THE FUTURE OF AIRPORT SECURITY - Thermal lie-detectors and cloned sniffer dogs to the rescue
Posted by Transport & Business Express | 14 June 2012 | 2,470 times
After the announcement by the European Union (EU) that it will ban “backscatter” x-ray body scanners, airports may have to look harder at alternative security measures. From Bluetooth tracking to thermal lie-detector cameras, a recent report by the Cable News Network (CNN) take a glimpse into the weird and wonderful future of airport security.
The check-point of the future
Last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) demonstrated its vision for the “checkpoint of the future” – a series of neon-lit tunnels, each equipped with an array of eye-scanners, x-ray machines, and metal and liquid detectors.
Heralding an end to “one size fits all screening,” the association says that passengers will be assigned a “travel profile” and ushered into one of three corridors accordingly.
“Known Travelers,” (those who have completed background checks with government authorities) for instance, will cruise through the light blue security corridor with little more than an ID check, while those guided through the yellow “Enhanced” corridor will be subjected to an array of iris scans and sensitive contraband detectors.
Although still at the proof of concept stage, the IATA is hoping to have these colourful checkpoints installed in airports within the next five to seven years.
Feeling guilty? Got something to hide? A team of United Kingdom (UK)-based researchers claim to have developed a thermal lie-detection camera that can automatically spot a burning conscience.
The system could be used during customs interviews and at passport control to check whether people entering the country are giving a true account of themselves.
The thermal-imaging camera captures variations in facial temperature in response to questioning. “When someone is making something up on the spot, brain activity usually changes and you can detect this through the thermal camera,” said Professor Hassan Ugail, who leads the research.
At present, the UK’s Home Office and HM Revenue & Customs are sponsoring the system’s development, but will not reveal the name of the airport where it’s being tested.
Bluetooth passenger tracking
Finland’s largest airport is harnessing the tracking potential of a device already carried by most passengers: their mobile phones.
The new system at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport monitors Bluetooth signals to examine passenger movement around the terminal, and uses this information to predict waiting times in front of the security gate.
For now, the technology is simply helping airport operators with crowd management at busy periods, while providing “opted-in” passengers with accurate waiting-time estimates, lit-up in front of them on flight information display screens.
Further down the line, Amor Group – which developed the technology – says that the system could track any passenger as soon as they enter the car park or bus station and, in time, be used to create “passenger profiles” – detailing the behavior of individuals to create “targeted retail activity and process optimisation.”