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New airport metal detector is a shoe-in

A shoes-on metal detector may be on the way to U.S. airports.

IDO Security

When it comes to gentility and airline security, we may have something to learn from Nairobi International, where they have the decency, and the equipment, to allow you to keep your shoes on.

Nairobi joins Madrid, Prague, and Budapest in deploying the MagShoe, a "high-speed, shoes-on, portable footwear weapons detection system," at their respective airports. U.K. and U.S. airports may be next.

The MagShoe is a metal detector designed to test shoes and ankles in the ongoing fight against foot-borne threats. A passenger simply steps on what looks like a twin mud scraper/shoe buffer, and within an average of 1.2 seconds an audio-visual signal either alerts the operator to concealed metal or gives the all-clear.

Development of the device was initiated by the technical branch of the Israeli Security Agency in response to 9/11 and the Richard Reid "shoe bomber" incident, according to the manufacturer, IDO Security. In both cases the weapons were smuggled in shoes, and in both cases the terrorists went through an Arch Metal Detector (Magnetometer Gates) without being detected.

MagShoe is being evaluated by TSA for the Department of Homeland Security and is expected to receive the seal of approval soon, according to the company. But not in time for the holidays.