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New bag scanning system to automatically detect weapons

28.03.2006


Airport security experts at Manchester Metropolitan University are developing new bag scanning technology that could automatically detect weapons. Dr Peter Twigg, a senior lecturer in the Department of Engineering and Technology, is carrying out tests at Manchester Airport to find out how guns, pistols and hand grenades can be identified using an automated control system. The system aims to pick up weapons by matching their outline against objects in a pre-stored database.

Existing scanning systems rely on operators to spot weapons and suspect packages.

“Although explosives can be detected automatically, there is currently no such system in place to automatically identify weapons,” Dr Twigg said. “Bag scanning staff typically work 20-minute shifts before taking a break and, although they are well trained, there is always room for human error. Potentially our system is much more accurate and could boost public confidence in airport security.”



The prototype database currently holds six images of three different weapons, taken from different angles, and a neural network allows the system to match new images against those stored on file. The researchers are now using bag scanning facilities at Manchester Airport to test the reliability of their technology. “We are looking to expand the database and even include components of different weapons and ammunition,” Dr Twigg said. “We see it working alongside scanning operators who will need to implement security procedures if a weapon was identified and the alarm sounds.” The researchers are seeking funding to develop the technology.

Phil Smith | alfa
Further information:
http://www.communicationsmanagement.co.uk

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