Full-body scanner at german airport: “turn around please!”

Aviation security checks with metal detector gates will soon be a thing of the past. Depending on the computing power of the devices, people could even be checked unnoticed

The german electronics company rohde black arms german airport with 300 more body scanners and accessories. According to a press release from the company, the procurement office in the federal ministry of the interior has signed a framework agreement to this effect. For example, the federal police want to detect whether people being checked are carrying potentially threatening objects under their clothing or on their bodies during airline passenger screening.

Rohde schwarz advertises that the new devices of the type "quick personal scanner 200" recognize metallic and non-metallic objects, "no matter if hard, flexible, fluffy". In aviation security, new threats include foil explosives or self-printed weapons. These can also be found in shoes, headgear or medical dressings. Possibly the scanners will be used elsewhere, rohde schwarz mentions security gates in ministries.

The new "quick personal scanner 200" are to replace the metal detector gates previously used at airports. Last year the federal ministry of the interior had already installed 108 body scanners of the us-american company l-3 communications.

The devices, which cost around 16.5 million euros, are located in frankfurt/main, stuttgart, hamburg, dusseldorf, koln and berlin-schonefeld. Due to their design, l-3 communications scanners cannot be used to check small and particularly large persons. It is unclear whether this shortcoming will be remedied with the rohde scanners black is fixed.

Radiation harmless according to manufacturer

The german federal ministry of the interior had already begun corresponding research in the field of millimeter technology several years ago, and under the leadership of rohde schwarz developed a demonstrator. The current procurement was preceded by a pilot phase under the direction of the german federal police at german airports. Rhode’s scanners schwarz were also installed at oslo airport.

The body scanners of the type "quick personal scanner 200" function on the basis of millimeter wave technology. According to the manufacturer, the radiation used is hundreds to thousands of times lower than that of a cell phone and is therefore harmless to health. The technology is known as "walk through" designed. Passengers line up in front of a wall with 32 slats, in which several thousand transmitters and receivers of millimeter waves are hidden. In the variant "quick personal scanner 100" passengers have to turn around once, in the case of the new type with an opposite wall, there is no need to turn around.

If the scanner finds a suspicious object, the area in question is displayed on a monitor. Contrary to earlier versions, the screen shows a symbolic graphic of the person being scanned. The anonymized image is intended to increase acceptance of the new procedures among the population. First-generation body scanners were installed at german airports in 2010.

At that time, the persons scanned were easily recognizable on the images, which gave the devices the designation "nude scanner" . The security personnel spotted for example intimate piercings or even artificial intestinal tracts.

Scanning could also take place unnoticed

Earlier generations of nude and body scanners were still conspicuous for their excessive error messages. This included unnecessary alarms or false alarms. L-3 communications had then submitted a "installed improved detection software" software, which, according to the federal ministry of the interior, was a "improved display of the control result" had as a consequence.

The body scanners in use at german airports are now "fully practical". Compared to a manual check with metal detector gates, the average process time of a check has been shortened by about 40 percent.

The former head of the department responsible for procurement at the federal police announced that the control with the help of the rohde in the future, black can even be checked without stopping, i.E. Unnoticed. This is only a question of computing power. The federal police and the federal criminal police office had participated in corresponding researches.

In another project, the german government called for the development of a passive thz video camera for security applications. It should be possible to take pictures even from a distance.

The body scanners from rohde schwarz body scanners are certified by the european civil aviation conference (ecac). The eu commission and the member states now also consider the sole use of metal detector airlocks to be no longer adequate for aviation security checks.

A corresponding eu regulation has therefore been amended, since 1. September 2015, passengers must be checked with full-body scanners as a matter of priority. If these are not available, explosive trace detectors are to be used in addition to the metal detector lock.

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