Airport Poof Poof Machines

I don’t think MSP has one of these yet. The official name for it is the Smiths Detection Ionscan Sentinal II, but I prefer calling it the “Poof Poof Machine.”

The Poof Poof Machine

In addition to the typical metal detector, travelers step into this contraption then stand still for a few seconds while jets of air go “poof poof” on you from every angle. Apparently, this is designed to dislodge trace levels of narcotics and explosives which are then sucked up by a fan and measured. Heathrow has had them since 2003, but they’re still relatively new on the scene in the US of A. They cost around $150,000 each, and, assuming they’re necessary, you’d need at least one at every airport screening gate.

I tried to find a case study where this machine has actually detected and stopped someone from boarding a plane somewhere in the world and couldn’t find one. As far as I can tell, no one has ever been arrested based on this machine detecting explosives. Or Smiths Detection is being very quiet about success stories, which doesn’t seem likely at all.

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