“We’ve demonstrated pretty conclusively actually that you can do internal body scans with QR,” says Hill. “Our portal did that reasonably well, and our wand actually has been calibrated for a multiple-inch deep scan, which is pretty good.”
Currently, Morpho is working closely with DHS Science & Technology Directorate as well as TSA to get its shoe scanners and wands to U.S. checkpoints in the near future.
Microsemi. Another company seeking TSA approval for its innovative technology is Microsemi, which uses passive millimeter wave technology. Unlike current checkpoint AITs, which emit radio frequencies or ionizing radiation, passive millimeter wave technology uses sensors to measure the naturally occurring energy radiating off a passenger. Anomalies, whether metal or organic, are detected by sensors that measure the differences between natural millimeter wave energy generated by people and the objects they carry on them.
Much like Morpho, Microsemi sees its technologies filling holes currently not addressed by TSA-approved passenger screening technology, according to Mitchel Laskey, vice president of security solutions for Microsemi. And also like Morpho, the company sees its hand-held scanning technology, AllClear, as perfect for conducting secondary screening, for screening in areas that cannot accommodate larger AITs, and for situations where scanning needs to be mobile.
AllClear, says Laskey, would give security agencies the ability to set up ad hoc checkpoints when necessary. But its biggest selling point is that screeners would no longer have to pat down passengers during secondary screening, precisely what Sen. Paul and others have most objected to in the screening process.
The company is also actively courting the European aviation security marketplace. It already has a presence in the United Kingdom. Laskey says that the U.K. Border Agency has been a passive millimeter wave customer going on four years now. The reasons are simple. “We don’t emit radio frequency or x-rays,” he says. “We’re safe, and we pose no health concerns. And because of the way our technology operates, we cannot violate privacy, so we protect civil liberties better than any of the competitive technologies.”
Laskey would not hazard a precise forecast of when fliers could see Microsemi products deployed at airports. But he expressed optimism about the timetable.
“We’re feeling pretty good that it’s probably closer than further [away],” he says.