RICHLAND, Wash.-- When you go through the TSA line at the airport, unless you’re in pre check, you know the drill.
Take off your shoes and put them back on.
This could be a thing of the past soon, thanks to new shoe scanning technology developed by PNNL researchers.
Removing your shoes at the airport has only been part of the flying experience since 2006, following multiple threats post 9/11.
Now, PNNL researchers, who created the same holographic millimeter scanning technology to detect threats under clothing has now made it possible through shoes.
The millimeter wave shoe scanner has been in the works since 2013. PNNL researchers say it is more accurate at detecting threats than in current systems.
Scanning a shoe though is more complex than scanning a body, even though it uses the same technology.
“Part of the challenge we overcame was detecting the threat inside of a shoe. You have multiple layers, tread patterns, all of those distort the images so we were able to optimize our systems to overcome that," Mark Jones, Chief Engineer at PNNL explained.
This new technology could speed up the screening process by about 20%.
"We’ve been proud of the work we’ve accomplished and the partnership we've had with the Department of Homeland Security. They're great partners, we enjoy doing this work and the impact it could have on security of the United States."
PNNL recently partnered with a commercial company and is working to get this technology to the marketplace.
Any decisions to use this system in airports will be made by the TSA.
Right now, TSA is testing out the system with a wide variety of shoes and scenarios in their laboratory.