Glasgow Airport might not be one of the largest hubs in the world, and it’s arguable whether its renown extends beyond Britain’s shores, but the Abbotsinch hub has become the first airport in the world to install a new security breakthrough, colloquially known as an electronic ‘sniffer dog.’
The device, mounted in a tall arch, uses lasers to detect IEDs (improvised explosive devices – essentially homemade bombs) that are hidden about a person’s body or stashed in their clothing. The machine works by ‘sniffing’ air particles, and was previously used by inventor, Cascade Technologies, to analyse industrial gases.
Cascade worked closely with French security firm, Morpho, to produce the new scanner, which is immune to external factors, such as magnetism or radio waves, which could produce a ‘false reading.’
The system can also be configured to scan for narcotics, toxic industrial chemicals, and various other agents. However, it cannot yet be used to scour luggage for contraband, which means that the two printers sent from Yemen to Chicago as part of the recent ‘ink-bomb plot,’ would still have made it through security.
Jean-Paul Jainsky, boss at Morpho, said, “We are very pleased with our partnership (with Cascade), and to have reached a trial stage with a major airport operator such as the British Airports Authority.” Cascade boss, Iain Howieson, was “excited” about testing the product “in the field.”
The Daily Mail newspaper claims that a large majority of passengers have agreed to walk through the archway over the past month, emphasising the machine’s popularity with Scottish travellers. The scanner is likely to garner more support than the full-body (or ‘naked’) scanner, as the new device does not take any compromising photographs.
Morpho and Cascade are speculating as to whether two different kinds of scanner can be ‘fused together,’ creating machines that can detect weapons and bombs (for example), and helping to reduce queues at security checkpoints.