New Imaging Technology Tested at US Airport

3 August 2009 (Last Updated August 3rd, 2009 18:30)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin testing two types of advanced imaging technology at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in the US. The airport is testing backscatter and millimeter wave imaging technologies, which reportedly offer improved detection abilitie

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin testing two types of advanced imaging technology at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in the US.

The airport is testing backscatter and millimeter wave imaging technologies, which reportedly offer improved detection abilities while retaining passenger privacy protection.

Millimeter wave technology utilises risk-free electromagnetic waves and each scan operates at 10,000 times less power than a mobile phone.

Backscatter technology deploys low-level X-rays – one scan is equal to flying on an aircraft for almost two minutes.

TSA is using the images created by both technologies to remotely screen passengers for any potential threats without physical contact.

The two technologies are currently completely optional for all travellers. Passengers who do not opt for the imaging technologies will simply be given an old-fashioned physical pat down.

Over the next two months, TSA will evaluate the operational effectiveness of the imaging technologies and decide whether or not to implement them as the airport's primary screening technology in place of conventional metal detectors.