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After Initial Success TSA Plans to Expand 3D Scanning

The Transportation Security Agency will expand its 3D carry-on luggage scanning program that it originally launched in more than a dozen airports in July.

The agency originally estimated the program would be rolled out in 145 airports by 2019, but has now raised that projection to 200 airports. In contrast to traditional 2D scanners that take photos from just a couple of angles, 3D scanners will use computed tomography (CT) to take hundreds of images per second with a spinning X-ray camera.

With a more granular picture of each bag, the CT technology can build an interactive image that can be rotated and analyzed from 360 degrees by screening staff. In addition to creating an intuitive and quick way for agents to analyze these bags, the technology will also lighten the load on travelers by requiring them to take fewer items out of their bags prior to scanning. The new methods may one day allow flyers to leave their liquids and electronics inside their luggage, but there is no time frame for that goal.

by Dan Booth