Micro-X is currently developing a miniaturized check-point baggage CT scanner.

Micro-X is using its revolutionary X-ray technology to transform airport security. With funding from the US Department of Homeland Security, Micro-X is developing a prototype for a new, miniature CT baggage scanner to detect hidden threats concealed within passenger carry-on luggage. The compact design is scalable, deployable and is being designed to integrate into a future re-imaged airport checkpoint.

A proof of concept was funded by the UK Department for Transport’s Future Airport Security Solutions Program. Micro-X is now funded through two contracts to deliver a baggage CT scanner and passenger checkpoint solution through the US Department of Homeland Security’s Screening at Speed Program.

Innovative Lightweight CT Scanner

Micro-X’s Electronic X-ray tube technology allows for an array of miniature X-ray tubes to be fitted into a small scanning unit providing a high resolution, dual energy, CT image which can be used to accurately detect explosives and prohibited items hidden in passenger’s baggage.

Fast switching of the X-ray tubes allows high-speed imaging and software developed by Micro-X will provide full three-dimensional CT reconstruction and backscatter imaging. The use of dual-energy automated threat detection software means automated decision making is possible enabling faster and more reliable X-ray baggage screening.

This miniaturization and automation of passenger baggage screening enables a complete re-imaging of the airport checkpoint.

Miniature Baggage Scanner man putting luggage inside

Airport Screening Reimagined

The Challenge

Passengers travelling on planes must pass through a sequential screening process with many different screening steps and critical decision points. Passengers are funnelled into a screening lane, and like a one-lane road, a single slow down at any point jams up the flow of passengers. Additionally, each screening component is separated, reducing the efficacy of overall passenger security screening.

The US Transportation Security Agency (TSA), an agency created as a response to the September 11th attacks, is responsible for the security of the travelling public in the United States, they screen 2 million passengers daily across 440 US airports using approximately 2,200 deployed X-ray conveyor belt systems. Current airport checkpoint security systems are very manpower intensive, result in a poor passenger experience and use traditional X-ray technology.

Innovation to-date has focused on improving throughput and detection of individual screening components. For example, conventional CT is being used to increase detection and throughput, but this only improves one screening process, the entire lane is still sequential, and screening still only moves as fast as the slowest screening process or slowest passenger.

Re-Imagined Checkpoint

Together with US Government Agencies, Micro-X is leading a global team of innovative technology companies to develop a new passenger self-screening airport checkpoint. This self-screening checkpoint turns the sequential one-lane road into a multilane highway.

The Micro-X concept relies on several key concepts to transform the airport checkpoint:

  • Passenger Self-Service – working with automated screening processes, passengers take control over their own security screening, similar to an automated passport control gate or automated checkout at the grocery store. This enables true automation of the checkpoint, increasing the security and decreasing the man-power resources.
  • Consolidation of Screening – the different screening components, passenger identification, on-passenger screening, and passenger baggage screening, are consolidated into a single integrated portal. This reduces the area of screening, allows for parallel rather than sequential screening, and will lead to significant improvements in the overall security.
  • Modular Portals – a single portal will be approximately 1/20 the total footprint of a conventional sequential lane. This enables many different deployments to the checkpoint to best utilize the area and parallelize the screening.
  • Passenger Focused – the portal workflow will be intuitive to the passenger and the experience positive. Like automated checkpoint at a grocery store, the concept works when passenger choose to use the portal and when the passenger uses the portal correctly.
Checkpoint portal with miniature baggage scanner

The Micro-X Difference

Technology: Miniaturized CT
Micro-X unique ability to miniaturize the CT baggage screener provides the technology capability to deliver the fully integrated passenger self-screening solution. Conventional technology would make the portal too large, losing the modularization.

People Focused
Micro-X’s award-winning designs demonstrate the strong focus on end-user experience that is key to successful implementation and deployment of the self-screening portal. The self-screening concept requires passengers to feel comfortable within the portal and to use the automation intuitively and correctly.

From its founding, Micro-X has a strong history of leading teams of globally dispersed technology companies to deliver innovation to end-users. Micro-X will continue and grow this experience to lead a global team of innovative technology partners to deliver a fully integrated self-screening portal.

Other Markets for Miniaturized CT

Micro-X is exploring additional applications of the miniaturized CT scanner. The scanner could also be used in public venues to screen for hidden objects such as knives and guns, the possibilities are endless.