Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, homes of the Orioles and Ravens, respectively, will be test sites next year for Liberty Defense Holdings’ new technology that uses low-powered radar imagining and artificial intelligence to detect concealed weapons on stadium patrons.
The product, known as HEXWAVE, can detect both metallic and nonmetallic items, and doesn’t collect or store identifiable information, the company said.
The Maryland Stadium Authority entered into an agreement with Liberty Defense to beta test the product for one to three weeks next year, and it will be up to the Maryland Stadium Authority to determine how to deploy the product.
Liberty Defense CEO Bill Riker said the technology, which was developed by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, “is especially applicable to the urban security environment.”
The stadiums in Baltimore will be among several test sites next year, including Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena in Germany, Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the state of Utah.
“What we’re doing here is while we’re developing the technology, and how it can be applied, clearly central to that is understanding how they would perform in one of the real requirements in an actual customer environment,” said Riker, who came to Liberty Defense from the Edgewood-based Smiths Detections.
The scanning kiosks use 200 times less frequency than an in-home Wi-Fi system, Riker said, and create a three-dimensional image of objects on one’s body that is “communicated to embedded artificial intelligence, which uses a form of deep neural networks and deep learning, and that system identifies what that is.”
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Security on the scene will be identified if the object is determined to be a weapon.
“It does this all in about 0.2 seconds, so it’s very, very fast,” Riker said. “You’ll pass through, and I would say hopefully a majority of people are just walking right through. You’re not having to take your cellphone out or your keys and stuff like that.
"If you do have an object, and you’re determined to bring that article in there with you, it’s going to flag you and it’s going to tell the guard where and what it is on your body. Let’s just say you’ve got a hankering to have a big knife on you or something else. It’s going to say ‘knife, right side,’ and enable the security operations to make an immediate intervention to keep that person from bringing that weapon into the stadium.”
Vernon J. Conaway Jr., the Maryland Stadium Authority’s vice president for public safety and security, issued a statement to The Baltimore Sun, saying the new technology has the potential to only improve security at the stadiums.
“We believe this emerging threat detection technology could be the future of keeping fans safe at events by detecting weapons in real-time without disrupting pedestrian flow,” he said. “We are extremely confident in our current threat detection systems. Our participation in this collaboration agreement is about testing an emerging threat technology that could enhance our existing systems using a layered threat detection approach.”