The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Amtrak are currently testing new technology that detects suicide vests and other improvised explosive devices (IED) concealed beneath travelers’ clothing at New York’s Pennsylvania Station.
The standoff explosive detection unit sounds an alarm when a person wearing an IED passes by a passive screening mechanism. By identifying objects that block the body’s naturally-occurring emissions, the device can detect both metallic and nonmetallic threats.
“No radiation of any kind is emitted by the unit, and no anatomical details of a person are displayed,” TSA stated. “The operator of the equipment sees either a green image of a person, known as a ‘green ghost,’ alongside of the actual image of the individual or a color-indicator bar overlay, depending on which model of the technology is being used.”
The equipment is mobile and can be easily positioned throughout transportation terminals. It’s operated by a laptop computer and images that appear on the screen can be indicated the size and location of obstructions on the green image of the individual.
In addition to Amtrak, TSA has partnered with New Jersey Transit, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority to test the technology.