Feeds

DHS 'brainiacs' to commercialise airport liquids-OK scanner

'Washington feels your pain', apparently

Security for virtualized datacentres

The US Department of Homeland Security says that its "government brainiacs" are on the verge of rolling out an airport bag scanner which would avoid the need to separate frustrated travellers from their "liquids, gels, sprays" and even "spreads".

Fearless and surprisingly unbuttoned inhouse investigative journal DHS Science and Technology Snapshots tells it how it is:

Remember 2005, when you could still board a plane with shampoo in your bag, toothpaste in your purse, a can of soda in your hand? Do those fluid memories hurt right down to your denture cream?

Washington feels your pain.

And more than just feels, but spends your money (should you be a US taxpayer) on doing something about it. The DHS - far from being made up entirely of flinty-hearted uniformed goons who like nothing more than plundering your treasured liquids and gels - is suiting the action to the word. Magnetic resonance scanners, of the type so popular in the medical world, are being modified so as to "peer through whatever container you’re carrying, divine what’s in it, and let you pass with your bottled water or — during flu season — your hand sanitizer".

"Government brainiac" Stephen Surko of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) is in charge of the Magnetic Vision Innovative Prototype (or MagViz) project, which he now considers (pdf) ready for commercialisation. The MagViz is still a bit prone to false positives, though, and at the moment it has to be placed inside a "hulking" shielded enclosure to screen out emissions from personal electronics and suchlike.

"To engineer a shielded MagViz in a compact enclosure, the Department will look to the private sector, where ingenuity spells profit," S&T Snapshots breezily assures its readers.

It seems that smaller MagViz scanners of the future might sit behind existing hand-luggage X-rays, or if space didn't permit there might be an extra channel for those wanting to take their spreads, jellies, liquids etc aboard.

“You’d have to wait in a separate line,” concedes Surko, “but at least you could bring along that large bottle of H2O.”

It seems there are still bugs to be ironed out, though. S&TS cautions:

Don’t expect miracles... The challenges may prove a bridge too far. But if the departments of Homeland Security and Energy and the free market can cross each bridge, then traveling with toiletries, snow globes, and drinks may be a thing of the future, rather than the past.

Wise words. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.