- Title: ISRAEL: Step-on scanner in Israel's airport lets air passengers keep shoes on
- Date: 13th October 2008
- Summary: PASSENGERS PICKING LUGGAGE AFTER IT WENT THROUGH METAL DETECTOR
- Embargoed: 28th October 2008 09:20
- Location: Israel
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA5LJWRBB9SO08PLUQD03LLK8W5
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: "MagShoe" is a new machine that eliminates the need for passengers to take their shoes off at security checks.
Israel has introduced a step-on scanner that spares airline travellers the nuisance of having to remove their shoes so they can be X-rayed for hidden weapons, though the new device cannot yet sniff out explosives.
Installed next to the walk-through scanners at Ben-Gurion Airport, "MagShoe" announces within two seconds whether the footwear of the passenger standing on it contains unusual metal that might be a knife for a hijacking or a bomb detonator part.
"Well we have hundreds of people going through this machine and it enables us to take off less shoes than we used to do before, it helps us very much. That gives us very good service with security to the passengers in order to let them go as fast as possible to the plane," said Nissim Ben-Ezra, security technologies manager for Israel's Airports Authority.
Ben-Ezra, speaking at Israel's international airport where thousands of people depart the holy land from each day, added that the MagShoe must be used in conjunction with other precautions, especially as it would not spot hidden explosives -- a major concern after the botched 2001 "shoe bombing"
by al Qaeda sympathiser Richard Reid aboard a Paris-Miami flight.
For now, shoes of passengers deemed suspicious by Ben-Gurion staff are removed, X-rayed and swabbed for bomb residues.
A bomb-sniffing version of the suitcase-sized MagShoe is in the works, an Israeli security source said. The current version, produced by Israeli firm Ido Security Ltd., costs about 5,000 U.S. dollars (USD).
Henry Shabat, Chief Operating Officer of Ido Security explained that standard walk-through metal detectors stop short of covering the passengers' whole body and can only detect suspicious objects placed about 24 centimetres or 9 inches above the ground.
"Our piece of equipment complements the walk-through metal detector in such a way that there is no loop hole left for anything to be hidden around the ankles and in the shoes," Shabat told Reuters at the company's offices in the Israeli city of Rishon Lezion.
Taking a pen-like dagger out of his shirt pocket as an example, Shabat said his device can supply a solution to various innocent-looking lethal equipment that can be hidden in one's sock.
"Because even if you take your shoes off and you're walking and you're walking in your socks you still have the capability to hide a piece of equipment within your socks between the leg and the socks and such pieces of equipment can be really dangerous," said Shabat.
"Very dangerous, very easily hidden. Unfortunately, nobody is taking care of these 24cm. between the shoe and the ankle and the sock,"
According to Shabat, the MagShoe device is now in use in some 18 countries around the world including Spain, Poland, Italy and China.
Shabat added that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is assessing MagShoe's feasibility for American airports. If approved for use in international airports around the world, MagShoe can spare millions of passengers some of the burden involved in airline travelling.
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