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TSA to test CT scanning at Logan to keep laptops in carry-ons

The Transportation Security Administration will test a new scanning device at Logan International Airport later this month that will give officials a more detailed view inside passengers carry-on luggage. CT scanners are better than existing X-ray devices at detecting explosives, meaning that at some point they could enable passengers to leave laptops, other electronics, and possibly even liquids in their bags, vastly simplifying airport security.

The new CT screening equipment shoots hundreds of images with an X-ray camera that spins around the conveyor belt to provide officers with a 3D picture of a carry-on bag to ensure it does not contain a threat, TSA said in a statement. The new scanning system is a reduced-size version of the current scanners used for checked baggage, according to TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy. The system is being installed at Terminal E, where the tests will occur.

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A similar pilot test began Thursday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The Phoenix test is being conducted as a partnership between TSA and American Airlines, but the Boston test does not involve American, McCarthy said. The Boston pilot will take place by the end of the month, McCarthy said. Passengers may be asked to volunteer for the checks. The experiment comes as the US Department of Homeland Security considers whether to expand a ban on electronic devices in airliner cabins that began on some international routes in March.

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