Researchers embark on development of security screening technology with terahertz waves

By Saijino Posted : May 20, 2021, 16:33 Updated : May 20, 2021, 16:33

[Courtesy of ETRI]

SEOUL -- A state research institute in South Korea has embarked on the development of a next-generation security screening technology using terahertz electromagnetic waves that would enable scanning through clothes and skin without the worry of being dosed with radiation. Inspectors at airports can monitor security hazards such as weapons and explosives without emptying out pockets and bags of passengers.

Many airports across the world maintain strict security checks, with passengers forced to empty pockets before going through metal detectors, while bags are put through a scanner. Sometimes, passengers have to remove their shoes for a thorough inspection. Body scanners use X-rays that release low levels of radiation. Airport security checks have also aroused concerns about privacy because the outlines of bodies are displayed on monitoring screens in real-time.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said in a statement on May 20 that the institute joined hands with Daemyung TS, a domestic industrial belt manufacturer, to develop a tunnel-shaped security screening system using terahertz waves. A prototype would be demonstrated in 2014 at Incheon International Airport, South Korea's main gateway. A year later, the institute aims to secure government approval for domestic use.

The terahertz wave vibrates a trillion times per second. The institute said its scanning system would utilize artificial intelligence to analyze 3D images without any human intervention for privacy. ETRI will upgrade and transform its security scanner into a convenient walk-thru system in which a conveyor belt would carry standing people through scanner gates for automatic detection.
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