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Serious Games Help TSA Screeners Identify Dangerous Items

Serious Games to train 40,000 officers who check luggage and cargo

The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), published on the Federal Business Opportunities Website, a NOTICE OF INTENT TO AWARD A SINGLE SOURCE CONTRACT to Carnegie Mellon University to develop an inherently fun game that would help its screeners identify dangerous items through X-ray machines.

The Statement Of Work, provides a thorough description of the Checkpoint Screening Game, and encompasses a project designed to determine whether some advanced online gaming concepts can be adapted within an aviation security screening context.

The agency also hopes that video game training would help speed up and add a degree of fun to the training. Screeners process as many as 250 images in a half-hour work shift, a task that the agency described as requiring “a high degree of vigilance and accuracy.”

By design, this game will be extremely enjoyable and guarantee that players produce the correct and useful output”, TSA stated in its work statement.

Games with a purpose (GWAPs)

TSA defines GWAPs as video games that solve computational and operational problems.

According to the work statement, the initial Pilot game will be for internal TSA purposes only and will not be released to the public.

This work could further be used to enhance recruiting, and create a competitive venue to sharpen current TSO skills (who might even compete for regional or national honors against other TSO teams, airports, regions or nationals) where the players are paid in fun, team spirit and recognition.

But this is not the intention of the current proof of concept/pilot.