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Face-Scanning Fish at Dubai Airport to Replace Security

Things are about to get futuristic at Dubai airport, where new security levels will see virtual fish granting your permission into the country.

You read that right! Digital fish will soon be the ones permitting your entry into Dubai. The days of waiting in line for security will soon be a thing of the past. From late 2018 at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, passengers will no longer be required to stop and show their passports at security clearance counters.

Dubai airport will be installing a virtual aquarium tunnel through travelers walk while cameras make body measurements and calculations for identification purposes. As you walk through the curved tunnel your face will be scanned by 80 in-built face and iris scanning cameras hidden behind the immersive aquarium video. The biometric tunnel is a first of its kind in the world.

Major Khalid Al Felasi, assistant general director of Smart Services in GDRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News. “They don’t even need to show their passport. It works on face recognition technology, and the passenger can finish entry procedures within 15 seconds.”

The reasons behind the face-scanning fish

The purpose of the fish is to capture the passengers’ attention, making it easier to confirm their identity. Foreign affairs chief Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri said:”The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveller but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travelers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print. He also said it will allow the passengers to finish entry procedures within 10-15 seconds. Try getting through a TSA line at any airport within 15 seconds!

Details about the Smart Tunnel were revealed during the five-day Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) Technology week. The other terminals in the airport are due to get their own aquarium tunnels by 2020.

How the face-scanning fish at Dubai airport aquarium operate

When entering the tunnel, you have to stand and look up at the iris-scan camera before proceeding through. As you walk through the aquarium, a digital floorboard underfoot will first display as a red light, changing to green as you complete the procedure, provided you are registered on the system.

Registration is required beforehand, where travelers are to submit a face scan to a kiosk.

This isn’t the only futuristic development underway at Dubai International Airport. Tesla electric cars will be available to transport passengers to the airport, and passengers will be able to register their details and face scans during the ride.

Major Felasi said: “The car will collect passengers’ information, including the weight of the luggage, on the way to the airport and will deliver the boarding pass in the car itself. It is all done by the smartphone.”

Upon arrival at the airport, “the luggage automatically goes through a smart system without the need to carry it through. The passenger can then proceed through the smart tunnel to finish passport control procedures in a few seconds.”

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About the author


Fiona is half Irish-half Italian and currently lives in Budapest. She is passionate about sustainability and loves nature, traveling and vegan food.

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