Walk-through metal detectors (WTMDs) are the mainstay for screening people for the presence of metal threat or contraband objects at security checkpoints. Although nonmetallic threats are a concern, most threats encountered in practice are metal or comprise metal components. To ensure that a WTMD will detect a given threat requires testing for that threat. However, the variety of geometries and construction of metal threats that a WTMD is expected to detect is immense, ranging from handguns to disposable razor blades and items constructed of ferromagnetic metals, nonferromagnetic metals, or both. It is unrealistic to test for all of these potential threat items. Instead, the WTMD is tested using test objects that represent classes of threats. These representative test objects must be designed so that the operator of the WTMD has confidence that the WTMD will detect the actual threat objects. The purpose of this paper is to examine the usefulness of currently used WTMD test objects to accurately and reproducibly provide an indication of WTMD detection performance and suggest new designs as appropriate.
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