Dubai airport to replace security checks by virtual aquarium

The security line at an airport, commonly acknowledged as one of the worst places on earth, just got a bit less soul destroying. Dubai International Airport announced that next year it will drop the ever-so-passé human security checks for biometric scanning – in the form of an aquarium. Visitors will walk through admiring virtual fish while 80 in-built cameras scan each person’s face and verify their identity.

“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 travellers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print,” foreign affairs chief Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri said. The virtual fish, therefore, play a vital role in capturing passengers’ attention so the cameras can scan them accurately.

The airport’s new feature is due to be up and running in terminal 3 by the end of 2018 and will launch in the other terminals by 2020. It’s not just fish either – the aquarium can be swapped for other virtual scenes. Travellers have to pre-register before using the biometric tunnel by visiting one of the airport’s 3D face scanning kiosks; then, when they’ve walked through the virtual aquarium, their biometrics will be compared to their digital profile and, if it’s a match, they’ll be waved through with the message “have a nice trip”. If there’s an issue, visitors will be stopped so security officers can perform more checks.