It all began with Richard Reid. Reid was arrested on December 22, 2001 for attempting to destroy a Boeing 767 on American Airlines Flight 63, a flight from Paris, Charles De Gaulle International Airport to Miami International Airport, USA, by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes. And since then, examining shoes has become a constant at not just airports, but at some courthouses and other secure facilities.
Israel has introduced a step-on scanner called "MagShoe." It has been installed at Ben-Gurion Airport, and is set up next to the walk-through scanners at the airport. "MagShoe" announces within two seconds whether the shoes of the passenger standing on it contains something unusual, such as metal that might be a knife for a hijacking or a bomb part.
"This innovation brings enormous logistical value as it significantly cuts down the discomfort and delays associated with standard shoe searches," said Nissim Ben-Ezra, security technologies manager for Israel's Airports Authority.
But he said MagShoe must be used in conjunction with other precautions, especially as it would not spot hidden explosives -- a major concern after the botched 2001 "shoe bombing" by al Qaeda sympathizer Richard Reid aboard a Paris-Miami flight.Of course, the Israelis, always at the forefront of security technology, for obvious reasons, are working on a "bomb sniffing" version of "MagShoe." Let's just hope they can make it differentiate between bombs and just plain bad foot odor.