Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New AI Enhanced Scanning Tech Speeds Security


Earlier this month I was reading the opening day story about my Chicago Cubs baseball club and stumbled on the news that they have installed new AI-enhanced person scanning devices (pictured).  The big benefit of this new technology is that one does not have to remove keys, mobile phone, or have your bag separately scanned.  Great, right?

Details below...


A more detailed explanation of how the Cubs are using the new scanner from Evolv Technology in an earlier article

The Evolv Technology website explains in detail how their scanners work:

“A traditional metal detector transmits an electromagnetic field that triggers an alarm upon the detection of metal, so it either finds metal or it doesn’t. If it does, you know the drill – it’s off to the guard with the wand, perhaps a pat-down and emptying of your pockets and bags, and likely another pass through the metal detector, back and forth like a yo-yo. It’s a time-consuming and highly physical interaction and I posit; do you really want to find every bit of metal?

Evolv’s technology combines AI technology with sophisticated state-of-the-art sensors which together not only detect metal but can determine the type of metal and shape of the object. That’s important on a couple of fronts.

By looking at the data from a wide range of firearms, consumer electronics, and other common metal objects, certain consistent patterns emerge in the metals used, their dimensions, etc.  By applying AI technology, these patterns of metal content and shape can help identify what the object is – a cell phone, a set of keys, or the like. By differentiating between benign objects and threats, there’s no need for people to empty their pockets or bags.

Well-trained AI and state-of-the-art sensors

A number of technologies come into play to deliver on that kind of accuracy.

Our AI model has been trained on nearly 50,000 object scans, including multiple types of firearms along with everyday items that people carry in their pockets or bags.

Equally crucial is our sensor technology. We use transmitters and receivers that operate in the ultra-low frequency radio wave spectrum. That spectrum is able to deliver the best characterization of properties, enabling us to detect those different types of metals.

And using multiple other sensors to account for distinct environmental conditions, our software can self-calibrate in the measurement results, to maintain high levels of accuracy.

Unsung hero: data cleaning and pre-processing

One other ingredient in our secret sauce, and a key to what makes the system effective in real-time, is data cleaning and pre-processing. I think of this technology like a goalie in soccer; they tend to get little fanfare or glory (although plenty of blame), but for a team to excel it needs a good goalie. The same goes for AI when it comes to data pre-processing.

Pre-processing happens on-site as people are coming through the Evolv Express system. We take all the data that’s coming at us, then factor in any interference nearby along with a series of filters that help us isolate the signals we really care about – the objects people are carrying. By the time we hand off data on a given subject to our AI engine, the data is clean, focused, and crunched into a useable format. The end result is an AI that is robust, efficient, and simple, relatively speaking. Of course, operators don’t need to know anything about the technology itself. While Evolv Express may be full of sophisticated technology, it’s simple to use. “ 

If I had received some of the recovery funding for my court, I would be looking into this to improve our court customer’s experience.  But I would also have to carefully plan the procedures with security personnel when a positive scan occurred. 

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