Want a more accurate estimate of waiting time to get through security at airports? 

Obviously monitoring Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is one way to go, but often people shut those off in the airport to conserve energy. Monitoring cell phones and tablets doesn't work if only 30% of people have them on. 

As many of us know, queues at airports are arranged in mazes using retractable ribbon barriers. Security personnel adjust the barriers according to the size of the queue, and analysis also 'learns' how the flow of people moves over time. This is then used to give an estimate of how long it takes for the queue to pass through security.

Researchers at SINTEF ICT say they can use infra-red thermal imaging cameras and strategically located optical sensors to provide an estimate of how long the queue will take to pass. You're being spied on anyway, it should make no difference if government now knows your body temperature too. The cameras are used in current security control procedures at Værnes Airport and the researchers have been working to develop a passenger counter using these sensors.

Infra-red thermal imaging cameras and optical sensors provide an estimate of how long the queue will take to pass. Photo: Avinor 

For several decades, SINTEF has been working with video surveillance company Detec AS to develop advanced video analysis software that can be used to detect undesirable or threatening activity in crowds of people, or to secure special areas automatically. 

"The system, installed at Værnes in December 2013, is a soft type of video surveillance, from which personal identities are erased. You can view people's body temperature, but no other details," says Asbjørn Berge of SINTEF.