Monday, October 18, 2010

MagViz: Dual use technology? Time will tell…

You may have heard about the MagViz recently. If not, you're probably asking “MagWhat???” Is it the latest infomercial gadget that slices and dices? Will it hook to your trailer hitch? Does it not only weigh the fish, but scale it too? Not quite, but it's just as neato as any infomercial gadget you’ve ever seen.

MagViz was originally being developed for medical screening purposes and during testing, it was later determined that it can detect and differentiate liquid explosives from a sports drink. (See Video)

So the big question is “When will this be available at airports?” Well, as for all technology used by the government, it will take time. It has to be tested and then a schedule has to be created for procurement and deployment to airports. None of this has been done yet, but rest assured, TSA is working with DHS’s S&T as well as the industry to develop technologies that meet our strict detection standards.

In the meantime, the 3-1-1 rules for liquids, gels and aerosols remain in effect. All liquids, except those that are medically exempted must be in 3oz or less containers, in a one quart zip-top bag, one bag per traveler. Speaking of medically exempt liquids and technology, we’re currently using Bottled Liquids Scanners (BLS) to screen sealed containers for a wide range of explosive liquids. The technology is used primarily to test medically exempt liquids brought through checkpoints in quantities larger than three ounces.

You can learn more about the MagViz by reading this post from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate "Snapshots" newsletter.

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TSA Blog Team