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TSA and Amtrak test screening devices to detect suicide vests

The system, known as a stand-off explosive detection unit, triggers an alarm if a person wearing or carrying an explosive device – like a suicide vest – passes the machine.

TSA officials trained Amtrak officers on the machines, one of which illuminates people’s image on monitors in a green light and highlights a possible hidden device in black. The other machine superimposes a barcode on the monitor over a person’s image turning green to red if it detects concealed devices.

The devices use millimeter wave technology, which TSA says is safe and provides complete privacy. The machines can also be moved around stations and beyond.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the agency was testing the system in Los Angeles when a suspect set off a worn device in New York’s Port Authority late last year. Farbstein said they recreated his device, which the system detected during Tuesday’s test.

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