Carbon fibre nanotube X-ray manufacturer Micro-X has scored a coup with the announcement it has been funded by the US Department of Homeland Security to manufacture full size, integrated, self-screening airport passenger checkpoints.
The company’s minaturised CT scanner technology, which has been in development under two DHS contracts worth $8 million, makes possible the concept of a self service airport security checkpoint similar to a supermarket check out.
The Adelaide company as Prime Contractor for an international consortium is close to completing the manufacture of two prototype minaturised CT baggage scanners, and finalising the design for an overall security self-screening checkpoint system.
Now the company has been funded by the DHS up to $21 million over 40 months to fabricate a single airport self screening system, then three stations, and then a full six-station system (pictured).
This will be tested at a Transportation Security Administration laboratory and then ‘in live US airport environments with travelling passengers’.
According to Micro-X’s statement: “The objective of the project is to have a fully integrated passenger self-screening security system that is ready to transform the passenger security experience across the United States’ 440 airports.”
In early trading today Micro-X’s shares were up 38 percent to 14.5 cents.
The Chief Executive Officer of Americas and Chief Scientist of Micro-X Inc Brian Gonzales said: “This contract extension fully funds us to build and test the design of a self-screening checkpoint in real airports, demonstrating the improvements and refining the design with real passenger and operator input.”
Gonzales said US airport security was a unique market where the government was both regulator and customer.
Gonzales said: “The partnership we have formed with DHS and TSA enables us to combine input from both the end-customer and the safety regulator to deliver a design that completely re-imagines security screening but is also grounded in the reality of airport operations and regulations.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with DHS and TSA as we build and then demonstrate this design in real airports.”
Micro-X’s unique X-ray generation system, the only cold cathode system available globally, has allowed the development of numerous innovative products – however none has yet sold in large volumes.
Micro-X is developing its minaturised CT scanner for use at point of care in ambulances for stroke detection, under an $8 million contract with the Australian Stroke Alliance.
It sells its ruggedised Rover portable X-ray machine for defence use and has launched a lightweight, rugged X-ray imager to detect improvised explosives devices (IEDs).
Image: Department of Homeland Security/six-station security self-screening checkpoint