Feb 20, 2024 - News

TD Garden using AI-based security screening system

The exterior of TD Garden and the North Station entrance in downtown Boston.

Photo: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

TD Garden is the latest sports arena to use AI to detect potential weapons at the door.

Why it matters: The downtown Boston arena says the AI-based detection tool can make security lines faster and safer.

Driving the news: TD Garden implemented a new security system developed by Evolv Technology, a Waltham-based security screening company.

  • The arena also now "strongly discourages" visitors from bringing bags and won't allow any larger than 6" x 4" x 1.5."
  • Visitors with bags over the limit will be directed to a mobile locker company on site, where they can store the bag during the event.
  • Both changes took effect Saturday.

Details: Under the new system, multiple visitors can walk through a security lane without having to stop and have their wallets or phones checked, per a news release from TD Garden.

  • Evolv says its technology can screen about 4,000 people an hour.

How it works: Evolv's system uses sensors inside rectangular towers that don't have an overhead rail, per Axios Denver.

  • The system has a camera that can spot a potential weapons threat — like a gun, knife or explosive device — based on the object's shape, size and density.
  • If it detects a threat, the system photographs the object and notifies the security staff

Zoom out: Evolv's system has been used in dozens of schools, stadiums and arenas nationwide.

Yes, but: The company faced criticism in recent years after its technology failed to detect certain weapons, per CBS.

  • In 2022, a student smuggled a hunting knife into a New York school district and stabbed another student several times. The school had Evolv's system installed.
  • A National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security study, commissioned by Evolv, found the system failed to detect 42% of knives and a "small number of guns," per CBS.

The other side: Evolv Technology co-founder Anil Chitkara told CBS the technology will keep improving, "but it will never be 100 percent, and that's why security professionals use a combination and a set of layers of security."

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