X-ray Operator Training & Monitoring

Renful Premier Technologies

Category: X-Ray Operator Training | 28/04/2006 - 10:29:30

Renful has produced the only truly comprehensive suite of programmes for security X-ray operator Recruitment, Training and Testing currently available on the market.

Renful's complete solution to the recruitment, training and testing of X-ray operators comprises of three modules, PRE-M (Pre-Employment Colour Vision & Testing system), TREFOX (Training Essentials for X-ray) and Simfox (Image Processor and Training/Testing Simulator for X-ray). All three modules have been specifically designed to complement each other, but can also be run independently.

Candidate Selection using PRE-M

Pre-Employment Colour Vision & Testing system

PRE-M has been developed to provide customers with the data needed to make informed hiring decisions. Currently, there is not such test on the market that tests candidates for their suitability for the position of X-ray operator. This is an important issue that must be addressed.

Colour Deficiencies are tested in the first section of PRE-M.

The human eye sees by light stimulating the retina. The retina is made up of what are called Rods and Cones. The rods, located in the peripheral retina, give us our night vision, but can not distinguish colour. Cones, located in the centre of the retina, are not much good at night but do allow us to perceive colour during daylight conditions.

Colour WheelMany people think anyone labelled as "colour-blind" only sees black and white - like watching a black and white movie or television. This is a big misconception and not true. It is extremely rare to be totally colour blind. There are many different types and degrees of colour-blindness - more correctly called colour deficiencies.

People with normal cones and light sensitive pigment are able to see all the different colours and subtle mixtures of them by using cones sensitive to one of three wavelengths of light - red, green, and blue.

A mild colour deficiency is present when one or more of the three cone's light sensitive pigments are not quite right and their peak sensitivity is changed. A more severe colour deficiency is present when one or more of the cone's light sensitive pigments is really wrong.

5% to 8% (depending on the study you quote) of men and 0.5% of women in the world are born colour-deficient. That's as high as one in twelve men and one in two hundred women. Nearly all colour deficiency is hereditary, and permanent.

This test screens for "all" colour vision deficiencies.

In the following sections, the applicant's ability to identify both every-day and threat objects is tested. Applicants must interpret shapes, lines and images in order to identify certain objects.

Various researchers have stated that as much as eighty % of all learning takes place through the eye with visual memory existing as a crucial aspect of learning - people can only recognise an object if they have seen it before.

Scientists have gathered some remarkable evidence which shows that it is possible to see something without observing it. In one experiment, people who were walking across a college campus were asked by a stranger for directions.

During the resulting chat, two men carrying a wooden door passed between the stranger and the subjects. After the door went by, the subjects were asked if they had noticed anything change. Half of those tested failed to notice that, as the door passed by, the stranger had been substituted with a man who was of different height, of different build and who sounded different. He was also wearing different clothes.

By testing to see whether an applicant has a good visual memory or not, we will be able to discover those applicants who will see and observe, rather than "see without observing".

The applicants must be able to look at an object, form an image of that object in their mind and be able to recall the name, manner and use of that object in order to be able to identify whether the object is a threat item or not. If an applicant fails to recognise every-day objects, perhaps they are more likely to be a "seer", rather than an "observer" - a trait which would be detrimental to the job of an X-ray Operator.

GrenadeRenful has worked with a number of our existing Simfox clients in various locales to gauge the relevance and difficulty of the various sections of PRE-M and we feel that we have achieved a level that should highlight talented individuals in addition to providing a norm for general candidate effectiveness.

Initial training through TREFOX

The new recruit's motivation, knowledge and job performance has to be of a high standard from the first day that he/she works on the X-ray operation. The initial training received is of critical importance in ensuring this happens.

TREFOX has been developed to meet the requirements of government and industry in providing an essential introduction to the subject of Security X-ray Screening for newly recruited personnel.

TREFOX is a complete X-ray operator training programme, featuring video, audio, photographic images, text and animation to maintain the interest of the newly recruited screener. TREFOX motivates the student by regularly stressing the importance of the individual in maintaining any effective X-ray security system.

The 10 modules of TREFOX cover a variety of subjects from basic health and safety to more complex subjects, such as the interpretation of X-ray images. When students have completed all modules of the TREFOX programme, they should have a comprehensive understanding of what X-rays are, what X-rays are capable of achieving; and the overall importance and purpose of X-ray security screening.

TrefoxThey will be more familiar with terminology that is used at the checkpoint and understand the basic principles of operating an X-ray machine, the function of an X-ray system, and the structure and generation of X-ray images. Students will also be more aware of the various threats that exist today.

TREFOX will also help students to recognise and understand potential ramifications of the safety hazards of working with radiation-producing equipment and enable them to implement effective procedures, relevant to their installation's local security operation, encouraging them to work in a safe, secure and efficient manner.

Once students have completed the TREFOX course, they should be ready to receive practical on-the-job training under supervision. They should also be regularly trained and tested on the SIMFOX Threat Image Processor & Simulator X-ray Training System, to further improve their competence in analysing X-ray images and identifying dangerous or prohibited items.

From Theory to Experience using SIMFOX

The first module in the SIMFOX system, the Image Processor allows self-assembly, concealment and independent development of bags within the system. This feature is unique to Simfox.

Training BagUsing SIMFOX, trainers can build two separate bag libraries; Training Bags and Testing Bags. Training bags are used to teach students how to recognise items within baggage and Testing bags are used to test the level of recognition the student has achieved.

Trainers build their own customised bag libraries by selecting an empty bag from the preinstalled bag library and filling the bag with items selected from the preinstalled item library. Items are placed in any position within the empty bag, following which the item can be resized and rotated if desired, to create infinite varieties of bags.

All individual items are categorised as either Clothing, Electrical Items, Miscellaneous Items, Explosives, Firearms, Knives or Miscellaneous Threat Items. Trainers can move items between categories and if necessary change the threat status for an item (for example, a prison authority may classify food as a prohibited item whereas an airport may not).

After placing all items into a bag, the trainer can specify the action required by the student to gain full marks for the bag. For example, if the bag contains a visible firearm then the student should 'hold' the bag. Additionally, trainers can specify the time allowed by SIMFOX for a student to assess the bag contents before incurring penalty points.


SIMFOX Simulator for X-ray.

This module enables the trainer to create sessions for testing and training, transmit the sessions via Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN) and/or the Internet to the students. The students will access the testing simulator, which will present the exact interface of the X-ray machine with all its enhancement features. Each bag will be processed and the operator will be asked to locate the threats by location and category, while being automatically assessed under time restrictions.

Session and Course Creation.

Assorted ItemsAfter creating bags, this section allows trainers to create sessions containing one or more bags. Sessions, like bags, are divided into those for 'training' and those for 'testing', for teaching and assessment.

Each session has a variety of settings to allow trainers to customise the expected performance of the session. Here trainers can dictate the penalties incurred for varying factors, for example, exceeding the time allowed for assessment of a bag, selecting the wrong action to be taken for a bag, the incorrect naming of a threat item and the penalty for missing additional threat items also present in the same bag.

Each session can also be prefixed by a text description offering advice to students; this text will appear prior to the student running the session. Testing sessions are then further organised into courses to create the top tier of the coursework hierarchy.

The trainer also has the ability to create a record for each individual student. Student records consist of a nine-digit ID number, the name of the student, an individual password, an email address (Internet version) and the group the student belongs to.

Students are separated into groups to allow easy management of both novice and expert users. SIMFOX allows the renaming of groups and the creation of new groups.

SIMFOX is currently available for Heimann, Rapiscan and L3 Linescan X-ray systems. Other systems are currently being developed.

Each system simulated presents the student with a replica of the respective X-ray machine keyboard on-screen. If required, SIMFOX can be installed to use the actual keyboard from the machine.

Without the need for the trainer to be present, students can run lessons on the simulator. After logging onto the system using the relevant ID number and password, and selecting the required session, the student is presented with the simulator for the respective machine and an introduction (if supplied by trainer) to the session to be taken. Students then run the simulator using the same keys they would find on the X-ray machine, including image enhancements, zoom and conveyor control.

Bag ViewsAll bags included in a session will scroll onto the screen for examination by the students. Each time a session is run by any student, the bags will appear in random order.

This feature ensures accurate scoring for each student in situations where several students are running the same session on screens in the same room, and to reduce the chance of familiarisation if a session is run by a student more than once.

During each bag evaluation, student response time and the action taken for the bag is recorded. The score for the bag is derived from the following factors:

Did the student correctly identify the correct action for the bag within the time allowed?

If the correct response was to search the bag, did the student:

  1. Select 'search'?
  2. Identify the correct area(s) of suspicion?

If the correct response was to hold the bag did the student:

  1. Select 'hold'?
  2. Identify the location(s) of the threat(s)?
  3. Identify the nature of the threat(s)?

After all bags in a session have been presented to the student a Result Screen is displayed, which contains a score for each bag, the action taken by the student, what the correct action should have been, and an average score for the session.

In addition, a detailed Review Screen for each bag is available, displaying the following:

  • a photo of the bag
  • a photo of each item present in the bag
  • an overall description of the bag and the assessment taken
  • a description of each item
  • a list of the image processing buttons used on the bag
  • the ability to view the X-ray trace of each item isolated within the main bag image.

Data Acquisition and Statistical Analysis.

The data acquisition and statistical analysis feature is a unique module within Simfox, which does not appear in any other X-ray security training systems. It will allow a complete analysis of the workforce and threat item identification by categories, bag complexities, norming of bags etc. This module can be used for operational analysis, procedure development, etc.

TrEfoXThe following reports are available from the SIMFOX system:

Course Database Analysis
The highest level of report summarising the performance of all courses in the current database, including average time and score per bag.

Session Database Analysis
Analysis of all sessions in the current database including bags per session, threats per session, average time and average score.

Single Session Analysis
Detailed breakdown of a selected session, reports of all students who have taken the session and their performance results.

Bag Database Analysis
Analysis of all bags in the current database including usage, correct action versus action taken, time taken and score average.

Single Bag Analysis
Detailed breakdown of selected bag, reports of all students that have been tested with the selected bag and their performance.

Student Database Analysis
Analysis of all students in the current database including sessions taken, bags viewed, time taken and score average.

Group Database Analysis
Analysis of student groups including number of members, bags tested and the average score.

Single Group Analysis
Analyses the performance of a single group including average time and score.

Threat Recognition Analysis
Reports the success or failure rate of all threat items in the database.

Student Threat Recognition Analysis
Details each student's performance regarding individual threat recognition.

Session Results Pending
This report details all students who have been issued with a test but have yet to take it.

Student Achievement
This report can be configured to list all students who have achieved a score less than the percentage selected by the trainer or to list all students who have achieved an average score less than the percentage selected by the trainer.

All reports are presented on screen and may be exported to Microsoft Excel for printing and graph generation.

Used in conjunction, PRE-M, TREFOX and SIMFOX create the most powerful and effective tool for the recruitment, training and testing of X-ray operators that any secure organisation could wish for in order to cater for all their training needs.