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Author Topic: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)  (Read 3016 times)

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Offline AdminTopic starter

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bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« on: December 08, 2009, 11:54:04 PM »
This year I decided to be different and carry two robots (ERP made from plastic, and my biped made from aluminum) in a completely transparent plastic box through the airport security. Usually I just do a cardboard box, which 15% of the time ends up being searched.

Well, as soon as I get in line, every single airport security person started staring at the box. It was like a ball of yarn for a cat, they just kept staring . . . nonstop . . . I wasn't sure what to think . . . seriously, who conceals a bomb in a transparent box?

One finally came up and said 'is that a robot? cool! you must have went to MIT!' . . . yea . . . .

The guy at the scanner exclaimed, after it left the scanner, 'in real life it looks nothing like it did in the scanner!'

Others guards kept approaching me and saying, 'whoa a robot, what does it do?' What surprised me is that they were all able to figure out it was a robot on their own  :P

A lot of passengers stared at it too . . . too much attention for me I think . . .

Then at security in Japan, there were these two lady guards at the scanner. They stared at it for about 5 seconds, then kept saying 'Pikachu! Pikachu!' . . . how often do you have japanese girls come up to you and say only pikachu?! confused, it took me about 10 seconds to realize I had a Pokemon handkerchief I left in the box as a dust guard . . .

Offline Joker94

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 12:47:00 AM »
good idea

at least you escaped the deep search phase

congrats

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 06:18:59 AM »
I wonder what they would do if you just let your robots wander through security by themselves...
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Offline chelmi

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 09:46:38 AM »
I wonder what they would do if you just let your robots wander through security by themselves...

The bomb squad would send their remote control robot. Battle bot in the airport terminal, yay!

Offline Gertlex

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 11:00:06 AM »
In this day and age, that's almost too good to believe, Admin.

I had a roll of 1" yellow silicone tape confiscated on my way back from Australia in November.  They implied that I could strangle someone with it. x)
I

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2009, 05:55:31 PM »
I once sat at security for 30 minutes where they insisted my external harddrive was a bomb and that they needed to physically open it up to verify it wasn't. After 30 minutes they decided to spend the 5 seconds needed to use the chemical sniffing machine, and quickly verified it was what I claimed. :-X

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 06:08:18 PM »
I wonder if airport security will ever invest in a common sense scanner for use on their employees...
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Offline SmAsH

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 04:48:55 PM »
It just wouldn't be the same :P
I would like to see what would happen if you let erp go through security on his own, it would be hilarious!
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Offline webgeek

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 08:33:25 AM »
In '96 my high school electronics class won a state competition for electronics and had to fly to nationals. Our project had several HeNe tube lasers we'd salvage from equipment and built into special wooden cases along with some servo controlled mirrors and the associated power supplies. Even though security was more lax back then, the whole maker community didn't really exist so this was a pretty new concept to the guards. You wouldn't believe how nervous they were about the whole thing. In the end, we had to disassemble the boxes and fire it up to show how it all worked right there before they were satisfied. Fortunately our clever teacher brought along an electric screwdriver so it didn't take too long.

The one that really pisses me off though is when I checked a Linksys router in my luggage for a trade show booth and got to the show only to find they had actually broken the router open with a screwdriver to inspect it. They didn't unscrew it - they forced it open with the blade. You could see the pry marks and the stress discoloration on the plastic. Of course it was totally fried. Actually filing a claim with TSA was a dead loss so I ended up getting a replacement from Best Buy the morning of the show. Danged frustrating!

Now we simply carry on all electronics with the exception of a pair of 21" monitors that we sandwich between clothes. Ironically, we've had the TSA inspectors leave us a note in our luggage before commenting "nice screens!" which we thought was amusing.

-Mike

Offline gamefreak

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2009, 02:21:24 PM »
Last year for Technology Student Association I was going to Nationals for for the electronic research and experimentation category, I mailed the project itself ahead of time but my backpack was full of the various tools and thingymajigs I thought I may have needed for fixing it.

So I was a few spools of wire, wire cutters, various computer cables, a laptop, batteries, and random junk that I have been too lazy to take out of my bag. What really surprised me was that my bag went through the scanner without a single question or comment from the various security guards, but the kid right behind me had his back searched since it had a bottle of sun screen lotion just a few ounces to big.  :D
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Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 11:47:16 AM »
This is a very old post, but some new relevant information has come up:
http://blog.tsa.gov/2009/03/traveling-with-homemade-gadgets.html
http://blog.tsa.gov/2011/08/wierd-science-traveling-with-homemade.html

the general rules are:
1) batteries must be carry-on, and not near your electronics (ie unplugged)
2) no metal plates/boxes that can obscure x-ray image
3) bring it as carry-on so you can explain it

Offline corrado33

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2011, 02:46:27 PM »
Hm, I like this thread.

Not robotics related, but once I had my mini screwdriver set I use to take apart computers and various tiny things in the bottom of my backpack. 

The security saw it on the scanner and had to look at it.  They told me they were ok because they were less than 4 inches long. 

I was glad I got to keep my screwdriver set. 

What happens if they confiscate something?  Can you go back and send it to yourself through the mail? 

Offline Soeren

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2011, 04:30:30 PM »
Hi,

The security saw it on the scanner and had to look at it.  They told me they were ok because they were less than 4 inches long. 
Lucky you!
Around 2005..2006, I had to go by plane for the first time after the Danish airport security had been really "tightened up", and they sure did a lot for looks - They confiscated 6..7 lighters, one of them they told me could be mistaken for a gun (apparently air personnel, including pilots, have extremely poor eye sight). Further they robbed me of a multitool (probably they thought I'd dismantle the plane while in the air) and finally, a folder with a 1" blade.

What happens if they confiscate something?  Can you go back and send it to yourself through the mail? 
I was told that I could go back and mail the stuff to myself, less the knife, as it had a locking blade - they called the cops and asked them to come deal with me, but the cops said "just confiscate the knife, he's probably not a master criminal".
However, sending the stuff home would have made me miss the flight, so I didn't.

In Danish airport security, there's a limit that you can bring 1 lighter (if it absolutely positively cannot be mistaken for a gun by blind people). Traveling back from the US, I remembered to only have 1 lighter in my pocket, but the sweet old lady doing the security check, said "I'm very sorry, but you cannot bring this along", so I had to chase down someone with a light when I reached Munic airport - not an easy job in these times, but I actually did and had my first half smoke in 9..10 hours... And then I had to rush to the plane for Copenhagen.

I love flying, but stupid people get on my nerves and they seem to hire a lot of them in airports, so I prefer to drive if possible within reason.

In Norway, I once went through 2 security checks, as a coworker and I walked around to kill time and was in a strange way suddenly on the other side of the fence - second time around, they confiscated a bottle of hair gel that the first check had already cleared - the bottle was about double the allowed size, so no matter it was almost empty they took it... The second time - Flying's nice, but stupid people interpreting laws made to impress the public: "Look how well we look after you", really ruins the experience.

And it's all for looks, as proved by a Danish reporter that reached the gate (he wasn't about to fly, just to test the security) without any problems, bringing a pointy serrated steak knife from one of the airport restaurants.
They'll catch no terrorist through the security checks and the present rules, while being a nuisance to the traveler, easily allow for a variety of really nasty stuff, which I won't get into for obvious reasons.
Regards,
Søren

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Offline corrado33

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Re: bringing your robot through airport security (my new story)
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2011, 06:23:04 PM »
Hi,

Lucky you!
Around 2005..2006, I had to go by plane for the first time after the Danish airport security had been really "tightened up", and they sure did a lot for looks - They confiscated 6..7 lighters, one of them they told me could be mistaken for a gun (apparently air personnel, including pilots, have extremely poor eye sight). Further they robbed me of a multitool (probably they thought I'd dismantle the plane while in the air) and finally, a folder with a 1" blade.

I was told that I could go back and mail the stuff to myself, less the knife, as it had a locking blade - they called the cops and asked them to come deal with me, but the cops said "just confiscate the knife, he's probably not a master criminal".
However, sending the stuff home would have made me miss the flight, so I didn't.

I think it helped that it was the smallest airport ever, and I was with my college's cross country team. 

What's wrong with a locking blade?  You can stab someone with anything...  And a 1 inch blade wouldn't do much in the way of stabbing, slicing maybe, but not stabbing. 

I'd be so mad if they took my multitool.  Yes, there are a lot of ways to hurt someone with a multitool... but still, it's a tool. 

(Wow I sound really creepy in this post  ;D)

Quote
In Danish airport security, there's a limit that you can bring 1 lighter (if it absolutely positively cannot be mistaken for a gun by blind people). Traveling back from the US, I remembered to only have 1 lighter in my pocket, but the sweet old lady doing the security check, said "I'm very sorry, but you cannot bring this along", so I had to chase down someone with a light when I reached Munic airport - not an easy job in these times, but I actually did and had my first half smoke in 9..10 hours... And then I had to rush to the plane for Copenhagen.

Luckily, I don't smoke.  I can see the whole 1 lighter thing.  Lots of lighters could make a big boom.  You couldn't get creative and bring another firestarter that doesn't require liquid?  How many different ways can you light a cigarette? 

Quote
I love flying, but stupid people get on my nerves and they seem to hire a lot of them in airports, so I prefer to drive if possible within reason.

I agree.  I like to fly but I'm not really a big crowd fan.  I don't like to be around a ton of people at once for some reason.  ???


Quote
And it's all for looks, as proved by a Danish reporter that reached the gate (he wasn't about to fly, just to test the security) without any problems, bringing a pointy serrated steak knife from one of the airport restaurants.
They'll catch no terrorist through the security checks and the present rules, while being a nuisance to the traveler, easily allow for a variety of really nasty stuff, which I won't get into for obvious reasons.

What, you don't want to tell people how to get through airport security with dangerous things?   :P

Luckily, most criminals are dumb, so thinking things out isn't their strong suit.  Have you ever seen the show "Breaking Bad"?  I honestly think if a really smart person wanted to do something illegal, they could get away with it.  (Heck, we discussed how to make cocaine (I think) in chemistry lab once.  We were serious about it too...) lol

Ok, I sound creepy again.   ;D
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 06:28:36 PM by corrado33 »

 


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