Travelling by air is something of a hassle these days. Airports are filled with metal detectors, x-ray scanners, and TSA agents who won't hesitate to put you through a pat down if they think you've got something hiding under those clothes of yours. Hitachi is adding one more step to the airport security process with a new prototype gate that sniffs for bombs, but here's the kicker: it won't delay you longer than a second or two.
Instead, this gate was designed to make flying safer but keep the line moving along at a decent pace. Rather than subjecting flyers to searches, this gate simply blasts a puff of air on the passenger's hand and then quickly sucks it back in as they swipe their boarding pass. In doing so, the gate can detect any explosive particles that may be present on the person's hand, while the line to board keeps moving.
While metal detectors should (in theory) be able to pick out metal-based bombs with ease, it's much harder to detect a non-metal bomb hidden on a passenger's body. The Australian reports that this new gate should excel at picking up those non-metal-based bombs since it's looking for explosive particles that can linger on a person's hand and clothes for a long time after coming in contact with them. Hitachi's announcement says that one gate can check 1,200 people for the presence of explosive particles in an hour, which is a far cry from the long and drawn out security measures many of us are used to.
Really, that's where most of the complaints lie too. It isn't so much that people are complaining about the security measures put in place at airports (unless we're talking about invasive pat downs, another beast entirely), but rather they're complaining about the time it takes to complete them. It'll probably be a while before we see these gates popping up around the country though, as Hitachi says that it will need to do more testing before it decides if it wants to sell the gates commercially. Stay tuned.