Pick a traditional pat down or high-tech full body scans next time you plan to fly through Roanoke Regional Airport.
Thursday the Transportation Security Administration demonstrated its newest security tool at the airport.
Bonnie Nicholson used to work airport security nearly twenty years ago. She says things were much simpler. "We just had the gate that you went through and the wand and of course the x-ray machine," explained Nicholson.
But the next time Nicholson decides to fly from Roanoke Regional Airport, she'll be faced with Advanced Imaging Technology, also known as AIT.
TSA officers dressed as travelers to show WDBJ 7 how it works: you step in, place your feet on the prints, and raise your arms.
In just a few seconds, your entire body's been scanned.
The image that security officers see is a generic outline of a body; TSA officers say it’s the same for everyone.
Kawika Riley is a spokesperson for TSA and he says no x-rays are used. "It’s safe and harmless. This one is millimeter wave technology and it determines whether or not there are metallic and non-metallic items that may pose a threat," said Riley.
The Transportation Security Administration uses both millimeter wave and backscatter imaging.
We want you to know how much radiation you're exposed to from millimeter wave. Riley continued, "The technology has been tested and it's one-hundred percent safe. It’s approximately one-thousand times less than what would be considered an unsafe dose."
You have the option to refuse the AIT but you'll still have to go through other forms of security.
Nearly one-hundred and eighty airports have this machine and approximately seven-hundred are already in use.