Penn Station Trying Out Explosive Vest-Testing Technology

Safety First The TSA is testing new technology at Penn Station to detect explosives. Authorities say that machines can screen passengers from a distance without slowing anyone down. The...

Safety First

The TSA is testing new technology at Penn Station to detect explosives. Authorities say that machines can screen passengers from a distance without slowing anyone down. The scanning devices are called standoff explosive detection units. The devices are scanning passengers as they enter Penn Station. The TSA is testing out two different versions of the device – one is a tube like camera mounted on a tripod and the other is mounted inside a trunk. The devices are able to scan people between 3 and 15 meters away as they walk by.  The scanners detect metallic and nonmetallic objects on a person’s body. If a potential threat is detected, it triggers an alarm on an operator’s laptop.

TSA is testing this technology in partnership with Amtrak at Penn Station, the city’s busiest train station. Penn Station is just a few blocks away from where, back in December, a suicide bomber attempted to blow himself up in the Port Authority station, using a crudely made pipe bomb attached to his body. A TSA spokesperson says that if this technology had been available back in December, it would have been able to identify the suicide bomber. This technology will help them detect any artfully concealed items under clothing that could possibly be an IED or a suicide vest. Information about the cost of this technology is not available at this time because it has not been completely tested yet.

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