With one suitcase, one backpack, one small plastic bag for liquids, a laptop and a mobile phone; passing through security control at the airport has become quite stressful and complicated. In an effort to make things simpler Schiphol airport in Amsterdam has introduced two new 3D scanning systems that allow customers to keep liquids and electronics inside their bags when passing through control.

The 3D scanners are currently undergoing a trial in Schiphol Airport’s Departure Hall 3, and senior manager of security, Daan van Vroonhoven, said “This scanner really needs to prove itself now. If all goes well, we want to roll out the system on a large scale next year at the airport”. A similar test was recently tried at Singapore’s Changi airport, and used computed tomography (CT) scans to collect data on the process. Another trial is being conducted at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport in France, but reportedly neither system is as far along in the process as the one in Schiphol.

3D scanning for security takes longer than the traditional method of x-ray scanning. However, it means that security personnel are able to examine a bag in 360 degrees, which is more accurate. Not only does this mean less hassle when entering security, having to put all electrical items and liquids in separate boxes, it also means passengers are less likely to be stopped for invasive bag checks.

This latest test follows an initial trial on transfer passengers in 2015, and with the added support of the National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism and KLM airlines, it seems promising that the technology will become the standard for airports worldwide.

3D scanning has been an integral part of airport security since the early 2000s. One of the leaders in 3D scanning, Artec 3D, famed for their EVA hand scanner, and being able create a 3D scan of full person in just 12 seconds, were a pioneer of 3D facial-recognition technology which has now been implemented in new passports and accompanying security systems.

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