Scientists have developed a new security scanner that could be installed in airport carpets, it has been revealed.
Developed by a research team at Manchester University, the new system is capable of detecting weapons and explosives hidden in bags and clothing.
However, unlike traditional scanning equipment, which requires items to be passed through a machine, the new technology would make it possible for security staff to detect items carried by travellers moving around the airport.
Lead researcher Professor Wuqiang Yang explained that the device would not require radar or cameras either.
He told the Guardian: "’Once it has been properly developed, our device would cost only a few thousand pounds and could be installed under carpets, tiles or flooring in airports to detect shoe bombs.
"It is also capable of learning the characteristics of new threat substances – including explosives and non-metallic weapons – when developed by terrorists."
This latest security development comes as new security scanners capable of detecting dangerous liquids in hand luggage will be trialled across four UK airports including Heathrow.
Passengers are currently banned from taking liquids onto flights after a plot to cause an explosion on an aircraft using drinks bottles filled with chemicals was uncovered in 2006.