Destination Dubai

Dubai Airport: When you arrive in Dubai for your cruise you’ll be scanned in by fish

Dubai really wants to make the Arabian Gulf the world’s preeminent winter cruise destination, and as part of that effort its doing a lot to enhance the experience of cruise passengers flying into the city to board cruise ships at Dubai Cruise Terminal.

The latest announcement sounds like a joke, but really isn’t. The city of 3D printed buildings, drone racing, indoor rainforests, firefighters with jetpacks and cops with McLarens is taking a new approach to airport security: virtual face-scanning fish.

See the animation below:

From 2018 Dubai International Airport will ditch standard security counters in favour of a digital aquarium tunnel that scans faces or irises as passengers pass through. Eighty cameras will capture the person’s face from every possible angle, posing as virtual fish in a tunnel-like aquarium.

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“The fish is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveler but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travelers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his/her face print,” explains Foreign affairs chief Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri.


The tunnel can display a range of natural settings, including the desert, an ocean scape or others (its not yet clear if we’ll be able to choose which we want before passing through). And, because this is Dubai after all, it can also display advertising.

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Upon reaching the end, a passenger who is already registered will receive a green message that says “have a nice trip.” If the person is wanted for some reason, a red sign will alert the operations room to take action.

Dubai Airports Company and the UAE Customs and Immigration Department decided on the futuristic aquarium passport control as a way to cope with the ever-growing number of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport.

General Civil Aviation figures show that more than 124 million passengers are expected to pass through the city’s airports by 2020, up from 80 million passengers currently.

The first of these “biometric borders” will be installed by the end of the summer of 2018 at Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, home of Emirates Airline.

By 2020, the tunnels will be rolled out at other Dubai terminals.

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