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Publication numberUSH2110 H1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/207,955
Publication dateOct 5, 2004
Filing dateJul 30, 2002
Priority dateJul 30, 2002
Publication number10207955, 207955, US H2110 H1, US H2110H1, US-H1-H2110, USH2110 H1, USH2110H1
InventorsGeorge H. Newman
Original AssigneeThe United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air Force
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automated security scanning process
US H2110 H1
Abstract
This invention automates a portion of the existing process by applying computerized comparative assessment program to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen. This is accomplished by creating a computerized image database of all known weapons, dangerous articles, and other prohibited items. At the same time the scanned container's contents data is converted to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen, the same data is computer compared to the weapons database. Just as the human mentally compares learned weapons database against what he or she sees on the monitor, the computer accomplishes the same process, except much more timely and accurately. When the computer identifies data from the scanned image that correlates to it's prohibited items database, it alerts the security operator by any number of common means and highlights the image on the security operator's monitor.
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Claims(2)
What is claimed is:
1. An automated security scanning process comprising the steps of:
creating a database of computerized image characteristics of known weapons and contraband;
scanning baggage to obtain image characteristics of elements in baggage;
identifying known weapons and contraband when characteristics of contents in the baggage match image characteristics of known weapons and contraband; and
activating an alarm when known weapons and contraband.
2. An automated security scanning process, as defined in claim 1, wherein said scanning step is accomplished using an x-ray luggage scanning system.
Description
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST

The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalty thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to terrorist threat detection systems and more specifically to an airport automated security scanning process. The horror of the World Trade Center devastation and the attack on the Pentagon teaches us that automated security scanning in airports and other locations is a serious endeavor that needs priority. Requirement and process currently exists to inspect the inside of carry-on bags, luggage, and other containers to determine if weapons, dangerous articles, and other prohibited items are hidden within. This is generally accomplished by passing a container through and x-ray scanning machine while a security operator observes the container's contents on a monitor screen (such as the process generally observed at an airport security checkpoint). This is an effective process if/and only if the operator is fully trained, experienced, has the time needed to properly evaluate what he/she sees on the monitor, and last, but not least, fully applies his/her full attention to the assessment. Unfortunately, the assessment process is boring-tedious work and as a result, the operator can/does become complacent. When this occurs, prohibited items pass through the security screening process undetected. Today's victims are not just the passengers on the airplanes, and a federal takeover of airport security may be imminent.

Recent developments in airport security systems are disclosed in the following U.S. patents, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference: U.S. Pat. No. 6,218,943 issued to Ellenbogen;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,393 issued to Krug et al;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,029 issued to Husseiny et al;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,699,400 issued to Lee et al;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,784,430 issued to Sredniawski;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,974,111 issued to Krug et al;

U.S. Pat. No. 6,018,562 issued to Willson.

The above-cited patents describe baggage and security detection systems. Exemplary is the Ellenbogen reference which describes a contraband detection and article reclaim system that includes at least one article inspection system configured to derive inspection data from an article and compare the inspection data to target object data to detect contraband, and to assign matching information to each article in which contraband was detected that matches the article to its inspection data. The at least one article inspection system is connected to a server and the inspection data and the matching information are transferred to the server. An article tagging system is configured to generate a tag for each article in which contraband was detected. The tag includes the matching information about the article and at least one workstation coupled to said server and configured to permit entry of the matching information so that the inspection data of an article in which contraband was detected can be transferred to the workstation and to display the inspection data.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention automates a portion of the existing process by applying computerized comparative assessment program to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen. This is accomplished by creating a computerized image database of all known weapons and dangerous items. At the same time the scanned container's contents data is converted to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen, the same data is computer compared to the weapons database. Just as the human mentally compares learned weapons database against what he or she sees on the monitor, the computer accomplishes the same process, except much more timely and accurately. When the computer identifies data from the scanned image that correlates to it's prohibited items database, it alerts the security operator by any number of common means and highlights the image on the security operator's monitor.

The invention/process allows more containers, baggage, etc. to be security scanned and assessed in a given amount of time. The invention/process augments the human operator in a manner that increases human operator ability to identify weapons and/or dangerous items during the security scan that he or she could normally miss without computerized augmentation. The invention/process does not get tired or bored with the tedious process it accomplishes, so the effects of human complacency and loss of attention to detail are greatly reduced. The invention/process can be used “stand-alone” without human oversight to security scan containers, baggage, and cargo, etc. when and where security is not the highest priority.

With advent of low cost-high powered computers with extensive data storage capacity, there is no human alternative that can prove as efficient and effective in accurately comparing scanned images to it's prohibited items database.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a prior art x-ray luggage inspection system;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the process of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is an image identifier system used in the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

This invention automates a portion of the existing process by applying a computerized comparative assessment program to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen. This is accomplished by creating a computerized image database of all known weapons, dangerous articles, and other prohibited items. At the same time the scanned container's contents data is converted to the image presented on the operator's viewing screen, the same data is computer compared to the weapons database. Just as the human mentally compares learned weapons database against what he or she sees on the monitor, the computer accomplishes the same process, except much more timely and accurately. When the computer identifies data from the scanned image that correlates to it's prohibited items database, it alerts the security operator by any number of common means and highlights the image on the security operator's monitor.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of the prior art x-ray luggage inspection system. Referring to FIG. 1 and x-ray inspection system 10 includes a level one x-ray inspection device 12, such as VIVID Rapid Detection System (available from Vivid Technologies, Inc., Waltham, Mass., which examines items of baggage being transported on a conveyor 16. When device 12 examines an item of baggage 14A and evaluates the item as free of regions that could contain contraband, the item is automatically directed by a baggage pusher 18 to proceed further on conveyor 20. If device 12 detects possible presence of contraband, pusher 18 directs baggage 14B to conveyor 22 that transports the baggage to an x-ray inspection device 30, such as a modified version of a QDR 4500 scanner (available from Hologic, Inc., Waltham, Mass.). An operator located at a remote location 32 can oversee the entire inspection process, evaluate data detected and processed by inspection device 12 and direct operation of inspection device 30.

Referring to FIG. 2, the process of the present invention can augment and automate the contraband inspection system of FIG. 1 using image identification technology. The process of FIG. 2 begins by creating a computerized image database of all known weapons and other prohibited items 201. Suitable computerized image technology is described in the following U.S. patents, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,424, Nov. 21, 2000, System for identifying objects and features in an image, Hus, Shin-yi,

U.S. Pat. No. 5,351,302, Sep. 27, 1994, Method for authenticating objects identified by images or other identifying information, Leighton, Frank T.,

U.S. Pat. No. 5,214,350, May 25, 1993, Identification of image displays and their component parts, Remec, Thomas M.,

U.S. Pat. No. 4,300,160, Nov. 10, 1981, Thermal imaging device for detecting and identifying a thermal object, Pusch.

The next step of the process of FIG. 2 includes scanning the baggage 202 with the system of FIG. 3. This enables image process identification 203 to be implemented so that an alarm may be activated 204 when weapons or contraband are identified.

Referring to FIG. 3, the inspection system 310 of the present invention includes scanner system 312, an operator console 314 and a controller 316 which controls the operation of the scanner system and the operator console. The scanner system 312 utilizes an x-ray source 318, a radiation detector 320, and a conveyor system 322 to transport an article to a position between the x-ray source and radiation detector and scan the article. The operator console 314 includes an operator input device 324 and a display device 326. The conveyor system 322 has a conveyor belt 328 and associated belt drive mechanisms (e.g., a power roller not shown) that move the article through the x-ray beam.

Typically, the x-ray source 318 and the radiation detector 320 are enclosed in a common housing 330, seen in FIG. 3, and the conveyor belt 328 of the conveyor system 322 passes through a tunnel 332 in the housing 330 to move the article being inspected through a fan-shaped beam, or into position for scanning by a movable pencil shaped beam. Entrance and exit ends of the tunnel are blocked by lead curtains 334 to limit x-ray scatter. The tunnel 332 also includes a pair of article detector assemblies, e.g., photocells 336 which detect when an article enters the tunnel and when the article exits the tunnel. Indications from these article detector assemblies are transferred to the controller 316 and subsequently displayed on the display device 326 of the operator console so that the operator has an indication when the article enters and exits the tunnel. Thereafter, the operator can change the operation (or movement) of the conveyor belt 328 using control switches on the operator console.

In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the controller 316 is included in the scanner system 312, and the operator console 314 operates with the image identifying database to sound an alarm when weapons or contraband are identified.

While the invention has been described in its presently preferred embodiment it is understood that the words which have been used are words of description rather than words of limitation and that changes within the purview of the appended claims may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention in its broader aspects.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5410156 *Aug 13, 1993Apr 25, 1995Miller; Thomas G.High energy x-y neutron detector and radiographic/tomographic device
US5600303 *Jun 6, 1995Feb 4, 1997Technology International IncorporatedDetection of concealed explosives and contraband
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7366281 *May 4, 2004Apr 29, 2008Ge Invision Inc.System and method for detecting contraband
US8009799Oct 1, 2007Aug 30, 2011Optosecurity Inc.Tray for use in assessing the threat status of an article at a security check point
US8009800Apr 2, 2009Aug 30, 2011Optosecurity Inc.Tray for assessing the threat status of an article at a security check point
US8014493Sep 30, 2008Sep 6, 2011Optosecurity Inc.Method and devices for assessing the threat status of an article at a security check point
US8116428Sep 17, 2007Feb 14, 2012Optosecurity Inc.Method and apparatus for assessing characteristics of liquids
US20120059769 *Jun 4, 2010Mar 8, 2012Carpenter Michael DCargo screening and tracking system and method
WO2006119603A1 *May 11, 2005Nov 16, 2006Alain BergeronMethod and system for screening luggage items, cargo containers or persons
WO2006119605A1 *Dec 20, 2005Nov 16, 2006Alain BergeronMethod and system for screening cargo containers
WO2006119609A1 *Apr 25, 2006Nov 16, 2006Eric BergeronUser interface for use in screening luggage, containers, parcels or people and apparatus for implementing same
WO2006119629A1 *May 11, 2006Nov 16, 2006Alain BergeronDatabase of target objects suitable for use in screening receptacles or people and method and apparatus for generating same
WO2007131328A1 *May 4, 2007Nov 22, 2007Alain BergeronApparatus, method and system for screening receptacles and persons, having image distortion correction functionality
WO2008034232A1 *Sep 17, 2007Mar 27, 2008Optosecurity IncMethod and apparatus for assessing characteristics of liquids
WO2008040119A1 *Oct 1, 2007Apr 10, 2008Doyle AidanTray for assessing the threat status of an article at a security check point
WO2009046529A1 *Oct 10, 2008Apr 16, 2009Eric BolducMethod, apparatus and system for use in connection with the inspection of liquid merchandise
WO2009114928A1 *Sep 5, 2008Sep 24, 2009Optosecurity, Inc.Method and apparatus for assessing characteristics of liquids
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/572.4
International ClassificationG01V5/00, G01N23/04
Cooperative ClassificationG01V5/0008, G01N23/04
European ClassificationG01N23/04, G01V5/00D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 18, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPR
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NEWMAN, GEORGE H.;REEL/FRAME:013297/0570
Effective date: 20020614
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NEWMAN, GEORGE H. /AR;REEL/FRAME:013297/0570