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Three-dimentional imaging of baggage for security applications.

7 March 2012

Selina Kolokytha

This PhD Research aims to advance the MRes Research Project on “Non-contact object  localisation for automated ‘On-belt’ Tomosynthesis” into becoming a good-quality cost-effective post check-in baggage screening system in aviation security.
Security screening technology, the part of aviation security focused on the detection of explosives and illicit materials, is both challenging and costly. The former MRes Research Project demonstrates the feasibility of implementing close-range photogrammetry to a potential ‘On-belt’ Tomosynthesis (ObT) system, a fully automated pseudo-3D imaging system developed by Reid et al., for accurate non-contact determination of object location. From this, several considerations arise, which would enable this system to become a good-quality system in airports for check-in baggage screening which is also cost-effective.

First of all, in-depth study of appropriate phantom design will be performed, which would represent typical airport baggage, both with and without illicit contents. Although the photogrammetric measurements in the MSc study used special targets for determination of points’ location and therefore object location and orientation, this PhD study aims to use edge-detection as a practicable alternative which does not require human intervention. Moreover, the photogrammetric system will be co-registered with the x-ray source and detector into a common framework. This would ensure accurate registration and also offer the facilityto combine the system with other sensors. Once  all this is established on static objects, real-time photogrammetry simulating baggage movement on conveyor belt bends will be studied.

Accordingly, reconstruction algorithms will be developed for best quality pseudo-3D images as well as post-reconstruction image de-blurring. In addition, the system would need to be scaled up to representative of realistic airport baggage item quantities.  Also, this research could explore the possibility of baggage tags being identified and read, leading to an additional advantageous feature. Depending on the progress of all these aspects, the possibility of a dual-energy ObT could be explored.
The objectives of this PhD, in line with EPSRC’s mission, are addressed uniquely through its multidisciplinary approach, achieved through high quality research aimed at creating a technological system which meets the needs of national aviation security.