Local airport unveils new TSA security device

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- TSA's job is to keep the traveling public safe, and the use of advanced imaging technology is another important layer to mitigate known and evolving threats.

Charity Zich, Airport Director of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport says, "This technology safely screens passengers for both metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, without physical contact. Currently, there are about 820 units at 215 airports nationwide."

Imaging technology not only enhances security, it reduces the need for pat-down searches. In addition, the scan only takes a few seconds.

TSA deployed the first generation AITs in early 2010. These next-generation units, knows as AIT-2, have a smaller footprint. This unit, as well as all AITs, is equipped with automated target recognition software, which is designed to enhance privacy by using the same "cookie-cutter" outline for all passengers, regardless of gender.

The machine uses Millimeter Wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves to detect potential threats, which are highlighted on this generic outline of a person on a monitor attached to the unit. It is safe, and the energy emitted is 1,000 times less than international limits and guidelines. AIT is especially helpful for passengers with joint replacements, since these often alarm the walk-through metal detectors.

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