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CBSA Deploying New Smell-O-Vision X-ray Technology

(SNN) - The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has become the first organization to trial Smell-O-Vision technology, a new type of scent-emitting screen developed by a team of designers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

As part of a pilot project that ran during the month of March 2013, the CBSA retrofitted its X-ray equipment at Toronto-Pearson International Airport with powerful air streams and fans designed to emit the odour of objects displayed on screen.

“This is exciting new technology that can really give us a leg up on catching the bad guys,” says CBSA Director of Technological Innovation, Greg Sniffson. “By incorporating the new “smelling screens” into our x-rays, our border services officers have the ability to smell suspicious items right on screen rather than spending time opening bags and containers. This helps us detect prohibited items faster and enhance the overall customer experience.”

Results of the trial were promising, with only two border services officers requiring medical attention. Both were transported to the hospital after inadvertently smelling unwashed laundry that had been packed in a traveller’s bag after a three-week trip.

The CBSA now intends to proceed with full deployment to all of its airport, mail and cargo processing locations across the country. Prior to implementation, officers will be required to undergo an intensive two-week training program, where they will learn to identify the smell of various restricted and prohibited items, including meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, alcohol, tobacco, contraband, illegal drugs and animals, both dead and alive. 

Photo by: Suzanne Lucas, All Rights Reserved

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