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Maths may hold key to speedy security checks at airports
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Maths may hold key to speedy security checks at airports
Washington, Oct. 13 (UNI): Mathematicians from the University of Manchester and airport security specialists ’Rapiscan Systems’ are working together to develop a new 3D scanner that will make security checkups at airports more effective.
The 750,000 pounds research project aims at maximising the efficiency of an innovative new 3D scanner, which was developed by Rapiscan Systems’ research subsidiary CXR Ltd. for providing fast and accurate 3D x-ray images of suitcases and baggage.
It is being funded jointly by ’Rapiscan Systems’ and the British government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Scanning machines that are currently being used at airports give security staff a flat one-dimensional view of the contents of a bag, whereas the CXR machine has the ability to provide a more comprehensive and probing 3D image.
However, these hospital-style CT scanners are too slow to be widely used in airports.
So, mathematicians are being involved to apply complex maths and ensure that data gathered by the CXR scanner is translated quickly and accurately into dynamic 3D images.
‘‘CXR is at the cutting edge technologically in a fast-moving field. I am always excited about working on projects like this, where I can tackle a theoretical challenge and see the results being practically employed,’’ said Professor Bill Lionheart of the university’s school of Mathematics.
Rapiscan Systems’ UK Managing Director Frank Baldwin said that the project represents a perfect partnership of academic expertise and advanced industrial engineering.
‘‘Airport security has never been a more critical issue, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Professor Lionheart and his team towards developing this ground-breaking innovation,’’ he said.
CXR Director Ed Morton says that translating data from multiple sources to provide a 3D image on a monitor screen is an interesting mathematical challenge for them.
‘‘We have developed specialised computer hardware and software to process the information, but we need to achieve the fastest, most accurate results possible. We called in experts from the University of Manchester’s School of Mathematics to help us develop the novel maths and computer algorithms required,’’ he said.

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