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Analogic Advancing with CT Checkpoint Technology

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At a December Homeland Security Committee hearing, Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) suggested the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) switch as soon as possible from X-ray scanners to computed tomography (CT) technology at airport checkpoints.

The benefits of such a rapid switch would undoubtedly allow screeners at passenger checkpoints to better scan stuffed bags and packages, while moving traffic through security at a faster rate. In simple terms, it turns what was a two-dimensional X-ray image into a 3-D image for screeners, allowing a better view of everything in carry-on baggage. In medical terms, McCaul noted that it’s the difference between an X-ray and an MRI—and he’s not wrong.

And the medical connection is quite applicable. For 50 years, Peabody, Mass.-based engineering firm Analogic has provided imaging technology with its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners in the medical field.

Since around 9/11, however, Analogic has also been in the security business, providing screening equipment for airports. Their next-generation system called ConneCT is making its way through the approval process and is designed to eventually eliminate time-consuming steps of emptying carry-on bags at security checkpoints. It will also improve screeners’ abilities to better separate threats from harmless items in luggage, according to Mark Laustra, vice president for Global Business Development and Government Relations at Analogic.

“The machine uses high-powered algorithms to differentiate between explosives and innocent material,” Laustra told Homeland411. “So the more we learn about how passengers pack their bags, the better the system is.”

The technology offers screeners a three-dimensional look at bag contents from different angles giving them a more complete picture of what’s inside—something TSA is unable to do with its current two-dimensional technology. They’ve also made it adaptable to better respond to new threats.

“The ConneCT was designed to accept third-party algorithms, and why that’s important is … if there’s a threat that TSA learns about through intelligence, that machine has to be ready to detect that threat,” Laustra said. “A lot of times the government or the regulator will go back to the manufacturer and say ‘Hey, we have this new threat and we need you to develop an algorithm for it.’ Our system was designed so that anybody can write this algorithm for it.”

He added that giving the government flexibility in writing algorithms can offer quicker solutions. “Speed is of the essence when you’re talking about new threats,” Laustra said. “TSA can’t wait a year and a half for a solution; they have to have a solution within weeks or months.”

Analogic isn’t a stranger to this technology; they’ve been at the forefront. They’ve provided CT technology for checked baggage for years, and about 10 years ago were poised to offer a CT solution for security lanes.

 

Read the full article at Homeland411

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