Manchester airport trials imaging technology

14 Oct 2009 by Mark Caswell

Travellers passing through security at Manchester’s Terminal 2 over the next 12 weeks will be given the choice of trialling an x-ray imaging machine.

The airport is trialling the technology which it says “has the potential to replace the familiar ‘pat down’ searches including the need to remove coats, jackets, shoes and belts”. The machine works by bouncing x-rays off an individual’s skin to produce an outline image of the person’s body which is then used to detect concealed, potentially dangerous objects.

The image – which the airport says is a black and white, ghost-like outline without any distinguishing features like hair or facial features – is then transmitted to a remote security officer who views it and electronically confirms if the passenger can proceed or if a manual search is required.

Images are not stored, and passengers will be given information about the technology before being asked if they wish to participate in the trial. The equipment is approved by the National Radiological Protection Board, and passing through the machine 20,000 times is said to be the same as being subjected to one medical x-ray.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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