analogic’s CT scanner, which will soon be deployed at JFK T-8analogic
New imaging technology is coming to the American Airlines security checkpoint in New York’s JFK airport that may help speed the screening process. According to a joint release between the airline and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), American is trialing a new type of 3D X-ray scanner that will give screening staff better and more comprehensive images of carry-on bags. The resulting images should better-help screeners identify materials and cut down on flagged bags that require a manual search.
The new technology, which is provided by analogic, uses Computed Tomography, or CT to produce 3D images of each scanned bag. That technology, which has been employed by the healthcare industry for years, has already been deployed to scan checked bags in most airports, but due to size constraints, has so far not been widely integrated at passenger screening checkpoints. The latest scanning tools from analogic, however, seem to rectify the footprint issues.
CT’s advantages over traditional 2D X-rays, which are currently used at most checkpoints, are significant. “CT provides volumetric information rather than projection information,” says Dr. Arjun Sharma, a radiologist at AMITA Hinsdale Hospital in Illinois and associate editor of the Journal of Digital Imaging. “It removes the problem of overlapping objects and instead tells the observer the exact density of material at any point in space. In effect, the observer knows the shape and material of every object scanned.”
Lest the technology sound like a silver bullet for slow and ineffective screening lanes around the country, there are still hurdles to widespread adoption.”The main drawbacks to CT technology are cost and logistics,” says Dr. Sharma. “CT is a more advanced technology, but requires slightly different infrastructure and generally more energy consumption. It may also have increased shielding requirements, which may present problems in congested security screening environments.”
Despite those caveats, CT’s benefits may still outweigh some of its costs while helping ease the burden to both passengers and screeners at the security checkpoint. JFK’s new CT scanner will be online in one lane at Terminal 8 by the end of July. Separate CT scanners are also being tested with American Airlines in Phoenix Sky Harbor and Boston Logan airports.