3-D scanners aim to speed up security lines at TIA, airports across country

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A new kind of scanner could make the move through security lines quicker at Tampa International and airports across the country.

The 3-D technology that gives a more complete picture of what's in your bags. 

"There are cameras that spin around the bag, taking hundreds of pictures of it and creating an image, and putting that image against algorithms for potential threats," said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell. 

That means the machine, which is similar to what is used for checked baggage, will pinpoint hazards like guns and explosives.  

"When a bag contains a potential threat, what it's going to do is automatically divert it on to a back lane," explained Howell. "That's going to roll down a ramp to where a TSA officer is going to pick it up and check it on the back end. You can't access it until the officer does that check."

With that, no loose items are allowed to go through the screener. Everything must go into the new bins, which are embedded with an RFID chip. It allows a TSA officer checking a bag to pull up an image of one in question. 

The 3-D screeners also come with a new protocol to follow. Passengers will no longer have to take electronics out of their bags. 

"It has electronic removal," said Howell. "As your bag comes through, the operator can -- if it sees electronics inside the bag -- it has an option for you to remove the image of the electronic in there." 

Liquids, at least for now, will still have to remain outside your bags. 

The hope is with better detection, and fewer bag checks because of it, the 3-D technology will speed up security lines in the future. 

"It's much like a globe versus a map," said Howell. "The new 3-D technology gives the operator the ability to move it 360 degrees and cut slices into it. The machines we are currently using are 2-D. They do the job, but everything is on a flat image." 

Currently, there's just one 3-D screener at TIA, with plans to bring additional machines in the future. Each one costs about $1 million.