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TeraSCREEN - Multi-frequency multi-mode Terahertz screening for border checks

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Over the next three and a half years, a consortium of twelve research institutes, component and equipment developers and manufacturers, and security and ethical specialists from six countries across Europe will develop security screening technology that will significantly improve the security, privacy, efficiency and experience at security checkpoints. The 4.8M€ project, called TeraSCREEN and led by the Spanish SME Alfa Imaging, is part of the EU Seventh Framework Programme Security Theme.

Security checks at borders and critical sites are required to be increasingly thorough and fast without sacrificing comfort. There are currently two types of technologies available for this application: those that automatically detect objects concealed on a person, and those that rely on human operator analysis and interpretation in order to classify or identify body-borne threats.  The objective of TeraSCREEN is to combine these two capabilities, thus providing automatic detection and classification of body-borne threats for security screening. This will significantly improve both efficiency and security at border checks.

TeraSCREEN aims to develop passive and active operation at several millimetre-wave and Terahertz frequencies. The resulting multi-frequency multi-mode images will be processed automatically in real-time to reveal the location of potentially harmful objects concealed on a person. Privacy Enhancing Technologies will be used: the information will be displayed to the operator on a generic computerised silhouette and no anatomical details will be shown or saved. Terahertz radiation is non-ionizing, and reliable studies have shown that active operation in this frequency band is harmless to humans. The automatic recognition of threats, in addition to removing privacy issues, reduces the level of attention required from the operator, which implies a reduction in the personnel necessary for continuous operation.

The TeraSCREEN Prototype System will be demonstrated at a live checkpoint. The feedback from the End-User and Advisory Board members will facilitate, outside the project, the conversion of the prototype into an innovative security screening product that will significantly improve the security, privacy and efficiency at, and experience of, security checkpoints.

The TeraSCREEN participants are leaders in millimetre-wave and Terahertz technology, aviation security and ethical issues. In addition to Alfa Imaging, the consortium includes Universidad Pública de Navarra, Anteral, STFC - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Teratech Components, Acreo Swedish ICT, Ommic, Universitá degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Fraunhofer FHR and FKIE, ICTS UK and Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. The Advisory Board Members are Guardia Civil, EADS Cassidian, ADPI Designers and Planners and EUROPHAR. The project, which started on May 1st 2013, is part-funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013); the project website is www.fp7-terascreen.eu.

 

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Naomi Alexander terascreen@alfaimaging.com

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