The FASS Showcase Event run in London on January 18th attracted considerable attention in the press, for example:
Another company, Sequestim, hopes to eliminate the hassle of removing coats and items such as phones and wallets from pockets.
It is working to combine artificial intelligence with a more sensitive version of the millimetre wave body scanners already used in airports.
It hopes to let passengers pass through its scanners wearing their coats with full pockets, and still identify concealed threats.
Cooling its sensor to close to -273C (-459F) increases its effectiveness and allows passengers to be scanned from up to 8m (26ft) away, the company says.
While the cooling comes at a cost, the airport may find it pays off by being able to process passengers more quickly.
The company says its artificial intelligence will let passengers leave their belongings in their pockets, as the system will learn “what normal looks like” and will be able to flag suspicious items.
“It won’t eliminate the need for a pat down, but will speed up the process by reducing the number of trays going through the scanners,” said Rob Spurrett, managing director of Sequestim.
The technology for “walk-through security scanning” developed by Cardiff University is derived from astronomy detection. It uses infra-red cameras that are so sensitive they could “see” a 100-watt lightbulb from half-a-million miles away.
In an airport context, hidden cameras using one-millimetre wavelength technology are installed to examine passengers from a range of angles. Their sensitivity requires temperatures just one-quarter of a degree above absolute zero: 273 degrees below freezing.
For such cameras, the radiation emitted by the human body acts as a kind of lightbulb, due to it being warmer than the surroundings. The image projects through clothing and reveals significant items carried by the passenger.
Ken Wood, the sales director of the start-up firm Sequestim, told The Independent: “With our new technology, airport security screening will be a walk-through experience.
“Our new camera will be able to look at them, in real time as they simply walk past, and will be able to ignore all their personal items. But if you’ve got a gun or a knife hidden about you, you’d better watch out.”
The company claims that the throughput of a typical security channel at an airport could increase from 150 passengers per hour to 1,000. Equipment could be deployed at airports by 2021.