Prototype explosives-detecting boarding gate keeps passengers moving


October 3, 2012

The prototype boarding gate that scans boarding passes for traces of explosive compounds

The prototype boarding gate that scans boarding passes for traces of explosive compounds

With pat downs, metal detectors, X-ray machines, and “puffer machines,” catching a plane can see you and your belongings scanned and probed more thoroughly than a trip to the doctor. Yet another explosives-detecting device may soon be added to the airport screening arsenal. However, because the explosives-detecting equipment is integrated into a boarding gate, the developers claim it won’t disrupt the flow of passengers boarding a plane.

Developed by Hitachi, in collaboration with Nippon Signal and the University of Yamanashi, the prototype boarding gate collects minute particles that have affixed themselves to integrated circuit (IC) cards or mobile devices used as boarding passes. Hitachi says high sensitivity mass spectrometry technology integrated into the gate can detect the presence of explosive compounds within one to two seconds, enabling it to inspect 1,200 passengers an hour.

This is much faster than puffer machines, (aka explosives trace-detection portal machines), that analyze puffed air samples to detect trace amounts of explosives and illegal drugs. According to a 2005 New York Times article, puffer machines are capable of screening up to 180 passengers an hour.

While the prototype boarding gate was developed with airport scanning in mind, Hitachi says the equipment can easily be adapted to other public spaces, such as train stations, stadiums and event halls.

The prototype boarding gate will be displayed at the Special Equipment Exhibition & Conference for Anti-Terrorism (SEECAT 12), which runs from October 17 to 19 in Tokyo, where it will be operating continuously as part of a pilot test. Additional pilot testing is planned for public transport facilities in the next financial year.

Source: Hitachi

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Sell us your freedom we will protect you from the terrorists. Aliens are laughing at us now "see klaus ve gotz dem to scan und probe themselves now, hahaha!" silly fearmongers. Next their will be a package deal of a free tv that can "protect" you from terrorists by scanning your house - its really scanning you. You think so what i have nothing to hide, some great writer once said "how would we know who is good and who is bad? The computer will tell us" but who tells the computers? Someone needs to warn sarah conner asap.


drugs and explosives and what sets it off as per false positives? and how many differing classes of explosives...what about the car guy with some solvents, stove oil? what about the guy fresh from the garden doing fertilizers? what about the non-nitrogenous super explosives? what about a million things like silk? yes, please...step up, don't be shy folks, this way this way ,,,please no bleating or lowing in line, be orderly now, move along little zombie move along...not too fast, not too don't you feel safer?

Walt Stawicki

Need this for bus terminals, subways, airports, cruise ports. select event venues.

Stephen Russell
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