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TSA using new 3-D checkpoint scanner to improve explosives detection at Syracuse airport

By Eric Reinhardt (


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Syracuse Hancock International Airport is now using a scanner with 3-D imaging that can detect explosives. TSA officers are able to use the touch-screen monitor to rotate the X-ray image 360-degrees to view the contents of the carry-on bag using the new computed tomography (CT) checkpoint scanner. (Photo credit: Transportation Security Administration)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now using technology at Syracuse Hancock International Airport that seeks to improve detection of explosives.

The TSA has installed an advanced-technology computed-tomography checkpoint scanner (CT) that provides 3-D imaging.

“The new checkpoint technology provides critical explosives detection capabilities and improves the capability for our TSA officers to determine whether an item inside a carry-on bag is a possible threat,” Bart Johnson, TSA’s federal security director for Upstate New York, said in a news release.

The system applies “sophisticated” algorithms for the detection of explosives by creating a 3-D image that a TSA officer can be view and rotate on three axes for “thorough” visual image analysis. If a bag requires further screening, TSA officers will inspect it to ensure that a threat item is not contained inside.

The 3-D imagery allows TSA officers to manipulate the image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents and often clear items without having to open a carry-on bag.

“Not only does this state-of-the art technology represent an improved security threat detection capability at the checkpoint, but it also reduces the need for pulling aside a bag to be opened, thus reducing a touchpoint during the pandemic,” Johnson said.

As TSA describes it, this equipment is similar to what is used to scan checked baggage for explosive devices, and has been “sized” to fit at checkpoints to create such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids. It shoots hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to provide TSA officers with the three-dimensional views of the contents of a carry-on bag.

Checkpoint CT technology should result in fewer bag checks, the TSA said. Passengers using this machine at the Syracuse airport will be permitted to leave laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags.