry-on luggage – will provide faster and more accurate images of personal luggage and other items.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it has great hopes that this new computer tomography (CT) scanner can improve the accuracy of hand luggage scanning – a current source of enhanced concern with the carriage of laptops and some other portable electronic devices (PEDs).
This technology and the principle of computer tomography is actually very similar to that used for checked luggage and also in the detection of cancers in hospitals, although this carry-on version is the first newly developed scaled-down version – as compared to the much bigger and expensive health-industry versions.
A bigger version of this technology-type scanner is already used for checked-in luggage at airports, but this is the first time that a smaller machine has been developed for carry-on items. As such, airports all around the US and beyond will be looking to assess the results.
It features a spinning X-ray camera that uses computer-processed combination 3D images. In turn, these use sophisticated algorithms to show hundreds of angles of the contents of a carry-on bag as it passes on through the conveyor belt.
This is designed to provide TSA security staff with a fast and accurate picture to either eliminate or draw attention to a ‘threat’, with TSA officers then able to select any luggage or other item to inspect it further if they deem it necessary.
TSA Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia said: “The safety and security of travellers is the number one priority of TSA and our partnership with industry is critical in helping develop innovative and critical security enhancements.
“We already use this type of technology for checked baggage and we expect these smaller check point-sized machines will provide the same high level of security.”
TSA adds that passengers transiting through Terminal 4 at Phoenix may be asked to volunteer for screening using this technology, while the TSA and American Airlines also plan to test this new scanner option at Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport later this month.