The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed state-of-the-art security checkpoint screening technology at six airports in Minnesota.
The body scanners, also referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), have been placed at Bemidji Regional Airport, Brainerd Lake Regional Airport, Duluth International Airport, Range Regional Airport in Hibbing, St. Cloud Regional Airport, and Thief River Falls Airport, and an AIT will be installed at Falls International Airport in International Falls later this summer.
The body scanner will be used to screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic items including weapons, explosives and other objects that can be concealed in layers of clothing. These new body scanners are second-generation AITs with a smaller footprint than earlier versions of the same type of machine that are in use at other US airports.
Every AIT unit operated by TSA is equipped with automated target recognition software, which is designed to enhance passenger privacy by creating a generic, computer generated outline that is identical for all travelers. If the body scanner detects a concealed item on the traveler, a yellow box appears on the generic outline. This box identifies where the TSA officer needs to conduct any follow-up screening.
Because the body scanner is not a metal detector, many passengers including those with metal hips or knee replacements prefer to be screened by the AIT. The AIT does not use X-ray technology and it does not generate X-ray specific images of any traveler.
The AIT unit is equipped with millimeter wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves to perform a single scan of the passenger. The technology meets all known national and international health and safety standards; the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 1,000 times less than the international limits and guidelines.
David McMahon, TSA deputy federal security director for Minnesota, commented, “The addition of body scanners in the security checkpoints at these airports will upgrade the overall screening experience for passengers. TSA is pleased to add this enhanced screening capability ahead of the busy summer travel season.”