Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TERASCREEN Report Summary

Project ID: 312496
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 2 - TERASCREEN (Multi-frequency multi-mode Terahertz screening for border checks)

Project Context and Objectives:
The challenge for any security screening system is to identify potentially harmful objects such as weapons and explosives concealed under clothing. Classical border and security checkpoints are no longer capable of fulfilling the demands of today’s ever growing security requirements, especially with respect to the high throughput generally required which entails a high detection rate of threat material and a low false alarm rate. Therefore TeraSCREEN proposes to develop an innovative concept of multi-frequency multi-mode Terahertz (THz) and millimetre-wave (mm-wave) detection with new automatic detection and classification functionalities, which increases throughput while respecting privacy.
The overall objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate at a live control point at Bristol International Airport a safe, privacy respecting, high throughput security screening system which automatically detects and classifies potential threat objects concealed on a person. This will advance the state of the art, providing an innovative security screening solution for border and security checks that is effective both at the security level and at the concept of operation level.

Project Results:
The specifications and the testing procedures for the TeraSCREEN (TS) prototype, its subsystems and its components have been developed and finalised, with valuable input from the project Advisory Board. Ethical and privacy concerns regarding screening systems in general and the TeraSCREEN scanner in particular have been evaluated and have been a basic input for the specifications. Additionally, the capability requirements of relevant European government agencies, the operational needs of airports and airport operators and the relevant regulations governing the detection capabilities of airport equipment have been studied.
The design and development of the components for both passive and active subsystems at 360GHz, which include the antennas, scanning systems, receiver front-ends and back ends, and also transmitter components for the active subsystem are making very good progress. Some of the components have reached completion whilst others have incurred some delays during the processing.
Work has started on the image processing and detection algorithms, for the already-available 94GHz video data. The user interface for the Prototype System has also been developed up to the point where optimisation and de-bugging are required once the System is running.
The project logo and website ( were finalised in the first months of the project. The project website has been kept updated throughout.
The dissemination and exploitation plan and the first dissemination report were finalised at the end of the first period. Multiple dissemination activities have taken place, with TeraSCREEN presentations being given at scientific conferences and industrial workshops. There have been 9 publications over the first and second period.

Potential Impact:
The main project result will be an innovative prototype security screening system. This system will operate at multiple mm-wave and THz frequencies and in both passive and active mode in order to automatically detect and classify objects concealed under clothing. It will screen subjects non-intrusively and in real-time. The concealed object detection and classification will be presented automatically to the operator on a generic computerised silhouette. The automatic threat detection feature also reduces the level of attention required from the operator, which implies a reduction in the personnel necessary for continuous operation. The prototype security screening system developed will therefore provide a safe, non-intrusive, privacy respecting, high throughput and high security level solution.

The TeraSCREEN Prototype System will be demonstrated at a live operational control point at Bristol International Airport and its performance there will be evaluated. This evaluation will be another very important project result, proving that this solution can produce consistent and secure results in operational settings, in addition to increasing throughput and respecting privacy.

The components that will be developed to achieve this main project result are also worth including as project results in their own right. Several components will be developed in this project beyond current state of the art.

The classification of concealed objects will be made possible by the combined use of the multi-frequency passive and active information from the scene. The different reflective, transmissive and emissive properties of different objects are observed in the multiple frequency information obtained. The highest passive frequency also provides higher image resolution than that currently available. The active mode features even higher resolution and thus provides shape information in addition to object thickness information from resolving time of flight. A novel classification and detection algorithm will be developed. In addition, TeraSCREEN will include an innovative self-learning component, which will be able to detect and learn new object classes. The classification capability is a feature no other commercially available system offers.

The Privacy Enhancing Technologies that will be developed and used to display the information to the system operator will indicate automatically the position, outline and classification of a potentially harmful concealed object on a generic computerized silhouette of the subject, as illustrated in Figure 1.

The TeraSCREEN project will produce a security screening solution which will increase throughput at border control points and will provide border check personnel with the location and classification of objects concealed on travellers, thus improving the security level. This will streamline, shorten and improve border control, as intended by the EU VIS, Automated Border Control gates and EU Registered Traveller programme, and therefore in line with these initiatives and the expected impact from the targeted work programme.

The improvement in the levels of security achieved through the adoption and deployment of the TeraSCREEN Prototype System will have an impact to society in creating a greater sense of safety and well-being, resulting in more people travelling and attending events (which is another application for this type of system), and thus also having a positive outcome on the wider economy.

Another impact which has already started to take effect in the first years of the project is that of job and expertise creation: there are currently too few specialists available in the technological areas targeted in TeraSCREEN. However, the number of scientists with a basic know-how has already started to be increased in the first and second period of the project by the work undertaken by the university partners, which is in turn influencing university curricula. In the future this will constitute an elite group of highly qualified people capable of generating and undertaking innovative research as well as implementing practical solutions in this field.

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Naomi Alexander
Tel.: +34 691 22 17 99
Record Number: 183634 / Last updated on: 2016-06-16
Information source: SESAM