By now, most of us are accustomed to the tedious but familiar procedures of airport security: wait in mile-long line, take off shoes, pull out quart-size plastic bag of 3.4-ounce liquids and gels, place metal items in tray, step through scanner, fumble to put belongings back in order while shuffling around in untied shoes. But wouldn’t it be great if we could cut out a few of those steps?
Within a few years, maybe we can — thanks to a couple of up-and-coming security screening devices.
The Associated Press reports that a new bottled liquid scanner, now being tested in New Mexico by the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, could be a more effective way for airport security screeners to identify liquid explosives. The scanner uses magnetic resonance to determine the molecular makeup of liquids, and is so sensitive that it can distinguish between red and white wine, says the AP. A machine this advanced could potentially make the TSA’s confusing liquid and gel restrictions obsolete, and allow air travelers to once again bring water bottles or full-size tubes of toothpaste through the security checkpoint.
While the new liquid scanner is probably still a few years away from being implemented in U.S. airports, another innovative security device, the MagShoe, has been used for several years at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport and was recently tested at an unidentified airport in Western Europe. The MagShoe is one of several machines designed to scan travelers’ feet and ankles for metal without necessitating the removal of shoes.
The TSA has tested similar technologies in the past without success, but announced earlier this year that it would give the latest crop of shoe-scanning devices a try, reports USA Today. Unsurprisingly, the TSA notes that many travelers find removing their shoes to be the biggest hassle of the screening procedure.
Will the U.S. will eventually adopt any of these new technologies? We’ll keep you posted.
–written by Sarah Schlichter