CT Scanners Might Mean Laptops, Water Are No Problem for TSA


I don’t care who you are, one of the most dreaded components of airline travel is, of course, the security line. It’s really just the part where you have to drag half the items in your bags out of your bags – and make sure they’re visible and in a separate bin – all without unpacking your entire suitcase on the conveyor belt.

Luckily help may be on the way. New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport is testing out a machine that could open the door to a much more streamlined process for TSA and, thus, for the weary airline traveler.

American Airlines has partnered with TSA for this pilot project that’s testing a CT scanner with three-dimensional capability – as opposed to the current standard 2D imaging – allowing airport workers to gain better visibility into what’s exactly in your bag.

The company Analogic has created a system called ConneCT, which is what we assume is the technology at the foundation of this security trial. The company, which does a lot of work in the healthcare industry, says it will offer the TSA “the same lifesaving technology used to diagnose disease in humans.” The CT scanners should be able to help security personnel make distinctions between clutter in your bag and actually identify areas of danger – not just search for the more innocuous banned items.

And speaking of which, the technology could impact prohibited items: according to Analogic, its machines know the difference between water and liquid explosives, which could make a case for lifting the ban on liquids.

With a price tag of $300,000 per machine, the solution doesn’t come cheap, but it’s likely to decrease costs in other areas by vastly improving the efficiency of the process. CBS News quoted an administrator for TSA who suggested that the days of dredging up your bags’ contents could be numbered, maybe even being phased-out within the next five years.

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