Imagine a world where walking through airport security consists of basically just that: walking. New technology unveiled today at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) could cut the time it takes to clear security checks at airports from the current 35-minute average down to seconds and dramatically improve security.
Kind of like the failed "puffer" bomb sniffer, the "Checkpoint of the Future" looks like an illuminated car wash with three portals. An iris scan matches you to a chip in your passport or identification card and also assigns a security-risk level that determines which of the three portals you'll enter--"known traveller," normal security, or enhanced security. Depending on your security level, a series of x-rays would then analyze your body and your luggage contents while you walk through a long tunnel. Travelers in the high-risk tunnel would be subject to a more aggressive, full-body scan that checks for for explosives and liquids.
It's a bit Orwellian, but airport security officials nevertheless seem excited. U.S. Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole attended the unveiling and announced plans to implement the new fast-track system within the next five years. "It's something that's long overdue," Pistole said at the conference. "We're not at the checkpoint of the future yet but we're working toward that. I think eventually we will see something similar." The TSA could use an upgrade as everybody clearly hates the invasive body scanners introduced last year. They hate them passionately.