TSA security lines might be a little less annoying in the future, the agency will soon test new airport scanners that allow you to keep your liquids and laptop in your carry-on bag during security screening, a benefit currently only available to those who have been accepted into the agency’s PreCheck program.
The ConneCT scanners have met the TSA’s “advanced technology detection standards,” according to the company that makes them, Analogic, meaning that they can be tested out at airports across the U.S.
Computed tomography scanning technology is regularly used in hospitals and research labs for everything from diagnosing cancer to studying mummies. The imaging technique uses x-rays that rotate around whatever object is being imaged to create 3D images that provide more detail than those created by the regular x-ray scanners currently used to inspect carry-on luggage.
The ConneCT scanners have been in the works for 10 years. The devices have x-ray cameras that spin around the conveyor belt that holds your bag, creating a 3D image of it. Then algorithms help flag whether there’s something suspicious inside so that it can be pulled aside for further screening by hand. They’ve already been tested in airports in Phoenix and Boston, but haven’t been used on a national level yet.
But don’t expect to see the high-tech scanners at your local airport anytime soon. According to the TSA, they have to undergo yet more testing before any of the machines can be deployed, and there’s no timetable for that yet.
Until then, as you’re packing your liquids, just remember you can always just freeze them.