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Transportation Technology

Laser Scanner May Allow Passengers To Take Bottled Drinks On Planes Again 343

Posted by timothy
from the why-haven't-they-banned-belts-and-shoelaces? dept.
cylonlover writes "Besides having to remove our shoes, the volume limitations regarding liquids and gels in carry-on baggage has become a major hassle in the world of post 9-11 airport security. Hopefully, however, we may soon be able to once again bring our big bottles of water and tubes of toothpaste aboard airliners in our overnight bags. Britain's Cobalt Light Systems has developed a scanner called the INSIGHT100, that uses laser light to assess the liquid contents of containers, even if those containers are opaque."
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Laser Scanner May Allow Passengers To Take Bottled Drinks On Planes Again

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  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @09:53AM (#39031765)

    and why would we allow that, when a thirsty passenger...
    1. Has to buy a bottle of drink after clearing the security checkpoint.
    2. Has to buy another one on arrival at the connecting airport.
    3. Has to buy yet another one on arrival at the destination airport.

    And that's just the drinks - don't forget about all the awesome 3floz bottle variants of ointments, creams, moisturizers, sanitizers, etc. etc. that now litter some (airport) stores.

    Allowing people to take their own packaged fluids onto planes again will just cut into this very profitable market.

  • Re:Not practical (Score:4, Interesting)

    by leonardluen (211265) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:02AM (#39031873)

    since when has the TSA cared about efficiency or practicality? or if it even works?

    need i post a link to the video with adam savage claiming to have gone through the body scanner with a 12 inch razer blade?

  • by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:08AM (#39031963)
    I notice not many people here are saying we should do away with intrusive pat-downs and feel ups altogether. At least here in the US, we used to have something called the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search & seizure.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:22AM (#39032125) Homepage

    When you're a regular traveler, you adapt to jump through all the hoops. I have the laptop and liquid bag ready and everything like toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens liquid etc. are less than 100ml, I wear shoes that won't beep, belt that won't beep, put all my stuff in the jacket pockets, don't carry large amounts of loose change, drink up my soda before the security check and so on. You don't forget to take off your watch or any other of the million annoyances. I swear they have a "beep anyway" button though, just to annoy you.

    Then you've got everybody else that only travel a few times a year. Oh, I need to take out the laptop I put at the bottom of my bag? Oh, I have to throw away the soda? Oh, I have to spend two minutes getting all the change out of my pockets? Oh, I have to untie my shoes and send through? Oh, you mean I can't bring my regular size tooth paste? They get frustrated and I get frustrated waiting for them, I wish there was a frequent traveller's lane (not the insanely expensive business express lane) where if you got say >10 stamps a year don't have to stand in line with the rest.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @10:38AM (#39032361) Homepage

    If you're arrive on an international flight and is connecting on a domestic flight here in Norway, you must pick up your luggage, carry it through the customs area and check in again. They've considered a simpler way but the problem is once the passenger has his luggage he can take out items he's not allowed to carry on him so he's no longer cleared. Doing customs clearance without the passenger is hopeless, how can he for example go through the red zone? And customs check at final destination has the problem that he can just swap luggage with an accomplice on the domestic flight, including the luggage tags.

  • by pz (113803) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:05AM (#39032721) Journal

    I swear they have a "beep anyway" button though, just to annoy you.

    I've seen a presentation by a perceptual scientist who was doing a study for the TSA on false alarm rates (both false positive where they detect something that shouldn't have been detected, and false negatives where they miss something that should have been seen). It turns out that boredom in agents watching the scanner monitors is a serious problem and that if there aren't enough items to detect, the agents become complacent and the false negative rate goes up. False negatives result in serious security breaches, like guns getting on planes. Say what you like about the TSA, false negatives are a problem. So, according to this presentation, x-ray scanners have a mechanism to insert fictitious objects into the images to keep the agents sharp. That's why you get asked to go through your hand luggage every now and then even though there's absolutely nothing that could be considered suspicious: the false positive rate is raised so that the false negative rate can be reduced to near zero.

    And, to bring this back to the quote above, this is, essentially, a "beep anyway" button, only it isn't under direct TSA staff control.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:25PM (#39033761) Journal

    But powder isn't prohibited. I'm not sure if aluminum would set off any of the alarms, but a pound baggie of aluminum and a pound baggie of potassium perchlorate (or, hell, chlorate - you're gonna die anyway, why be careful) would make a mess of part of a plane, likely more than enough to take it down since such a large quantity of flash powder has a reasonable chance of flame propagation that would reach detonation speed. A common lighter, or even flint and steel, or a small filament of nichrome and a 9v battery is more than enough to set it off.

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