TSA Unveils Advanced Imaging Technology at Huntsville International Airport

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The next time you pass through the security screening at Huntsville International Airport, things will be different. New technology has arrived at the airport that is designed to keep travelers safe.

The Transportation Security Administration unveiled advanced imaging technology at Huntsville International Airport Tuesday morning.

“It gives us the ability to detect not only metallic and non-metallic items that may be concealed underneath someone`s clothing,” explains TSA Spokesman Jon Allen.

The machines include privacy-enhancing software known as automated target recognition. Allen says the new software helps them do their job better.

“The benefit it provides is the ability to detect non-metallic items in addition to metallic items that could pose a threat to the safety of an aircraft and its passengers,” says Allen.

Here's how the machines work. If you pass through and everything is fine, an “OK” appears on a green screen. If there is a problem detected, a yellow box will appear highlighting any areas that require additional screening.

The machines don’t display an image of an actual person, just a generic outline. Passengers can see the same outline the TSA officer sees. WHNT News 19 spoke to several travelers from Huntsville, who didn’t seem to mind the new technology.

“I’m fine with it,” says Huntsville resident Jeff Ratley. “Anything that increases security is good by me.”

“I think you have to consider the overall safety and be willing to do anything that makes your chances of having a good and safe flight happen,” says Huntsville resident Claudia Nealon.

For folks who may not like this new device, they don't have to use it.

“The technology is optional,” says Allen. “So, for some reason, if a passenger is not comfortable with the technology they can opt out of it. They`ll receive a thorough pat down as an alternative.”

There are approximately 650 advanced imaging technology units at about 165 airports nationwide. Each machine costs $150,000. The federal government pays for the machines and the installation.