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TSA seeks technology to scan through coats, shoes

The DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate has released a request for proposals to develop advanced security checkpoint imaging that can see through shoes and multiple layers of clothing. DHS also hopes the technology can scan 250 people per hour.

The Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) systems would need to detect concealed explosives, assembled Improvised Explosive Devices, shrapnel, small handguns, and knives. Detection should occur through a minimum of two layers of clothing, which could be made of cotton, cotton-polyester, wool, silk, and leather, among other materials.

The AIT systems would initially enhance and not replace current technologies such as the walk through metal detector and X-ray baggage scanner, according to DHS. The systems would also have a small footprint and fit seamlessly into current operations. In addition, they would not require screeners to watch images, but would trigger an alarm upon detection. People would also not be required to significantly alter walking paths or change current procedures. “An ultimate goal is to significantly reduce divesting of personal items such as shoes and reach a ‘screen-while-walk’ operational capability.”

The technology would be mainly for the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Protective Services (FPS), a component of DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate. FPS provides security and law enforcement services at 9,000 federal facilities and checkpoints. Other DHS components, such as Customs and Border Protection, along with other government agencies and the commercial sector may also have an interest in the technology, however. DHS is also interested in portable versions of the technology that can be used to screen select individuals, for example.

Questions can be e-mailed to [email protected] by February 23rd. Proposals are due by March 11th.


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