Put Your Hands in the Air ... and Say Hi to Backscatter


The next generation of advanced imaging technology has landed at the Boise Airport. Dubbed "Backscatter," the full-body X-Ray is designed to detect items which may be concealed under a passenger's clothes.

Citydesk got a demonstration and a rare peak inside the room where a TSA agent monitors the screening.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

Backscatter is completely optional for all passengers—of course, opting out means a full-body pat-down. Here's how it works. One officer will ask a passenger to remove all objects from his/her pockets before entering the portal. This officer never sees the passenger's image.


Another security officer in a walled-off location views the image generated by the technology. Once this second officer reviews the image and resolves any anomalies, the image is immediately deleted. The entire process takes about 20-30 seconds.


One backscatter is already being used at the Boise Airport, and two more are expected to go on-line as early as this weekend. Some 450 imaging technology units are expected to be installed in U.S. airports by the end of 2010.