Transportation security throughout the world has tightened considerably over the past decade.
In a bid to curb terrorism and illegal entry into a given country, airports have implemented new scanner technology and even adopted new "digital strip search" rules that can force travelers to hand over their device passwords to airport security officials.
As this emphasis on safety increases, it should come as no surprise to hear that Los Angeles (LA) will be the first US city to add full-body scanners to its metro subways. However, these scanners won't look or function like you might expect.
Unlike the large, stationary scanners you might see at an airport, LA's upcoming "Thruvision" devices will be roughly the size of a table, and passengers won't have to walk between two scanner pillars.
Instead, the devices will sit near the stairs leading down into subway boarding areas, seemingly scanning anybody that walks in front of it.
LA transportation official Alex Wiggins says the scanners are specifically designed to look for weapons that can cause "a mass casualty event." Handguns and other less-lethal weapons don't seem to be a priority for the city.
This technology can reportedly process a whopping 2,000 passengers per hour, and it can detect "suspicious items" from up to 30ft away.
Though there are definitely a few privacy concerns to think about here – specifically, some may worry that the scanners are "profiling" them – these scanners are already less invasive than the ones you might see at airports.
Furthermore, the fact that they aren't necessarily looking for small pocket knives or other day-to-day objects should come as a comfort to many.
Regardless of how you feel about this tech, it will begin to roll out to subway systems throughout LA sometime in the coming months.
Image courtesy The New York Times