Lisa Dolev has a Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering, not Industrial Design. But that didn't stop her, immediately after the 2004 train bombings happened in Madrid, from producing the sketch you see below:
Dolev, who formerly worked as "an active participant in counter-suicide bomber initiatives led by DARPA," was shaken by the train bombing footage. She realized that train stations, public stadiums, and other areas where masses of citizens converge would become steady terrorist targets, yet these venues would not be able to afford the screening measures that airports can. So she set out to design a more efficient, lower-cost security screening system, combining elements of a grocery store self-checkout set-up with some straightforward, universally-understood design principles (green means go, red means stop, etc.). She then founded California-based Qylur Security Systems, Inc. to develop her invention, dubbed the Qylatron Entry Experience Solution. Here's how it works:
And here's a video of Dolev herself explaining the system and her motivation for designing it:
Dolev projects that one Qylatron would take the place of five security lines and require just one employee per compartment, rather than the three-employees-per-line fielded by the TSA. Hence the lower cost, which could further be reduced, the company says, by selling advertising on the screens.
I think the concept is great but that the design needs some further development. The honeycomb formation in particular will not be conducive to speed, as the close spacing of the units will create bottlenecks in polite cultures and jostling in impolite cultures. And having one compartment stacked atop another, as they are at the sides, effectively means that only one can be loaded at a time.
Even so, I'd much rather submit my luggage to the Qylatron than to the tender ministrations and unpleasant demeanors of your average TSA screener. But it may be a long time, if ever, that Dolev's invention graces an airport: Businessweek points out that the initial target market will be stadiums and amusement parks, who don't have the high barrier to entry for a new screening system that airports do.
So whaddaya think, will these fly, so to speak?