Advanced imaging technology safely screens passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact to help TSA keep the traveling public safe.
TSA uses two types of imaging technology, millimeter wave and backscatter.
|Millimeter Wave Unit||Backscatter Unit|
|Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the body to create the same generic image for all passengers.||Backscatter technology projects low level X-ray beams over the body to create a reflection of the body displayed on the monitor.|
Preparing for AIT Screening
Before going through this technology, remove ALL items from pockets and certain accessories, including wallet, belt, bulky jewelry, money, keys, and cell phone. Removing all of these items will reduce the chances of needing additional screening after exiting the machine.
After everything is removed from pockets, passengers will be directed to walk into the imaging portal. Once inside, passengers will be asked to stand in a position and remain still for a few seconds while the technology creates an image of the passenger in real time.
For backscatter technology a remotely located officer views the image. The officer who looks at your image cannot see you, so any irregularity that appears on the screen will require inspection to determine what it is. After review and resolution of any anomalies, the image is immediately deleted.
All millimeter wave technology units are equipped with Automated Target Recognition software that detects any metallic and non-metallic threats concealed under a passenger’s clothing by displaying a generic outline of a person on a monitor attached to the AIT unit highlighting any areas that may require additional screening. The generic outline of a person will be identical for all passengers. If no anomalies are detected, an “OK” appears on the screen with no outline.
The passenger then exits the opposite side of the portal and collects their belongings. The entire process takes less than one minute. To avoid the chance of leaving any personal items behind, passengers are encouraged to place them in their carry-on bag prior to entering the checkpoint.
What TSA Sees
TSA recently installed new software on all millimeter wave imaging technology machines that eliminates passenger-specific images. Instead, the software automatically detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person that will appear on a monitor attached to the unit.
Any potential threat items that are detected are indicated on a generic outline of a person.
If no potential threat items are detected, an "OK" appears on the monitor with no outline.
Backscatter technology produces an image that resembles a chalk etching.