The screening of passengers boarding flights at airports like Pangborn Memorial in Wenatchee, and busier hubs throughout the U.S. such as Sea-Tac International, could soon become a lot faster.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials have announced a new method for rapid screening called “passive terahertz technology”, which they hope to soon employ at airports across the nation.
The system was developed by London-based Thruvision and can reportedly scan passengers from distances of up to 25 feet without the emittance of any radiation, since they measure a person’s energy in a way that is similar to thermal imaging used in technologies such as night-vision goggles.
A number of the devices have already been purchased by TSA, which has been busy testing them under a “concept of operations” development contract at their laboratories in Ashburn, Va.
Officials with Thruvision contend that, in addition to speeding up the screening process for passengers, its breakthrough technology will also allow it to be done more safely and less intrusively.
The Thruvision scanners can also detect non-metallic threats and other concealed objects which metal detectors cannot. If proven successful, the system would make the need for passengers to pass through a metal detector or body scanner obsolete, since they would not be required to stand directly in line with the device.
TSA is in the final stages of putting the emerging tech through its testing phase and hopes to roll it out for real-world application at a select number of airports in the near future, although they have not yet specified which ones might be receiving the devices first.
“We believe Thruvision’s technology has the potential to complement existing TSA aviation checkpoint screening processes through high throughput screening of travelers,” said Kevin Gramer, vice president of Thruvision’s American division in Washington, D.C. “Our goal is to help TSA increase security and the passenger experience.”