Taking off your shoes to go through airport security may soon be a thing of the past.
Atlanta’s Liberty Defense, with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and technology from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is commercializing two new checkpoint screening technologies, the Shoe Scanner and the High Definition – Advanced Imaging Technology (HD-AIT) system.
The new checkpoint screening technology brings CEO Bill Frain back to his aviation security roots. He worked for L-3 for about 25 years and helped develop the body scanner common at airports today. “It’s been a passion of mine to get back into working with TSA. And we had an opportunity to license exclusively the technology from Pacific Northwest National Labs,” Frain told Hypepotamus.
As both technologies move from functional prototypes to commercial products, Frain says it brings an extra layer of security along with added convenience for passengers as air travel picks up again in 2021.
“This will increase the throughput capability, probably by 15 to 20%,” added Frain. “It’s just one less hassle that you have to have. And it actually can be used in different configurations — it can be put into the body scanner itself or [situated] at the ID check.”
The shoe scanner allows passengers to stand with their shoes on a “low-profile, imaging platform” for two seconds with “low-power electromagnetic energy” to “determine whether a threat is present,” according to a statement released by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Frain said the team is looking to deploy the technology in airports over the next 18 months.
Security in a post-pandemic world
The Liberty Defense’s office in Peachtree Corners is up to 12 people, and they have offices in Boston and Vancouver. Its flagship product, HEXWAVE, uses 3D imaging technology and millimeter-wave radiofrequency technology to help detect threats in commercial spaces.
The pandemic, Frain told Hypepotamus, has helped somewhat normalize security and safety screening measures.
“As people start going back to stadiums or places of worship or start going back to work, I think people are expecting that there’s going to be some level of screening that takes place, whether that’s for your temperature reading, or to see if you have, you know, COVID symptoms. At the same time, they’re looking to add security applications as well.”
Frain added the last year and a half has helped the company continue to build up work with universities like MIT and labs like PNNL across the security and threat detection space.