Ever since 9/11 happened, those who travel by air often, especially to and within the US, have run into a heightened level of security at airports which involves taking off jackets, opening and powering up your notebook, removing of shoes and belts, and not being able to carry liquids beyond a certain level among others. Hitachi has come up with a prototype of a bomb-detecting airport gate, and it was constructed in a collaboration with The Nippon Signal Co. and the University of Yamanashi. Just how does this prototype airport gate work? According to the Asahi Shimbun, it relies on “mass spectrometry technology that can detect the presence or absence of explosive compounds within one to two seconds.”

Each time a passenger swipes their boarding pass, a tiny gust of air will be blown towards the hand, followed by sucking the air back in by the machine. The machine will get to work right away to test that air for the presence of explosive particles, which is a whole lot more efficient than having a human officer perform random hand swiping tests that currently happens. Hitachi claims that this invention “provides increased security without affecting convenience,” since it will not disrupt the flow of passengers.

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