Don’t be alarmed when something resembling a beached whale with a waistband of blue and orange lights swallows your carry-on at the airport security check in. It will digest the contents of the …
Don’t be alarmed when something resembling a beached whale with a waistband of blue and orange lights swallows your carry-on at the airport security check in. It will digest the contents of the bags, including computers that previously were individually examined, in a relatively short time – certainly not longer than before.
However, installing six state-of-the-art Analogic Mid-Size Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray scanners has increased security clearance during busy times at Green by about eight minutes Daniel D. Velez, TSA spokesperson to the New England Region estimated last Tuesday. He said clearance should take about 20 minutes.
Velez said the decision to install the scanners now was based on traffic projections. Traffic slows at this time of year with an average of 4,000 enplanements daily as compared to 6,500 at its peak.
As Velez showed off the machine, Transportation Security Officers trained on how to use it. Pictures were permitted, but not ones showing the screens being carefully watched.
In a news release, the TSA reported it is installing Computed Tomography (CT) systems to airport security checkpoints nationwide “to address the rapidly evolving threats and security vulnerabilities.”
CT, widely used in the medical field, has been used to screen checked baggage since 2002. The technology automates much of the explosives detection function and allows enhanced detection of a broader range of threat items by providing three-dimensional (3D), high resolution x-ray images that can be rotated 360 degrees on three axes, allowing for more thorough visual analysis by Transportation Security Officers without having to open the bag.
In addition to enhanced visual interpretation by TSOs and image manipulation, the security benefits of CT include improved detection of homemade explosives, reduced false alarm rates and reduced threat mass detection.
A big benefit is that the scanners eliminate the need to remove electronics, laptops, and liquids, aerosols and gels from carry on bags.
As TSOs trained on one scanner, passengers had their carry-ons cleared by another. Bags went down a runway where passengers could reclaim their belongings. As a bag singled out for further examination headed down the runway, it was automatically diverted to a parallel track were its contents were removed and examined.
Velez said about 330 of the scanners are being installed across the country. The installation of the units at Green is expected to be completed by Friday, Feb. 17. Much of the installation is undertaken at night.
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