TSA Approves Faster Airport Baggage Scanners

No matter how well you prepare for airport security — wearing belt-less pants and slip-on shoes, knowing exactly how to stand when it’s your turn — you may still end up waiting because your carry-on hasn’t finished its trip through the baggage scanner. That may soon improve, now that the Transportation Security Administration has approved new, faster scanners for use at airport checkpoints.

Massachusetts-based Analogic Corp. revealed this week that its ConneCT scanner had received a stamp of approval from the TSA by meeting the agency’s Advanced Technology (AT) detection standards.

Like the speedier machine currently being tested by American Airlines at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, the Analogic scanner users computed tomography (CT) to generate a fuller, three-dimensional image of bags and their content. As the L.A. Times points out, the TSA approval of ConneCT means that additional airports will be able to test this next generation of scanners, hopefully expediting their deployment in the long run.

The Technology

The newly approved ConneCT scanners, manufactured by Analogic Corp, uses the same imaging technology one would find in a hospital CT machine. But instead of looking at your insides, the scanners will generate a 3D image of carry-on baggage.

The image is then analyzed by security officers, who can manipulate the image, spinning 360 degrees to show the contents from several angles.

Additionally, the machines use an algorithm to automatically identify weapons, Analogic says in a statement.

If an item in the bag appears suspicious, a security worker will check the bag.

“With record-breaking air travel numbers and new threats to the public, it is ever more important to deploy cutting-edge technology that can evolve with the security landscape,” Jim Ryan, senior vice president and general manager of security detection and power technologies at Analogic, said in a statement.

Moving Faster

TSA has previously noted that CT screening technology could decrease time spend in security screening by about 30%.

Travelers would be able to speed through the lines, as the technology would allow them to keep liquids and personal electronics in their bags.

The L.A. Times reports that Analogic estimates the number of passengers going through security in one hour would increase from 180 to 500 if its scanners were in use.

While its unclear just where the scanners will turn up, Analogic already has one customers: American Airlines. The carrier announced in June that it would purchase several ConneCT scanners for use in the future.