Firm wins $199,000 grant to help improve airport security

Approximately 650 explosive detection systems from Analogic have been installed in airports worldwide.

The grant will be used in research and engineering for three-dimensional display. Current technology allows for three-dimensional scanning of checked baggage, but images appear on two-dimensional display screens.

"It's like the difference between a map and a globe of the Earth," Analogic president and CEO John W. Wood Jr. said. "It's like those movies where people would have to wear goggles. We want to expand on that."

The research also will focus on improving screening of carry-on luggage. Analogic applied for the grant earlier this year, and Wood said that in the early stages of research, $200,000 is typically the amount of money requested.

In June, Wood testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation. He outlined Analogic's technological projects in recent years and asked for continuing support from the Department of Homeland Security.

Wood said that his testimony and the grant are unrelated. The grant probably had more to do with the terrorist plot to detonate bombs on several airplanes this summer, Wood said. British and Pakistani intelligence officials said on Aug. 9 that they had thwarted final stages of a plan by terrorists to simultaneously blow up almost a dozen airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean.

Airport security tightened in the United States immediately after the plot was discovered, and passengers saw increased waiting times and longer lines at airport gates. Wood said he hopes Analogic's new technology will not only make air travel safer but also speed the flow of traffic through airports.

Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation praised the grant as a stepped-up effort to confront terrorism and protect airplane passengers.

"Providing baggage screeners with better means to keep airports and planes safe is critically important, and it's gratifying that companies in Massachusetts are taking the lead," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said in a statement after the announcement. "Scientists at Analogic deserve all the support we can give them, and I commend DHS for supporting their indispensable work."

Analogic boasts of taking the lead in its industry, thanks largely to contracts and grants from the government. The company has received five development contracts from the Transportation Security Administration in recent years to develop new checked baggage and checkpoint security systems.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a contract to Analogic to develop its carry-on baggage real-time assessment checkpoint security system | which provides automatic detection and three-dimensional screening of all the objects in a bag or parcel.

In 2002, Analogic built a 200,000-square-foot computed tomography manufacturing facility in Haverhill and dramatically increased production of its explosive assessment computed tomography system to help meet the range of security detection needs of the government, according to the company's Web site.

There is no time line set for engineering and development of Analogic's three-dimensional display technology, Wood said. "It's difficult to say when and if this (latest grant) will result in complete products," Wood said. If successful, he added, the three-dimensional displays may be able to be used with the company's existing products.

Founded in 1967, Analogic has more than 400 engineers, mathematicians and technicians on staff, according to the company's Web site. Analogic is a member of the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, an industry-led consortium dedicated to developing and deploying new manufacturing technologies.

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