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Cardiff company at cutting edge of airport security.

Byline: Chris Kelsey Assistant head of business chris.kelsey@walesonline.co.uk

A Cardiff company has been awarded PS400,000 by the Government to develop a new walk-through scanner that could cut the time it takes to pass through airport security.

Sequestim is one of eight teams to receive part of a total PS1.8m which the Government is giving to projects which it's hoped could improve our ability to detect security threats at airports.

As well as improving security, some of the products also have the potential to reduce the length of time passengers have to spend going through security checks.

The team from Sequestim has designed an alternative walkthrough screening system that converts the human body's natural radiation into an image.

The state-of-the-art technology could reduce the need for manual checks and mean passengers do not have to remove outer clothing.

Currently, screening machines at UK airports use artifically generated radiation and require people to stand still while being screened. The new device could speed up the screening process and reduce the risk of false alarms.

As passengers move past a highly sensitive camera, their bodies' natural radiation is measured and turned into an image. Computer learning can then detect any hidden object they may be carrying. The funding is part of the fiveyear Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme, a multimillion-pound initiative which seeks new solutions to strengthen aviation security.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: "It is great to see innovative companies like Sequestim coming up with exciting technology which has the potential to result in a safer and smoother travel experience for air passengers.

"The safety of people travelling on all modes of transport is our top priority and the Future Aviation Security Solutions programme is just one example of the huge importance we place on the security of passengers. We have a proud history of the early adoption and use of cutting-edge technology, and this programme is helping to ensure we continue to lead the way in airport security."

Sequestim is a joint venture between QMC Instruments and Cardiff University, and was set up in 2016 to commercialise next-generation imaging technology for security screening applications.

The FASS funding will support a range of pioneering projects to reduce security threats at airports. These include the use of electromagnetic imaging to detect items of concern in luggage, filtering gas samples taken from cargo containers to test for explosives and using machine learning techniques to identify threats.

A joint Department for Transport and Home Office programme, FASS is working closely with industry to fund research and encourage innovation.

Another recipient of the funding is Security Screening Technologies, a small Derbyshire-based team whose project uses passive millimetre-wave imaging to scan shoes. This step-on scanner rapidly forms high-contrast images of footwear which can be analysed by computers that have been "taught" to recognise threats. Any shoes which are flagged as having areas of concern could then undergo secondary screening.

The technology is cost-effective, energy-efficient and free from radiation or other emissions. It could ultimately mean that passengers would no longer need to remove their shoes before going through airport security.

Each project team has 12 months to develop their technology into a fully functioning prototype that can be trialled at airports.

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Sequestim's walk-through airport scanner reveals a concealed object
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 23, 2018
Words:551
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