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Peeping Through Walls? Don't Miss This Radar!

Discussion in 'Engineering & Technology News' started by Farjand, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Farjand

    Farjand Rookie

    Engineering Discipline:
    Recently many gadgets are used in war ravaged places for detecting hidden movement behind walls. It becomes a requirement especially in a hostage situation when security forces want to know the exact number of people inside a building. Presently we had Prism 200C which does this job the best. However as any other machine, it also has certain disadvantages. For example, we need to be close to the wall in question. In many cases it will be unwise to do so. Looking at the challenge, MIT's Lincoln Laboratory has come up with a new radar technology which helps us locate moving objects behind a visual obstruction.

    Image Credit: Science Daily

    The see-through-wall-concept in question is a simple demonstration of a futuristic technology. The team was led by Lincoln Lab researchers John Peabody and Gregory Charvat. The designed device consists of 8 receiving and 13 transmitting terminals one below the other in two rows. It also consists of computing elements which are assembled in a movable pattern. The operation of this gadget is similar to Radar. The transmitting device emits waves which pass through walls. While passing through each obstruction, more than 99% of the signals are reflected back to the receivers present in the device and only a fraction of remaining 1% can reach the target. Once again, that 1% is reflected back and 99% of that minute amount cannot reach the receivers. To explain in simple words, once a signal is emitted the signal strength is reduced to 0.0025% of the original.

    Image Credit: Extremetech

    Even amplification is not a major problem as we can have signal amplifiers easily available in the market. The real difficulty arises while trying to decipher the contents of the information brought back by the received signals. It is really hard to precisely point out the position of objects on a computer screen. This may be essentially because the signals are plotted on the screen in a third angle projection method. It requires a little amount of training to note the location in a human understandable form.

    It is however possible to get an accurate picture to a great extent if we use waves of longer wavelength. However this increases the size of the device largely. The researchers found out a proper solution to address this issue. They settled with S-band which is the same wavelength that is used in case of wireless internet transmission. By using the S-band, the researchers limited the size of device to something around 8.5 feet.

    The project has won the best paper prize at 2010 Tri-Services Radar Symposium. It will still take some time before the see-through-wall-radar technology becomes fool proof. The challenges which lie ahead of this are reducing the size of device and improved object detection interface. The concept has wide aspects in urban and military combat situations.

    Check out The Demonstration of the Radar System In this Video-

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  3. I had read the article about Prism 200C. This is a major improvement. It would be good to see how they take it forward from here. 

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