Airport security is a tech-firm gold rush – LA Times

For airline passengers, the attempted Christmas Day attack and a directive by President Obama to pursue advanced screening technology will certainly mean added security procedures at airports.

So for high-tech companies in Southern California and elsewhere, the increased focus on airport security means new opportunities to land hefty government contracts.

Among those is Syagen Technology Inc., a Tustin company with 20 employees that has built an airport screening device that blows air on travelers and then analyzes the cast-off particles to detect explosives. The Transportation Safety Administration shelved an older version of the device because of maintenance problems. But, company President Jack Syage said, the Christmas attack has renewed interest in the next generation of air-analyzing units.

“Everybody has started to talk about new technology at the airports,” he said.

Other firms, including a small New York company that makes a shoe-scanning device and a Torrance venture that builds screeners to take full-body images of passengers, have shifted into high gear in recent weeks to meet the renewed security efforts.