Why is 3D computer-based training important?
There is a growing trend of airport security departments installing computed tomography (CT) scanners. This 3D CT technology is phenomenal but leaves the security managers with the issue of how to train their security agents to interpret these 3D images. Simulators from the vendors offer some basic instruction, but still don’t provide the preferred levels of training. These simulators can be expensive, inflexible and not ideal for mass training.
How have you developed a solution?
Battelle, a non-profit R&D organisation from the USA, has developed ProDetect EDS, a state-of-the-art 3D computer-based training system. Battelle teamed up with the German training company STI and the Dutch firm Stage Gate 11 BV to bring this advanced training software to the airport security market.
What makes this computer-based training special?
ProDetect is specially designed as a 3D CT computer-based training system for aviation security personnel conducting screening for cabin and hold baggage, as well as cargo screening, where a CT explosives detection system is used. It has the same user interface as the CT scanners of multiple vendors has the same X-ray image enhancement functions, and can be used to train groups of screeners in a classroom setting.
This computer-based training system creates a simulated screening environment with practical exercises to challenge screeners with realistic scenarios and immediate feedback on their decisions. This feedback helps screeners to improve effectiveness. Data is captures and provides trainers with extensive information on each trainee’s strengths and weaknesses, to improve their screening skills. Additionally, trainees can gain hands-on knowledge by screening real 3D X-ray images of typical passengers’ content, some of which contain hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Trainees must ‘suspect’ or ‘clear’ each item following site-specific screening protocols that can be incorporated into the training platform for a customised solution. After each image trainees receive feedback about the accuracy of their choices, including the specific location of any threats such as IEDs, knives or guns.
The platform can simulate many of the latest X-ray screening platforms, so image colouration and scaling are identical. This includes the highly realistic C-ray controls (such as zoom, false coloration, organic strip and high penetration) to simulate the real screening experience. Furthermore, ProDetect’s immersive training content builds screening competency through exposure to more detailed breakdowns of the threat and its components immediately following each alarm challenge.
How does it complement your existing range of products?
Stage Gate 11 BV is a technology-based company focusing on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of airport security departments. We build bridges between technology and this market – and we develop our own technology. A great example is Delta R – a stand of trace detection technology we applied in a shoe scanning concept. We also bring third-party technology to the marked that helps our clients with their operations. The cooperation with Battelle and STI to market ProDetect is an example of that.
What has feedback from security partners been like so far?
We work closely with airport security departments and commercial security companies. In the conversations we have with them, they value several features, including the agnostic character of the system, which helps them to stay flexible if they have multiple X-ray machine suppliers. These organisations look for graphic user interfaces that are identical to the CT systems and the same X-ray image enhancement functions.
It is also important for airports to have a flexible system that is easy to adjust to new legislation or procedures; airports look for a new proactive attitude from suppliers during the implementation phase. Customers also value the fact that the feedback we get is the basis for further product developments that can be implemented quickly, and the image library is updated periodically.