Technology that could speed up and enhance security checks at airports is being demonstrated to industry experts at a showcase event in London.
Among the innovations is a pad that could detect explosives hidden in shoes while people are queuing at security.
The show is part of the government’s Future Aviation Security Solutions (Fass) scheme, which is investing millions of pounds in promising ideas.
However, the innovations are mostly still at prototype stage. The shoe scanner, developed by a company called Scanna, uses a grid of sensing electrodes to analyse shoes and what they contain.
When the machine detects something that should not be in a pair of shoes, it alerts staff so they can intervene.
As it only takes a few seconds to work, the company hopes it could be integrated with full body scanners so passengers no longer need to remove their shoes at the airport.
It could even be used on passengers as they wait in the queue at security. The company hopes to trial the technology before the end of 2019.
Deep Pockets: Another company, Sequestim, hopes to eliminate the hassle of removing coats and items such as phones and wallets from pockets.
It is working to combine artificial intelligence with a more sensitive version of the millimetre wave body scanners already used in airports.
It hopes to let passengers pass through its scanners wearing their coats with full pockets, and still identify concealed threats.
The company says its artificial intelligence will let passengers leave their belongings in their pockets, as the system will learn “what normal looks like” and will be able to flag suspicious items.
“It won’t eliminate the need for a pat down, but will speed up the process by reducing the number of trays going through the scanners,” said Rob Spurrett, managing director of Sequestim.