TSA expands pilot testing of AS&E detection system

American Science and Engineering announced Monday that the Transportation Security Administration has expanded testing of its SmartCheck Z Backscatter personnel screening system and that the next pilot test will take place at JFK International Airport in New York.

SmartCheck is an X-ray detection system that screens airline passengers for weapons and other threats, but also maintains their privacy. The system creates a chalk outline of a person, without revealing facial features and the ones installed at JFK, LAX in Los Angeles, and Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix cannot "store, export, print, or transmit images," according to a statement issued by AS&E.

Since TSA began testing SmartCheck on a voluntary basis in February 2007, 90 percent of passengers have chosen to be scanned by the system rather than be patted down by a security officer, the company said.