In an attempt to put an end to the frustration of trying to get cleared for a flight at the airport and make the trip through security a little smoother, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is looking to revive an old idea which would handle checking footwear.
Since 2001, the TSA has pushed to have passengers remove their shoes after Richard Reid tried to ignite explosives in his boots on a flight heading to the United States. By 2006, show removal was mandatory after another failed attempt to blow up planes with liquid explosives.
With close to a dozen companies developing shoe scanning machines, the TSA has stated that it is in the process of buying 100 of these innovative pieces of technology by 2011.
Able to find metal weapons and explosives within shoes, the machine weren’t able to pass tests when it was first introduced almost three years ago. Testing in 2007 showed the machine missing too many weapons and bomb parts. Further worry came as the alarm set off harmless metal.
As the developers promise to deliver with better results, TSA is finding the device to be a means of improving security.
Adding simplicity to the security check, passengers would just step onto the machine and the scanners would detect any added “luggage” being brought onto the flight.
The IDO Security of New York City has implemented the new technology and have placed shoe scanners in more than 15 overseas locations such as airports in Israel, China and Rome.
Ranging in costs from $4,400 to $7,000, the device has also been used at cruise ship terminals in the screening of passengers, vendors and crew members.
There are further concerns as some machines can detect powdered explosives containing metal, but not plastic explosives and the fact that there has yet to be a device introduced that can detect all types of explosives.