PNNL experts create shoe scanner for airport security

Pnnl Invents Shoe Scanners For Airport Safety

RICHLAND, Wash. – It’s been a practice that’s been in place since 2006: taking off our shoes while going through airport security, but, thanks to researchers and experts at PNNL, that could soon be a thing of the past.

PNNL experts also helped create the holographic millimeter wave scanning technology which can detect any security threats when someone walks through the cylindrical scanners. Dave Sheen, an engineer and National Security Directorate with PNNL said that technology is something they’ve been working on since 1989.

After that huge feat, experts wanted to take things further and improve the convenience of going through TSA Checkpoints with a shoe scanner.

The scanner would consist of a low profile platform the traveler would step on, consequently, electromagnetic waves would create an image of the person’s shoes.

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It’s likely an algorithm would be used to look at the picture and determine if there’s a threat, of course, this is also up to government officials who have the ultimate say in security technology.

The possibility of this technology being used in airports isn’t far fetched; Liberty Defense Holdings, Ltd., was recently given licensing from PNNL.

The company could help bring this shoe scanner technology into airports throughout the US.

“We are elated when research that we have put so much time, thought, and energy into succeeds.  Most research is fulfilling, but usually fails to reach common use as a commercial product,” Sheen said.

“Technology transfer is a lab mission and to see our research work transition to real products and solutions that keep the nation and its people safe is particularly gratifying. It also demonstrates the value and critical role that National Labs play in tackling these challenging problems,” Kannan Krishnaswami, PNNL’s Commercialization Manager added.

Sheen went onto explain they technology right now is a standalone platform, but perhaps in the future and with more work, the shoe scanner could be implemented into the body scanners, so both could work at the same time.