The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is appealing to scientists from all disciplines to submit "fringe" ideas that might deter terrorists from attacking aircraft.

"We need to look at the problem with different eyes," says Dr Susan Hallowell, TSA laboratory director. She told last month's Avsec conference in Athens that many scientific breakthroughs, such as those of Galileo or Joseph Lister, were regarded as "off the wall" by contemporaries.

General Electric and Smiths' Detection division have walk-through portals to screen passengers for explosives on trial at a number of airports. Other exhibitors at Avsec were showcasing products aimed at detecting terrorist suspects using iris scanning, face recognition software or fingerprint detection.

The solution will probably combine many of these technologies, says Hallowell - a "tunnel of truth" that would make security screening at airports "seamless".

Israeli company Mistral is launching a second generation of its bomb-proof cargo container which it claims can withstand a blast from a "Lockerbie-size" device without damaging the aircraft's hull. The Aerosafe weighs 136kg (300lb), 32kg more than a standard container.



Source: Flight International