The TSA will add more body scanners, and install ones that are more efficient, at the airport by summer, the spokesman said.
The TSA announced Friday it terminated its contract with Rapiscan, a company that makes 12 of O’Hare’s current 23 full-body scanners.
The 12 Rapiscan machines will be replaced by millimeter wave scanners, which use more efficient technology that does not show a full-body image. The software, called automatic target recognition, only shows a part of a person’s body that raises a red flag.
“If I go through and I forget to remove my watch, it’ll highlight my wrist,” he said. “That’s the benefit … The whole thing is a quicker process.”
The millimeter wave machines are also smaller, so there will be room for more scanners and more security lines, the spokesman said.
TSA plans to increase the total number of scanners at O’Hare from 23 to 29, the spokesman said.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 required that all full-body scanners use the target recognition software, but Rapiscan was not able to develop it in time, according to The TSA Blog.
The TSA spokesman said he did not know when the scanners would be replaced at O'Hare, but the FAA reform act requires all machines to have the software by June 1.
Rapiscan must remove its full-body image scanners at airports across the country after the cancellation of its contract with TSA.
The full-body scanners created controversy over privacy issues when first introduced for the nude-like images of people they produced.
Millimeter wave machines use a "computer-generated, generic" human outline on a screen that both passengers and security personnel see.